The first thing people see when they visit an online store are the photos! Good product photography is by far the most important part of selling or showing your work online. All to often I come across beautiful jewellery, but the photos just don’t do it justice. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg paying for a professional photographer to take your product shots, just follow these few Do’s and Don’ts and have some fun finding your style.
- DO USE FILTERED, NATURAL LIGHT
Good lighting can make or break a photo. Use bright natural daylight filtered through a window with a shear curtain for beautiful results. Avoid direct sunlight which creates harsh shadows and too much contrast. If natural light is unavailable, use a lightbox, either purchased or home made, to mimic soft defused light. (Make sure you use ‘daylight’ bulbs for the best results)
2. DO USE THE MACRO SETTING ON YOUR CAMERA
You don’t need to invest in a really expensive camera, but I don’t recommend using your cell phone either! A decent DSLR with a macro setting (usually a little flower on the settings dial) will do the trick. Get comfortable with the camera you are using and get up close and personal. The Macro setting allows you to take very close up and detailed shots, which are important so your customer can really see your jewellery.
3. DO USE A TRIPOD!
It is SO important to have crisp clear photos! It is SO important to have crisp clear photos! See, it’s so important I wrote it twice. The only way to achieve this is to use a tripod. Hand holding your camera allows you to get more angles quicker, but in the long run its worth taking the time to set up a sturdy base so there is no chance that your camera shakes when that shutter opens.
4. DO BE CONSISTENT
When you are first starting to take your product photos you should definitely try lots of different things. Try different lighting, different camera settings, different backgrounds and maybe some props too. But please, please, please once you have found the ones you like, stick with it. Make sure that all of the photos you use are cohesive. They don’t all have to be exactly the same, but when you look at them all together, they should be consistent.
5. DO TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES
Give your potential customers a real feel for your pieces. Take photos from different angles to show every part. When shopping online the customer can’t pick up and hold the product so your photos need to allow them to see everything.
- DON’T USE BLURRY PHOTOS
Would you buy a product online if the photo was blurry? Not a chance. There is a big difference between “Bad Blurry” and “Artistic Blurry” however. Artistic blurry can be very effective when done right. Using a short depth of field you can create a photo where a part of the product is in sharp focus and the rest fades off into blurry land. This helps the customers eye focus on the important part of your product. Make sure the in focused part is just that; in focus!
2. DON’T OVER COMPLICATE THINGS
You don’t want the background or props that you use to distract or detract form your jewellery. If you are using a patterned or textured background, make sure that your jewellery still pops and doesn’t get lost. The same goes for using props, make sure your jewellery is the first thing your eye goes to when you look at the photo. More often than not, LESS IS MORE!
3. DON’T USE UNEDITED PHOTOS
No photo straight out of a digital camera looks it’s best. It is really important to use an editing software to tweak your photos before uploading them onto the internet! You don’t have to be a Photoshop wiz, or spend money on software (there are some really great free programs you can download out there) but adjusting the light levels and resizing and coping your photos are important. Crop your photos so your jewellery takes up most of the frame. Don’t be afraid to cut off some of your product in some shots to really show the details. You also want to resize your photos so they are smaller files for uploading onto the web. Having one side that is about 1000 pixels is a good rule of thumb.
I hope you found this list helpful. Check out or pinterest board “Product Photography” for more tips and tricks and some beautiful examples of great product photography.