6 tips on product photography and styling for business owners

If your business sells products, you need good photographs to showcase them, and while you might want to invest in a professional product photographer, your small business budget may not allow this just yet. Here are 6 simple, practical ways to get great product shots, right now.

1. Plan the shoot
A good place to start is your product. Look at it, decide what kind of feeling you want to convey and then plan your shoot around this. If you are selling scarves, you might want to style a shoot with a friend wearing the scarf or do a simple flat lay with accessories or a background that fits your style. Be clear on the style you are aiming for and don’t clutter the images- remember that your product must be the focus of the images you are creating.

2. Background and styling
While a plain white background is a good default for most products, you can opt to style a background rather than just sticking to plain white. Flat lays are becoming more popular with the rise of sites like Instagram, and anyone can do a flat lay without a lot of experience. A flat lay is a shot from directly above, usually on a flat surface. Don’t be scared to play around with different backgrounds and props to see what looks best on camera.

3. Prep your product
Be sure to get your product looking clean and pristine when setting up your shoot. People will not be enticed to buy your unique, handmade coffee mugs if they have fingerprints on them, no matter how cute they might look. Wipe your product, snip off threads, give it wash and so forth. You want to be sure that your product looks at its best when you start snapping images.

4. Natural light is always a safe bet
Now that your shoot is styled, and your product is ready, be sure to check the light. Professionals may be able to bend and bounce light to create awesome effects, but you might want to stick to simple, natural light for the moment. Set up your product on a desk in front of a window and play around to see what time of day works best. You want the light to be soft and natural looking without any direct sunlight hitting your product. Watch out for any dark shadows that may distort your image.

5. Equipment
You don’t need a lot of expensive gear when doing your product shoot. You mainly need to get your hands on a background, a tripod and a camera or smartphone. Your background can be anything from a wall, cardboard or piece of fabric- your imagination is the limit. You can definitely snap images using your smartphone, just be sure to do some research on your phone’s capabilities, you might even discover features your never realised it had. A tripod or something you can lean your camera or phone on is also a good way of getting crisp images that will look great on your website or social media accounts.

6. Now, get shooting
Be sure to take loads of pictures from different angles, use different backgrounds and effects on your camera and then you can start editing the images and adding filters if you’d like. There are many photo editing and design apps that are user friendly and free.

Now that you have your product shots, you can start building your website and social media feeds. Your customers will be attracted by good visuals, and people are more likely to purchase your products if they can see what they look like. For help with your social media management, contact us at chantelle@jackalmedia.co.za so we can assist you in building your brand online.

Remember to follow us on Facebook at jackalmediaZA and Instagram @jackal_media for more tips and articles like this.