Thursday, October 23, 2008

Taking Product Pictures

First off, I have to apologize for the delay in the release of this post. Honestly, the ACT was given on Saturday and I was trying to focus on it. Now that it is over, I can get back to doing what I really love…helping out small businesses. Below is my tutorial on taking product pictures. Here is my disclosure: I am not a professional photographer. I am simply giving you tips from one artist to another as to what might work when taking product pictures. Keep in mind that while my products may look great on a certain camera setting, yours may not. The same goes for backgrounds, etc. All in all, you will just have to experiment, keeping these tips in mind, and see just what works for you.

As the owner of an online store, you run into lots of barriers. One of those barriers is the lack of the hands on experience for you customers. This in mind, it is important to take quality product pictures that show exactly what you are selling. You put lots of time into your business….don’t “skimp” on the photography. Put lots of time into it as well. Ultimately you are selling that product picture….

Pointer One~ Your Equipment
* Get a Newer Digital Camera
While you may have paid $400 for that 2.1MP Camera in 2001, it is outdated. I know that you (and me for that matter) hate to go out and spend money on things that we already have but honestly, you can get a great digital camera (<4mp)>Pointer Two~ Your Equipment’s Settings
You want your camera’s resolution as high as possible. Don’t worry about file size. Your pictures can be resized later. Right now we are focusing on getting quality images, not small images. We also suggest using your macro setting so you can get close up shots.

Pointer Three~ The Background and Lighting
So, you have the camera, you have your product, you have your settings correct. Lets move on to the background.

When selecting the background keep in mind that your are selling the product. Using a background that is too busy will distract the buyer from the product. Use a wall or make a backdrop for you item. Try not to use solid black or white unless those colors really compliment your product. Put lighter objects against a darker background and vice versa. If you use cloth backdrops, avoid wrinkles.

If you can, take your product pictures outside using natural light. This helps keep you from using that flash which can cause lots of color distortion. The best days to take your pictures are the ones that are slightly overcast, the light is better balanced. Can’t get the lighting in just the right places? User white poster board, papers, etc to reflect the light onto your product.
If you have to take the pictures inside, take a few minutes to set up some lighting. Use a desk lamp or side table lamp. Anything that can get the right lighting in your pictures. Now, I know I just said anything but if you can get halogen light bulbs, it will help with the coloring of your product.

Use a piece of coffee filter on your flash to help diffuse it if you must use your flash.

Avoid Glare at ALL Cost!

Pointer Four~ The Technique
* Move in. The close the picture the better. This allows the customer to better see the detail.
* Keep the product in the center of the frame.
* Make sure the focus is perfect. Out of focus pictures are worth absolutely nothing to your customers.
* Take pictures of one item at a time

Pointer Five~ The Amount
Take lots of pictures of each angle. What you see in that view finder may not look the same on your computer screen. Use different settings and different angles.

Now, hopefully you have lots of pictures that look absolutely amazing. Go through them and pick the very best one. Found the one you like? You don’t want to upload that huge 2MB file so you are going to want to resize it. Here is the best free software for resizing images that we have found.

We suggest 600 Pixels being the larger side.

Hopefully we have given you some tips that will help you out. If you have tips you would like to add, email us. We would be glad to add them to our blog.

Adam Grace

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