Having great product photography can be a significant component to attracting subscribers to your business, and it can also seem like a daunting task. What camera should I use? Do I need expensive lighting equipment? What does "aperture" mean? However, there are only a few key ingredients to making great photos, of which a professional photography background is not one of them:
- A sample box or collection of products
- A camera
- Good light
- A distraction-free space
The first two should be pretty straight forward. You need to have your subscription box, or a sample of the products that you'll include in your subscription if you aren't shipping a box, and you'll also need a camera. Most smart phones are capable of taking great photos that you can use online, and you don't need to go out and rent a big fancy camera or hire a professional photographer.
The final two ingredients are what can make or break a great photo.
Light is the single most important factor contributing to successful photography, and is actually quite easy to achieve; again, there's no need to go rent fancy expensive lighting equipment, since the best light is free -- the sun!
Of course, if you do have some lights or a well-lit area you can use by all means do so. If not, no worries. Here are some tips for taking photographs using natural light:
- Take the photographs at times in the day when the sun is lower in the sky. Direct afternoon sunlight can be too strong and negatively affect the outcome, so mid-morning and mid-evening are good times.
- Find a shady, but well lit spot. Shade is ideal because sun-spots caused from light filtering through trees can be very distracting and are nearly impossible to fix after the fact.
Now all you need is a distraction free space. The purpose of product photography is clarity of focus on the products, so avoid anything in the background that may be distracting. For example, if you flip through any magazine and note the advertising photos, you'll see many are on solid white or black backgrounds. This allows for the products to pop. See this example from one of our merchants, Pipsticks:
Maybe you want a background that speaks more to what your subscription or business is though. Great! Find a distraction-free spot at the right time of day, and you'll have something like another one of our merchants, Calmbox:
Lastly, you'll need to get them into a format that works well for the web, so be sure to scale them down to a smaller size then they are when you download them from your camera or phone -- up to a maximum of 1000px on the long-side should be plenty large for viewing on any device or computer.
Each photo used with your Marketplace listing should also be the same size. This ensures that when potential subscribers flip through the photos, the changes in sizes that could occur if they were notthe same size won't be distracting.