Oh, SNAP! Taking Better Pictures, with your phone
Mary here, with another ALP Tutorial! Sometimes when I’m searching across the internet, looking for a new shirt, coffee cup or anything, I come across pictures for daysss! Product photography is super important. Presentation is everything and the way the shop presents their product. BUT, product photography can make or break a sale. Bad product photography can be a total turn-off and might keep people from clicking that “buy” button.
You being here means you’re investing in showing your product to the best of your ability and I admire that. We’ll make this as simple as possible, easy as possible and quick. We want to show you that it’s entirely possible to have decent product photography without investing in thousands of dollars of equipment, or elaborate set-ups. While we do recommend hiring a professional for the best results possible, this isn’t feasible for everyone — we’re all business owners on a budget, right?!
All images in this post are totally un-retouched, straight from an iPhone — this is important because we want you to see that it’s totally possible to work with what you’ve got!
Appearance and Light.
Appearance and light are the two key elements that will make your product photography amazing. It’s so easy! And with your phone, wha wha!
Appearance, clean, neat and clutter free. Depending on what your product is will play a huge role in how you go about this. Make sure you pay attention to what is behind your products. Take some time to clear a space (near a window, that’s where light will come in) or near decent lighting (avoid flash — we’ll get to that) and consider what products you’re selling and look at it as if you’re a client for your own display. Would you like it, would it appeal to you? Clean, white. Add a bit of greenery (I went simple to show you but it doesn’t need to take much or less) or even a few pieces to compliment what you’re showing. All of this thought can really make your product sell itself. Let your products sell themselves.
Look at what is behind your product. Make sure if something is behind your product, find a way to block it out. Background clutter is distracting, so if you can’t find a clear space to take photos in, find a way to cover up what is behind your product! A blanket or a poster board would be sufficient. Keep it clean. No clutter. No darkness.
For me, I use a white foam board, card stock, or poster board. Check out my set-up — super simple, right?!
There are a lot of options for a set-up. If you’ve got a nice counter, some pieces of wood. Outdoor space. Whatever compliments your product.
You can definitely use whatever works for you, the key is to give your product the best representation and best quality with your PHONE! Boom diggity.
Lighting. This is the key to success. The rest is just the frosting on the cake. So when you’re shooting, there are several options for light sources. We’re going with free and limitless. Natural light. I like to use the windows that face west, they tend to get good light until the evening. You don’t want shadows, harsh light or spots of different light. So take a look when you put your product down and give it a once over to make sure it’s all in decent light.
I use the board, on a table, in my kitchen. Which brings me to casting, color casting. Avoid red/blue/black or anything that’ll cast on to your product. The white board really helps to keep that from being an issue as you can see with the light yellow kitchen.
Place your product facing you, with the light to your left/right side. Don’t place your product with the light behind you, side or even in front if necessary. When you position and take a photo, make sure you don’t place your image to close that it isn’t fully visible. Take a little step back and it’s okay if you might need to drop and adjust, you can do that on your phone easily too. Tap your image, check your light, you can adjust it up or down to make sure you get the best quality of your product. Ta da. Click click!
Image Composition. Remember to compose your image in a sensible way, too! Don’t do that weird camera tilt thing that you think looks artsy, and make sure that your entire product is displayed in the image, unless you are pulling in tight on your subject to show off a special detail. If your image isn’t straight, there are ways of straightening the image using the tools available to you right on your phone!
So, check this out… BAD images:
And then, with a few little adjustments and following the advice we’ve given you… a BETTER image!
The biggest thing is to think like a prospective client. Would you purchase that item the way it is shown in the images? If you can say yes to this, you’re good to go!