Product photos are vital to the success of your online handmade shop. They show potential buyers what they are purchasing, but more importantly, they make the buyer want to own the product in the first place. You could easily say that a good product picture is as important as the product itself!
A lot of sellers think that they need expensive photo equipment to take great photos, but this is definitely not true! In this day and age, you can take great photos with a good phone! What’s more important is to understand the power of good lighting, product arrangement and photo editing.
So, let us have a look at how to create some amazing product photos for your handmade products.
Make sure that your product is easy to recognise by presenting it in a simple, neutral and full-coloured background. A patterned, grainy or poorly constructed background distracts from your product and has a negative effect on the general look and feel of the image. A good idea to put your product on a large sheet of paper, so you have a clean background. White, Off-white or light grey are the most commonly used background colours, but you can also opt for something that matches your product.
If you feel it’s too boring for your products, then feel free to experiment by adding extra elements. Just remember that the background should be favourable to your product and not distract from it. Also, make sure that there is a clear contrast between the background and your product so that your product doesn’t get lost in it.
Make sure you use a similar background for all your products. This makes your shop page easier to view and enhances the shopping experience of visitors. Even if you decide to take a product photo with a few extra props, make sure that you have one photo of your product just on a plain background.
The power of good lighting
The best way to get perfect lighting is to take photos in daylight in a well lid room (but not in strong sunshine).
This way, you don’t need to worry about your camera settings, lightbox or fancy lighting.
If you take a photo in bad light, the camera’s automatic colour settings adapt to it and don’t always come up with the best results. By reading your camera’s instruction manual, you should be able to figure out how to change the colour settings. It will take just a few seconds to adjust the settings, and it will mean that you can photograph in daylight, in the shade, under a cloudy sky or with artificial light.
Another problem can be photos that are taken with automatic colour settings in bad lighting conditions often have a red, green, yellow or blue colour cast. This can be avoided if you regulate the colour settings manually (in particular the white balance). Manually changing the white balance makes it possible to get the correct colour reproduction.
Don’t spend too much time experimenting with your camera’s flash when photographing indoors. The bright and direct light coming from your on-camera flash usually introduces harsh shadows and bright reflections and so, taking good photos with flash takes a lot of practice. Instead, try lighting the product with a lamp. A simple desk lamp can be used at a distance to illuminate your product from a different direction while emphasising the shape of the object.
To avoid harsh shadows, you can make the lighting softer by attaching baking paper or diffusion foil to the lamp before taking the photo. You can also place a reflective surface (white cardboard, back of a silver tray or similar light surface) on the other side of the product, which will bounce light back onto the shadow-side of the product you’re photographing. If you have two desk lamps, then you could even try lighting your subject from two sides to fill-in any dark areas. To simulate daylight, use a blue plastic (like a document valet) and attach it in front of the lightbulb. It diffuses the harsh lightbulb light and makes everything look more natural.
Product & Photo Perspective
Perspective is key and choosing the right one can make all the difference in how your products are viewed. Some people choose to photograph their products from the front. Although a photo like this is fine, make sure you also provide other views of your creation. Try different angles, to see what perspective is best to showcase your handmade product. A light angle of 45° works very well in most cases. Always ensure your main product image shows the entire product and not a cropped section of it. You can include close up photos as additional photos.
Use the right props
Clothes and fashion accessories look far better when displayed on real people instead of on a mannequin or displayed on a clothes hanger or floor. Such a picture makes it difficult for potential buyers to visualise how the item would fit or how it might look on them. Ask your friends and family to help you here and model your products, and you’ll be amazed at how your products will come alive and look very professional!
Photo editing should be an automatic finish to your photo taking! Even the best photographer would never publish a photo without editing.
The trick here is to take time to set up your photoshoot and your camera settings well so that you don’t need to do huge amounts of editing afterwards and your photo looks natural.
Photo editing programmes frequently come with your digital camera, phone or printer software. You can also find a number of free programmes on the internet. These are quite simple to use and enable you to provide the final touch to your photos.
By changing the contrast, colour settings or brightness, you can optimise each picture, making sure that your product looks it’s best.
This allows you to photograph your handmade product from several perspectives. With extra photos in your product listings, you can minimise any uncertainty a potential buyer may have. For example, you can separately photograph individual product details to help convince your buyer to make the purchase. You can also take a picture of how your product should be used.