If you’re looking to start your own online retail business, or want to sell through Amazon, eBay, Etsy or similar, you need great quality photography to really show your product off to it’s very best potential. After all, good product photography can be the difference between making a sale.. Or not.
Now, it has to be said, you may just find it easier to hire a professional photographer to capture your images.
However, sometimes money, time or just the sheer work involved in getting your products to a photographer can be overwhelming.
The cost of buying or even hiring professional photography equipment and lighting can be prohibitive. Not to mention all the time you need to learn how all the various pieces of equipment, lenses, flashes etc work.
So, what’s the alternative? Well, if you’ve got a good quality smartphone, you have virtually everything you need in your pocket to take amazing quality photography of all of your products in your own home.
Setting up a product photo with white background
Now you can buy (relatively cheaply) a pure white sheet of plastic backdrop that’s small enough to roll up and keep somewhere, without it taking up too much space.
If you can afford it and you can store it somewhere, I would thoroughly recommend you invest the few dollars that these cost. It will just make your life easier, there will be no creases, you won’t have any problems with it being slightly translucent and some will reflect a little light too.
If this isn’t an option then you can always use a sheet of A4 or A3 pure white printer paper as a backdrop. Their very inexpensive and you can generally get your hands on a sheet or two, no matter where you are in the world!
Now, grab yourself a cardboard box and place it on a table. Now, curve the paper up the box, half of the paper up the box, half on the table.
You’ve now created a little mini studio backdrop!
Where to shoot your images.
Light is EVERYTHING in photography… In fact photography means ‘painting with light’.
Move your cardboard box towards a window in your home, generally, the closer the better, but what you want to avoid direct, bright sunlight.
Ideally you want to be as close to the window for the maximum amount of light humanly possible.
Add some light
If there just isn’t enough light and it all looks really grey in your image, then try adding some additional sources of light.
Most bulbs will have a colour cast. Fluorescent lights may look a little green, tungsten light bulbs may look a little yellow. Ideally, daylight balanced LED bulbs will be perfect!
Now this light can be any lamp you have in the house and get it reasonably close the product you’re trying to shoot. Once again, you can buy specialist lights online very cheaply.
Just experiment with moving the light closer to and further away from the product and see what looks best.
Time for the phone
There are some incredible phones on the market today with exceptional photography capabilities. These include the iPhone 11, Huawei P30 Pro, Google Pixel 4s to name just a few.
If you have one of these, that’s great, but otherwise, use what you have!
Now, there are a million different ways to shoot with each camera, but these instructions should work for most of the camera brands.
You can buy a tripod for holding your phone that will really help with this process.
Simply hold your camera up to the product and press your finger on various different places on the screen and you will see the image will get darker and lighter.
It’s worth taking a few images and just seeing what looks right.
Edit the pictures
Each phone will have it’s own inbuilt editing suite for finishing and correcting the photographs you’ve taken.
These are all very simple to use and you’ll need to have a play around to get the right look.
One third party app that is wellworth looking at is Adobe Photoshop Lite, which is free and can help you to easily edit and finish your pictures.
It’s worth noting that for Amazon Marketplace images, you’ll need to remove your background and replace it with a digital pure white background. There is a reason Amazon requires a white background, so it is better to follow this best practice for your own eCommerce store.
And there you go. With a little experimenting and practise, you’ll be taking your own product images in no time.