Taking quality product photos is a powerful way to drive sales, attract new customers, and build brand awareness. As more consumers have shifted to e-commerce and are no longer able to physically touch and see products, eye-catching and visually appealing photos have become a critical factor in a consumer’s decision to buy a product. By advertising your product’s quality, value, and preparation, great photos provide the information and confidence that consumers need to buy your product!
With the right equipment, technique, services, and software, you can capture product photos that showcase your product’s quality and build consumer trust in your brand. When taking product photos you will need to consider: lighting, background, camera, and editing software. These considerations will depend on your budget, personal preferences, and goals for the shoot. Although this requires time, patience, and practice, taking professional and enticing photos will increase the number of consumers that see your product and increase the likelihood that they will purchase from your brand.
This article describes how quality product photos drive sales by building consumer trust and brand awareness. It also covers what equipment to invest in (smartphone or a high-quality camera), what lighting to use (natural or artificial), what background to use (all-white or lifestyle), and what to focus on while editing.
Why are Quality Product Photos Important?
Great photography convinces consumers to buy your products by making them more confident in your product’s quality and value. In fact, surveys find that 90% of e-commerce customers consider product photos as a primary decision-making factor when shopping online and that visually appealing content is more than 40 times likely to get shared across social media than other content. When consumers can’t see a product in person, photos are their only way of learning about, experiencing, and building trust in the product. Great product photos can be the difference between a customer choosing to buy your product or your competitors’. Quality photos lend credibility to your brand and prove to customers that your product is worth their investment and confidence.
Getting the Right Equipment
A common misconception is that you need expensive photography equipment. Using a new smartphone such as the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8 is a great way to photograph your products. If you choose to invest in new photography technology, a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) is one of the best options, as its multiple lenses and settings allow versatility while shooting.
Whichever technology you use to shoot photos, it must be accompanied by the correct equipment. An adjustable tripod will provide stability, prevent blurriness, and achieve consistency in your photos. Also, choose whether to display your product in natural or artificial light. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Indirect natural light is softer, cheaper, and is easy to access. Yet, the strength, color, and contrast of natural light varies frequently throughout the day, making your photoshoot reliant on location and timing.
On the other hand, artificial light from a light box is sharper, easier to manipulate and control, and is often preferred for commercial and product photos. Using artificial light requires more skill and will come at a higher cost, as you will need to invest in additional equipment such as a light box, batteries, umbrellas, or power cables.
The type of lighting you use will ultimately depend on your budget, personal preference, and goals for the shoot. Just make sure to choose between either artificial or natural light, as mixing the two can lead to inconsistent-looking shots.
Choosing Your Background
Once you’ve chosen your camera, your equipment, and the type of lighting, it’s time to select your background and position your product. Consider what you’d like as your background—something simple and staged, or dynamic and real-world that shows your product being used?
A great starting point is using an all-white background, as this draws the most attention to your product, makes for a crisper-looking photograph, and is the easiest to edit. Additionally, you will need whitebox photos to onboard with Union Kitchen distribution. Whiteboxes—which are empty, white boxes outfitted with lights and a smooth curve—are a great tool for this type of picture. Whiteboxes provide soft, diffused light, avoid any harsh shadows or blemishes, and make it appear as if your product is seamlessly floating on the page. This makes them a great option for standard, e-commerce product photos, as they showcase and draw your customers’ attention to your product. Below is an example of Behringer Pepper Company’s whitebox photo for the garlic dill pickles.
If you want a more dynamic, real-world background, try using lifestyle or photo-staged photography, both of which display your product being used in what would be its natural setting. This requires more setup, as you have to position your product in someone’s hands, on a table, or around other ingredients and props. Showcasing how your product is used gives consumers more confidence in the quality and value of your product.
Stone’s Throw Hash, for example, does a great job with this type of photography. The photos below from their Instagram (@stonesthrowhash) not only display just how delicious their product is but also showcase how consumers often choose to enjoy it—in this case, topped with an egg for a nutritious breakfast.
Taking and Editing Your Photos
After positioning your product, it’s time to start taking photos. Product photography is a trial-and-error process that often requires many takes. Test out different lighting, relocate your product, switch camera angles, or adjust light with small, flat, reflective surfaces known as bounce cards. Redirecting light draws attention to your product and avoids any distracting shadows, making your product pop out as much as possible.
Once you’ve selected your favorite shot, the final step is to perfect your photo with editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. Adjust certain settings like saturation, white balance, clarity, transparency, and exposure to make your photo looks crisp, enticing, and professional. A well-edited photo convinces consumers of your product’s quality and value, which in turn brings in new sales, increases your product’s marketability, and improves your brand image.
If you are juggling other projects and find yourself wanting to save money, effort, and time, services like Square Photo Studio will expertly (and cheaply!) photograph your products for you. Aimed at helping small businesses that do not want to invest in a professional photographer or new equipment, Square Photo Studio uses a robot—consisting of a Nikon DSLR attached to a mechanical arm—that will take the quality product photos you need. The robot will set up your product, take photos from several angles, and edit them. A team of professionals then sift through the various shots, select the very best ones, and send them directly to you.
Whether you choose to photograph your own photos or outsource to a service like Square Photo Studio, the bottom line is that having visually appealing, eye-catching product photos builds brand awareness, drives sales, and impresses customers. When taking your own product photos, make sure to choose the correct lighting and background, use the necessary equipment, photograph with a high-quality smartphone or camera, take multiple shots, and spend time editing your best photos. Following these basic tips will produce the eye-catching photos that your products deserve and, in turn, generate new customers, sales, and awareness for your business.