In physical retail, customers have the opportunity to touch, try out or to try on products. They can take a close look at the material, glance at the products from all sides, get a precise idea of the colour, in short: Grasp the products with all their senses. If you want to offer your customers a linked shopping experience and also offer your products in your own online shop, you have to convince your customers of your offer in a different way. In addition to a clear structure of your online shop, a uniform appearance or exciting information about the products, you can arouse the curiosity of your customers above all with good product photos.
Stick with one style
Your own online shop can not only have a positive effect on sales figures, it also serves to strengthen your brand and thus benefits your marketing. To achieve this, you can make use of the recognition effect by transferring the way you present your products in a stationary shop to your product photos. Is your store characterized by a minimalist style? Then your product photos should also convey this. Or do you have a specific colour palette that is characteristic for your store? Then you can also work with matching coloured backgrounds. So before you start photographing your products, decide on a style and stick to it, so that your online shop looks as professional as your stationary store.
Have the right equipment ready
Apart from the products you want to photograph, you should have the right equipment at hand. This includes:
– A camera: In order to take pictures, you need a camera or a not too old smartphone with a good camera. New models in particular now have very good cameras with which high-quality photos can be taken.
– Lenses: Telephoto lens, Fish-Eye lens, Wide angle lens – these are just a few examples of different types of lenses. They have a significant impact on the quality of photos and are a useful investment for retailers who photograph their products themselves. If you want to take pictures with your smartphone, there are now good lenses that can be attached to the phone.
– A tripod: An absolute must for product photography. Tripods are available for cameras as well as for smartphones and offer various advantages. With a tripod, products can always be photographed from the same angle, but you also avoid blurred images caused by use. Tripods also allow longer exposure times.
– Background: For good product photos a uniform, calm background is important. You should therefore have a suitable background for your product photography setup. You can buy mini studios or photo tents for this purpose, but with cardboard, sheets or plastic plates you can set up your own mini studio cheaply and quickly. When choosing the colour, the background should match your products as well as the colour palette of your retail store.
– Lights: For high-quality product photos you need one or more suitable light sources. Depending on your budget and style, light boxes or tents may be right for you, or you may use desk lamps with strong light or construction spotlights. Whatever you choose, the same principle applies here: stick to a consistent style, so choose one type of lighting and do not change it. This will prevent your product photos from looking different.
– Reflective materials: White reflective materials such as white cardboard or styrofoam reflect some light from the light source to areas of the product that require more light.
– A dust cloth: Especially in detail shots, bright light and dark background, dust can be very noticeable on product photos. Please have dust cloths ready and check before and during the shooting if you need to use them.
Before you start taking pictures, you should definitely check your products again: Are they clean, intact and not scratched? Are there fingerprints on the products? Or labels that may need to be removed before taking pictures? Before you invest a lot of time in a product shoot and have to schedule a new shoot because of a mistake that was noticed late, you better make sure in advance that the products are ready for photography.
If you’re not yet sure which style you want to choose for your product photos, be inspired by the preferences of your target group and your competition. How other companies present their products can give you ideas about how you want to photograph your products – but also how you can stand out from your competition. If you have the opportunity to interview your target group or your customers, find out which shops they still like and look at them too for inspiration.
Select the correct camera settings
Once you have decided to work with a camera, you should familiarize yourself with important settings to get the most out of your product photos. Take the manual and start experimenting! A few terms you should know are aperture value, white balance and exposure value:
– Aperture value: With DSLR or good compact cameras, you should be able to set the aperture value. A shallow depth of field can be achieved with a small aperture value, a deeper depth of field with a high value. In short: the higher the value, the more focus.
– White balance: The white balance can be used to control the color temperature of the light. This means that you can correct color distortions caused by the type of lighting used. For product photos, white balance is important so that the colours of the products are displayed correctly and customers are not surprised when they arrive or pick up the goods. By accurately displaying the colors, you can reduce the number of returns or returns.
– Exposure value: The exposure value can be used to determine the amount of light present in an image. The correct value can be used, for example, to prevent an image from being darkened, i.e. underexposed, when it is taken against a bright background. The exposure compensation features are available on most digital cameras. If this is not the case, you can edit the brightness of your image after the shooting with image editing programs or image editing apps.
Take photos of your products from different angles
Your online shop cannot (and should not) replace the shopping experience in your store. However, to give your customers an idea of what you have to offer, you should photograph your products from several angles. Your customers can then view the goods from all sides. For example, if you sell clothing, you should not only photograph your products from the front and back, but also from the side, and pay particular attention to detail. If the product on offer has an embroidery, for example, it is worth taking a close-up to make it easier to recognise. It is also important to show customers different photos of the different variations of the product – for example, the different colors.
Take your time with image editing
The concept for your product photos, the products, the setup and the shooting are important factors for the perfect product photo. To get the best out of your photos, don’t forget the image editing. Not only can you ensure the quality of the photos, but you can also ensure that your product images have a consistent size and style. If you take the pictures with your smartphone, you have access to many free photo editing apps. With image editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, which are also available as smartphone apps, you can even save your own settings and apply them to any image as a template, called a preset.How to create high-quality product photos for your online shop