Should I hire a professional photographer?

Product photography: Create professional photos yourself

An online shop lives from good product photos. Because good and professional recordings should convince potential customers of a product that they have never seen before. If the images are also individually and creatively designed, you can use them to set yourself apart from the great competition in e-commerce. With the right equipment and preparation, anyone can create unique product photos - without being a professional photographer.

Stand out from the crowd

In our guide on product photography, we have already explained what influence the selection of images can have on the success and failure of a shop and what you should pay attention to when designing and composing. It is always important to stand out from the crowd and with specialIdeas to stand out. The best example of this is the Google Shopping site. If all providers have obtained their product photos from the manufacturer, the customer may see the same image dozens of times when searching for a product. With your own ideas and high-quality, self-made photos, you set yourself apart from the competition and create an incentive for potential customers to visit your shop preferentially.

We have collected the most important tips on how to take professional product photos yourself.

The right equipment

The camera is of course the essential tool in product photography. It doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive model for several thousand euros - either medium-priced single lens reflex or system cameras or high-quality compact cameras are suitable for creating web-compatible product photos. Above all, it is important that you as a photographer know how to deal with it.

Further aids:

  •  Tripod: In order to avoid blurry, shaky pictures, you should definitely work with a tripod. It is indispensable for longer exposure times anyway. With a tripod you also have the advantage that you can shoot many pictures from exactly the same perspective.

  • Photo or photo table: Small to medium-sized products are best placed on a photo table. This ensures a uniform, largely shadow-free illumination of the products. A white, if possible translucent background (glass plate) or a groove (for cutouts) offer further advantages.

  • Softbox or light tent: Both are practical aids for area lighting that enable soft and shadow-free illumination.

  • Flash units: Another technical aid for optimal lighting are flash units. Especially in dark rooms, they serve as a practical, individually adjustable light source.

  • Reflectors and brighteners: You can use reflectors and brighteners to lighten the shadow areas of objects in a targeted manner. Thanks to these aids, there is no need to install an additional light source because the reflectors direct the available light to where it is needed.

The camera setting

More important than the quality of the camera is that you, the photographer, deal with the many Setting options know about. There are basically four factors that are relevant for exposure: the aperture value, the exposure time, the ISO value and the white balance.

  • Aperture value: With the aperture you can vary the depth of field, among other things. This plays an important role in product photography. The basic rules apply:
    • small value = large aperture = blurred background
    • large value = small aperture = sharp background
  • Exposure time: The exposure time, i.e. the opening time of the aperture, is set here. Many cameras offer good automatic settings - if you want to set the exposure time manually, you have to try different settings. Too short an exposure time leads to underexposure, while too long leads to overexposure. As mentioned above, a tripod should definitely be used for long exposure times.

  • ISO: The ISO value can be used to determine how sensitive the camera's image sensor is to light. In poor lighting conditions, you should choose a rather high ISO value. Since the object should be illuminated as well as possible in product photography (see next section), this value plays a subordinate role here. Basically you should keep it as low as possible (max. 800), so you don't have to accept any loss of quality.

  • White balance: A white balance should always be done before the first photo. This setting affects the color temperature. Only with a white balance is white actually displayed as white later, without a blue or yellow cast. Modern digital cameras have an automatic white balance. Advanced photographers can also make manual adjustments.

The right light for product photography

The product only comes into its own when it is optimally lit. Many amateur photographers prefer to take photos in natural light. But when it comes to product photography, experts recommend using artificial light. The Lighting conditions can thus be better controlled and reproduced as often as you like - regardless of the time of day you want to take photos for your online shop.

The tools listed above can be used to create an ideal lighting environment. The correct use of guide lights, skylights and various reflectors and brighteners is explained very clearly in the following YouTube tutorial:

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Fine tuning: edit product photos

Before you upload your pictures to your own website, the final step is still missing: the image processing. Digital optimization is not that easy, but with a little practice, even laypeople can use photo software to edit their product photos and work wonders. The most widely used software is Photoshop, but free alternatives such as GIMP, Krita or PhotoScape are also suitable for beginners.

The fine-tuning is usually done by:

  • Adjusting the image section
  • Adjusting orientation and perspective
  • Optimization of color and brightness
  • Contrast adjustment
  • Retouching of smaller picture elements

Conclusion: first the idea, then the implementation

The above tips on equipment, photography and image processing can be used to create professional product photos. In the beginning, of course, is your idea of ​​how the picture should look Sets the product perfectly in scene. You can be inspired in advance: Search the web for online shops with very good photos or use the Google image search for suggestions. If you shy away from investing in cameras and equipment, you can also borrow the equipment you need for first attempts.

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