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What are the Best Tips for Product Photography?

Dana Hinders
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Product photography is an area of specialization that involves making inanimate objects look as attractive as possible. Photographers with skills in this area often work shooting images for advertisements and product catalogs. However, mastering the basic concepts behind successful product photography will also make it easier for you to take great pictures when selling items online through sites such as eBay. If you discover a natural talent for this type of digital photography, you may even be able to earn some extra money selling your images on a site that specializes in stock photos.

For the best results in product photography, take your pictures in an area with good lighting. If you can't photography an item outside in natural light, try taking pictures near an open window. Turn your flash off to avoid harsh shadows or "hot spots" that disrupt your image.

Most point and shoot digital cameras have a macro setting that is used to take close up photos of objects. Using this setting will help make sure you have images that are as clear and crisp as possible. Typically, the macro setting is indicated by a flower icon.

A tripod is very helpful for product photography. Even though you're shooting a picture of an inanimate object, the slightest movement of your hands will create a blur in the image. A tripod keeps the camera completely stable, especially if you use it with your camera's built-in timer.

Choosing the right background is essential to successful product photography. Ideally, you want to photograph your item in front of something that is solid with minimal texture. A sheet or an old blanket can work well as a background for photographing smaller items. An empty wall is a good place to photograph larger items. As for color preferences, neutral backgrounds tend to be the best. However, a pure white background can be distracting if your object is dark.

Fabric-covered blocks can be used to prop up items for product photography. If your item is very large and heavy, try suspending it using invisible thread. This extremely fine monofilament won't show up in the photo, but it will keep the item from falling over while you work.

Once you've taken your photo, digital image editing software can be a useful tool. However, you don't necessarily need advanced photo editing skills for successful product photography. Cropping your image can help eliminate background distractions. Adjusting the brightness and contrast is a simple way to make the picture look clearer.

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Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the WiseGeek team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.
Discussion Comments
By Mor — On Jul 18, 2011

@umbra21 - The trouble is that many people don't have the equipment to take good photos of their products.

For a long time I couldn't afford a camera capable of taking macro photos, and so when I wanted to take photos of my jewelry I either had to put myself at a distance from them, or put up with a little bit of blur.

Being able to use software to fix the photos can help, but nothing will replace a good camera.

By umbra21 — On Jul 17, 2011

If you are selling things on Etsy or Ebay or another online website, photos are basically your best marketing tool.

There are so many people out there who have amazing products which are let down by shoddy photos. And there is no excuse. Both Ebay and Etsy and all the other similar websites offer extensive, free tutorials on how to take good photographs.

If you are serious about selling your products, you need to take the photography just as seriously. Either find a professional product photography studio to do some commercial photography for you or learn how to do it properly yourself.

It will revitalize your sales when you get it right!

By KoiwiGal — On Jul 17, 2011

With today's powerful cameras you really have to make sure the product you are photographing is as clean as possible. This sounds like obvious advice, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to ruin a shoot by not brushing off a bit of dust or lint that came drifting in, unnoticed.

This is particularly true if you are taking macro photos. Things you might not even notice with a careful look at the piece will show up ten times larger when you zoom into the photo.

If you are using a sheet as a backdrop, you should keep some tape handy to pick off specks of lint from there as well.

Good luck!

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
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