By Simon Choi

Product photography for your business is critical for success. In fact, 51 percent of Americans who have access to the Internet would rather shop online than in a store. Studies show that 75 percent of respondents are extremely influenced by product photos when making purchase decisions.

Even if you have a store with a physical presence, it’s likely some shoppers will still visit your website online first before coming in. This is very likely to have increased in importance during recent times with more people shopping online from home. 

As a small business owner you don’t need to necessarily splurge on expensive professional photography to get the job done. In fact, product photography isn’t always an area where the more you spend the better quality you receive. With a few tips and practice you can even do this photography yourself and therefore if you need to update photography in future you will be equipped to do it.

Read on for a few product photography tips that you need to know.

Brand Positioning

It’s crucial when planning your product photography to consider your marketing and the brand positioning you want to attain in your market. For example, if you’re a luxury brand or premium brand you need to consider how you will make that show in your product photos. Your overall marketing and branding strategy therefore will influence product photography decisions such as backgrounds, supporting props and what activities any models may be doing in the shots.

You’ll need to ask yourself and work colleagues what kind of emotions and impressions do you want to invoke in the market with your product photography. This of course must support your brand positioning. If you don’t have this clear yet then start with getting that down as it will inform your photography.

If, for example, you sell a natural product and want to position that in the mind’s of consumers then you might place the product in an outdoor setting with the sun coming down on the product to accentuate the organic nature of the product. Aspects such as color should also align to what positioning you want.

Camera

You don’t necessarily need an expensive camera, the actual ability to follow some basic photography skills are relatively more important. This includes good technique, smart use of lighting and In saying this if you can spend above $500 or $1000 that would be ideal. I’d recommend a Nikon or Canon, they are great brands that have an extensive range of cameras with excellent value for money.

Tips for Shooting With a DSLR Camera

Although you can use automatic settings it’s important you know how to use some of the basic settings as utilizing these in some instances will give you a better outcome. Trying different settings in different situations will also get you learning a lot more about what they do and your photography skills will improve.

  • ISO – This controls the camera’s sensitivity to light; using the lowest number possible to achieve the correct exposure will give you the highest quality photo so start lower.
  • Set the aperture reasonably high – F-stop or aperture, influences the level of light that enters the camera lens; a higher number will put more of your product in focus and increase the shutter speed. A lower setting may occasionally be used though when you are using bokeh which involves blurring of the background.  
  • Set a slower shutter speed – Shutter speed refers to how quickly the shutter opens and closes. You should be able to use a slower shutter speed in most cases where you have a static product however if something involves movement in the image than you’ll need to use a faster shutter speed to help freeze the moving image.  

I also recommend a tripod; it’s worth the value for money and can help ensure consistency and accuracy with your photography.

Lighting

Lighting is critical as there needs to be enough for adequate visibility. Have it bright but not so bright that there are problems seeing the product properly. Consider whether you want to utilize natural lighting which is a softer light or artificial lighting. Remember, if you use natural light you don’t always need to be outside, you can be using for example a large window.

You may need to use a diffuser to diffuse the light if it’s too severe. It’s a sheer cloth that breaks up light. In the case of artificial light use studio lighting but adjust the white balance on your camera. Umbrella lighting can help disperse light or again you can use a diffuser.

Composition

Learn to compose your photographs well for example you may use a white, seamless background to focus on the product. Explore various camera angles including flat lays where you are shooting top down from overhead onto your product. In most cases you’ll be best served to keep the whole product in focus unless it’s a product shot highlighting a particular aspect of the product such as a button or sleeve on a shirt.  

Subscribe to the Small Business Bonfire Newsletter
And get your free one-page marketing plan template.