You know the pictures – blurry, fluorecent lights, washed out flashi-fied colours. It’s quite sad really. So much effort goes into designing and creating a fabulous product, only to be depicted as something not so fabulous, all because of a bad photo!
Here are 5 quick tips to help you out when taking your next lot of product photos.
You’ll find no mention of apertures or light metres in this article – these are just 5 quick techniques that everyone can do without any special photographic skills.
I will say this though, if you’ll be taking lots of product photos in the future, investing in a good camera is well worth the money! I have a Canon EOS kiss x3 (about $900 online) and it’s near impossible to take a bad photo. Really.
Anyway, here we go..
1. DITCH THE FLASH
Turn it off now! Flashes wash out all your colours and hide details. Direct, harsh light also causes heavy shadows which look super ugly in product photos. Professional photos have soft shadows and subtle backgrounds. You could buy a ‘photo tent’ or ‘light box’ to diffuse the flash light for you, but most of the time, who can be bothered? An easy solution is to use natural light. Take pictures outside or by an open window.
Top; Flash. Bottom; No Flash.
2. SIMPLIFY YOUR BACKGROUNDS
If you have a gorgeous product, you don’t want it blending into a fussy background and taking the focus away from your products. You don’t always have to have a plain white background, but it’s a good idea to keep it plain and use colours that compliment your product.
3. KEEP FOCUS
It sounds obvious enough, but you’d be surprised at how many people try to advertise their products with a fuzzy, blurred, out of focus picture! If possible, use a tripod. If you don’t have one, then support your camera on an object to stop the camera moving. My camera has a stability control setting which also helps with focus, so check to see if your camera has this too.
4. FOCAL POINT & COMPOSITION
What are you trying to sell? Make sure your potential customers can quickly see and understand what you are selling. Often we have under a second to capture someone’s attention, so be clear! Don’t clutter your picture with unnecessary items forcing people to decipher what exactly to look at – the answer is, they won’t.
You can have a complimentary item or 2 but keep them in the background, slightly out of focus and simple.
Use a photo editing program to crop your pictures of unnecessary information.
If you have small items, such as jewellery, use the macro setting on your camera to get a good close up.
Top; Too busy. Bottom; Clear focus
5. OVER EXPOSURE Vs. UNDER EXPOSURE
Proper exposure is one of the trickiest things to get right in photography. So, if you don’t know anything about camera appertures, shutter speeds etc, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Don’t take photos at night or in low light. This will force you to use a flash and thus creating the FLASH problem. Wait until the next day and use natural light. Avoid taking pictures in direct sunlight. which can create an over- exposed picture.
What’s worse? Over exposure or under exposure? The truth is, they both make a terrible photo, however, an over exposed picture may be saved in a photo editing program. Even if the photo looks completely blown out, you can pull down the exposure to produce an at least somewhat usable picture.
An under exposed picture however, can be a nightmare to fix. By bumping up the exposure, you’re trying to find any scraps of light the camera may have caught. This ends up making your photo a grainy, fuzzy shambles.
Hope that helps. They’re only a few quickies, but they’re often some of the most common mistakes. If you’d like to add anything, please leave a comment below.