Product photography for social media: five expert tips

The last few months has seen an enormous shift in the way we do business. If you’re in the business of selling products to consumers direct from a store then it’s likely you’ve had a drop in visitors to your premises, and are looking to make more sales online. This is where good clear product photography for social media is really important — so we asked our friend, Tasmanian photographer Jessica Hirst, for her top five tips on getting the perfect product snap for your socials.

1. LIGHTING IS KEY

It might seem obvious, but good lighting really does make the world of difference to your final product photo, so ensure you’ve got a bright space to work in so that there’s no ambiguity when it comes to your product’s detail and appearance — don’t leave online shoppers guessing when it comes to product photography for social media.

What type of lighting is best? Jessica says, “It’s hard to go wrong with natural lighting — my personal preference is to set up next to a window early in the morning, or early in the evening, as this is when you get the softest light. Learn how to use a light diffuser, it doesn’t need to be an awesome expensive one, you’ll often find a piece of white or black cardboard will do what you need when working on the fly.”

2. BACKDROPS MAKE YOUR PRODUCT POP

Think about the context of your image and think about the ways in which your product will be used. Think about what colours will work best against your product. Whether it’s a studio background with little distraction, or a more natural setting, make sure your product is the star of the show.

What can you use for backdrops? Jessica has plenty of recent experience in product photography for social media, having taken some of Find Your Feet’s most recent social media images, and she insists, “You don’t need expensive backgrounds. Some of my best images were photographed with 50c piece of cardboard in background. If you decide to invest in more expensive professional backdrops, look for a matte finish or you’ll find yourself fighting against glare and reflections.”

3. KEEP IT SIMPLE WHEN STYLING PRODUCTS

“Sometimes more is more, but when you’re starting out less is definitely best,” Jessica says. She believes you should start with only the product in shot and see if the image really needs anything else to make sense to the viewer. 

“Everything in the final image should have a purpose or link back to the story. For example, if you find yourself adding a lavender stem into a shot of your vanilla-scented candle, ask yourself why — it probably really doesn’t need to be there.”

4. SHOOT FIRST, CROP LATER

Make life simple by remembering that you can always crop an image down to size, so include more than you think you may need.

When it comes to product photography for social media, Jessica says, “There’s nothing worse than a tiny bit of something missing from an image, you might think that the top centimetre of that product doesn’t make sense for a shot, but without it your whole image can look messy or not thought-out. Anything you can do in-camera, do in-camera. If you find yourself thinking, “I’ll just edit that later,” just stop, and figure out if you can fix it right there and then — a few minutes adjusting something could save you hours in post-production.”

5. MASTER YOUR TOOLS

Knowing what your camera is capable of is game-changing. Whether you’re shooting on an iPhone camera, or a professional DSLR, spend some time getting to know your equipment so you can take the very best images when you’re considering product photography for social media.

On DSLRs, Jessica says, “Having an in-depth knowledge of your camera’s essential functions for manual photography is key. ‘Auto-mode’ will only take you so far, and you will find yourself having to do less editing once you have a handle on using your camera in the manual setting.”

 

As with everything, practice makes perfect — use your camera equipment regularly and understand the fundamentals. You know your product best, so you really can ensure that you capture its essence. If all else fails, ask a professional for help! We’re happy to introduce you to Jessica or other local photographers in our network. And, as always, if you need a hand with your overall social media or digital marketing strategy, get in touch!