How to Level Up Your eCommerce Product Photography With a Smartphone
eCommerce has one very distinct drawback when compared to physical stores: customers can’t see or touch the products they’re considering buying. Instead, they rely heavily on photos of the goods an online store offers. Those photos are so important that roughly 75% of online shoppers rely on them when deciding whether or not to buy an item. With a number that high, you can’t afford to have pictures that are anything less than the best. However, many entrepreneurs also feel they can’t afford the price of a professional camera and studio set up. Thankfully, all you need for amazing ecommerce product photography is a smartphone and these tips:
- Don’t use zoom
- Invest in a tripod
- Avoid the front-facing camera
- Don’t use flash
- Keep the background plain
- Only edit a little bit
- Work your angles
- Choose the right device
Don’t Use Zoom
Because online shoppers are unable to look at your products in person, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to notice every little detail with nothing but a series of photos. That means taking big picture photos of the item as a whole, but also taking images of the little details that make your goods special. While you can zoom in on a product to take snaps of your product’s finer points, you shouldn’t ever do that. Smartphones are equipped only with a digital zoom, which crops a photo and lowers its quality so you’re left with a somewhat blurry, bland photo that won’t inspire anyone to buy from you. Instead, physically move the camera closer to the subject of your photo so that every pic comes out sharp and professional.
Invest in a Tripod for Superb eCommerce Product Photography
Digital zoom isn’t the only way to take poor-quality snapshots. Shaky hands are another surefire method of taking photos that are blurry and most definitely not going to help a product make the consumer cut. Even if you feel like you can take perfectly steady images by hand-holding your smartphone, chances are you’re shaking and don’t even realize it. Rather than accidentally making that common mistake, invest in a small, smartphone-friendly tripod to steady your device for rock-solid ecommerce product photography. They can be purchased for less than $20 on Amazon, making the investment well worth it.
Avoid the Front-Facing Camera
If your ecommerce store is a small one, you might not have the ability to hire models to showcase your products. The next best option is to be your own model, whether you sell clothes, jewelry, hand-knit goods, and more. Thanks to the front-facing camera on smartphones, also known as the selfie cam, you can easily take pictures of yourself modelling your products, right? Wrong. While the selfie cam makes it easier for you to pose and snap the perfect pic, it probably has a lower resolution than the rear-facing lens. Because your images are limited by the length of your arms (or possibly the length of a selfie stick), you’re also likely to get photos with weird angles that don’t highlight your product very well. Instead of working with the selfie cam, use the tripod you invested in and your phone camera’s self-timer function to pose for the best pics possible.
Don’t Use Flash
Need more light for excellent ecommerce product photography? Then move your setup closer to the window and don’t take pictures at night. While your smartphone might come equipped with a flash, the flash simply isn’t suitable for high-quality, professional photos that will do your products justice. Instead, it’s more likely to overexpose your goods and leave strange, obscuring shadows behind.
Keep the Background Plain
The point of product photography is to highlight, well, your product. While you might think a fun background or candid setting will make your pictures look more interesting, you’re actually just distracting viewers from the main subject and making it harder for them to get a good look at the items you sell. Instead, set up a white (or similarly plain) background using a clean, wrinkle free sheet or a piece of poster board. While you can also use contextual images to show how your products look in a home setting, they should never be the only images you display for an item.
Only Edit a Little Bit
Editing your photo can take it from good to great. However, over-editing a photo can do the opposite. Filters, distortions, and other special effects are likely to reduce the quality of an image and leave it looking faked.
Work Your Angles
When people buy a product, they don’t want only a little bit of it to look good. They want the entire thing to look good. Show them how amazing your entire item looks by taking pictures from a variety of angles.
Choose the Right Device
Not all smartphone cameras are created equal. If you plan to use your phone as your primary product photography camera, do some research before choosing a model so you know the camera is up to snuff for your needs. The most commonly recommended models are the iPhone 8 or above, the Pixel 2 or above, and the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Note, and S9 or above.
Good product photography doesn’t have to cost your business an arm and a leg, when a smartphone and some practice is all you need.
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