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How To Take Product Photos For Your E-commerce Shop While You’re On A Budget

How To Take Product Photos For Your E-commerce Shop While You’re On A Budget

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

  1. Smartphone camera with decent resolution
  2. Tripod
  3. Photography lightbox
  4. Large, white sheet of paper
  5. Three pure white table lamps

Set-Up

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.[1] However, you can follow the steps outlined below to get the same results if you are using a generic cloth lightbox.

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  1. Set up the table lamps by placing one on each side of the lightbox and one directly above.
  2. 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.

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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.

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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

  1. 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.[2]
  2. Once the photo is opened with Picture Manager, click “Edit Pictures”, “Colour”, then “Enhance Colour”.
  3. 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

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Reference

[1] http://lightbox.sg/edit-photos-perfection-2-minutes-free/
[2] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16573

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Saminu Abass

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

  • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

  • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

  • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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Different Folks, Different Strokes

Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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Productivity and Trust Killer

Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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A Flexible Remote Working Policy

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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