Product Photography is the decisive turn for your eCommerce store or Shopify store, it can actually make or break your sales conversion.
It becomes crucial to address the significance of product photography in the success of any e-commerce platform or online business.
Have you ever bought something online without checking the product photos?
Or How many times you judged a product through its photograph. Well, Just all the time.
You only buy products from an e-commerce website when you’re satisfied with the product images.
So it becomes important to put your valuable time, energy and resources to get high-quality product images.
It can improve your Etsy store quality and reputation. It gives a good first impression for your prospective buyers.
How To Do Product Photography On White Background?
Step 1 : Setting Up Your Table
Setting up the table is about setting up the shooting area for your product photography.
You need to place your table closer to the window in your room. Just make sure you don’t intersect the shadow from the windowsill.
Image Source: Shopify
The closer you set your table to the window and the larger the window will be as a light source, the softer light you will get.
So, initially, set up your table 90 degrees left or right of the window. After that, you can start rotating the table setup making the window at your 45 degrees.
Also, you can try making the window straight to your setup. The idea is to try different styles of lighting by changing the direction of your light source.
Image Source: Shopify
The light style you want to choose also depends upon the fact what kind of photography you want to do or what product you are shooting for.
For example, for a certain product photography, one might shoot the product with the window behind the setup where the camera will be shooting into the window.
Now, this will give a more dramatic look to your product with strong highlights and shadows.
Step 2 : Setting Up Your Sweep
You can do the sweep setup in different ways but, the goal here is to make your sweep vertical.
The basic setup with a sweep will need you a white sweep, table, camera, tripod and white cardboards.
Image Source: Merchium
You might have to roll up the sweep board to bring into the required shape. Now to set up your sweep, start from setting up your table against a wall.
Tape the sweep to roll out towards the table and put another table on the table to fixate it.
In case you don’t have a wall, you can use a straight support such as a cardboard box, bricks or even a wooden block will work.
Now, place your product at the very centre of the flat part of the sweep on the table.
Make some room for adding small white cardboards/reflectors to adjust the lighting on the product.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Camera
Even though every camera is different in many ways, they are also the same in most of the ways how it functions.
The window light setup will allow you to get away with the auto setup as well to make things easier for you.
Every camera has an AUTO and MANUAL setup.
AUTO is machine-optimized camera settings that adjust everything according to the present situation. You don’t have to change anything manually.
MANUAL setup allows you to control every particular camera setting and customize it according to your requirement and situation.
So even if you are with lowest camera knowledge, the AUTO seems to work perfectly fine with this window light setting.
However, you still might have to tweak a few things but that merely is instructional things to do.
Few tips for Auto Camera setup
- Make sure you turn your flash setting off.
- Set your white balance (WB) to Auto White Balance (AWB)
- Make sure the manual button on your lens is set to auto in order to get auto-focus.
- Images setting must be to give you the highest quality images, i.e RAW in this case ( not for point-and-shoot cameras).
- Set the largest JPG setting on your camera, if RAW is not available.
- Set your ISO to 100 which is usually the lowest as it controls the sensor sensitivity. Higher the ISO, more noise you will see in your images which is not recommendable.
Next best thing you can do with your camera is to set up the exposure manually.
There are various camera modes you can prefer to reduce the customization exercises, especially if you are not very comfortable with.
Let’s find out different camera modes which are pre-set customized camera configurations to click best images.
Aperture Priority Mode
You may have this option on your camera or may not depending upon the type of camera you are using.
Most DSLRs have Aperture Priority Mode which you can prefer to click your product images for more depth-of-field.
This mode also allows you to get a blurry background and sharp focussed subject to give it a more professional look.
To use this, make sure you change the f/stop to the maximum number in the scale. The mode will auto-adjust the shutter which the camera presume to be the correct.
However, it will be more likely to be wrong, so you can change the exposure by using the exposure compensation dial.
Camera auto modes are pretty accurate to begin with, and can help make good product images initially.
However, it becomes almost impossible to come across a situation where you need some manual tweaking to adjust the image for the best.
Still the auto-exposure mode of the camera auto adjusts the camera settings as per the light, focus and shutter speed.
