Product photography is an important part of any eCommerce business. It helps customers understand how a product works, looks and sometimes feel. It also makes your website look professional and that translates in a better brand. If you are embarking on producing the photos yourself instead hiring a professional product photographer, there are many things that can go wrong when when doing it, so don’t make this photography mistakes.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with product photography is using bad lighting. This is a subject that we can write an exclusive blog about it but I will scratch the most important parts.
If you use too much light, your subject will appear washed out and unattractive. On the other hand, if you use too little light, your subject will be dark and hard to see. You need to strike a balance between these two extremes. That balance depends on what you want to achieve with your photography. eCommerce photos tend to be bright and clean to focus on the product but again, it depends on your goal.
This is one of the key factors to get a good quality light. Depending on the shape, texture, and camera angle the light direction may be different. One tip that will make your products look better is to light across your camera angle, it could be completely straight on the oposite side or sligly on the sides. The idea is to enhance the edges of the product to give some dimenssion.
There are many ways to modify light when doing product photography. One popular method is using a reflector. Reflectors can be used to bounce light back onto the product, fill in shadows, and create a more even overall light.
Another common light modifier is a diffuser. Diffusers soften the light and help reduce hot spots on the product. This is especially helpful when photographing products with shiny surfaces.
Finally, umbrellas are a cheap way to modify light for product photography as long as the product is not reflective, because you would see the umbrella shape on the product and it’s not very appealing.
Product photography often requires special lighting to make the products being photographed look their best. The color of light can have a big impact on how a product looks, and different colors of light can be achieved by changing the temperature of the light.
The temperature of light is measured in Kelvin, and it is generally accepted that the ideal color temperature for product photography is between 5000K and 5500K. This range of temperatures will produce a light that is close to natural daylight, which makes colors appear bright and vibrant. When the Kelvin temperature is too low, a light might appear to be yellow or orange and can make product colors appear dull. When the Kelvin temperature is too high, a light might appear blue and can wash out product colors. The Kelvin temperature is an easy way to balance the color of a light, and it is common to use gels to correct the temperature or to give a creative twist to the final image.
When it comes to product photography, the background is just as important as the product itself. The right background can make your product pop and help it stand out from the competition. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a background for your product photos.
Texture and color are two important factors to consider. A busy or cluttered background can be distracting, so choose something with a simple texture or pattern. A solid color backdrop is a great option if you want your product to really stand out. On the other hand, textures and patterns could be your friend, as long as you incorporate them in a way that enhances the composition, we are wining!
A good practice is to use pure white backdrops when photographing products for e-commerce, it is clean and pretty much industry standard.
No Depth of Field
In product photography, depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. The depth of field can be shallow, deep, or anywhere in between. It depends on several factors, including the aperture setting on your camera, the focal length of your lens, and how close you are to your subject.
When photographing products, a shallow depth of field can be used to make the background blurry, which makes the product stand out from the rest of the image. A deep depth of field keeps both the foreground and background in focus, which can be useful for showing off a product’s features or for creating a more lifelike image.
Once again, depending on your goal and product type you need to play with the depth of field in order to get the look you are looking for. A great tip to create some dimension is to use some foreground elements to make the composition more interesting.
Too Much Noise
Another mistake people make when photographing products is using too high ISO which makes the image too noisy or grainy. Noise is present at any level of ISO but the lower it is the less visible is to the naked eye. To avoid introducing too much noise to an image you need to lower the ISO so the image is clear and crisp. This comes with a price and is to have more powerful lights, since the lower the ISO the more light you need to properly expose the scene, whether it’s natural or artificial like strobes or LED lights.
If there is something that you really need to pay attention is the composition. This is the most important aspect when taking any kind of photo since it is the way the viewer navigates the photo to understand and engage with it. A quick tip is to make it simple, try to fill the frame with your product other than props to avoid distraction, and try to use a grid to position your item in one of the strongest spots of the frame. Check this composition article to know more about this subject.
Very often you need to think out of the box when photographing products, you don’t always get the most appealing item to photograph so angles are key to spicing up the composition. Getting the wrong angle is very easy and to avoid this you need to experiment with different angles until you or your client are happy with the result. It’s a good practice to try different angles to highlight product features, top-down, down up, and sideways. Sometimes a good idea is to move your product in a way that catches your eye.
Using the Wrong Lens
A lens is one of the most important tools in a photographer’s toolkit. The right lens can make or break a photo, and using the wrong lens can ruin a perfectly good shot.
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right lens for product photography. First, consider the size of the product. A small product will require a different lens than a large product. Second, think about the distance between the product and the camera. A close-up shot will need a different lens than a wide-angle shot.
Unless you are photographing a lay flat scene where you would need a standard focal length, 50mm lens, I would go with a macro lens around 90mm or 105mm that are very common. With this Im not saying that these are the only options, but the best ones.