Thursday, February 21, 2013

Product Photography Basics: Boost Sales and Visibility on Etsy and Beyond!

I'm often asked for tips on my product photography, and I'm happy to share my pointers on taking appealing photos that raise interest and help you sell! You don't need a fancy camera or equipment to start with. All you need is time, patience, and a stubborn dedication to quality!


1. Consider Your Background: You can use colorful paper, vintage fabric, or let your home be the backdrop. Be creative. My background is a sheet of fifty cent poster board, but the result looks professional!

2. Bright Natural Light & Tripod: I see a decline in photo quality when I don't shoot in bright natural light. Schedule picture-time accordingly. Always use a tripod to prevent blur caused by camera movement.

3. Try Many Angles:  I forbid you from taking pictures from one angle! Get on your knees, lay on the floor with the subject. Turn the subject in all directions. Get intimate. It's photo-love-makin' time, baby.


4. Communicate the Use: Stage your item in use. Hell, create new uses for your merchandise! I "made" a planter (above) into a "pen cup" and sold it for twice as much as I would have before.

5. Play and Edit:  It's up to you to make the photo tangible and appealing to the buyer. Brighten, straighten, and crop your photos to perfection. I will follow-up with photo editing tips next time.



6. Right In-Camera: I may edit every photo I put online, but I also get my pictures right in-camera. It cuts down on editing time and yields a better result. Using a tripod and natural light will help you get the proper exposure so your post-production is only for minor and/or artistic improvements.

7. Personalize: My first product photos were rushed and bland. Now I'm getting a feel for them and inserting my personality. The increase in traffic and favorites is substantial! Stage your photos, and add props. Your viewers know when you're having fun, and it makes them want to buy and share your work.


8. Don't be Afraid to Re-Take Photos: My first priority is getting the rest of my merchandise online, but when that's done I'll replace photos that don't fit my new standard.

9. Innovate and Practice, Practice, Practice: Strive to learn new techniques, master your camera, and practice your ass off.

10. Shoot Daily: Try new things EVERY DAY and you'll see improvements quickly.


Just Get Started! My first product photos were not my best work, but they were clear and technically correct. I got my merchandise online and in front of eyes quickly and made sales immediately. Don't agonize if your work isn't where you want it to be. Just keep shooting daily, you'll discover your style and make improvements along the way. The priority is getting images online and making those sales! Be dedicated to quality, but don't get so wrapped up in it that you're paralyzed and don't get started. That used to be me, but no longer!

Got any photography tips to share? Still got photography questions? Let's discuss in the comments. I will follow-up with more product photography tips next time.
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44 comments:

  1. You are lucky to have such a bright and well lit apartment. It is hard sometimes to jump on the natural light, so I found that a light box illuminated by two photo lights (doesn't have to be special, just need white light) will do the trick on dark overcast days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am lucky to have an apartment with tons of windows. When I didn't have that I'd go outside and find a good spot. I want to invest in a light box/photo lights for quality and rainy days as my next step.

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  2. I don't get much bright natural light in my pad either. Weather permitting, and not in direct sunlight, outdoors works pretty well for me. Can be a pain to lug merch outside however. Thanks for posting before & after pics-- food for thought!

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    1. Half of my merch is still at my daaaark boyfriend's pad (where the original photos were taken, hence the difference in lighting) so when I'm over there taking photos I lug the merchandise outside. It's annoying but the difference in quality is worth it.

      All the merch will be coming back to live with me by the way. Lots of uh, weight lifting in the near future ;)

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    2. I'll bring reinforcements :)

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  3. The before & after photos illustrated your tips beautifully. I see what you mean. I don't "use" photos for sales so much, but still gleaned a lot of great ideas. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found the tips helpful. More's 'a comin'!

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  4. Replies
    1. Yes! :) so I do get a little exercise in!

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  5. I used to edit photos freelance for a high volume product photographer and these tips are definitely on point Van! I use actions in Photoshop and presets in Lightroom to help speed along the process too. I also want to try to build this one of these days....