Use exposure compensation dial to adjust the required exposure for your image by adding +1 or +1.5.
Manual mode is the best camera setting to bring out the best quality images from your camera irrespective of which camera you own.
This is also the best mode because you won’t be shooting anything that moves or changing in the frame.
In a manual mode, the very first thing you should do is make the f/stop go for the highest number which will give you a higher depth of field.
You can always preview the image while clicking through the liveview. The first thing you will see is darkness which is fine.
Now, you rotate the shutter speed dial to make it bright enough so your image is appropriately exposed.
When you increase the shutter speed, the shutter number will be going down. You can start going from 1/60 leading to 1/4 . Adjust as per required.
Step 4: Setting Up Your Product
Setting up your product might be really simple but needs some practise and time over it.
Make sure you set your product at the centre of the surface. Also, if your product is a bottle or something, keep the brand label at the center.
You need to keep adjusting the placement of the product with small movements to make things perfect for the frame.
Step 5: Lighting Your Product
Before lighting your product, you need to understand the two major distinctions in lighting methods.
First is, natural lighting where you light your products through natural sources of light whereas, the second artificial lighting requires one or more lighting equipment.
Lighting is what makes all the difference to a photograph. It brings your images into light, creates depth and makes it bright for utter sharpness and higher quality.
It also uplifts the production value of your image irrespective of the camera gear you are using.
But first, let’s understand the difference between natural and artificial lighting, and their respective setups.
Natural Lighting vs. Artificial Lighting
Natural light is available in abundance and works like a charm for photographers, especially beginners.
Image Source: Shopify
However, it becomes difficult sometimes to manage or harness natural light in every condition.
But make sure when you are using the natural lights indoors, you need to shoot at the brightest time of the day.
More bright natural light will be easy to manage and manipulate according to your requirement.
Image Source: Shopify
Make sure you utilize reflectors and diffusers to manipulate or customize the lighting for your need.
Pro Tip : Aim for the golden hour of the day, that is the time period just before sunset or after the sunrise. It will give you the bright but soft lighting.
Image Source: Broncolor
Artificial lighting is about setting up artificial light sources to light your frame. It gives you more control over the photography procedure.
The studio lighting offers you more consistency and conviction in creating product images. It surely is more expensive and has a learning curve.
Image Source: IJ Productions
It involves multiple sets of lighting equipment, reflectors, diffusers, softboxes and other items to alter the final image.
So, how should you light your products?
Image Source: Shopify
Why Prefer Window Light Over Light Tent?
You might get tempted to buy a light tent as it seems to be the best you can go towards professionalism in product photography under budget.
However, it won’t be a really good idea to do so, especially at the beginning.
Window light setup is the easiest and simplest photography setup whereas the light tent is a multi-light setup which is much more complex and has a learning curve to bring good results.
Here’s why you shouldn’t pursue light tent or multi-light setup :
Step 5: Setting Up The Reflectors
One of the most crucial elements for photography is lighting, and reflectors help you optimize the lighting on your subject.
A simple white card board will be sufficient as a light modifier to use for clicking well-exposed images.
When you put a white cardboard reflector against your subject, the light bounces off the card and fills all the shadows on the subject.
Image Source: Pixc
Now, changing the position or angle will change the effect on the subject, so go ahead and try different angles to see what gives the required results.
Step 6: Clicking Your Images
Start taking pictures and the best approach is neither to take too many pictures nor to just settle with one or two clicks, especially if you’re not sure.
You can analyze every image and see what is working and what doesn’t. Experiment with changing factors and bringing new ideas to make your image better.
Once you keep doing the process over a time, you will start learning the skill of creating impactful product images.
Make sure you check the images on your computer because camera screens are not much accurate for that matter.
Step 7: Editing Your Images
Once you are settled with a set of perfect images you want to go with, you need to go for retouching.
If you are successful in clicking a well-exposed sharp image, you will see a light gray background.
Retouching includes tweaking colors, sharpness, brightness, contrast, tint and other factors.
Adobe lightroom is the best tool for editing your photos professionally and in-detail.
