In the Digital Age, social media and website accessibility is more important than ever, and photography is one aspect that is often overlooked. Current and future customers look at your images as a “make or break.” The look, quality and aesthetic of your digital platforms can create split-second purchase decisions. This aesthetic is largely shaped by your imagery.
This guide for beginners will help kickstart a digital evolution for your brand. By putting your best foot forward, more and more customers will be drawn to your high quality products.
1. Lighting. Lighting. Lighting.
Without proper lighting, the camera won’t be able to pick-up the beauty of your products as you view them in person. “A white background without light doesn’t appear white in the photo, it appears grey,” says Tony Northrup in an article for the Digital Photography School. There are two forms of lighting that you will want to stick to; studio and natural lighting. Natural lighting is ideal for social media and products such as food, people and clothing. Natural lighting offers natural looking photos that won’t come off as too posed or catalog.
Photos can also be taken indoors while facing windows, but shooting your products outside is ideal. Perform your photoshoots in the early morning and late afternoon because that is when the sun offers the best light without being too harsh. The more overcast the sky, the softer the light will be. If the sun is causing too much glare then try moving to a shaded area.
A photo studio is required to accomplish studio lighting. Getting the basics such as a backdrop, light modifiers and LED studio lights is a great place to start. Don’t let studio lighting intimidate you! But, hiring a photographer or renting studio space can be an easy alternative to getting quality studio product shots.
2. Aim for Minimal Edits
Even the most skilled photo-editors can only accomplish so much. When you are setting up your product shots, try to get them as close to perfect as possible. Besides the fact that editing software capabilities can only go so far, an over-edited image can look sloppy and unappealing to your customers. This is especially important for social media because the more authentic the product images are, the better quality they will portray.
3. Take a Basic Editing Class
Though your images should be as minimally edited as possible, does not mean that the skill is useless. Making small edits and tweaks will strengthen your product images and can result in cleaner and crisper photography. With so many different software offerings and capabilities, it is hard to figure out what is most important to learn. We suggest keeping it simple and sticking to Adobe Photoshop. This program offers the most basic and quality capabilities. Don’t want to spend money on classes? YouTube is full of tutorials for all types of editing tips and tricks.
4. Look for Inspiration!
Many brands are well established and work as great examples of what your brand could become. Look at other pages to see what has been successful and what you feel would represent your company well. Experiment and try out new things to attract new customers and impress your current ones.
5. Become Familiar with the Rule of Thirds
The “Rule of Thirds” is often taught in basic art and photography classes. Similar to the two above images, this concept teaches the visualization of imagery as nine equals parts. This helps to balance imagery as well as determine focus, and the goal is to aline your products where two points intersect. “Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot,” says Darren Rowse, founder of Digital School Photography. “Using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.”
6. Use Props to Make it Pop
Props can create a more dynamic photo and make your products shine. The important thing to remember, is to not over do it! The last thing you want is for the props to take away focus or distract your customers away from your product. Add enough to create an aesthetic and support what you’re selling. And remember, less is more when it comes to props!
7. Take Shots at Multiple Angles
You may find yourself saying, “let’s go back shoot that again,” if you take just one angled shot of your product. When your products are set and ready for shooting, move around and snap a photo at every angle before moving on to the next product. You may even find that some of your products are captured best at differing angles.
8. Show your Product in the World
Don’t just show your products sitting lifeless, but provide context to the style, look, and feel. This will help your current and future customers envision themselves or their loved ones using your products. This is especially true for apparel. It is much harder for your customers to envision your products on them without an image that shows someone wearing it that they can relate to.
9. When in Doubt, White Out (the Back)
Never underestimate the power of a plain white background. Putting your product in front of a busy complex background that distracts away from what you’re selling, is often the worst thing you can do. The goal of all product photography is to showcase your brand offerings the best way you can and is especially ideal for using on retail websites.
10. Display the Details
It’s one thing to describe the intricate details of your products and designs, but include multiple angled shots on your website so your customers can actually see them as well. If your backpack offering has multiple zippered pockets, show an image of each of those features. Your customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchases if your images contain more details.
We have the blanks to kickstart your designs!
Now that you have mastered digital platforms, stock up on the the blank apparel and products you need to keep business booming. And when your designs are market ready, be sure to tag us on social media so we can see your amazing art and photography skills at work.