Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Improve Your Product Photography and Boost Your Sales

Improve Your Product Photography and Boost Your Sales

When consumers are shopping online, a photo is usually all they’ve got. This is one area where the experience of brick-and-mortar stores continues to trump ecommerce sites— customers can see, touch, and try items before they buy them.

But you’ve got a great weapon in your marketing arsenal: awesome product photography. You don’t have to be a professional to take clear, high-quality photos of the items you’re selling online. If you’ve got good equipment and a basic understanding of camera and lens settings, you have everything you need to start selling.

The first step to taking great product photography is choosing the right camera. At the top of the line, a DSLR camera with an exchangeable lens will offer you the most flexibility. If a DSLR is out of your price range right now, don’t despair. Most smart phones and other mobile devices can snap very high quality photos, and many ecommerce sites now support direct uploads from your mobile device.
Once you’ve chosen your camera, setting and lighting are vital to capturing your product at its best angle. You can set up a simple “studio” in your office space using commonly available items. 
First, find a sturdy spot for your product photo shoot. Try to position your piece near an area of natural light. Basic desk lamps pointed at your product will help as well. If you’re looking for a clean shot, try setting up a white background. The background can be created with copy paper mounted on cardboard or poster board. Adjust lighting and angle to suit your needs.
Now you can take your photos into your virtual lab. You don’t need expensive and complex photo editing software like those designed for professional photographers. Often, open-source software offers the same flexibility as the professional options without the steep learning curve. PR Daily put together a list of 10 simple and easy online photo-editing tools, which you can find here. 
As you edit the photos, tweak the color and lighting if you want to bring out a particularly striking feature of your product or ensure the product’s color is true (this is especially helpful if your product is something like apparel or cosmetics). Take care not to get carried away. As with many visual projects, sometimes less is more, and you want to make sure you’re representing your product accurately.
Once you’re ready, upload your new product photos to your online store. Have a friend or colleague view the site. A fresh eye can give you some helpful advice on what works and what doesn’t work.
Giving your customers different angles and views of your product will help you compete with the experience of traditional brick-and-mortar stores.