Image Source: Ephotovn
However, you can also try some online or offline free photo editing tools or software as well.
You will also remove the background to use the photos on websites, banners and other marketing purposes.
How To Optimize Your Product Images For Your Website?
Resizing Product Images For The Container
One way to optimize your product images for your brand website is to resize it. You will be changing the dimensions of the image, resizing the height and width.
Any image on a website is actually inside an html container where images get dynamically scaled to make it fit in.
If the html container size is 648px, then irrespective of the size of uploaded image, it will still be displayed at 648px.
However, it will be referencing from the actual uploaded image size, and that will be at 1500px.
So this is only going to add extra load time per image, and since you will be having many images on your website, it will increase the website load time as well.
To optimize these images, you need to find the size of the html container on the website.
So it is better to resize the image before even uploading it. What you can do is resize your images at least 1.5 times larger than your container size, so it will still look good on a retina screen.
To find out the html container size, right click on the image and select “Element”, Now you will see the pixel dimension of the container at the sidebar.
Resizing Your Product Image
You can resize your product images through different online or offline tools. Here are few suggestions for the tools to use :
- Microsoft Picture
- Mac Preview
- Adobe Lightroom
Compressing the Images
The high-quality images mostly come down to the large size image files. And that doesn’t really go well with websites.
So, whenever you save your images at the 100% quality in most image editing or resizing tools, the image size gets large or increases significantly.
Image compression doesn’t work with resizing a particular image because it often results in lower quality or imbalance in image dimensions.
You need to compress the images smartly, and with the right tools. Go for tools that are specifically for image compression such as JPEGmini.com.
Or you can also go for Adobe Photoshop’s Save for Web functions as well.
Product Photography Equipments You Require For Your Store
You don’t have to buy a highly expensive camera gear rather focus on getting a camera with full-HD image capture capacity.
However, it is recommended to go for the best you can without breaking the bank. And in those scenarios DSLR cameras are a great option.
Any entry-level camera will work like a charm for getting sharp product photography images.
There are also low-budget mirrorless cameras that can be great but you can even come up with great results clicking with point-and-shoot cameras.
You might be tempted to go for buying the most expensive camera out there and feel obligated but it’s not true.
Even a good smartphone camera can give your good product photography if you play by the rules.
Just start by whatever you have access to or moreover what you have a budget for. There are many other constraints that make a picture good, not just the camera.
You definitely need to get yourself a white background to shoot your product images. There are plenty of options to get around that.
One of the best options is to buy the white sweep from Amazon. Be smart and get yourself the paper sweeps as whenever it gets dirty, you can just cut away the dirty part and roll a new piece for the use.
You can also go to the nearby art store or any local drugstore and get some poster board. They come as low as $7 for 10 poster board sheets.
Just focusing on getting pure white color as cream or off-white color background can be tricky to work with.
Tripod is as essential as a camera to make your product photography for your e-commerce store good enough.
But why do you need a tripod?
You need to set your camera for a small aperture to get the most depth of field that your camera can get to.
And when you set your camera for a small aperture, the depth of field you get is the best you can go for.
The area that is in sharp focus comes in the depth of field. To attain that, you need to set for the largest f/stop number you get to in your camera.
Remember, the larger f/stop number you choose, it means it will let in the less light possible. So to balance it, you need to choose the slowest shutter speed to get more light to your image.
And when you choose the slow shutter speed, you cannot just hold the camera because it will make your subject look blurry.
That’s why you need Tripod as it allows you to get to the slowest shutter speed and largest f.stop number setting of the camera without blurry subject.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the tripod. There are plenty of tripod stands available that you can get even under $20.
The primary source of your light that goes to your subject is from the window, and that is definitely going to strike bright light leaving shadows.
You don’t want that. The aim is to get powerful but still very soft light, the larger the area of the source, the softer light you get.
But with the window, there is not much you can do. So here comes the use of reflectors where you use a white plane material to reflect the light back into the shadow.
White Foam Boards
Image Source: Amazon
It will brighten up the subject, cancelling out the shadows. The best option for the reflectors is getting yourself the foam boards.
