Beginners Guide to Professional Product Photography

Beginners Guide to Professional Product Photography

If you are just starting out with your photography journey or you have been in this field for a while and want to learn product photography, then this article is for you.

Although this will be a beginner’s guide, we won’t be going over any DIY setup schemes. We also won’t be suggesting any expensive gears. Everything suggested in this article will be fairly cheap.

First, let’s go over why product photography is important and why you should learn it.

Product photos are the prime deciding factor for any eCommerce company on whether they will succeed or go out of business.

A clear and pristine looking product image will attract the customer’s attention and can potentially increase sales. If images are unclear, have dents, or looks old, customers will simply skim over those products and look for a better one that interests them.

Demand for product photographers has increased exponentially ever since eCommerce businesses started gaining massive popularity. According to some statistics, 95% of all retail sales will be made using eCommerce platforms in 2024. It is also predicted; china’s eCommerce sites alone will generate over $4 trillion in 2023. So, you can understand why there is such a high demand for product photographers. Getting into this field now would be a wise decision. Honestly speaking E-commerce product photography tips will help you to improve conversion rate. 

There are a variety of ways to do product photography, but for our purpose, we will stick to eCommerce-based product photography guides and ideas.

Camera settings for product photography

If you want to make a career out of photography then avoid using smartphone and normal point and shoot cameras. Companies will want you to use a professional setup. You don’t necessarily need an expensive setup, using industry-standard gears would be just fine.

Use either a DSLR or Mirrorless camera. There are a plethora of options for cameras that you can choose from. Some of the most popular names in this field are Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Sony.

Camera Setting:

Manual mode is great for getting maximum control over how the images will look. But if you are uncomfortable with manual mode then use other semi-auto modes that cameras offer, such as shutter priority or aperture priority mode.

In shutter priority mode you will choose the shutter speed and your camera will choose the aperture and ISO automatically based on your environment lighting.

The concept of aperture priority mode is similar to that of shutter priority mode, the difference is, here you need to adjust the aperture based on your lighting, and the shutter speed and ISO will be selected by the camera.

How to choose and set up appropriate lighting is another key factor that we will discuss later in this article.

Product photography lenses

There are various factors needed to be considered when choosing camera lenses for something like eCommerce platforms.

Unless you are doing lifestyle product photography, there are some things you need to avoid, such as a wide-angle lens and having your lens set to shooting at lower f-stop numbers.

A wide-angle lens tends to distort product photos, which is not what you will want, these are good for landscape or lifestyle photography. Lenses that have lower f/stop number, for example, f/1.4-2.8, will add shallower depth of field and that is another thing you need to avoid. You will want a clear non-blurry image.

As a beginner, consider buying something like a 55mm prime lens. It is cheap, lightweight, and can be used for many other types of photography genres.

You can also look for lenses in Amazon where you will find some of the best lenses for product photography.

We will discuss more on how to shoot in later sections of this article.

Use tripods for consistency

Tripods may sound unnecessary, but it is an excellent tool to add clarity and consistency to your photos. When you are shooting by holding the camera with your hands, there is a chance of getting a blurry image due to shaking.

Tripod will keep the camera steady and hold it in a fixed place. This will be particularly useful when shooting at slower shutter speed.

Product photography ideas

Look what others have already done, try to take some inspiration. Follow other photographers on social media and keep track of their progress and how they are approaching certain issues. You can also use google to find some stunning product picture ideas.

Product photography lightbox

Lightboxes are a great way to add consistency to product photos. Lightboxes will act as a base for products to sit on. These are inexpensive tools that are very versatile when it comes to adjusting appropriate lighting.

Lightboxes usually take 10 – 15 minutes to set up and are surprisingly sturdy. Due to its compact nature, it can be easily carried and set up wherever you prefer.

There are a lot of options for lightboxes. You can go as cheap as $18 dollars or less.

Alternatively, you could use a paper sweep that will probably cost you $5-7 dollars. But for shooting multiple product photos, investing in a lightbox will be a far better choice.

Product photography lighting

Lighting is the single most important factor to consider for not only product photography, but for all other genres of photography. It is what decides how your final output will be.

There are two types of lighting that you can choose from, these are artificial light and Natural light.

Natural light won’t be the same throughout the day. It may be brighter during the afternoon and light will be very low in the late evenings. For consistency, artificial light would be the best option.

For lighting equipment, you will need Soft box lighting, reflectors, and diffusers. You can easily find cheap product photography lighting setup on Amazon.

Things to remember

Product photos need to look new, clean, and well-lit. You will need a lot of practice to perfectly master product photo shooting.

Make sure that the products that you will be shooting are clean. If it has dust or debris then it will be visible on the photos. It will be a pain to edit these in post-processing.

When doing product photography for eCommerce, keep your f-stop number higher. It will add higher dept of field. But it will also let in less light in your camera lens, for that you will need to reduce your shutter speed to compensate for it. Also, manipulate ISO to add more light. Keep in mind, increasing too much ISO will add grain/digital noise to your photos.

How to edit product photos

Editing your photos is a must. Even if photos look perfect, making slight adjustments to it may completely change its look.

You may not know how to edit photos properly, in such cases consider outsourcing. You can get your photos edited by Fix the retouch. We have a lot of experience editing eCommerce photos. Our common customers are fashion houses, eCommerce companies, and photographers.

With 10 years of service in this industry, we have managed to become the first choice for many companies.

Conclusion

Product photography is a very big part of the eCommerce industry. To be a professional product photographer, you will need dedication, practice, and patience. Get inspired by seeing other people’s work. Also, share your work with others. You will first need to master the basics of product photography in order to excel further in this industry.

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