Create Professional Product Photos Guaranteed to Sell

The visual presentation of your X-Carve-made product plays an enormous role in a customer’s decision to buy or continue scrolling. Because eCommerce shoppers can’t touch or interact with a listed product, the only thing they have to base their decisions on are images, descriptive text, and reviews.


As a result, one of the keys to success on an eCommerce platform is beautiful, professional-looking product photos. 


Easier said than done, right?


That’s why we’ve put together some tips on the principles of product photography that will help you take stunning photos of your X-Carve products that are sure to sell.


Lighting


Lighting is one of the most fundamental aspects of photography. As an amateur photographer, you’ll have two paths to choose from: studio lighting and natural lighting. 


One of the best things for beginners is to play around with natural lighting. Place your setup in front of a window that receives a good dose of sunlight. But be careful as direct sunlight can wash out your subject. If your product is getting too much sun, tape some diffusing paper, parchment paper, or a thin sheet over the window to allow light through but avoid oversaturating your subject. 


If, on the other hand, there isn’t enough sunlight, one trick you can employ is to set up white foam boards on the opposite side of your product. This will reflect some of the light back onto your piece, enhancing the brightness and getting rid of harsh shadows. 


And if you’re using natural light, don’t forget to turn off all other lights in your room before shooting! Below are great examples of using soft lighting and shadows to great effect.




Depth 


Playing around with aperture, focus, and depth of field is another great way to turn an amateur-looking photograph into a professional one. Notice how the subjects of the images below are in sharp focus compared to the blurry background?



You can achieve this look by playing around with the aperture settings on your camera or even on some smartphone cameras. It’s especially useful when shooting a natural environment as it incorporates the background to create ambiance and atmosphere without letting it become distracting.


Now, this is where things get a bit more technical. For those completely new to photography, aperture is the size of the hole in your camera which light travels through. The size of the opening is measured in a number called F-stop or F-number which can typically range from f/1.4 up to f/64. These F-stop numbers are actually fractions (instead of f/2, think of it like ½) so f/2 is wider or larger than f/8. It’s a bit counterintuitive but the closer the number is to 1, the wider or larger the aperture.


To achieve this blurred background, you’ll want the aperture to be wide. Around, f/2.8 or wider. This will create a shallow depth of field, meaning things close to the camera will be sharp and in focus and everything further away will appear blurry.


So, with a large aperture and good lighting, place your camera close to the product you’re photographing. Using a tripod is highly recommended. The further away your background is from your subject, the further out of the depth of field they will be and therefore, the blurrier they will be. This effect is called bokeh and it provides a ton of opportunity to be creative.


Color


Next to lighting, one of the most important factors in taking eye-popping, attention-grabbing photos is the use of color. Just compare the two images below; which one would be more visually appealing to customers?



There are a few basic principles in color theory you can use to enhance your product photos and create an evocative portrait.



One option is to use complementary colors by selecting two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel above. This method is great for creating dynamic images through contrast. The image of the “You, Me, and Infinity” sign above creates contrast through opposing green and tan colors. 


However, not all images require such a bold contrast. Subtle use of contrast can be just as effective, if not more so. Consider the same principle applied to the image below.



Another method of color theory is triadic or selecting three equidistant colors on the wheel. This often creates a vibrant image, eye-catching image. Just be careful not to overcrowd your photo.


The final option we’ll mention is analogous colors or selecting two or three colors that are relatively close together on the color wheel. The lack of contrast can produce images with a natural feel and can have a calming effect. The image below makes fantastic use of analogous colors.



Sell an Idea


The idea sells the product. And you can put all of these tips to use in order to create an idea that will sell your product.


Use the environment to create a story around the product and the emotions you’re attempting to invoke. Props, setting, and ambiance will drastically alter the emotional impact of your product.  Use your photography to tell the story about the experience your customer could be having if they buy your product. 


The product photos below accomplish this in a subtle but effective way. The left-hand image displays the product. It’s a simple shot that gets the point across; it tells you ‘this is what the product is.’ The right-hand image makes terrific use of lighting, shadow, depth of field, and color all in service of telling a miniature story; it tells you ‘this is what it could look like in your bathroom.'



Hopefully, these tips have been of some use. Once you’ve developed a basic understanding of what makes a strong, professional-looking photograph, scroll through Etsy, Amazon, or even our Inventables project files to judge for yourself where the photos could be improved or what inspiration you can take from great images you find. Remember that creating great products yourself is only one part of the equation in a successful business or side hustle.


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