Foams board makes up for a great bounce card as it is pure white, rigid and plain on the surface.
Black Foam Boards
Image Source: London Graphics Center
Apart from that, you can also use black foam boards to make your shadows deeper.
This particular type of bounce card can be helpful when you are shooting a white product on the white background.
Add the black foam boards to the sides of the subject outside the frame. It will create a dark edge around the white product making it pop in the image.
You can further add the white bounce cards as well to the front to brighten up and soften the image.
Buy foam boards from your local drugstore, art store or best online from Amazon.
DIY Bounce Card
Image Source: Snapshot Canon-Asia
Remember the foam board is basically the white card, so you can always go for making it yourself as well.
All you need is the poster board or some rigid plane and white printer paper. Stick on it and here you get your DIY bounce cards.
The Right Room
Image Source: Shopify
There are many factors that play in the success of getting a good product photograph and the place where you click the image is surely one of them.
The ideal scenario will be to get a room with a window just right next to the wall.
Try to get a larger window if possible as the larger the light source will be, it will create softer light and less shadows.
You can place your shooting spot to be as far away possible from the light source but not too far.
It should be far enough to get softer and more scattered light but not too far to get a strong light.
Artificial Light Source
Image Source: Amazon
You might be inclined to invest more on your product photography in terms of lighting.
Or maybe not having a good choice for window lighting, in either cases you can go for artificial or studio lighting.
There are plenty of cheap lighting equipment you can get on Amazon. However, selecting a studio lighting source might be tempting to go all in and buy multi-setup lighting.
But, if you are not ready or have experience or looking forward to getting into a long learning curve, don’t buy lighting equipment more than one.
Choose a lamp light or LED light or can go for buying a softbox light with the stand. All these options are not too expensive to invest in.
First of all, it is not advisable to go into a multi-lighting setup for studio lighting setup if you’re a complete newbie in this.
One of the best options to go for this setup can work, if you have a close friend or anyone with some experience or knowledge of photography lighting.
Also, you can always experiment with some other small lights or RGB lights to bring some effect in your image.
You can try using a small source of light putting it on the backside of your subject to create a backlight, but only if necessary or required.
Everything here depends upon whether you want to go more into product photography and experiment with new gears and DIY methods.
So go slow or take your time if not ready.
Other Required Essentials
Apart from all these, there are some other required essentials you need to click your product images.
You need a standard table that must be around 24 to 27 inches wide. More will work but less wide will make your job difficult.
Then, you also need Tape to stick the white sweep to the wall and to the table from one end to another.
How Quality Photos Affect Your Shopify Store Sales?
According to Hyerle, 2000, 90% of the information that the brain receives in your body is visual.
People process any visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Now what does that tell you?
Humans are visual learners and that’s how your potential buyers are too. Photos are the integral part of the decision making process of any customer.
Image Source: Fiverr
A potential customer judges the product quality, your brand and this potential of this purchasing experience by your product photo.
Surely, there are other factors but product images create the first impression right there. Visual elements engage the visitors first, even before or better than written copy.
Here are few reasons why high-quality product photos brings sales conversions to your online store :
Images Are The Primary Element Of Your Branding
Branding is the most important aspect that plays in every key decision made in your company including marketing strategies, social media post and more.
And, it also plays a crucial role in the purchasing decision of a buyer. Well, surely a random buyer won’t know your company or be aware of your “brand”.
Image Source: Canto
But they make their assumptions regarding whether your company has a brand potential or not through visual elements.
Visual elements on your e-commerce sites or Shopify store is definitely the product photos along with other graphics as well.
Image Source: Mindsparkle Mag
Everything in the image speaks of your product quality and brand including the photo quality, saturation, color theme, visual information, subject matter etc.
It gives information to your target audience and if that resonates with them, they are more likely to buy the product.
High-Quality Image Helps Buyer To Make Their Purchasing Decision
At first, product images create the first impression for buyers to judge the product quality and the potential in the possible buying experience.
Then, it also associates with the fact whether your company is a “brand” or just a random online store.
Image Source: Shopify API
Going even further, it helps buyers to make much more informed decisions and confidence with the transaction.
