Tips for Taking Your Own Product Photos for Your Website

Tips for Taking Your Own Product Photos for Your Website

 

Welcome back Samantha Gluck, Owner and Executive Dream WeaverAll Media Freelance, LLC and Editor in Chief, Freelance Writing Dreams and Medtopicwriter .

 

Product Photos

Photographing your own products for your ecommerce site saves money and gives you the most control over the outcome. But you may need a few pointers to get professional quality results. A camera’s built in flash alone will rarely produce the image quality you need.
taking photographs for your website
The images must display the product details clearly, if you hope to increase site conversion rates. You need clean product photos with no hard shadows or busy backgrounds that distract viewers from the product itself. Professional photographers use a few simple tricks to ensure perfectly detailed product photos every time.

 

Use Soft Lighting
To determine if lighting is soft or hard, hold one hand out flat and slightly in front of you.  Hold the index finger of the other hand two or three inches above it.  You’ve got hard lighting if the shadow created by your index finger has sharply demarcated borders. Soft light creates diffused shadows with somewhat blurred (soft) borders.
Overcast days represent a great source of soft light, but most product photography takes place inside to reduce the chances of soiling or interference from the elements like wind or humidity.  To produce soft lighting inside, you’ll need a light tent or soft box, such as EZCube. You’ll then place the product inside the box, directing your light up to create a soft, diffused light.

 

Stay Still, Perfectly Still
Use a tripod to steady the camera. I know, I know — people called you “steady Eddie” in college because of your statue-like stillness when you played the part of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in Thespian club. You still need a tripod. A shaky camera can render even the best lighting ineffective. The camera mustn’t move when light enters the aperture in order to produce the maximum sharpness in your images. Using a tripod is the only way to ensure you keep the camera perfectly still during exposure for perfect product photos.

 

Adjust the Exposure Setting
Products photographed against a pure white background result in the best image clarity and bring out the best product photo’s detail. Under certain conditions, though, the images end up with a drab or gray looking background instead of the desired bright pure white.  No, you don’t need more, or bigger, lights. When your pure white background looks dingy and gray in photos, it simply means you need to adjust the camera settings to allow more light to enter.
Every digital camera should have an exposure compensation setting.  Find the location of yours – yes, you may need to consult the owner’s manual — and adjust the setting to slightly overexpose the image.  Adjust the setting in tiny increments until you get the bright white background in your photos.
Use Light Combinations Properly
Certain products – like watches and jewelry — may require the addition of strobe or sparkle lights, but most need just two or three standard lights to get professional looking results. When working with a combination of two or more light, remember — never mix light sources of different color temperatures. You can verify that the light sources match in color temperature by consulting the bulb boxes.

 

Play Around with Placement
If you’ve ever witness a professional photo shoot, you know that photographers frequently move lights to different spots around the stage in an effort to get that coveted shot that captures the true essence and important details of the subject.
In 387 A.D., St. Ambrose famously quipped, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Likewise, when playing pro photographer, do as the pro photographers do. Move lights around, remove one of the light sources, and switch one color light source for another. Experiment. With digital cameras, you can see the results of each experiment immediately, giving you instant feedback. You can learn on the fly, rather than holing up in a dark room to develop your product photos the old fashioned way.

 

Find a Model Photograph
Check out websites with similar products and find product photos that appeals to you. Check out the camera angle, background color, and lighting of the shot. Try to duplicate the look and detail displayed in this image as you photograph your own products.
Snapping professional looking product photos for your website may still prove quite a challenge at first, but these tips provide a great place to begin your journey into expert amateur photography of products that don’t involve human (or animal) models.

 

Your turn: Do you photograph your own product photos for your website, or do you use professionally photographed images?

Samantha Gluck is obsessed with reading, writing, and words (rather than arithmetic!). Always needing to stand out, she didn’t go into medicine like the cool brothers and sisters did. But, Gluck did obtain a microbiology degree, BSN, and finance degree (career student) until Daddy cut off the cash. Now she uses her knowledge and experience as a health care journalist and to write accurate, cutting edge medical stories and content and to grow her business, All Media Freelance, LLC.

11 comments On Tips for Taking Your Own Product Photos for Your Website

  • Hi Samantha,

    Great post! I think that it’s the first time I read a post on such topic. I lovetaking pictures, I’ve always have, and today with the internet, just about any picture one might take could be of good use.

