Product Photos: How to avoid common mistakes – part 1

by Rune Ersgard, 25.02.13

Ogone new payment methodOnly amateurs make bad pictures. You can do better – with these tips from Remove The Background. If you are doing the product photos for your online shop by yourself, you have the chance to get high-quality images. In this article, you will find the first five tips – you can find the next five tips in the second part.

1. Having no end result in mind

One of the biggest mistakes made by amateurs is to start taking photos with absolutely no idea what end-result they’re going for. It always pays to spend some time on research. Chances are you’ll find some great inspiration for setup and lighting which will save you time and frustration later in the process. Find a website that has product images that you like, or use Amazon or Google Image Search to check out how others are presenting the products that you sell.

Now that you’ve found some nice looking images, try to analyse them. Think about the camera angle, the lighting and the different image types provided.

2. Mixing lighting types

Another very common mistake is the use of mixed lighting types. It’s good to have multiple lighting sources, but for accurate and consistent colours, make sure they’re all of the same type. This is important because different lighting types have different ‘colour-temperatures’ which produce different colour casts. For example, daylight on a sunny day creates a bluish cast, household lighting creates a yellowish cast. The human eye naturally corrects this so we don’t normally notice, but cameras need help. Most digital cameras correct the distortion by automatically detecting the type of light present or allowing you to manually set the white balance. However, your camera cannot do this if you mix different lighting types, so use one type of lighting only!


3. Using flash

Setting up proper lighting is difficult. The best tip is to avoid using flash. Instead we recommend using continuous lighting. Daylight is one of the best continuous lighting sources available and has the major advantage of being free. For best results, shoot your photos at noon, on a cloudy day. Relying on daylight can be very restrictive however, so buying yourself some lamps is a good solution.

You can get some really great energy saving fluorescent lighting that won’t heat up and is ideally suited for product photography. Try to avoid using a single light source. It’s best to use two, preferably three light sources on your products. It’s also a good idea to arrange some white reflective materials around your product (white card or polystyrene will do). These white surfaces reflect some light from your light source towards areas of the product that need more light.

4. Not using soft lighting

Product photography requires even light dispersion. Professional photographers always use soft lighting and you should do the same. If you haven’t got the cash to buy the equipment, you can put some semi-transparent fabric in front of your lighting lamps. Even better, is to use a softbox.

5. Not using a tripod

A tripod is a must-have piece of equipment for product photography. Almost all cameras have a standard mounting for tripods and you can get some really cheap ones that will serve you fine. As well as enabling you to take your photos from a consistent angle, using a tripod enables the use of a much longer exposure time. In product photography, it’s desirable to have as much of the product in focus as possible. This requires a large depth of field which if you’re not using flash, requires a longer exposure time. The problem with a long exposure time is that you can’t hold the camera still and the image will become blurry. So without getting too technical, just go and buy yourself a tripod! Now.

And if the pictures are finished: You can edit

Remove BG specializes in editing product images for online merchants to help you achieve a perfect result for a very low price. The WebShop package includes for example all the necessary editing functions to optimize the images for online use and is available at a price of £0.89 or 1.29 euros per image. Here’s the website of Remove BG.


About the author

Rune Ersgard, Managing Director Remove The Background Germany, Austria, Switzerland

Rune Ersgard was born in Denmark. He worked as a manager in different branches with main focus on sales, leadership and implementing best practices. In 2011, he married Natalia Ersgard. Together with his wife and CEO Thomas Kragelund he established Remove The Background in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2012. This expansion was a logical step as the company had already been present in Scandinavia and the USA and was looking for growth opportunities.

About the author

ist Director of Business Development EMEA bei Pixelz.

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