The product image depicts the product’s perceived image, value and quality.
If that works with potential buyers and they find it relevant and relatable, they will be more happy to invest.
Tips for Product Photography For Your Shopify Store
Shoot Only In Natural Light
It is true that today’s modern day latest smartphones have capability to shoot in low-light situations but still it doesn’t make up for lack of quality.
Image Source: Luminar AI
The lack of quality comes from shooting your images in the unfavourable conditions, ie. in this case low light or unorganized artificial or indoor light.
The best approach even with high-quality good cameras is to shoot in natural light. So put this as a restriction for your product photography.
Find the right time of the day to get the best of the sunlight in the room or contained space for photography.
There are actually two ways to get the best lighting situation for product photography :
i) Shooting with studio lights by professional hands
ii) Lighting your product with natural light
Image Source: Squareshot
Any other way around has great chances for :
- Inappropriate lighting
- Grains in your frame
- Shadows in the subject
- Sharp highlights on the product
- Bad quality
- Investing in wrong gears ( if without professional help)
This is considering you’re a novice in photography or know nothing at all but still looking forward to getting high-quality product photos for your Shopify store.
Shoot Your Product Photos In Multiple Angles
The fact you need good product photography in the online selling ecosystem is because customers need to be assured of the very aspect of the product they are buying.
So, the more satisfaction you can give to the customers, the higher the chance will be for the purchase.
Image Source: Pixelz
Giving out the product photos in multiple angles is one of things you can do to offer that satisfaction from the product.
Make sure you get your product photos clicked from various angles such as front, top, bottom, back and both sides.
Especially if the product is costly, it’s better you can click the pictures from as many angles as possible.
Presenting more variety in image angles can help customers make their purchasing decision faster.
Transform Your Photos For White Background
Every ecommerce platform or marketplace asks their sellers to upload their product photos or at least one product photo on a white background.
And, that’s also why white background is used to click product photos in most of the situations.
Why Ecommerce Websites Suggest White Background For Product Photography?
- Improves the aesthetics of the image.
- Minimizes the distraction from the product
- Highlights the product edges
- Makes the product centre of attraction
- It creates a sense of consistent
- Gives the image more finishing look
- Makes the images more professional
The good product photography needs a pure white seamless background to elevate the products in the pictures
Usually, it doesn’t happen while clicking the image, there is some portion or aspect of white background that needs finishing to make it look professional.
Image Source: Quora
There comes the editing or post-production of these product photos where the magic is done.
So make sure you also transform your product photos for white background.
You can use different curved backdrops, shooting tents or any other DIY alternative to create seamless white background.
It cancels out any sharp angles that make your image appear a bit harsh and also eliminates shadows.
Image Source: Grid50
Whether you use white background while clicking the image or not, you can transform images to white background through post-production.
However, a balance of both is highly suggested to bring the best results.
Hire A Professional For Product Photography
Yes, hiring the professional quite eliminates the whole point of learning and doing product photography by yourself and saving money!
But you should consider it as having utmost quality product photos on your Shopify store is too important to put in risk for saving some bucks.
It affects your sales drastically and also leaves a long-lasting first impression on potential buyers.
Image Source: WooCommerce
Also, if you think it is indeed too much work, and you want to save time, and not much money, hiring professionals to do it is the best foot forward.
Even if you do product photography yourself for starting, there is a point you need to hire professionals eventually.
And, it is not as costly as you think it will be as there are a lot of enough-experienced photographers or even beginner professionals who can give you great results to begin with.
Shoot Your Product Only
The product photography aims to sell those products to the potential customers. In that case, it becomes highly necessary that you shoot only the product.
The focus word here is “only”. You might feel tempted to click your product photos with some fancy background or adding flower vase to its adjacent.
Just don’t! Product photography is not the place where you need to be artistic or experimental.
The idea is to give customers unwavered focus towards the product, and the product only.
Also, most ecommerce websites prioritize or even put restrictions on use white-background images, or at least one.
Image Source: Fotosolution
You need to keep in mind that your goal is to convey the information regarding the product visually.
