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Taking Great Pictures of Your Products

As a small business owner, you know that how well you display your products in your brick and mortar store has a direct impact on your sales. Displaying products online is really not much different, and these days taking great pictures doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Use the following tips to make your products really stand out online:

Taking-Great-Product-Photographs-200x3001) Choosing a good camera may be cheaper than you think

Taking good pictures requires a good camera, but these days getting a good camera doesn’t have to mean breaking the piggy bank. Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are very popular these days, and have become reasonably priced. If you go that route, consider a good 50mm lens, and if you won’t be using a tripod consider a lens with image stabilization.

If you have a smart-phone, you may not need to spend another dime on a camera. The latest iPhone and Android models have remarkably high-definition cameras, and can take pretty impressive pictures.

If your camera has an aperture setting, try using a wide aperture to narrow the depth of field and get a richer shot. Something like “f/1.8” or “f/2” should do the trick. Check your manual to see how to set the aperture for your camera.

2) Make sure you have good lighting

Natural sunlight often provides you with the best results. If you’re an early-riser, photographers call the hour just after sunrise the “magical” hour – when the sunlight gives your shots a soft glow.

You can also consider purchasing a professional lighting kit. You should be able to find several kits for under $100.

3) Use a tripod

Taking good photographs requires a steady hand, or you will end up taking a lot of blurry shots. Using a tripod keeps your camera steady so you can focus on getting the picture you want.

Using a tripod also maintains consistency by making sure you are shooting at the same height and angle for similar products. This will give your shop a more polished look.

4) Create a backdrop for professional looking shots

A trick often used by major online retailers is to use a continuous backdrop, often bright-white, neutral grey or black. setup_lightbox-300x168Thankfully, it’s easy and inexpensive to do all on your own.

Decide whether you want to use natural light or photo lights. If you plan to use natural sunlight, you will want to set up near a window with lots of sunlight. Choose a dark room if you plan to use photo lights.

You can purchase a roll of craft paper and some simple clamps from a hardware store. Roll the craft paper down a long table, and use the clamps to attach one end of the paper to something a few feet above the table. This gives you a subtle sloped backdrop. Place your products on the craft paper just after it comes in contact with the table.

5) Pay attention to shadows

Keep your lighting on the same side of the object as your camera, or just off to one side. Harsh back-lighting produces shadows that can ruin your shot.

6) Experiment

We are often our biggest stumbling block when learning something new. Don’t be afraid to get creative, and try new things when taking pictures. You’ll probably take some duds, but you’ll get some great ones too, and become a better photographer during the process.

7) Learn to size and crop your images

Taking pictures of different sizes, and orientation can sometimes lead to a messy looking shop. To help keep the appearance of your shop looking consistent across all of your products, it is recommended that you either be consistent in the orientation of your pictures, or cropping your images so they are square – equal length and height.

This isn’t a required step at all, but if you’re particular about the way your shop looks, try cropping your images to 600px by 600px. Because your shop will create square thumbnails for display, this will insure that all of the thumbnails look exactly as the full-size image does. Of course, if your photographs are your product, you probably won’t want to do this.

You can re-size and crop your images when you upload them to your Merchant Shop, but if that isn’t straight-forward to you, try http://pixlr.com. You can use their online image editor with your web browser, or download their app to your smart-phone or tablet.

Now go have some fun taking great pictures!

 

 

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