Organizing a product photo shoot can be pretty overwhelming the first time around. But the more you practice, the more things will go smoothly, and soon you will not even think about it but just set up lights and backdrop, shoot, edit, and upload. But before you reach this level of ease, let’s take a look at how to conduct a successful shoot.
Ecommerce photography basics
If you do your own photo shoots and you are on a budget, you can still get good results by following these guidelines:
You don’t have to buy a fancy camera with a range of lenses to take good product images. If you have one, great! But if you don’t, start with what you have and scale your equipment as your store grows. You can take very professional and polished photos even with some of the latest smartphones.
Ecommerce photography basics
Choosing your background is vital because it will help you enormously in post-processing. You can invest in a white sweep, which is a backdrop that transitions seamlessly from the vertical to the horizontal plane. More simply, a wall that curves down into the floor. The idea here is to avoid the sharp edges of a corner where light bounces around. A brightly lit curve makes it difficult for the camera to capture depth and contours in the background. if that makes sense for your products and you’ll be using it often. Or, if you are on a budget, you can buy some craft paper or poster board and mount it over a table. As long your backdrop is white or light in color, you can get great results.
Lighting is essential to really define your images. Use natural light, if possible. Placing a table next to a large window with your sweep attached to the wall usually works well. This gives you a good amount of light with a soft shadow. If the shadow is too sharp, you can place a screen on the inside to soften it.
Avoid direct sunlight, though. Just like strong backlight, it’s too harsh and can create unsightly dark shadows. If you have to use artificial lights, two identical softbox setups can usually do the job, using one as your key light and the other as fill to soften any shadows.
Stabilization, focus, and consistency
Do not underestimate the importance of a tripod to minimize blur and keep the angle consistent across multiple products.For those of you who are a bit more advanced and if your camera allows, set the lens to a small aperture, aka a high f/stop, and set a slow shutter speed. The higher the f/stop setting, the smaller the aperture. This will give you a wide depth of field that brings your entire product into focus to give it a crisp look. But your camera always needs to be well-fixed on your tripod or you will get blurry images.
Retouching is essential for polished professional photos to create a uniform look across your store. Often the lighting or the background are not perfect, and editing can go far in making up for that. Post-processing can be as simple as background removal or as complex as color correction, mannequin removal, and shadow additions which together create a more realistic look.
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