Good product photography is essential for any website selling products. This section outlines some clear pointers on DIY product photography.
Reserve an area specifically for your product photography which:
- fits the (following) lighting ‘criteria’
- is out of the way
- you can leave ‘set up’ so as to try and keep all the conditions the same – continuity.
You may want to experiment with a few different areas.
Position the camera at an angle of approximately 45 degrees, pointed down toward your product.
If at all possible, use a tripod - especially if there are many products to photograph. Tripods reduce the chance of movement and therefore, blurry photographs. They also keep the angle and lighting consistent. Otherwise make sure you hold the camera very still when ‘clicking’.
You will need to completely ‘white-out’ the background of the product.
The best way to do this is with a large sheet of matt white card. This will need to be large enough to fill the entire background of the product. Ensure you eliminate any wrinkles or creases, as they’re distracting to the eye in product shots.
To white-out both the wall and floor you can suspend the card from the wall using drawing pins and roll the card down the wall and onto the floor. Make it a gradual curve, to eliminate a sharp crease. Make it so that half the card is on the wall and half is on the floor.
Position the product in the middle of the card on the floor, just in front of the curve.
Product Preparation and Positioning
When photographing a product, think about how you would place it if it were a product featured in your shop window. Try and select an angle that shows the most of your product. An extra ten seconds spent preparing your product, and thinking about its positioning can save someone emailing you for extra details, or even assist with making that extra sale.
Shiny and reflective products are best cleaned of any dust and fingerprints.
Whenever possible, use display stands or mannequins to help position your products.
White or hidden stands are usually best.
Clear plastic stands can produce nasty reflections and "hot" (white) spots. If you have this problem, try changing the angle of the stand in relation to either the light or your camera.
A small piece of discreetly positioned “Blu-tack” is great for holding things, especially, balls, pens and other things that have a tendency to roll.
Be inventive– for example, a piece of paper rolled into a cone makes an excellent stand for rings.
Some items, especially small things, may need something in the shot to provide a sense of scale. Things like a ruler, or common coins, are good for this.
Consistent Sizing (Framing)
Keep the size of the ‘white space’ around the edge of the product consistent, and as small as possible, in all of your photos.
You may want to consult your camera's manual on how to disable any digital zoom features that your camera may have. Digital zoom allows you to zoom in closer in on an object, but at the expense of image quality.
Many digital cameras have a macro setting, which allows you to move your camera a lot closer to an object without losing focus. This is great for photographing small objects. Consult your camera's manual on how to use this feature.
Use bright ambient light from above/behind.
Do not use direct sunlight.
If you do not have access to professional studio lighting, the best lighting conditions are a sunny day, or a bright cloudy day, near a window, but not in direct sunlight.
When photographing shiny objects, such as wine bottles, these will reflect ‘spots’ of light. These spots need to be shaded.
Professional studios use a white umbrella, which allows the light through but removes the bright spot, i.e., it diffuses the spots of light.
If you do not have a white umbrella, a sheet of white paper or card positioned behind the camera will work a treat.
Photos should be no smaller than 800 x 600 pixels at 72 dpi (dots per inch).
Maximum file size should not exceed two (2) megabytes. Files over this size become difficult to email and upload to the website. They also take up an excessive amount of storage space.
Please note: if you also require the images for print, you will need to save an original high-quality copy. Print requires an image resolution of 200 – 300 dpi.
Before the photo is transferred to the website it needs to be ‘adjusted’ (cropped, colour or contrast-enhanced, etc). It is very unlikely the photos direct from the camera will be suitable for display on your website.
Fortunately the Zeald Content Management System has a built-in tool that will automatically manipulate and prepare your photos for publishing on the Web. All you need to do is select your photos on your hard-drive and our software does the rest. Talk to your E-Business Consultant or the Support Team if you need some help with this.