Our brains respond to visual information instantly, so professional e-commerce product photography is a brand necessity. Strong product photos create an immediate connection to your brand and help your products stand out in online spaces.
Investing in photography services for beauty products, fashion, jewellery, health products, or lifestyle products can give your brand a boost. But if you’re just starting out, professional photography is often more expensive than anticipated.
The good news is – you can take your own product photos on a budget that look high-end. Here are our top 5 product photography tips to help you look like a pro.
1) Use the right lighting
Lighting can make or break a product photo. It can create a certain mood or tell a visual story. No matter what you want to accomplish with product photography, the key is to use the correct lighting.
Studio lighting is even and controllable, and it’s great for photos that clearly show the features of your product. Make sure you diffuse your studio lighting to avoid harsh glare or overly dark shadows – you can do this by placing a softbox over the light source, using a photography silk between the light and the product, or even bouncing light off white foam board or a sheet. (Key tip: Watch for fire hazards if you use fabric on or near your light source.)
Natural lighting gives a nice, natural look to products, and often perform well on social media for this reason. Sunlight is harshest in the middle of the day, so consider taking your photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon. A lightly cloudy day can also give beautiful natural lighting with a softer effect.
2) Invest in a tripod
Blurry, shaky, uneven photos are rarely seen in professional e-commerce product photography, so we recommend investing in a tripod at the very least. There are a wide range of tripods available that don’t have to break the bank, and work with DSLR cameras as well as smartphones. Plus, a tripod is a dream when shooting several products in one session, since the camera is already set up and ready to go. Look for a tripod that has a built-in bubble level to help you easily check that your tripod is evenly balanced for straight lines.
3) Get to know aperture basics
Aperture refers to the hole of the camera lens, which affects how much light hits the film or sensor. The term “f-stop” refers to how small or large the aperture is – sometimes confusingly to photography newbies, a lower f-stop number means a larger aperture size. Going for a lower f-stop will focus the shot on what’s in the foreground – your product – and make the background blurry. This can be a great way to focus on a certain feature of your product, or ensure that any elaborate backgrounds aren’t taking attention away from the product. Playing around with this depth of field can be an easy way to inject some creativity into your product photos.
Your camera’s shutter speed and ISO also come into play along with the aperture, but many digital cameras come with an “aperture priority” setting that’ll adjust the other two elements whenever you change the aperture. Easy!
4) Keep your product photos simple
You don’t have to spend time and money creating an elaborate backdrop for your product photography if you don’t want to – in fact, a minimal look can be more impactful. For example, photography services for beauty products often highlight details like colorful cosmetic swatches or packaging close-ups. Simple product photography arrangements let you mix it up in other ways, like using your brand colors in the background, incorporating minimalist props, or experimenting with angles and lighting.
5) Get inspiration from those around you
We’re not suggesting you copy another brand’s style entirely of course, but there’s always something you can get inspiration from. Take an intentional look at other product photos and make note of what speaks to you about them, whether it’s the colors, the props, the angle, or something else. Go ahead and replicate the feel of these shots as practice, then add your own brand-aligned twist for your actual photos. For example, photography services for beauty products commonly use a flat lay style shot from above. You could shoot your own flat lay product photos, but try something different with colors, lighting, or texture that’s unmistakably you.
Do you want to uplevel your professional e-commerce product photography? Key Design & Media is a full-service creative agency based in Central Florida that creates immersive product images for beauty and wellness brands. Get in touch today to find out more!