The perceived value of your products is best judged with the quality of the visuals. Customers look for a proof of quality when they explore your product with the help of the photos and no matter how good your written copy and descriptions are, the first level of engagement is through the visual element.

A polished and professional image makes a lasting impression, creates engagement, and builds transparency and trust. High-quality, beautiful pictures that can make a huge impact on making up a customer’s mind and help in conversion.

However, not every beginner is in a position to afford professional photography. DIY photography is a great alternative to shooting some perfect visuals within a small budget. All you need is to be aware of the proper tools and techniques for taking a compelling product photo.

Just keep in mind that the pics should create a uniform impression in terms of quality, subject matter, right saturation levels, colour themes, and background selection.

Here’s how to manage product photography under $50

Types of Product Photography

There are two main types of images used to showcase product across marketing channels.

Product-only images

(With clean-cut, white background)

These images are best suited for the product page and instantly describe the product at a glance. Their main job is to make the customers aware of how a product looks from all angles and highlight the product material and features.

There should be a variety of shots taken from different angles showcasing the product including the description of the features.

While listing on Amazon care should be taken to post around 10-12 of these to portray clearly all the features, looks, quality through these product images.

In-context or lifestyle photos

These are pictures that show a product being used, the environment in which it is used and other complementing products in context.

Mix product-only shots, with one or two in-context shots that give as much clarity of the product along with creating an emotional bond with the product.

Solo Shot With White Background

Backgrounds can cast a curtail impact. Often customers withdraw from product due to a fuzzy background that makes the shoot look unprofessional.

Why is shooting on white background important?

  • A white backdrop is easy to remove while retouching the images.
  • A white sweep will cast its white light on the product further accentuating the subject. The white background also brings out the true colour of a product and prevents any colour spills.
  • Shooting on a white backdrop also helps to reduce the amount of photo editing that needs few or no brightness and contrast adjustments later.

Lighting

Unless you want to venture in professional photography, artificial light sources are not recommended. They’re quite fiddly and needs intense knowledge of the subject if you want the right effect.

Focus on natural light from a window as it’s easy to work with and delivers beautiful images. Fancy light tents or special lightings result in similar if not worst results as compared to natural lighting.

How To Set Up Your Studio

Set should be near a window and let the light fall from the side upon the set. Lay a white flexible sheet or a board on the table placed next to the wall that runs all the way up to the wall to create a white sweep that is much larger than the product itself. Ideal sweep is the size which can fill the entire shot frame when you look through the camera.

Making your own lightbox for product photos from inexpensive materials:

In case you want to experiment with some artificial lighting then you can create your own inexpensive lightbox. Lightboxes are diffuser of sorts that are meant to distribute the light evenly around the product.

  1. Grab a huge cardboard box with enough room to place your item inside.
  2. Buy two light clamps and use strong bulbs to mount over
  3. Cut large and even rectangular openings on each side of the box.
  4. Lastly, tape tissue paper to cover these openings. Tissue paper will make the lighting softer to prevent any overexposed brightness.

One of the lights should serve as the main light placed in the front. The other acts as a backlight or the fill light, depending on the desired result and placed on the opposite side, back or above the product.

Hold a smartphone placed on a rig supported on a cheap tripod that maintains a consistent height in all shots. Hand holding a camera might create inconsistency.

Adjust the image settings

As a thumb rule, always shoot the largest, highest-quality photos possible. These can be later compressed to make them smaller.

If you are shooting on a  Smartphone, keep the camera at the best-quality image setting.  If shooting on a DSLR, the size settings options are large, medium, and small — go with the large. Choose superfine quality from the image quality settings.

How to shoot in Manual mode with a DSLR

While shooting on a manual mode on a DSLR, keep in mind these advanced settings

  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO

Aperture

- The aperture is the hole within the lens that controls the brightness of the image by adjusting how many light travels into the camera.

The aperture setting determines the in-focus shot. Large f-stop number captures everything while a small f-stop number isolates and focuses on the foreground and blurs the background.

Select aperture small enough to clearly capture the product, but is large enough to deliver a well-lit product, preferably around f/8.

Shutter

- While the aperture decides the amount of light entering the lens, the shutter speed or the or exposure time a camera is exposed to light is the speed at which the hole opens and closes and it is measured in fractions of a second. Therefore, a small aperture combined with a slow shutter speed delivers the best images.

ISO

- The ISO determines the sensitivity of the camera’s image sensor to light. Low ISO means that the sensor is less sensitive to light producing finer images with least noisy photos and lesser grains. Keep the ISO as low as possible and not let it exceed 400.

Optimizing and retouching

Optimizing the image and shave off a few unnecessary kilobytes. Initially keep the width and height at 1500 pixels and save the file in .jpg format. Later while uploading these, it will be resized within the editor.

Editing an image can make all the difference between producing a mediocre and professional result.

There are free image editing tools available. Also, retouching can be a tricky task. It's best to outsource these;

There are many freelancers who will be happy to do an image for $3-5.

Finally, always make sure to name your images correctly. Include relevant metadata and keywords while naming.

These additional details will help the Amazon’s search engines understand what the image is about and it helps to improve your ranking giving a boost to organic traffic.

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