The internet is a visual medium. It doesn’t matter how good your written copy is. Photos are the most crucial elements that convert customers and drive sales. In this era of online shopping, buyers rely on photos to assess the value and quality of your products. So, they can mean the difference between a pass and a sale. The good news is, taking fantastic product photos is not very challenging as long as you have the right gear and knowledge. With proper techniques, you can take quality product photos on your smartphone.
What Makes Quality Product Photos?
The quality product photos are the ones that are detailed, sharp, and clear, with no distracting features or backgrounds. Such photos only highlight the product. That’s why they often feature a white background, as this draws the viewer’s attention and helps create consistency across the seller’s product range and website. When it comes to consistency, you want to make sure that all your products are photographed in the same light. It would be best if you also snapped them from as many angles as possible so that your shoppers can better visualize the products. Quality, consistent photos are the next best thing to seeing the products in person.
Practical Tips for Smartphone Product Photography
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take high-quality product photos. All you need to do is make sure that you have the right gear and apply some tried and tested techniques and you are all set.
Choose Your Smartphone
Smartphones are now more capable of taking high-quality photos than ever before. While smartphone cameras are not a replacement for professional photography equipment and may not be on par with the precision of DSLR cameras, they are more than capable of taking amazing product photos. With solid focus capabilities, multiple shot settings, and more editing power than ever before, smartphone cameras can do an excellent job of creating suitable images for product listings, social media sharing, and more.
However, it is essential to use the best quality camera possible. Following are some smartphones with capable cameras that will help you maximize your results:
Samsung Galaxy S21
Apple iPhone 12
Google Pixel 5
Huawei Mate 40
Get a Tripod
A sturdy tripod will leave you with blur-free, sharp photos and allow you to shoot from virtually every angle comfortably. A standard tripod that features a three-way head is more than enough. A mini tabletop tripod is a better and cheaper option if you have a product photography table.
Set Up Your Backdrop
A plain white background is the best starting point for quality smartphone product photography. You can buy a high-quality backdrop or simply a roll of white paper from your local art store if you are going down the DIY route. Set up the paper as a sweep and use strong tape to hang the backdrop. The key benefit of a sweep is that if it gets dirty, you can cut off the dirty part and roll a new, cleaner piece down.
Use a Reflector or Bounce Board
Whether you are using natural or artificial lighting, you will want to make sure there are no harsh shadows. A reflector or bounce board is an effective and cheaper way to minimize shadows and direct light in your favour. If you are using artificial lighting, then it is recommended that you avoid the built-in camera flash of your smartphone as it may result in producing dark shadows. It would help if you chose external lighting options, e.g. LED lights, etc. The goal is even soft lighting, so experiment with bounce and fill-light to find what works for you and your products.
Adjust Your Shooting Style for Product Photography
Now that you have set everything up, it’s time to start shooting. If you are new to product photography or photography in general, you will need to be patient. Just like any photography, getting the hang of smartphone product photography can take a while.
Following are some tips that will help:
Switch to Manual Mode
Many smartphone owners are used to letting their smartphone camera do the work for them but shooting in manual mode is a valuable skill. Smartphone cameras nowadays feature manual mode with lots of useful options. Start by changing the ISO, aperture, focus, etc. and adjust your exposure until you are satisfied with the preview image. By tweaking the various settings, you are more likely to capture photos that suit your desired style.
Take a Lot of Pictures
It is highly recommended that you take a lot of pictures during the shoot so that you have several options at the end of the day. There’s nothing worse than browsing your product photos afterwards, only to realize that you have forgotten to shoot from a certain angle or the shot you wanted isn’t as good as you expected it to be.
Take a Few Lifestyle Photos
It is recommended that you take some photos of your products in action. These are known as ‘in-context or ‘lifestyle’ images, and they are excellent for reminding your potential buyers why they clicked through to your website in the first place. Lifestyle photos add life to your products. When taking such pictures, make sure that the backdrop matches the products. For instance, natural landscapes are ideal for whimsical summer clothes, while a busy city setting is appropriate for suitcases.
Spend Time on Post-Production
Post-production is very important for putting the finishing touches on your product photos. Editing and enhancing photos is relatively easy on smartphones nowadays, thanks to the variety of apps that are designed for this very purpose. Simply choose a set of images that you are satisfied with and use your favourite photo editing app to polish them. This could mean removing mannequins or flaws, correcting the colour, tweaking the exposure, and more.
Now that you have learned about product photography on a smartphone, it’s time to get started. Your product photos have a lasting effect on your brand image, so it is highly recommended that you take your time researching and preparing before your next shoot. Finally, don’t get discouraged if the photos don’t turn out perfectly right away.
Photography takes practice. With the right attitude, resources, and time, you will be shooting photos – and selling more products – in no time.