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html

    PS. Embarrassed to admit that even knowing better I am guilty of taking low quality product photos sometimes! You just get so busy and rushed! lol ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm embarassed to admit I get lazy on lots of work when I'm capable of much more. Standards are going way up this year. Thanks for sharing your story, tips, and the link! Want that!

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  6. Really awesome tips Van. Love it.
    What I love most is the added touch and quirk of the little robot, cat, figurine in the pic, it adds to your overall image and branding VERY clever.

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  7. Really awesome tips Van. Love it.
    What I like most is the added touch and quirk of the added robot, cat, figurine in the pics. It really contributes to your overall image and branding VERY clever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it communicates that clearly. :) Gonna keep running with it and getting it together with the brand, trying to make it all consistent.

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    ReplyDelete
  9. I still put off taking photos because I don't like how some of them turn out. The most difficult ones are the full model shots. They do turn out better when I shoot on a live model outside, the others not so good. The vintage clothes seems to sell using a variety of shots, props and lighting, it may just depend on the item and price too.

    A customer once told me the reason she bought my vintage jewelry was because it was on a model (mannequin) and she could better understand the scale of the jewelry. Showing item scale could be very important visually, better than just the size written in the description.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true, taking pictures of vintage clothing and accessories is a real ordeal because it's up to you to communicate scale, and it's usually better with a model. It's best to schedule one full day with a model and/or mannequin (I'm hunting for a good one now) to shoot everything you have and get it out of the way.

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  10. These tips are really helpful for any beginner or inexperienced photographer, i agree with this thought that 'You don't need a fancy camera or equipment to start with. All you need is time, patience, and a stubborn dedication to quality! and all other points are quite helpful for everyone. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad the tips are helpful for all. I'll be following up on specifics for making products pop and editing tips. :) I really agree that we don't need fancy equipment, I used to use a point and shoot for pro jobs and no one could tell the difference if the lighting and settings were right.

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  11. Thanks for the tutorial, Vanessa! The most helpful bit for me was to photograph from different angles. I am so boring and straight-on with my photography. In fact I would be happy with your "before" photos anyday. You definitely have higher photographic standards than me - lol!

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    Replies
    1. It makes all the difference for taking creative shots! I have a mission with my shop, what I curate, and how I'm trying to present it and that's always on my mind when taking photos. It takes longer, but it's worth it to produce something I'm proud of.

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  12. Thanks for the post! I wish I could take photos like that... Have you tried to outsource your photos to web services? like 123 product photos? here is the link 123productphotos.com

    have you had any experience with these people? just curious, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. In most of the cases it is needed to put up the best shot to show the product for most of the eCommerce sites. If needed then do some editing on that taken shots. As its said first impression is the best impression always.

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  14. "So great to see amazing tutorial within this blog. Appreciation for posting and sharing this."

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  15. Thank you for your Product Photography Basics: Boost Sales and Visibility on Etsy and Beyond! very nice tutorial

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Great and professional tips for product photography. thanks for sharing with us .
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    ReplyDelete
  19. This is great! A lot of phone photo apps now also have this capability. Instagram’s selective focus mode can, with a little experimentation, give decent tilt/shift results as well.
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  20. I am agree with you that it can boost more sales. Thanks for sharing the great post.

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  21. Very nice and informative post on product photography and I knew a lot from it. I thank you so much. I want to know about Clipping Path Service . Hope you’ll inform.

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  22. Excellent tips forever, Sure you can consider the background, because you can remove it using clipping path service and you can add any background as your choice. Thanks for your post & hope some more new soon.

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  23. I hope to see more of your post. The product photography is very important nowadays, so I am thankful for your blog. Keep sharing!

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  24. Useful post you have shared with us . Keep continue sharing . You are well-done for this post .

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  28. Thanks for sharing this informative post. I agree with you that good looking and stunning photos easily increase product sell.

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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