The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 13

There is nothing more important that great photography for an online handmade store.

Why? Photographs must convey so much about the product through just a simple 2D photo – things that are intangible through a computer screen. Your photos are by far the most important element that influences the decision-making process for potential customers.

Showing the size, texture, weight, and true colour of your products is part of the puzzle – but there’s also styling and lighting to consider along with editing after the fact.

You don’t need to run out and buy a fancy camera to get great photos of your products and even an iPhone will do as long as you have great light and interesting styling which suits your brand.

If you’re unsure whether your photos are up to scratch, and you need a little bit of insight, listen in to this episode as I chat to Jeffrey Opp, photographer and artist, as he unwraps the riddle of great product photography. Jeffrey is also the author of our Guide to Product Photography, which you can check out here.

Brand as an identity

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • “You are really trying to replace that ‘in person’ experience – you can’t try on a shirt if you’re online.” {Jeffrey}
  • You’re trying to convey to your customer the things which they can’t touch and feel for themselves
  • A lot of factors come into play – the styling and your target market really comes into it
  • People do not need a fancy camera – any camera that you have is a great place to start
  • Photography is a lot to do with lighting – even if you start with your smartphone
  • Look for the light and a great composition and you’ll get a really good result
  • Natural light is a really great place to start and we’ve been using it since the 1800’s for photography
  • There are even great photography studios with glass ceilings to make the most of natural light instead of incandescent bulbs
  • One of the big problems people find is poor exposure
  • When you start working in product photography, there are lots of times when you’ll be in a situation when you will have photos which are under or over exposed
  • A camera on auto which is set to thinking there is going to be green grass and blue sky, then there will be an exposure problem if you are trying to get a shot on a white background
  • Watch your photos and then adjust your camera to fix the problems
  • White balance is a tricky thing
  • Sun outside is very cool light compared to the yellow light of an incandescent light bulb or even candlelight
  • If you’re lighting things up with room lights then it’s a great idea to use a custom white balance setting
  • EDITING PROGRAM: A photo editing program like Photoshop can help adjust your photos if you still couldn’t get the balance right straight out of the phone
  • EDITING PROGRAM: Gimp and Picasa are great free versions for editing photos
  • EDITING PROGRAM: Google+ Photos (This site/resource is no longer available) is for smartphones
  • “You want your photo to have some personality, something that people can identify with.” {Jeffrey}
  • Adding in things which ‘belong’ with your product or are part of the context of your product
  • In-situ photos and photos which show scale are really important to allow you to show size
  • Editing is necessary
  • “You can be the best photographer in the world but when you put it up on the screen, it’s going to need some editing.” {Jess}
  • You want to work really hard to get all the technical things all correct
  • Then you can focus on what your brand is and the styling
  • “When you look at a shop online, the ones that stand out are the ones which all works together to make you experience that brand in a certain way.”{Jess}
  • “The way your brand is seen as an identity can all be wrapped up in the way you shot the photos.” {Jeffrey Opp}
  • Things that stand out in a bad way are when people have really disparate photography or really different backgrounds
  • When you find something that works better, you really need to go back and rephotograph everything but eventually it pays off
  • “I don’t think there’s ever a point when your photography is going to be perfect or when your business is going to be perfect.” {Jess}
  • Just start and have a go – the fear shouldn’t hold you back from trying something new
  • You might want to look around and see what others are doing and pick out elements that might work for you

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