A Low-budget Guide to Creating Great Product Images



Here’s a fun fact: human beings remember about 80% of what they see and only about 20% of what they read. What this means is that humans are actually predominantly visual beings. While this may seem like a pretty irrelevant fact, it’s an important one to remember if you’re running an online store. The difference between making a sale and losing a potential customer actually lies in the quality of your product pictures.

Customers are more likely to purchase a product online if the images are impressive and enticing. This only means one thing: you need to take great product images if you want to drive sales.

However, there’s one hitch most entrepreneurs face when it comes to taking quality product images. There seems to be a common misconception that you have to spend a huge chunk of money just to get great pictures. This isn’t true. Even with a bootstrapping budget, you can still churn out great product images.

Here’s how to get started:

Get a Camera

It isn’t rocket science that you need a great camera to get quality pictures. However, you don’t necessarily need to get the best of the best cameras or empty your bank account on a device that you’d probably only use periodically. If you’re trying to take great product images on a budget, you have two options: get a low-budget camera or use your smartphone’s inbuilt camera.

If you’d prefer to get an actual camera, it’s important not to get carried away by the tons of fancy cameras out there. There are cheap, professional and user-friendly cameras that’d suit your purposes. We recommend that you get a used DSLR camera. This way, you don’t have to spend much and you’d still get great value for your money.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to spend money on a camera at all, you could always use your smartphone’s inbuilt camera. As long as the camera has a high resolution and can take great pictures that don’t need excessive editing, go for it. You could also check your smartphone’s app store and download great camera and photo-editing apps. This way, you’d be able to process your photos and make them look more professional.

When taking product images with your phone, try not to use the flash. It isn’t exactly helpful and may have a terrible effect on the picture. In the same vein, try to take the pictures from a close angle and keep your lens clean to avoid ending up with blurry or smudged images.

Get a Tripod

If you opted to get a DSLR camera, you should read this. However, if you prefer to use your smartphone’s inbuilt camera, you should probably move on to the next tip as this one is a bit technical. When using DSLR cameras or any camera for that matter, you definitely want to get the most depth your camera is capable of. To do this, you’d need to set your camera to a very small aperture.

Now here’s the catch. To achieve sharp focus and an appropriate depth of field, you need a large f/stop number – in fact, the largest your camera is capable of. Now, your camera’s f-stop number shares a relationship with its shutter speed. When you use a large f/stop number, you automatically have to set your camera to a slower shutter speed. This way, you can allow more light through since a larger f/stop number results in less light.

When you set your camera to a slow shutter speed, you can’t hand-hold it unless you’re trying to get blurry images (and we know you’re not). This is where tripods come in. You can set your camera on a tripod to get the most out of your camera and end up with great, focused images.

Use the Right Background

When it comes to taking product images, using a great background matters just as much as using a great camera. With the right background, you can make your pictures look as professional as possible. You definitely don’t want your customers to see your dishes or a dirty sock lying in the background when they look at pictures of your product.

If you prefer to tow a safe, professional line, we highly recommend you use a white background. There are tons of options for white backgrounds out there. For starters, you could get a white paper sweep. This is an easy option because you can always roll a new piece down if the old one gets dirty. Similarly, you could decide to get some poster board for your background.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to get more artistic or creative photos, you don’t necessarily need to get a white background. You could decide to take photos of your products in everyday environments. Just ensure that the background is nice and that the pictures come out clear enough. This way, you won’t end up with tacky or unprofessional photos.

Focus on Appropriate Lighting

If you want to get the best product images on a budget, then you need to focus on appropriate lighting when shooting. It is advisable to use natural lighting as much as possible. However, we understand that this may not always be possible especially if you’re shooting indoors.

Thus, if you’re shooting indoors, try to shoot close to the doors or windows to take advantage of the available natural light. You should also use reflective surfaces to even out the brightness.

If you don’t have access to natural light at all, you’d need to get artificial studio lighting. You could get one or two light stands with continuous light and umbrellas. This way, your pictures will definitely turn out great and professional.

When it comes to product images, we can’t stop talking about how important it is for your pictures to look professional. Great pictures make your products look more appealing and of course, the more appealing your products are, the more likely you are to make sales.

Hopefully, these tips will help you create great product images without having to break the bank. Good luck! 

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