Product Photography is a growing industry nowadays, as more and more shops migrate to the online environment. However, when you put so much distance between the customer and physical product, it is easy to create confusion and advertise your products in an unfavorable way. The worst advice we heard about Product Photography is that you can do it yourself.
When it comes to Product Photography and photography in general, the difference between a professional and an amateur can be a huge one. When you take that difference and multiply it thousands of times, you obtain the contrast between a successful business and one that fails in the first year. Owning a DSRL camera doesn’t mean great photos will come your way with little to no effort. Technique, knowledge, and experience are equally important as the camera and the lenses you have. Many amateurs fail to produce quality Product Photography because they don’t know how to unleash the true power of their devices.
Another bad advice which is very common amongst business owners who want to take Product Photography in their own hands, is that you should commit a large sum of money from the beginning. We know too many cases when the enthusiasm for photography faded away in a matter of months. Those expensive new lenses and accessories end up being sold at half their initial value. This is a waste of both time and money. If you doubt your skills as a photographer and doubt your ability to learn and persevere, leaving Product Photography for those who already know how to do it is the reasonable option.
Now that we explored the biggest mistake you could possible make with Product Photography for your business, it is time to take things a bit forward. Let’s say you had the courage and decided you will be the one to shoot the products. The following paragraphs will talk about concepts you should already be familiar with. If you struggle to get a grasp of what we are saying, this means you are about to make that big mistake. Go back to the basic and invest a lot of patient until you master the ABC of photography.
Great Product Photography relies almost exclusively on two aspects – the way you use light and the way you focus. Basically, the starting point you should have in mind is that people want to have an in depth understanding of what they are buying, from the comfort of their personal computer. This means that every product photography you put online needs to perform at its maximum potential and convey the maximum information. High-resolution photos will allow your customer to breech the barrier of the screen and feel more connected and more familiar with the products on display.
Light often changes our understanding of color and you certainly don’t want that to happen to the products you need to sell. Especially when it comes to clothes and accessories, people are very sensitive to the event in which they receive something else than expected. Avoid shooting with multiple light source, as you have smaller chances to trace with accuracy each one’s exact contribution. Natural light is the best, but when it comes to Product Photography, things are more difficult. First of all, expect to shoot for hours in a row, and this means the angle and the intensity of the sunlight will also change. In order to streamline post-processing and obtain the same quality, you will need to take the session indoors.
Detail is often directly linked with how well you use light. Over-exposure and under-exposure are the biggest mistakes when it comes to making Product Photography. Learning to predict the output of your camera under various conditions can only be done if you allow yourself time and patience to accumulate experience. Learning how to shoot products often takes the hard way. You will ruin the first couple of batches before you decide to settle with some settings. Often, it is not your camera the one that makes photos look too dark or too pale. The display you use to review photos is equally important as the gear you paid so much for. Choose the right settings and visualize your photos the same way your clients will. Often computer monitors display colors in a strange way and you can fail to understand why your customers complain so often. We use calorimeters for monitor calibration on each one of our workstations and this is the way to go if you call yourself a pro. Color depth and color profile are again settings that might influence the way your photos are perceived by online viewers. Although you might think that there is no doubt which color is which, you can go wrong in many ways. For example, if you decide to print a catalog, you would have to check that the transition from RGB to CYMK is done properly. The way color is obtain on your computer monitor is very different from the way your photos are being put to paper. Again, if you feel like all this information is too much, you should end the pain and choose professionals to take care of your Product Photography needs.
Product Photography relies on a large number of repetitions, which choosing the right settings a crucial aspect. Although many software allow you to pass the modifications from one photo to another, and even to apply the settings once for all, you have to be sure that this is what you want. Shooting in RAW format might make you proud of your knowledge of file formats, but can also drain precious resources in post-processing.
The way you frame the photo and the angle from which you take the shot are essential parameters for you Product Photography session. The product itself is the focal point, so avoid any distracting background or other item present in the frame. Professional product photographers know exactly how to isolate or remove the background altogether. This is a chapter where the capabilities of your lenses can make the difference. However, post processing can do well in terms of putting more focus on the product itself. Using a vignette might sound like a good idea, if your photography skills derive from Instagram.
Returning to the idea at the beginning, it is advice to use professionals if you have a limited understanding of how photography works. Taking a photo with your smartphone and increasing saturation will never produce great Product Photography. Although post-processing might seem as an almighty science, everything you do in addition to what the camera sensor already did, only adds noise. You certainly do not want to make your products look blurry and out-of-focus.
Our company has all the answers for your dilemmas and for the thoughts going through your mind so often. Yes, it is much better if you do only the things you are good at. Is not worth it to compromise a good business for the ambition to call yourself a photographer. Product Photography has now evolved to create 3d photos of the products you want to sell. Again, such quality features come attached only if you are willing to invest at the beginning in your photos.