    Thank you for those very detailed and specific steps to take professional photos, and nice meeting you for the first time.

    And of course, thanks to you, Lisa 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Are You In Alignment With Success?My Profile

    • Nice meeting you for the first time as well, Sylviane. I hope you put the tips to good use and that they actually do work for you. I’ll look for you around the web and maybe we’ll connect here and elsewhere in the future. Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to share.

  • I would love to use my own photos, but it’s usually takes time to actually get this up on my computer to grab those images. I might look into this more because I don’t want the headache of having to find images, when I can use my own. Of course I want to make sure my name is all over picture because I would at least like some credit, but these days you have to be careful with that too. When I take pictures, its usually on vacation and I never fuss over lighting, but when I look back at my images, I wish I had that photography book to get it right. These were great tips and thanks for sharing some of your knowledge with us!
    Sonia recently posted..How You Drive Determines if You’re A Follower or LeaderMy Profile

    • You and I are cut from the same cloth (at least regarding photography habits). I usually take photos on vacation or during family outings and events. I have been trying to carry my camera with me, however, and snap some shots of images that might work with some of my articles. I use a stock photo company for most of my images, but it’s so much fun when I actually do take a decent one and use it on one of my sites.

  • Thank you Samantha so much for the info on the dingy gray backgrounds. I just couldn’t understand why this was happening. I’ve been struggling with this for some time now. I will try adjusting the exposure.
    Pat Thomas recently posted..MRS. EASTWOOD READY, SET…ART!My Profile

  • Hi Mayura,

    I had to laugh when you said, “You must be an expert on it.” Hardly! I’m a horrid photographer for a number of reasons, some just because I don’t have the time or patience to learn how to use a fancy camera with all those crazy settings and lenses. But I have taken a couple of great shots and I realized that the lighting is what made the difference in those photos.

    I use professional stock photos to cover much of my image need, but do like it when I can use one of my own. Gives a certain sort of satisfaction.

    I will try an EZ Cube to snap some photos at some point. I’ll let you know if my efforts succeeded or failed. Thanks for taking the time to share.
    Samantha Gluck recently posted..Eight Effective Feature Story Leads – Journalist JuiceMy Profile

  • Hi Samantha,

    That’s really cool 🙂 Really fascinating and effective though. Most of time it would be professionally crafted images we see on product websites but when it comes to beverages and fast food industry, I think they are following what you imply here mostly. isn’t it? Personally I think taking images of own products is 100 times worthy than professionally photographed images ’cause sometimes the product is not the way it show up or promote on website 😉

    Nice post and really inspiring topic dear… I like the way you explained that tricks. You must be an expert on it.

    Have a great week Samantha & Lisa 🙂

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted..How to Add a Contact Form to Your Website with ContactMeMy Profile

  • Informative post indeed!

    To be very honest, I’ve never tried taking my own photographs for my blog as yet, though your post surely makes me want to. 🙂 I guess we tend to find so many photographs online that suit our purpose, and unless you are really good at taking pictures or have a nice camera with all the requirements, it may or may not work out.

    But yes, the fun of taking your own pictures is completely different, which I do take when we are travelling or roaming around as a family- though have yet to try the product images as you mentioned.

    I loved the tips shared and I guess a lot depends on the proper lighting and focus, which would get you the desired results.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Why We Need to Express GratitudeMy Profile

    • I’m glad you liked the tips, Harleena. I’m no photographer, but I do, on occasion, snap a great one that will work for some of the articles I write on my sites. Mostly, I run around town, home, and other places snapping photos like some sort of auditor or tourist and hope one of them doesn’t look like one of my younger kids took it.

      I’m picky about my images and my company subscribes to a couple of pay stock photo services for that reason. But I love it when I see one of my own images featured in an article – probably because I’m such a sucky photographer, it surprises me that it made the cut.

      I’ve never used an EZ cube because I don’t sell physical products on my sites (yet). I’m not sure it’s foolproof enough for this blonde hot mess! 😉 Will try it out when I do sell any tangible goods.
      Samantha Gluck recently posted..A Post Per Day Does Not Mean More Traffic Your WayMy Profile

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