If you’re looking to sell your products online, you need to possess some basic photography skills. For some buyers, good photos are more important than shipping costs, so here are some basic photography tips to help you sell products online.
1. Use a Simple Background
If your background is very vivid and detailed, it will take attention away from the product itself. You need a clean and smooth background for your product photography.
One way to achieve this is to hang a roll of cloth or paper behind the product to create a backdrop. Place your product in front of it to ensure a clean look. If that’s not possible, you can use tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Clipping Magic to remove the background.
If you want to get a photo with a natural backdrop, you can partially blur out the background details so that it doesn’t overpower the product. You can also use Photoshop to create a blurred background effect.
The same goes for props. If the prop is more vibrant or colorful than the product, viewers will be attracted to the prop and not the product itself. If the prop overpowers the product, you’ll need to blur it out.
Before you add a prop, keep in mind the guidelines of the shopping platform where you’re planning to sell your product. Platforms such as Google Shopping don’t allow props in product photographs.
2. Use Soft Lighting
Soft light wraps around the product and makes the picture more enticing. It comes from a larger surface and is spread out on the product. Hard light (like regular camera flash) comes from a small surface and creates prominent shadows.
To create soft light, you need a large surface to generate light. And the product should be far enough away from the light source so that the light can spread evenly on it.
To achieve the soft light effect, one option is to purchase a softbox. It softens shadows and greatly reduces harshness caused by camera flash.
If you have advanced editing skills, you can also use Photoshop to remove shadows from your photos.
3. Use a Polarizer
Many experts recommend polarizers for landscape photography, but they’re important for product photography as well.
If you’re planning to buy just one lens for your camera, make sure it’s a polarizer. It will reduce glare reflected by water, metal, or any shiny surface. Also, it will bring out the colors of the photos and reveal richer colors and textures.
4. Learn to Take Steady Shots
If you don’t hold your camera steady, the product will not be in focus. Crisp and clear photos will encourage buyers to make a purchase whereas blurry images will turn them away.
To do away with the focus errors that often result from manual lens adjustment, you can use the auto focus feature of your camera.
Also, you can gain stability with the help of a tripod. It reduces shaking and movement, and improves the picture quality. You can also get a flexible tripod to achieve just the right position.
There are so many different types of tripods in the market that it’s easy to get confused. Before choosing the perfect tripod, you should compare its features with others so you can buy the best product for your needs.
5. Check Image Specifications Before Uploading
All selling platforms have some kinds of specifications for photos. For example, according to Amazon, your image must be JPEG, TIFF, GIF, or JPEG. Other file formats are not allowed.
Amazon also doesn’t allow borders or watermarks on images. You also need to have at least 500 pixels on each side of the photograph. And the filename should not have spaces in it.
Similarly, Google Shopping has its own rules. There must not be any props in the photo. Borders are not allowed. And there must not be any watermarks on the image.
Before posting your photos on these platforms, read their specification lists to understand what is required.
6. Crop Your Photos
A little cropping after taking a photo can help a lot. Be sure to crop out everything that doesn’t belong in the photo.
Most cameras come with basic cropping tools. But if you have already exported your photos to a computer, you might want to use third party software. You’ll find several free tools online. Options include Pixlr, Canva, and PicMonkey
Make sure you don’t over crop photos, as that removes pixels from the photo and too much cropping can lead to an image with jagged edges.
7. Retouch Your Images
Editing can make all the difference between a bad photograph and a good photograph. Even if you use a basic smartphone camera, you can edit the image to make it look wonderful.
For advanced editing, you can use Photoshop to do spot healing for fixing blemishes like dust and shadows. You can also use its hue/saturation tool for a product that’s available in several colors. So you can click one picture and then change the colors for all others. However, you need to make sure the color on the image matches exactly the color of the actual product.
Photoshop is paid software. However, if you’re looking for a free option, we recommend GIMP.
8. Check Color Tones
Retouching your shots is a fun thing to do, but make sure you don’t change the tone of the colors in the pic. If you’re selling a peach sweater and you apply a filter on it to make it look brighter, it might change its color on the picture.
Your buyers will not be happy if they order a white sweater and receive a peach one instead. And it will be your fault for making the image too bright. Before posting the image on any online marketplace or your own e-commerce website, export the image to a couple of devices to see how it looks on different screens.
Moving Beyond Basic Photography Tips
If the first few photos don’t come out right, don’t lose heart. Photography is all about practice, so keep shooting from different angles until you get the shot you’re after.
And if you need some additional help beyond these basic photography tips, here are some skill-building photography exercises to help you shoot better photos.