The standard of your brand is judged by the quality of the images you portray to the audience. Often misunderstood by many small business holders is that it will require an expensive setup for achieving an industry-standard photoshoot. But that’s not true. There are always alternatives to expensive equipment that could be utilized to achieve professional-looking product photoshoots. In addition to that, photo editing techniques could be used to further enhance the images.
We have written this article as a guide to help small businesses achieve professional product photography on a budget. Hopefully, this article will help you generate more sales for your business.
Low Budget Product Photography Setup
You could use a smartphone or a point & shoot camera, but buying a DSLR won’t add up much cost. You’ll be able to find decent DSLRs at very cheap prices. Smartphone cameras are great, but the only reason you should avoid it is because of their controllability. Mobile cameras are very limited in terms of how you can take photos, whereas a professional camera will allow you to shoot completely in manual.
Select a Proper Camera
Choose either a DSLR or a Mirrorless. The functionality of both are the same, the difference is in its build. If you are getting a mirrorless, purchase extra batteries with it. The main benefit of these cameras is that they are more compact than DSLR.
Lens for Product Photography
To save more money, you could definitely use the kit lenses provided to you while purchasing the camera. It will take decent shots. But to be more professional, try buying separate lenses.
Telephoto Zoom lenses and Prime lenses are a popular choice for product photography. Avoid using a wide-angle lens, it can distort the shape of your product. A wide-angle lens is suitable for something like landscape, or wildlife photography.
Invest on a Tripod
Tripods are something beginners tend to avoid but professionals recommend to use. Tripods can be found at very cheap prices. It won’t add much to your cost but will produce really outstanding value to the photoshoot.
Instead of manually adjusting the height of the camera angle, by using a tripod you can set a fixed height and shooting angle. This ensures visual consistency throughout the shoot. The camera also tends to shake if you are holding it in your hands. A tripod will ensure that the camera stays steady and avoid any kind of blurriness from the photo.
White Background for Product Photography
White backgrounds are an industry-standard option for product photography. And there are a lot of reasons for it. White background creates consistency. It helps to put the product into focus and if done properly can also help to promote brand awareness.
You can either purchase a lightbox from sites like Amazon or make one yourself. Lightboxes are very cheap, so instead of making it, buying one will be more appropriate. It will be stable and properly built. But if you are into DIY then you can take a cardboard box and cut off three sides leaving about a 1-inch border. Then use white paper for achieving proper white background.
Paper or Cloth Sweep
Using a paper or cloth sweep will be the cheapest option. With the help of some editing along with it, you can achieve results that look exactly the same as if you’ve done in a studio.
You can place a table against a wall and tape the sweep on the wall. Make sure the sweep falls seamlessly, there shouldn’t be any creases, otherwise, it would show up in the photo.
Lighting Setup for Product Photography
Photos won’t look professional if the lighting is not even. Your prime focus should be to make sure that the lights are evenly lit across the product. The benefit of this is that it captures the accurate colors of the product.
Types of Lighting
There are two main types of lighting. That is Artificial Lighting and Natural lighting. If you intend to sell products on sites like Amazon, then avoid natural lighting. You can definitely make use of natural light, but the problem is that you can’t control its flow. There will be uneven shades of light and shadow. It also tends to change the colors. So, using artificial lights will be preferable.
Choosing the proper light setup
The two popular lighting systems are continuous lighting and studio strobe lighting. It is best to use continuous lighting if you are new to photography, whereas, for professionals, a studio strobe might be a good choice.
The learning curve for continuous lighting is very simple. As its name suggests, it illuminates a consistent continuous light into the frame. So, photographers can visualize exactly how the output will be. Lights can be exactly adjusted to output the desired level of light intensity.
The three major types of continuous lights are fluorescent, tungsten, and LED. Fluorescent bulbs do not overheat, so these are easily found in studio lighting setups.
In general, studio strobes are mostly used by professionals, due to its complexity of use. And it is also quite expensive than continuous lighting. So, for beginners, it is recommended to use continuous lighting setups.
Getting inspiration from others
Looking at other people’s work can possibly give you interesting ideas that you might never have thought of before.
Getting inspiration is very easy. Just look for your topic online and you will be greeted with a plethora of useful ideas to try out. If you can, it would be best to talk to someone who is already in this profession. Try to learn a few useful tips and get suggestions that would be beneficial for you.
Editing your photos
Editing is the last and final step before finally using photos commercially. Doesn’t matter how carefully the photo is taken, it won’t be perfect. You will need at least some sort of editing to make your picture look perfect.
Start off by adjusting the exposure and distortion of the picture. Then depending on the complexity of the image more adjustments might be required. Most probably you will need a white background if you want to sell your products on sites like Amazon. To save costs, most small businesses outsource their photos. It saves both time and money that would be needed to manage and hire an in-house design team. We offer background removal service, you can get bulk service packages at a cheap price.
Product photography doesn’t need to be expensive. It used to be the case that you would require expensive cameras and set up for doing professional photography. But now, thanks to the rising demand, the prices have gone down a lot. And always remember to plan before the shoot regarding the management and equipment setup to avoid any sort of inconvenience. But it will take time and practice to expertise in product photography.