We are currently in a world dominated by e-commerce. And if you are in the business of e-commerce, you should know that the way you showcase your products on your e-commerce site affects sales significantly. Amateur-looking product shots erode consumers’ trust in the products/services you offer and decreases conversion rates. However, the reality is that most e-commerce startups do not have the budget for a proper DSLR, let alone a professional studio shoot to take product shots. In this article, we’ll outline what you have to do to take product photos that attract visitors and convert them into customers – all by yourself!
What You Need
- Smartphone camera with decent resolution
- Photography lightbox
- Large, white sheet of paper
- Three pure white table lamps
Getting a good set-up (lighting, backdrop, etc.) goes a long way in ensuring that your photos do not require much editing after they’re shot. Using a lightbox diffuses or “softens” the light so that your product is lit evenly, and you do not have to edit individual areas. A tripod eliminates the effects of a shaky camera so that your photo remains clear when zoomed in. By illuminating your product with pure white light, it ensures colour accuracy so that no hue adjustment is required. For the photos later in this guide, we used an all-in-one photography lightbox that already has a backdrop and LED light built in for its simplicity. However, you can follow the steps outlined below to get the same results if you are using a generic cloth lightbox.
- Set up the table lamps by placing one on each side of the lightbox and one directly above.
- Attach the white paper to the upper backside of the lightbox with tape and lay it on the base so that it forms a smooth, continuous curve. This will give the appearance of a white, infinite background to your picture that makes your product the focus of your customers.
Snapping The Photo
Make sure you dust off and wipe the product before taking photos. The menial task of cloning over dust and blemishes can be avoided with this quick step. Mount your camera on the tripod and snap the photo with a voice command or timer instead of using the built-in shutter in order to reduce camera shake. The camera should be positioned at a far enough distance so that the object does not appear distorted from perspective.
Editing Your Photo
Depending on your camera, you might end up with a website-ready photo, or you could end up with something a little less ready where some editing would have to come into play in post to make the photo website-ready.
The photo may appear darker or less vibrant because of your camera, but the colours are there nonetheless. Your photo may look like a long way from perfection, but all you have to do to edit the photo is give it a super simple white point setting that can be done in under two minutes.
Setting A White Point
- Open your photo on Microsoft Picture Manager. For this method, we’ll be using the one-click Enhance Colour feature of the Picture Manager to correct the colour profile.
- Once the photo is opened with Picture Manager, click “Edit Pictures”, “Colour”, then “Enhance Colour”.
- Select a white, shadowless area near the product with the crosshair – the algorithm will do the rest! This sets that area to white and adjusts the rest of the photo accordingly.
Useful Photography Tips & Tricks
- For shiny objects like metals and glass, make sure the light is not being reflected directly into the camera, or the glare will darken the rest of the object in contrast.
- When photographing transparent glass, putting a roll of black paper on each side of the product helps define the outline. The black paper can be cropped out during editing.
- You can make metals seem more glamorous and shinier by applying a de-saturation filter. This only works if there are no other colours in the photo.
Featured photo credit: SilverFox Talents via silverfoxtalents.com