Product Photography

Photo © O. Helene Kobelnyk

Picture this: You’re brand new to the Artfire community, have just set up your first store, and after hours upon hours of work creating a really cool, unique set of products, you’re ready and raring to go and find some buyers! After a few weeks, though, you notice you aren’t selling nearly as much as you’d expected, even though you know quite a few people have visited your artist page. What’s going on here? One of the most important things you can do to help improve your ability to sell your products is to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to displaying them. Taking good product photos is an essential part of having a successful online store, and this post is going to take a quick look at what makes a good product photo (and what should be avoided), and give you guys some tips for making your products look fantastic to potential buyers!

Photo Courtesy of (www.apartmenttherapy.com)

 Lighting

Lighting can make or break a product photo. As an Artfire browser (and as a potential buyer), I am absolutely drawn more to photos of products that are well-lit than to photos that are too dark, or use lighting that isn’t flattering to the product.

I’m a big fan of using natural light in photographs whenever possible, especially when it comes to clothes or jewelry, because it allows the seller to see what the product will look like day-to-day. The key to using natural light is to make sure you have enough of it, but not too much. Direct sunlight, for example, is probably not the best idea, but a photograph taken inside a room brightly lit by sunshine could work really well! If natural light isn’t easily doable, bright yet warm lighting with minimal shadow is always a better choice than fluorescent lighting or a regular ol’ camera flash. For those of you that are a little craftsy (which is, well, all of you), there’s always the option of building your own lightbox! This is probably something I’ll cover in a later post, so stay tuned for that.

Focus

This one is kind of a no-brainer, but it still surprises me sometimes when I see close-up (or macro) photos of beautiful products that are fuzzy and out of focus! Making sure your macro shots are crystal-clear will go a long way, since people are more likely to be dazzled by the intricacy and detail of your work if they can see it properly! Something that has majorly helped me when it comes to good macro shots is my Gorillapod tripod (you can check them out here). Shaky hands don’t make for great close-up shots, and using a tripod can really help eliminate that problem!

Photo © Soapsmith 2010

 Composition

This is one of the most important parts of a good product photo, and a lot goes into creating great composition. First off, you have to make sure your product is clearly the most important thing in the photograph; photos that have a lot of items in them besides your product can make it difficult sometimes to tell what’s being displayed. Not that composing a scene isn’t a bad idea! There are quite a few Artfire sellers that do a great job composing scenes for their product photos, including the above photo from seller Soapsmith and these particular photos by CedarCreekSoaps and PinkSunsetJewelryDesigns. If you decide to feature only your product in the photo, make sure the background you choose is in a neutral yet contrasting color that lets your product stand out! White is a great choice for anything colorful, and if you’re displaying silver jewelry, for example, a darker background will help it shine. Product photography can be kind of tricky to master, but if you work hard on these three elements, you’ll be displaying your amazing work in an equally amazing way in no time!

11 Comments

  • Reply August 29, 2012

    andrea

    sounds great but hard to do when you lack good equipment.
    I have been waiting for a day with the right light. It hasn’t come yet. So I posted my pic anyway, the day will come and I will change them…

  • Reply August 29, 2012

    Lynda

    I was just thinking I may need a new camera. This article is great in the way of telling us what needs to be done but not how to do it. Great I think we all know things need to be in focus and our product needs to stand out.

    Lately my photos seem grainy or digitized and I can’t seem to get it to go away no mater how I set my camera. How do I make it stop doing that? Maybe my camera is worn out? I read the manual and that would be a great start for most to take better photos.

    Couldn’t find any information about getting rid of graininess in the photo. Help!

    • Reply August 30, 2012

      Katie Westlake

      Hey Lynda! Thanks for the comment! I’m hopefully going to go into a lot more detail about product photography in later posts, but I figured starting with the basics would be a good move. 🙂

      As for your troubles with graininess, I’d suggest checking out this really great article by Neel on the Learn Food Photography website. It has a lot of great advice when it comes to both what could be causing the graininess in your photos (think High ISO, low lighting, or possibly a too-slow shutter speed), and what you can do to compensate or fix in post-processing.

      Hope that helps!

      ~Katie

  • Reply August 29, 2012

    Vicki

    Great tips! I look foreward to more from you!

  • Reply October 1, 2012

    ByCorysHands

    Great article and thank you for the tips. I made my own light box and with my digital camera I was able to take really good pictures! Looking forward to reading more…

  • Reply October 28, 2012

    Colleen

    Your article was great! I have a hard time keeping the camera still enough for macro shots so I ordered the GorillaPod that you suggested. I feel it will be a worthwhile investment.
    This article is dated from August. When will you be downloading another article? I am really anxious to read it.
    My old camera was not taking pics that were true in color any more so I invested in another camera. I now use my old one to take family pics where color is not so much an issue. LOL

    • Reply October 29, 2012

      Katie Westlake

      Soon! I’m working on a post focusing on the ins and outs of macro photography right now, so look for that in the next few days. 🙂

  • […] one’s fairly self-explanatory, and I touched on it in my earlier Product Photography post, but I can’t overemphasize the importance of mounting your camera on something steady while […]

  • Reply November 17, 2012

    Jeanne

    Great starting point. Good points for people to bear in mind. The basics go a long way in making a big difference. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your posts on this topic.

  • Reply April 9, 2013

    Randy Pitcher

    Thanks for a great article. I still have trouble taking photos of glass products. There is so much reflection to deal with and is difficult to get the lighting just right.

  • Reply August 14, 2013

    Amelia Originals

    Very interesting article. However the link to CedarCreekSoaps goes to a closed shop.Just thought you needed too know.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply