The Budget Guide to Product Photography

The Budget Guide to Product Photography

When I started my online store, I quickly realised how essential product images are to sales. But, no matter how much might look great sitting in your bedroom or home office, how can you make sure it stands out in the era of filters and photoshop? 

But don't worry about it. In this article, I have provided information on using home objects, natural light and your phone to take professional product images for your site.

 

  1. Understand the Brand and Customers
  2. Use of Colour and Light
  3. Take Advantage of the Equipment you Have
  4. Sourcing Product Props at Home
  5. Showcase the Product
  6. Be Cohesive

 

It's essential to think about your style and incorporate your branding into your product photography. If you already have branding, like a colour scheme, icons and font. All of your branding elements can be used for your props and backgrounds for your product shots. This will help you carry your branding across all your platforms.

You will also need to think about who will buy these products and how you can style your product in a way that will appeal to them to buy it. For example, are you selling a luxury product or something more budget-friendly? Is it aimed at a specific age range or a group of people with a particular interest?

 

Colour is a great way to convey the mood of your product. Are you looking for light and airy? Then maybe lots of pastels and white will work. Or are you wanting to create a bold statement? Then maybe bright colours in the props with a background in the mid-tones, like grey or light blue. However, if you have brand colours, you can use the lighting to create similar moods instead.

Tip: I use large coloured cards as backgrounds for my products, which are cheap and easy to do.

Getting the proper lighting, it's as hard as you might think. Here are some simple tips to get the right lighting without fancy equipment.

 

  1. Shoot in a well-lit room. First, you probably have access to a window (and it's free). Second, it comes from a single direction, generating natural shows and adding texture to your products. 
  2. Place your setup close to the window. Aim to start your photoshoot at the brightest time of day. If it turns out that the sun is too bright, you can always use a diffuser sheet to soften the light. Tip: I use baking paper and hang it on the window to soften the daylight.

 

Nowadays, everyone is carrying a professional camera with them, their phones. You can find out how good your phone will be for product photography with how many megapixels your phone has. The higher the megapixel count, the better your product photos. Aim to get your hands on a newer model with a 12-megapixel camera or more.

A good purchase you should make is for a tripod, a mini tripod can range from inexpensive to pricey, but the good news is, no matter your budget, they're a good investment with a high payoff. I am a victim of shaky photos, so an investment in a tripod improved my picture so much, and it helps standardise photo angles and style for your product line.

 

To create a cohesive look across your images, keep the props neutral or in your brand colours. Remember to be aware of scale, too - in general; you're better off choosing small props so that they don't distract from your product.

Tips: I use wooden blocks in multiple sizes to prop my products. It can give a natural look to the images, or you can paint them in your brand colours.

You don't have to spend some much money on props when you can use objects that are already around the house. You can add texture by using rocks and stones from the outside. Also, using any house plants is a perfect way to add some texture and context to any natural products.

Tips: Avoid any props with logos, or Photoshop them out! Remember what you are advertising. Props should not confuse what is for sale.

Props can be placed with the product. They can also be used to cast diverse shadows on your product. Typically I've cut foam core into the shape of a warehouse-style window frame, but you can cut all sorts of objects and shapes to cast shadows on your product.

Tips: You can also use plants to cast unique shapes.

 

Remember that the whole point is to showcase the product. It can be very easy to get carried away in picking the perfect props and getting just the right amount of light and shadow that you lose track of putting the product as the focal point. 

Keep in mind the product's environment and put that as inspiration for the product image. For instance, spa and bath products are used in the bathroom, so a marble or tile background would connect the product and a natural setting for its use.

Also, note that when consumers browse online, they will look at a detail that looks different or interesting. So be sure to highlight any unique features in a way that doesn't feel too forced.

 

When customers scroll through your platform, like your social media or website, they don't want to confuse several different concepts. Keeping the same layout or style for each product imagery makes it easier for customers to recognise your product on any platform. In addition, it makes your website more pleasing to the eye and ensures your branding is professional.

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