Tips to achieve the best product photography and dominate your niche

It takes the best product photography for success today

The signs are all around us. It didn’t take Instagram long to pass Twitter in users. Video is exploding. Infographics and memes rule the day.

We’re living in an age where visuals are the preferred means of communication and this has huge implications for your website. Not only should you be translating some of your social media marketing into infographics, you need to pay careful attention to the photographs you use on your website.

If you have any experience buying or selling on eBay – or even Amazon – you will have noticed that there are always several sellers peddling the same items. Very often the top seller will be the one with the best photography.

Imagery relays messages

The thing about the images on your site is that they communicate immediately. If the photographs on your web pages are inferior, it sends an instant message to visitors. It takes a person a little while to read the words on the page, but if those words are accompanied by bad photographs, a prospect may never even get to the words.

In some cases you can use stock photographs. However, let me warn you: Generally speaking, stock photographs look like stock photographs, and after a while you begin to see the same stock photos on many sites. This is less than ideal. If you feel you need to drop some stock photos into your site, be selective. Dig through these sources:

Pixabay continues to be the largest single source of photos you can use without royalties or even attribution, but I think the three I mentioned above will yield photos that are seen less often around the Internet. However, it will be a bit more difficult finding photos to fit your needs on those sites.

Product shot photography

What I really wanted to discuss here today are the original photos you post on your site. If you post photos to feature products that you sell – online and/or at your location – your photos must be superior. Settling for anything less than the best product photography is a major error.

For many small businesses, product photography falls into two main categories: the isolated photo of the product itself, and lifestyle photography that captures the product being used in a real life situation.

With a simple seamless background, you may be able to do a great job with your product photography. You want to use soft, diffused, indirect lighting so you can avoid creating harsh shadows. Many amateur photographers want to place their subjects in the bright sunlight thinking that the strong light will help create a good picture. Wrong. It just creates harsh shadows. If you’re taking photographs outdoors, put your subjects in shaded areas away from direct sunlight.

Seamless background and soft shadows for good product photographs

DIY product photography

You can create your own setup for product shot photography, if your products aren’t too large. A simple piece of white paper that is taped to a wall or box so it gently curves upward behind the item that you are shooting will do the trick – if the area is bathed in diffused light.

When you want to capture your items in “lifestyle” settings, the situation becomes more complicated. You have many more variables you need to control. In this case, it can be a very smart idea to rely on professional product photography. However, you want to work with a photographer whose work you know.

A good website and a good store will communicate a specific look and feel to visitors. These attributes are part of your brand. You need to work with a photographer who understands this and can routinely pull together lifestyle product photography shoots that reflect your look and feel.

The principles that produce the best product photography also extend to other photographic elements on your website. For example, if you have an “About Us” page with photographs of you and your team, make sure they are good photographs that carry a consistent message.

If one photograph is a scan of an old college year book picture and another is of a candid from the office Christmas party, it would push your messaging all over the place. Take the time and spend the money to bring in a talented photographer to do head shots of everyone you want to feature on your About Us page. They can be casual, but they have to be “quality casual.”

When you examine web design today you’ll notice that the words are getting fewer, the “white space” is getting bigger, and the graphics are becoming more important. If you feature the best product photography, you have a fighting chance at being the best in your product niche.

But if you settle for anything less than the best product photography, you can never achieve the top position.

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