Use Your Smartphone to Take Amazing Product Photos for Your Online Store


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The camera on your smartphone can take surprisingly great photos

Now that online shopping has become so widespread, having high-quality images of the product you're selling in your online store is just as important as having a high-quality product.

The perceived value of your product just might depend on those photos. Your readers cannot pick up the item and examine it, so the photo (or better yet, photos) of your product must be appealing enough to entice your readers to click the buy button.

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Don't worry. This doesn't mean that you have to hire a professional photographer to take shots of each product for sale on your site. Your budget may be tight – especially if you're just starting your business. Keep reading for some tips to help you use the camera on your smartphone to take surprisingly great photos.

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Equipment for DIY Product Photos

You won't need much preparation to produce shots that will show off your products in their best light. It's not as difficult as it might appear at first, and you won't need to invest a huge amount of money on high end equipment.
  • Camera – Yes, start by using the camera on your smartphone. You may later decide to upgrade, but check the results using your smartphone camera first. You might find that you don't really need to upgrade.
  • Tripod – No matter how careful you are, if you hold the camera with your hands, you won't get the sharpest image possible. To make sure that the item is completely in focus, you will need a tripod to hold the camera perfectly still. You can pick up a good, inexpensive tripod for U$20-30.
  • Table – A folding table works fine. Set it up against a wall with a large window at one side, if possible.
  • White background – Camera stores sell white backdrops, but you don't need to invest in that. Instead, go to an art store and buy a few sheets of their thinnest white mat board. Make sure the sheets are substantially larger than your product because this mat board will be the background in your photos.
  • Masking tape – Use this tape to secure the white mat board onto the table and wall.

Learn All the Operating Functions of the Camera on Your Smartphone

Like many people, you probably already use your smartphone to take snapshots. The cameras on smartphones have become incredibly sophisticated, though, and you may not be taking full advantage of all the possible manual settings that yours possesses.

If you have a smartphone that does not have manual settings, think about adding an app that will add manual controls, such as Camera+ or Camera ZOOM FX.

Take the time to learn how to use the manual settings so that you have some control over exposure and white balance.

Set Up Your Photo Area

First, make sure that your product is perfectly clean with no price tag showing.
Then, wait for a day that is bright but a bit overcast. Avoid bright sunlight because it will throw harsh shadows onto your product.

Set up photo area

If you are unable to set up near a large window, place a fairly bright lamp off to one side.
Tape bottom edge of the mat board flat to the table, leaving enough to curve up the side of the wall. Tape the top of the mat board against the wall. In this way, your white background will be behind your product as well as under it.

Take another piece of white mat board and prop it up against a few books on the table directly across from the window/lamp, leaving enough space between the window/lamp and the propped-up mat board for your product to sit. The propped-up mat board will bounce light from the window/lamp back onto the darker side of your product so that the lighting is more even.

Place your product in the area you've created and start shooting. Consider moving in closer to take shots of details. Having multiple images of your product will increase its overall appeal.

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Edit your product photos

Your smartphone may have some built-in photo editing features, but if not, you can take advantage of some free photo editing software for your pc or Mac –
You don't need to get really creative. After all, you're not producing a work of art. In the case of product photography, you want images that show off the products as they truly are.

Using any of the four free photo editing programs, play around with brightness, contrast, white balance, and sharpness. Crop out extra blank space. Straighten the image if it's slightly crooked. You might find that the photo you thought was already perfect can be made even better.

Don't get discouraged if you're not happy with your first results.
  • Wait for another day when the sunlight is better for photography.
  • Try shooting from different angles.
  • Move the propped mat board around to see if that casts better light onto the product.
  • If possible, sit the item on a small pedestal to make all its features more easily visible.
Experience can be a great teacher. Give your imagination free rein, and you will probably find that you become more and more expert as you try different techniques.

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Author: Kate Benzin

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