How to Take Amazing Product Images for Under £75
The product images are your one and only chance to showcase just how special your items are. So, your media has to be absolutely perfect as unprofessional photos will only leave an unprofessional impression on your customer.
If you are new and just starting out, you may be wondering how you can create high quality media when the only photos you snap, are the ones you take on holiday. Well no need to worry, because this guide will run through all the fundamentals that you need to know to create phenomenal product photos on a tight budget.
Get a Good Camera
Obviously, at the very least you need some kind of camera. The first thing you could do is see if anyone in your friendship group owns a high quality DLSR (Digital Single Lens Reflex). Ask them if you could borrow it and promise you’ll take good care of it.
If not, don’t worry. Today’s smartphones are now so good, that you can now use your own personal iPhone, Samsung or Google phone to take professional level photos. Just make sure that your camera is powerful enough. The more megapixels the better – if your phone can take pictures that are around 12 mega pixels, that’s great.
If you’ve got a rubbish phone and don’t want to upgrade, then find a friend who does have a good phone and will let you borrow it, because it will make all the difference to your product photos.
Smartphone Cost – Free
Get a Tripod
Of course you can always forego the tripod when taking pictures, but you are liable to get blurry, unfocused or just outright unusable photos. A tripod will give you stability, consistency and focus. If you’re taking long exposure shots, a tripod is essential.
Alternatively, you could use books or a stool if you really don’t want to invest in a tripod. However, the legs on a tripod will give you a lot more flexibility and will allow you to take much more effective photos. Also with a tripod you’ll be able to capture professional videos to enhance your product pages even further.
Google budget smartphone tripods and you’ll see a number of products to suit your budget.
Budget Tripod Cost – £15
Fix Your Lighting
The next aspect that you need to think about is the lighting. Bad lighting will really downgrade your photos so you need to think carefully as to what is best for your products. You can pick one of two choices; natural or artificial lighting.
One way to ensure your lighting is consistent is by purchasing a lightbox. Made with translucent walls, a lightbox will diffuse light, so that your product can be captured without any shadows and uneven lighting. If you really want to save money, there are tutorials online should you wish to construct your own lightbox using cardboard!
You’ll also need to purchase some lamps in order to light your product. If you don’t want to spend too much money, purchase some clamp lights and spring clamps.
Be aware that you will have to adjust and readjust products, cameras and lights, and you may get frustrated at the frequent fiddling. So be prepared to put in a bit of work if you pick artificial lighting and purchase a lightbox/softbox.
Complete Budget Softbox Setup – £50
If you’re on a really tight budget and new to photography, put your faith in mother nature. Natural light is very easy to manipulate and very easy to set up. Purchase a white backdrop and you’ll be able to set up a small studio in your house, so long as you’ve got a large window to work with.
Should the sun be particularly glorious this will create strong shadows, so account for this with a reflector to disperse the light.
If you do decide to use natural light, you’ll have to work quickly considering how temperamental British weather is. Also, the strength of the light will vary on different days so your photos won’t look consistent if you shoot for more than one day (although you will be able to retouch your images in post-processing).
White Backdrop – £20
Reflector – £10
Before you take any photos, ready all of your products by cleaning them and making sure they are in pristine condition. Create a schedule and settle on the angles you will shoot from so that all of your photos look consistent and professional.
Take some test shots and only start photographing when you’re really happy with the initial results. Research suggests that customers like a lot of photos, so capture a lot of high quality shots, which will help customers visualise your product, and make a sale all the more likely.
Product Only Images
Product only images are the pictures that consist of just your product. These are the photos you will shoot in your home made studio on a white background and which require some editing to ensure they look really professional. These images will make up the bulk of the media on your product page.
Lifestyle pictures show your products in action and are often used on social media, blogs and emails. However, many brands also add a few lifestyle shots in the product page and so long as yours are of sufficient quality, it won’t do your products any harm adding a few lifestyle images.
Just like all your favourite celebrities, it’s important that you give your images a little retouch. Perhaps the colour of your product is a little off or maybe you didn’t notice a flaw in one of your items. Thankfully you’ll be able to rectify it with one of the many photo editing programmes available.
Most professionals use Adobe Photoshop, but you can find free photo editing tools such as GIMP and Pixlr. If you’re completely new to these editing programmes, you’ll have no idea what to do. You’ll need to follow a few tutorials and it will take some time before you’re completely comfortable editing your photos to a professional standard.
Use one of the more user friendly editing apps which are available in all app stores or if you want the easy life. Or if you really want to save energy, get googling and find a freelancer to edit your chosen pictures.
Before you upload them to your site – resize them so they are web ready as Google dislikes bloated images that take too long to load. Also, give your images descriptive names that are keyword rich, as this will help your SEO.
Freelancer Editing – £20
Total = £75 (Tripod + White Backdrop + Reflector + Freelancer Editing)
Great imagery is critical to your website – but creating that great imagery doesn’t have to be hard. You’re passionate about your products and you want them to be seen in the best possible light. Hopefully, this guide will help you do just that.
Are you thinking about setting up an ecommerce shop? Then get in touch with us at DotGO. We are a UK website design company and we’ve been designing affordable website designs for the last 17 years. Contact us to today find out how we can get your ecommerce site up and running.