It should be factual and apt. You are not allowed to tweak, edit, add or change anything to the product as it can be deceiving.
Even too much editing or post-production can change the color of the product which will be exploiting the trust of your customers.
Decide Whether You’re Clicking Product-Only Photos, Lifestyle Photos or Both
You know that product-only photos are the most commonly accepted and even highly suggested photos to upload on e-commerce platforms.
These product-only photos are basically the photograph of the particular product in a neutral or white background.
Image Source: Melbourne Photography
This type of photos you’ve already learned to take in earlier mentioned steps are essential for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Ebay or Shopify as well.
However, you would also need to click lifestyle or contextualized product photos. These photos demonstrate your products in action.
Image Source: Unsplash
It utilizes other elements in the frame to showcase its features or working. These images are more creative and take even more time to capture.
So, here you need to decide which type of photography you are going for. Most of the time, you will need both kinds of photos.
Give Users To Zoom In Your Product Images
Zoom-in feature is something you cannot ignore when it comes to product images on e-commerce websites or marketplaces.
Fortunately, Shopify offers you a feature to enable the zoom-in with your product images.
Image Source: Magic Toolbox
It allows customers to zoom-in and hover around the image to understand the product more closely.
Sometimes it also helps to see the physical details of a product, or surface of the product and much more.
Image Source: Ulmod
The method to zoom-in is different on every website, so you need to assure that your potential customers know how to do that.
Adding a shadow box or lightbox for pop-up windows is the best way to enlarge the product where it dims the rest of the webpage.
The rollover zoom is not recommended as it creates a negative user experience for your customers due to accidentally getting zoomed often.
Work On The Post-Processing Of The Image
Post-processing of your product image is a critical step in order to make it effective for generating a greater number of sales.
This is because the overall quality of a product image or in fact, any image also includes its post-processing stage.
Image Source: Photo Retouching Service
It is the stage where you retouch your photos to elevate its quality and give it a more polished and professional look.
Sometime, even if you haven’t done a very good job with your images, post-processing can make a huge difference.
A good editing is what distinguishes a professional or quality work from a mediocre one.
Image Source: Photo Editing India
There are plenty of photo editing software you can use to edit your image on different fronts.
Remember, not to overdo it because that works totally against the purpose here. It is a time-consuming process with a learning curve to it.
Canva, Snapseed, Fotor and Pixlr are some of the free image editing tools you can use to edit your product images.
Mind The Shadows
After clicking the best product photo you can, there is still a whole lot of process left to do in the editing phase.
You spend all that time to remove every obstacle from the frame or retouch it to make it look more finishing and polished.
One thing that still gives out the lack of professionalism or just the quality issue is the shadows of the object.
Image Source: Shopify
Shadows can be bad as well as good things for your image. It is about directing it to add an effect or quality to your image rather than distracting.
It is after all, your choice to go with either case but surely you need to watch the shadows before it makes an undeniable debut in your editing table.
If you want to remove the shadowcast on your product images, it is highly suggested to use a flash diffuser.
Optimize Your Product Images
Optimizing the product images requires understanding the practises related to images on e-commerce websites.
First of all, you need to get familiar with different kinds of image file types such as JPG, JPEG, PNG and more.
Remember, you want to upload images that are high in visual quality but low in size to not hamper the website loading speed.
Choose the JPEG/JPG File Type
JPEGs are the kind of image file type that allows the mix of the various colors unlike other file types.
You can also adjust the size of the file with JPEG files. However, when you adjust file size of the image, you also adjust the quality.
So it’s better to find the right balance between size and quality to choose.
You can use this file type for all of your product images.
Make sure to choose the right image size
Choosing the right image size which means the dimensions of your image is crucial for the success of your e-commerce store.
Image Source: Clipping Path Centre
Various marketplaces like Amazon suggest a certain dimension to choose for your products.
Any larger dimension or oversize images can hamper your website speed or increase the bounce rates.
Other Tips for product photo optimization :
- Name your image files correctly, preferable using relevant keywords or product names to improve SEO.
- Resize your images according to the given recommendation of the platform you’re uploading it.
- Make sure you put alt text of the image to boost the SEO.