Tuesday, June 16, 2015Global Administrator

How to Shoot Product Photography Like a Pro on a Limited Budget

Did you know that 67% of consumers considered image quality to be very important when purchasing a product online (Bigcommerce)?

That is over half! This means that as a start-up, you should be spending some serious energy on these images. You want to focus on quality and, more importantly, knowing your audience. The questions remains, however, how does a start-up afford professional photography?

Answer: They don’t!

We have a few amateur tips and tools that your can use to save yourself some money and have dynamic product photos that sell!

The Camera:

We would all love to hire professional photographers to do our product photography, but the reality is that we usually can’t afford it. The good news is that some of the sophisticated cameras are becoming more affordable for the typical entrepreneur starting out. You can find a decent one between $200.00 and $500.00 on Amazon. It’s important to remember that the money put into this should also be looked at as an investment, because a good camera will last you.

If a decent camera is still not in the budget, the average smart phone will do just fine. The majority of the smart phone cameras these days come with extremely sophisticated settings. The average viewer probably wouldn’t even notice a difference in the photos. Especially once you edit them with some of the tools we go over a little further down.

The Equipment:

Most people think that to have great product photos, they need to have equipment that looks like this…

The reality is that, yes, equipment like this will improve your photos and give them a professional flare. That is not to say you absolutely need them. Instead you can get creative with a few things you have lying around the house. A couple of desk lamps (same wattage) a clear plastic tote, some white Bristol board and piece of plexi –glass is all you really need.

(Image source Bigcommerce – )

These are every-day items that you probably already have, or won’t have to pay much for at your local Wal-Mart.

Another option you may want to consider is to look at some more natural locations and settings like your back yard. Natural light is often the best light. Unfortunately, this can be a little unpredictable due to a number of factors, so be sure to do your research and have a lot of time for test shooting. Also, make sure the setting suits your product and speaks to your audience.

Finally, remember that sometimes your product is best showcased in use to help users visualize it. An example would be a pair of athletic shoes on a runner, or perhaps an individual wearing your line of lip sticks.

If you’re willing to make a bit of an investment, you can find some fairly inexpensive camera equipment on Amazon that will give you the proper setting and lighting for the products you want to show case.

Free Tools:

Let’s face is, we’re not all Photoshop experts; But, the internet is a wonderful thing! There are so many free tools and apps you can utilize as you start up to doctor your photos. You truly have the ability to create dynamic photos at your fingertips! Here are a few of our favourites:

Instagram: This seems to be a crowd favourite. It’s a free app which helps you apply flattering filters for those selfies everyone loves to post. In addition to this, it’s a great tool for your start up. We like that it provides two core functions for start-up online retailers:
  1. It gives your product photos the look that they have been edited by a professional (did we mention it does this at your fingertips?)
  2. It provides an avenue to engage with your customers and get feedback!
VSCOCam: This is another photo editing app that allows you to add that professional finish to all your photos.  It’s quite impressive how many editing tools this app provides. From light altering to cropping, this tool has it all. Did we mention it’s free?!

Canva: Although this isn’t really a photo editing tool, it can still be useful for online retailers. It can create great content for your social media and communication strategy. Using the image assets you created (using the tools above) you have the ability to create free graphic content that is original and yours to keep! This is great when starting to build your brand and creating that look to all your social content.

In the end, you could spend thousands of dollars to take your product photos to the next level, or you can get creative with what you have using the tools and advice above. This saves you some money and gives you a head start for some more important expenses you may have. The important thing to remember is to take your time and have fun!

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