When customers visit your site, the first thing they notice is your product images. Their first impression is shaped by the quality of these images. Then a tipping point is reached where they either continue browsing before finally making a purchase or they leave your site.
The growth of the digital marketplace has led to a rise in demand for quality content and stunning media, especially images. An increasing number of brands are taking charge of their own photography for two reasons: to sustain demand, and to reduce production costs.
The E-commerce sector has become highly competitive and the only way to survive is by using stunning product images on your site. In this post, we’ll be diving into some easy product photography tips so you can start taking images like a pro.
1. Tell the Right Story
Every image gives off certain energy to the audience, such as the light, point of focus, composition, tone, and so on. How you make use of this energy totally depends on the message you’re trying to convey. However, you need to recognise the fact that you can use the connection between an image and the audience to your advantage.
Colour not only allows you to create a feeling of trust, coherence, luxury, or artistry, but also brings with it a feeling of high stimulation, tension, and fast-paced energy.
Colour allows you to highlight your brand. It can be remarkably sensitive, especially as a visual means of communication, however, the same tones can give off varied emotions when combined with another colour.
Light is another one of nature’s gifts. It is amazing, yet simple for some people to understand and complex for a lot of us. When it comes to photography, light can work for you or against you. However, with product photography, the norm is for products to be shot in the studio, so that gives you a great deal of control.
It’s best to start with one light source then switch things up as you go along. This allows you to gauge the effect of each light source and saves you the stress of having to solve problems like shadows and unwanted reflections.
Product photography can be very technical, yet you need to bring some artistry into play, especially when shooting ‘conceptual’. However, with light, you need to study and understand what it’s trying to tell you. To get a good grasp of the relationship between light and your product, reflect on the following:
- Does the lighting convey the right mood?
- Does it bring sufficient focus to the brand and is the logo sharp and visible?
- Does the lighting bring out the product’s shapes and design materials or does it conceal them?
2. Artificial Light vs Natural Light
With natural and artificial light sources, it’s all about what’s perfect for the shot you’re working on at that moment. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of these light sources.
1. Control – with artificial light, you’re in control because there are loads of tools, techniques, and modifiers to help you shape light. This gives you more flexibility to be creative or to figure out the light that’s perfect for your subject and the look you want to achieve.
2. Output Reliability – with product photography, consistent lighting is key and here are some of the reasons why:
- Lighting consistency matters a great deal in a conceptual or styled setting because you could work on one shot for a long time. So, if your light keeps switching up on you, the shoot won’t be fun or productive.
- A constant light source gives you the accurate colour balance you need throughout your shoot, especially when it’s catalogue product photography. Also, in a situation where you need to reproduce your set for a return client or just because you loved a particular look and want to recreate it, you can record your camera/lighting settings and take it from there.
1. Expense – high-end lighting gear can be very costly. And even though lower-end gear is quite affordable, the costs add up over time. The fact is, buying a lot of gear for artificial lighting is unnecessary. You can always be creative with the abundance of light from nature.
2. Education – depending on your experience, if you have to learn to use all that gear, you might be faced with a steep learning curve. So, it’s always better to get what you really need and test them before you buy.
3. Space – lighting a set can often present problems with the amount of space available. For artificial lighting, you need equipment like boom arms, light stands, and grip equipment. These things take a lot of space, and most times space is not even available.
1. Gives you the option of going for a look and feel that is natural and organic. All you have to do is style and shoot.
1. Longer exposure – this can be a problem with natural light, along with higher ISO settings and unwanted noise or grain.
2. Less control – the constant change in natural light comes with a corresponding change in everything from the colour to the mood, the camera settings, and so on.
3. Consistency and colour matching – this can be a problem when you’re shooting a full catalogue of product images.
4. Unwanted ambient light – this can be an issue, especially with mixing colour sources and reflections.
3. Use Trendy Effects Only When Necessary
Trendy effects can be cool. And when we see them there’s this natural urge to use them all the time. However, it’s best to only use them when they match your brand identity or the purpose of the product. One other thing about trendy effects is their habit of undoing all the hard work you’ve put into brand consistency and colour balancing.
Styling a set requires skill and patience. However, if it’s something you don’t feel up for, a local prop stylist can save you time, relieve some of the stress, and improve the shot. Just make sure you bring in someone who understands the brand.
4. Be a Visual Storyteller
It’s always best to approach the subject while thinking about the brand, designer and message. This way you can capture the details as well as the story or the product. There are character and purpose in every curve, line, movement, and texture of a well-crafted product, and these things need to be captured, too.
5. Print and Pin-Up
You get a different feeling from viewing a print as opposed to viewing a digital display of the same image. When you pin up a print on your wall and then step back to review it, you get to see some things that you would normally miss when you view the same image on a screen. So, when you’re working on a huge catalogue, this is the way to go.
Also, with all your previous and current projects pinned to the wall, you get a holistic view of the brand. This way you can check if you have the right uniformity or if something doesn’t fit in.