How to Use Your Smartphone to Capture High Quality Product Images for Ecommerce

by | Oct 4, 2016 | Business & Entrepreneurship, Ecommerce

The importance of good quality product photography for e-commerce can’t be overstated. When customers can’t touch or hold products directly, they rely on product photography to visualize the item and imagine themselves using it. Nothing erodes credibility faster than a poorly lit, amateur image.

For e-commerce businesses just starting out, the expense of a professional photographer and the sophistication of smartphone cameras make the DIY route more appealing. If you’re considering doing a product photo shoot using a smartphone, follow these tips to get the most professional results.

1. Choose the Right Background

Remember that your product is the star of the shot, which means the background should be neutral and bland. A piece of fabric in white, light grey, taupe or beige will absorb light, avoiding distracting reflections better than a painted surface like a wall. Paper has the same effect without fabric’s potential for wrinkling. Just be sure your chosen background surface is both behind and under the product.

2. Adjust the Lighting

Diffused natural white light is best for product photography, so try to shoot near a window on an overcast day. Alternatively, you can purchase soft light kits relatively inexpensively. And do a bit of experimenting with your phone’s native light adjustment features and with photography-related apps.

3. Stabilize Your Phone

smartphone stand for photographyEven if you have the steady hands of a surgeon, it makes sense to position your camera so you’re not relying on hand-held photos. Tripods and smartphone stands are worth the investment for clear, sharp product images.

4. Take Photos From Several Angles

This product photography tip helps you in two ways: it allows you to find the most attractive angles for the image and it offers a better experience to your customers. Any method that helps a customer to better imagine the product in their hands is helpful.

5. Try an External LensCamera Lens Kit For Smartphones On White Background

One element of product photography for e-commerce that’s a bit tricky is creating images for zoom apps on your page. These images allow the customer to focus on particular details of the product but require that you provide sharp, zoomed-in photos. External clip-on lenses for your smartphone let you zoom in and can help overcome some difficult lighting situations.

6. Adjust Your Phone Settings

  • Make sure the zoom feature is switched on, so it’s available when you need it.
  • Use the live exposure mode to help you track the camera’s auto exposure settings. This will give you a baseline for adjustments if they’re needed.
  • Set the image quality to high. Images can always be compressed later, but it makes sense to start with the highest possible quality.
  • Use the grid function to help align the products for consistency between shots.
  • Use any adjustment available to help the camera auto-focus on the correct object in the frame.

7. Browse Photo AppsBrowse Photo Apps

If you’re not satisfied with your smartphone’s native image captures, look for camera apps that extend your smartphone’s capabilities. Apps like Android Camera Zoom Fix and Camera+ for the iPhone give you extra options to create images consistent with your brand message.

8. Learn Basic Photo Editing

There are several applications that help you edit your image before it’s ready to publish. PhotoShop is the best known, but Pixlr, VSCO Cam, Camera FV-5 and GIMP all do the trick.

The most common edits are the following:

Crop: Fine tune your composition by cropping the image.
Sharpen: This function further sharpens the edges in your image.
Brighten: While this is helpful, use it sparingly. Too much brightening reduces contrast and makes the image seem faded.
Filter: Filters add a mood or effect that may be more in step with your brand image. Get creative, but remember that clarity trumps all in product photography for e-commerce.


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