The rise of e-commerce in the last two decades came along with the idea of product photography to a great extent. Presenting a product through a photograph for marketing purpose is not a new thing though. In the arena of online business, a product is bought by a customer after seeing its photo which is very common and reasonable now.
For this reason, a high quality visually presentable product photo can go a long way and bring satisfying sell for a business.
Hiring a professional photographer is costly especially for a business starter. Besides, product photography is technical in many ways as it has perceivable value because through the presentation of the image of the brand or product you want to reach the consumers and get the expected profit.
Nowadays, self-started of a business often does his or her own product photography, and a camera with all its needed equipment like lenses, tripod, light etc are within everyone’s grasp. But not everyone as a starter is capable of affording his or her own studio.
So, what could be those things you need to photograph your own product? Let’s go for a discussion:
Digital cameras are very popular these days. There can be seen two types of cameras presently. One is Point and Shoot, and another digital SLR (DSLR). Besides, if you have a brand quality smartphone with a high-resolution camera, it can be also used in a product photo shoot.
Point and Shoot Camera is cheap in price but astoundingly good for DIY product photography. But if you are thinking of detailed and quality close-up shot of your product then choose DSLR.
Basically, a camera is not the secret of a good photo instead a photograph depends on so many things like light, exposure, background, styling, flush, building a lightbox, post-processing etc.
Creating a perfect background is another important part of product photography. The background creates the deepest focus on the product. Depending on your product type you can choose any color of background but the best option is pure white.
The white paper sweep can be used as it is easier to cut off when the older portion gets dirty and roll down a new piece but a white paperboard is also a good option as it is available at your nearby art store and cheap in price most importantly.
Tripod is one essential tool amongst other necessaries for product photography. Because the success of reaching your target clients and getting attention lies within certain perfections of the product photos you are shooting through the lenses. The handheld camera shot is often blurry and fuzzy, and a blurry image cannot bring the desired attention. There is no other alternative than a tripod for a steady shot.
Alike tripod, a remote shutter is another essential tool you should have in your possession when doing photography of your product. While clicking the shutter of your camera, even a slightly shaking movement can induce blurriness in the photo. Combining a tripod and a remote shutter in the product photography can eradicate the tiny possibility of blurry motion in a photograph you are taking.
Building a light box can be another useful element for your product photography. It will give your image a clean professional touch easily. You can buy one or easily build one for yourself.
What you need to build a light box are- a poster paper for your background with the color depending on your choice, a cardboard box to give your lightbox a frame, scissors, glue, measuring tape, a ruler, lamps and 2/3 100 watts preferably Fluorescent and LED bulbs for your lamps. These things won’t cost you much.
Flash unit plays a vital role in product photography and it has an enormous impact upon your expected result. No matter if you are shooting under natural light or inside a lightbox you created for DIY product photography, the light may not cooperate with you throughout the whole process.
If you want to use a flashlight for your production, I would suggest you use the manual flash. instead of auto or TTL. Center-weighted metering of the flash helps you to focus on the background if you want it to be well-exposed and the spot metering system for the subject only if that is your complete focus. But it is often better to shoot in natural light rather than using flash. Because using the camera flash often results in harsh and noisy looking images.
If you have a room with a big window that provides a lot of sunlight then you can make it your Lightroom for your product photography. No light is better than natural light. When you will create the atmosphere for your product photo shoot closer to the window at daytime the light will create an incredibly mixed dark and soft shadow of your subject. The more you will move away from the window the more the shadow will become sharper.
Final settings for the shoot
After all the gears are prepared and ready let’s talk about how to shoot your product:
Settings of the room
It is better to shoot in a room with a large window. If you are shooting in natural light then it is better to place a table in a 90-degree angle. Try not to keep any barrier in between your table and window like furniture or anything that can cast a shadow upon your table.
You can rotate the table according to your need and satisfaction. But if you are shooting your product inside the lightbox then keep the room dark leaving only the lights on those are suppose to use for your photography only.
Now set up the sweep vertically on the table and bend it only that much to make it lie against the wall or upon anything supportive from the back. But while using the lightbox you already have set up the paperboard in a similar manner.
Setting up the camera is the next step of the process. Shooting in natural light gives you the opportunity to take a snap in the auto mood of the camera. But inside the lightbox, it is better to turn off the flash and make the necessary setups as required. Put your camera to manual set up which is the best way for a product shoot. Change the mood to RAW or largest JPG of your cam settings.
Placing the product
Now place your product in the middle of the surface. But sometimes little movements are required to shoot the subject from different angles. Don’t forget to focus your product name or logo when you capture it.
Always use a reflector card so that the light can reflect or bounce back upon the subject and remove the shadow.
Taking the snap
Now it’s time to take the snap. After capturing a photo take time to judge the result and think what could be and what should be done with it if any improvisation is needed. You have to evaluate your own work because this is the way it usually works. Here, while taking product photos experimentation is the key to get betterment in your work.
After taking photos, upload them to your computer for editing. Use Photoshop or Lightroom or any photo editing software you are good at. Your photos need organization, adjustment and retouch as well. You have to finalize which one of your photos is going to be retouched. If you are good at editing you can do it all by yourself. Otherwise, you can hire professional photo editors or send your photos to professional editing companies and it will cost you 3$-5$ per image.
After getting back your photos retouched, it is time for posting them on your website. You need to resize the photos according to the requirements of the HTML container. It can be easily done in any photo editing software.
Enriching the visual imagery of your product you are creating, will attract more customers. It is entirely a matter of understanding the psychology of your target customers as your product will speak to them without even making a sound.
After settling down with the equipment discussed above you need to shoot your product. Know the color palate, saturation, shadows, focal length, light etc everything as a right combination of all these will bring out the right outcome.
Study your competitors’ way of presenting their product and at the same time, the world’s all the big brands as well. Check out their websites and watch carefully how and in what way their presentations are. How many photographs and angels of a product are presented by them? Studying them enrich your own ideas to develop your presentation.
In the end, after taking a photograph most of the time retouch and edit are needed. None of the photos produced by photographers these days are without editing. For a beginner, popular photo editing software is Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, Inpaint, After Effect, Affinity Photo etc.
Try to master at least two photo editing software so that you can produce a quality photograph of your product and reach your target customers in a fully professional manner.