BUSINESS, TUTORIAL

How to Take Good Product Photos

One question I receive constantly, is “how do you take such good product photos?”

Some of you might not want to take the time, but if you’re like me, and you are all you have to take and edit photos, here are my best tips on how I do it.

How to take the photo

1.) Prep

To begin with, you will need a white background and a phone with a high quality camera (like the iPhone). Then of course, you will need your product!

Materials:

  • white material, sheet or fabric
  • iPhone camera or equivelant
  • product
How to take good product photos
My trusty white fabric that I have used for years, and my iPhone.

Having a white background to start with will make it much, much easier to then edit your photo later and get the right shading around your product.

2.) Lighting

Any one who teaches you how to take good product photos will tell you, natural light, natural light, natural light. It is imperative to a good photo.

When I first started selling products online, I was selling blankets and working late. This meant I had to set up a makeshift “studio” to take the photos in. I used as much light as I could, but still found myself editing the colors relentlessly to get them to match real life.

If you take your photos in natural light, it should capture the colors almost perfectly.

Front room product photoshoot setup
The front window I use for my product photos.

Since, I’ve slowly worked my way up from being holed up in a basement room but still don’t have a room completely full of natural light, I work with what I have. In this case, what I have is a large front window, that has good light at the right times of day.

3.) Shooting

When I take my photos, I think about the customer and what they want to see.

product photoshoot
This is me arranging the product to photograph the back of it as well.

I start by taking the cover photo. I arrange the product in a cute way to photograph as the first image the customer will see, then I take the detail shots.

For this, think about all the details of the product that the customer is going to want to see.

Woman taking a product photo with an iPhone.
iPhones are an incredible tool for taking good product photos.
  1. Are there different parts of your product the customer cannot see in the first shot?
  2. Can your product do something that the customer is unaware of that you can show in photos? (ex. the romper used in my photo above can scrunch up)
  3. Do you need a size comparison?

Lifestyle photos using your product are another great option to add in, but that’s not what we are learning in this article.

The
The “SQUARE” option in the iPhone camera.

I take my photos on the “square” setting in the camera. I do this for two reasons:

  1. it has the product pre-set up. Instead of having to edit it into a square later, it’s taken as one from the beginning.
  2. it blocks out the surrounding area. Which also gives you less to edit out.
Woman taking a product photo.
An example of the surrounding part of the image being cut out automatically by the “SQUARE” setting.

Editing the photos using the Lightroom App

If you are like me and you edit a lot of product photos, not only that, but you are constantly on the move, the Lightroom App is an powerful tool.

The app itself should be free. I myself do have the Adobe subscription since I use their other apps regularly, but from what I understand, the Lightroom App is free on iOS and Android devices.

Screenshot of apps, showing the Lightroom app.

The process for using the app is very simple. Once you do it a few times, it becomes very streamlined. I often edit 300+ photos in a couple of hours.

1.) Selective Editing

When you open the app, and open the image you want to edit, you want to go to the “selective editing” in the tool menu along the bottom.

Click the plus sign, and then choose the brush.

2.) Tools

Once you select the brush tool, you have a couple of tools at your disposal.

The top tool is the brush, then you’re eraser.

Underneath that is first, the size. If you tap and hold on the size option, then run your finger up and down the screen, you can adjust how large your brush size is.

The next tool is the feathering adjustment. Tapping, running your finger up and down the screen will determine the hard line of the brush or how much it feathers out. I like to stick to about 70% feathered.

The next tool is your flow. This runs from 0-100 and determines how strong the edit will be where you create the mask. I usually stick between 20-40.

Lastly, of course, is your trash. Each selective edit is given a little diamond, you can select each one individually and delete them.

3.) Create a mask

When the settings are where you want to be, you want to create a mask around the product. You do this simply by running your finger around the product. You will see the red mask applied.

The little blue diamond is now the mask you’ve created. You can create separate masks, select them and move them around or delete them.

4.) Editing the mask

While keeping to the selective editing mask you just created, choose “Light” on the bottom left of your tool menu.

This will pull up your basic lighting editing tools. All I do, is pull the exposure bar all the way up.

As you can see, this completely whites out the background.

You might also notice the bits around the product that I missed when I applied the mask. This is an easy fix. While the mask is still selected, being applied, and you have the brush tool in use; you can run your finger over the edges you missed and gently feather in the white background closer and closer to your product.

By pinching the screen, you can zoom in the get a little more detailed like I did in my photo progression.

5.) Touch up the product

After you’ve applied your mask edits, you want to make sure that the product itself looks how it should.

If you took your product photos in natural light, there should be little or no color editing to do.

Exit your selective editing, and then from the main tool menu, choose the “Light” option.

On my photos, I really only ever edit the exposure to brighten up the product and blend it in to the white background.

Now you have a product with a nice clean look. The shading around it now just looks like a little bit of shadow.

If you look closely at this photo, you might notice that some edges were caught by the feathering a little too much and have been whited out.

You can go back to your selective editing tool, select the mask you were using, select the eraser, and then run your finger over those edges to blend them back in.

6.) The finished image: before and after

Now you’ve successfully edited your product photo and its ready to go up on your website!

Check out the before and after by pressing and holding the image in your app.

More Resources

You can check out the live I did going over how to use the Lightroom App to edit photos here:

If the video doesn’t work, you can go straight to Facebook here.

Did you find this blog helpful? I would love to hear from you, leave me a comment below!

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