In a perfect world, images and appearances shouldn’t matter. But in reality, especially online commerce, great pictures can be everything.
The struggle is so real for us ladies in listing our product/s online. There are times that we felt like we had the best work of art but when we list it online to our preferred platform, the traffic interest is just close to none. And we started to doubt our work and product. Like crazy thoughts such us; 1. I made a horrible product, 2. No one else like what I made, 3. I should quit coz this isn’t working, and blah blah blah…… Overflowing negative thoughts. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. But the truth of the matter is, big factor of it is the pictures in our listings and the quality of it.
In a sea of visually driven commerce, great images drive costumer’s confidence. It is not just a nice addition for your clients to have an idea of what they are buying, but they are necessary and requisite for a monumental online store success. Remember, the images you posted on your listing is the hook that you use to catch potential customers. With so much competition in all online platforms, a customer wouldn’t want to stick to your page even when you have the most incredible listing details if your listing images are poor and unappealing. I know, coz I’m working on my older listings too.Your listing images are your first impression to your potential customers. It is an essential component when trying to stand out from the crowd. It is the tool that would improve your customers experience in evaluating and purchasing your product. So, make sure you do it Right.
First of, how do we want our product to look like when we list in our online shop? In my more than a year of experience and hitting almost 13 thousand sales at the moment in just one platform (ETSY), I believe I made something right. I’m not saying this to brag but to give you hope. Anyone with the drive, hard-work, dedication, patience, and passion can do it. Yes I have basic and I love photography. But I don’t consider myself as professional. I also don’t have any fancy photography gadgets but it doesn’t mean that’s the end of it. Growing up in a third world country, being creative and resourceful is crucial in our survival.
So how do we start? Let’s gather all the materials we need in our DIY Product Photography at home. Let’s make it affordable and attainable.
Tripod/Stool or small Ladder
Photo Editing Tools
Let’s dig a little deeper into all these components.
CAMERA - You don’t need to pawn your arms and legs to get a good one. If you own a DSLR great. But if you don’t, you can buy a good point and shoot camera in much lesser price than DSLR with almost the same great quality of photo. And not to mention, nowadays, most of our smart phones has phenomenal camera feature. So to some it up, anything that would capture descent images will do. Weather a fancy DSLR, mid-price range point and shoot, or your phone. But if you are a beginner, I would suggest to use the point and shoot digital camera or phone. I use Sony @6000 and my iPhone 7plus and works perfect. DO NOT burry yourself in debt trying to get the expensive DSLR hoping to achieve the best images you can put to your online shop. Most of the DSLR are complicated and I know coz I have one and spent 3 weeks to learn all the basic features. It’s like buying a Porché and you don’t even know how to drive. Seriously, good images is 45% composition/perspective, 45% light, and 10% camera performance.
LIGHT- if you’re going to attend the basic photography workshop, the first thing your mentor will teach you is the importance of light. Lighting is a key factor in creating a successful image. It determines not only the brightness and darkness, but also set a tone, mode and atmosphere of your photography. Therefore it is necessary to control and manipulate light correctly in order to get the best texture vibrancy of color, and luminosity on your subjects specially in product photography. So do we need to have a fancy studio to achieve that? NO. All we need is to be creative. Natural light is the best light specially for product photography. So I normally shoot my paper flowers next to our massive window defused by a thicker sheer curtain. Bear in mind that not all natural lights are great. Sometimes, its so bright and intense that it creates an overexposed images with weird and unnecessary shadows. The result, topnotch UNAPPEALING photo of the year. So be mindful of the time you’re taking pictures of your product. For me, the best time to take photos of my flowers are before sun rises or just peaking or before sunset. Even though its noon as long as it’s overcast, it will also provide you a great light for your photos. But what do we do if we need to take photos of our flowers and the light isn’t on our side? That’s why we need to invest in decent affordable daylight light-box. I will put the link below to all the things I’m using in product photography.
BACKDROP - Believe it or not, backdrop is a fundamental factor in creating your listing pictures. The composition of the image emphasizing your product as the subject depends on it. If done correctly, meaning using the appropriate background on your image can massively improve your photography and put your subject in this case your paper flower in the spotlight for the viewers full attention. But if not, it may cause irreparable damage to your image and making it overwhelmingly chaotic.
Here are different backdrops I love to use for my Products:
White/Bold Colors Poster Board- Normally from Dollar Tree or Michaels
White/Black Foam Board- From Dollar Tree or Michaels
Off White Wrapping Paper - from Ikea or Lowe’s
Marble Textured Backdrop - From Amazon
White Faux Fur Fabric - From JoAnns
Bold Color “Fadeless” Bulletin Board Paper - From Michaels
4. COMPOSITION / FRAMING: It is important because it is not just pleasing to eyes, but it also helps direct your viewers eyes to your subject. In this case, your paper flowers. In making my photo composition, I always consider the purpose in my photograph. If I want to put in in my website or facebook, I shoot landscape and i build my composition that way. If I want to put it on Instagram, I shoot in square frame. Composition also bring the styling aspect of the photograph. In framing your image, you can all use tools and materials you use in your creative process. In this case, we can use cardstocks, scissors, cutting machines, hot glue, and glue sticks. We can definitely incorporate those to give more interesting visual to our photograph in telling stories behind our every product.
5. PHOTO EDITOR: It doesn’t matter how good a photographer is, Photo Editing always plays a fundamental role in the final result of an image. Some might think, editing photos is somewhat deceiving your clients. Like retouching a portrait in photoshop with a curvy lady to making her more skinny, enhance some curves, younger or more beautiful. And that happens, but that’s the only part of it. The professional part is, it enhances your photos in those making times that you said to yourself, “the camera doesn’t give justice to how it actually looks in person”. Frustrating isn’t it? That’s why we need the aid of the Photo Editor to give the justice our product deserve in a photo. See some photo examples below of the RAW file and Edited File. See which one you think is more pleasing in the eyes.
Here are different Photo Editor Im using:
Adobe Photoshop - Desktop
Adobe LightRoom - Desktop
Snapseed - Phone
PhotoEditor - Phone (App Store or Google Apps)
iPhone Photo Editor - IPhone
Links that might help you get the stuff you needed for your product photography:
Please check out the Photo Samples below and see how I captured, framed and edited my images before posting or listing it in my online shop.
Column 1 - That's how I staged it.
Column 2 - Framing the images in your camera or phone. Those are the raw files of what I think a good composition images.
Column 3 - The Edited Files through photo editor. Here, I use Lightroom but you can use any photo editors that's easy for you. The same exact Raw photos. I just tweak and enhanced the brightness, shadows, and vibrance to make it more airy and brighter, less unnecessary shadows, more vibrant, and more appealing. And see how the background played a huge part? My office is full of papers, cut out and lots of other stuff. Meaning, clutter. But because of the clean solid white background, the final photo really emphasizes the product. And you couldn't tell that there were clutter around.
Hope this blog helps you in capturing the best possible photos of your product. Best of luck!