26% of Singaporeans shop online at least once a week (Visa), the highest percentage per capita in Southeast Asia. With more and more businesses and consumers in Singapore moving to the online space, product photography is now more important than ever. It is crucial to be able to present your products or services in the most presentable manner so that you can attract potential customers online. Product photography allows you to do exactly this as it can showcase your products in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
This article will provide you with all you need to know about product photography from the benefits, what you’ll need, the photography process, different services and pricing factors, and tips for creating product photos that really sell.
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Table of contents
- Why You Need Professional Product Photography
- What You Need For Your Product Photoshoot
- The Process of Creating Great Product Photos
- Tips For Getting the Best Out of Your Product Photographs
- Types of Product Photography Services
- Product Photoshoot Pricing Guide
Why You Need Professional Product Photography
When deciding on potential purchases, 75% of online shoppers rely on product photos – At the end of the day, the goal of your business in Singapore is to sell your products. You will need to provide good product photos because those are what online shoppers are looking at when considering a potential purchase.
22% of product returns occur because it looks different in person – While you would want your products look as great as possible, it still has to be an authentic representation of those products. You can hire professional photographers to assure your business you won’t encounter these problems.
Great visual content is 40% more likely to be shared on social media platforms – Professional product photos will not just improve the appeal of your website and promotional materials, but they can also be part of a broader effort to improve your brand and attract more customers.
Here are also four reasons why you should hire a professional photographer for your product shoots:
1. Professionals will have all the right equipment ready.
Photography from smartphones have come a long way and is now a good alternative for those working on a tight budget. However, if you want to be sure of a great photoshoot, you might need more props and equipment, which can require a bit of investment. The professionals will always come prepared with the best equipment possible.
This equipment may include a high-end camera, different lenses, grips, tripods, background, accessories and more. These allow you to capture the products in different angles, tones and settings, making them more appealing and relevant to you customers. The photographers will be able to advise you on what will best elevate your product photos.
2. Professionals will use better lighting for your photos.
Professional photographers know what’s the best light for your products and have the right lighting equipment.
Getting the right type of lighting is crucial. This is because it adds to getting accurate colors and shadow balances on the shots of your products.
3. Professionals are also proficient photo editors.
Normally, the photoshoot is just one part of the whole process of creating the best product photo for your business. Editing these photos is very important and can often be the most time consuming process as well.
With a professional photographer, you wouldn’t have to worry about this stage. All professional photographers are also well-equipped to handle these editing tasks. They are proficient in making the process as smooth and efficient as possible while also being able to digitally alter or remove minor blemishes from photos.
4. Professionals are able to capture a number of different views.
It may be difficult for you to take and edit photos of your products in a variety of angles if you are on a tight budget or not have enough time and resources because of your focus on your business. However, professional photographers know how to do these for you and can do it a much more efficient manner.
These photographers are well aware of how many angles and what views will make your product stand out in these photos. They also can even take 360 degree shots of your products. This can help your customers feel more confident purchasing from you since they will see more of your product.
What You Need For Your Product Photoshoot
1. A designated space.
You will need to designate a certain space, whether it be just a table or even a whole room, to use for your photoshoot. This space should be free from any type of interruptions like pets, the breeze, officemates, housemates, or children.
If you want to use the space as a backdrop for your products, keep in mind to be consistent with your shots because lighting and shadows may differ as the day goes by. Make sure to use a clean surface for your shoot because even small imperfections will be magnified in some photos.
2. A camera.
While smartphone cameras can be suitable alternatives for people or businesses that prefer something more affordable, professional cameras will often give you the best results.
For smartphone cameras, you are looking for those that have a minimum of 8 megapixels and have autofocus but for professional cameras, pretty much all of these can deliver high quality photos for your business in Singapore.
3. A tripod.
You wouldn’t want to run the risk of having blurred shots when having hand-held cameras. It is best to have a tripod ready for these shoots. It helps that tripods are becoming even more accessible and affordable nowadays.
You have to consider the specific size, height, and shooting space that is needed to take the best photos of your product when purchasing or using a tripod.
4. Lighting and a bounce board.
Another important thing that you need is lighting for your product shoot. There are different levels and types of light you can use and you will also need a bounce board to achieve certain lighting effects.
Having a bounce board will help you “bounce” light which will redirect or diffuse the harshness of a flash to create soft lighting on your product. You can use a white or reflective surface to be your bounce board. You can experiment with your lighting by testing shots and moving your bounce board around to get the best light.
5. A background.
You also have to think about what background you want to use. Here are three classic background options that you can use for your shoot:
- Seamless background – A seamless background is achieved using a “sweep” which is a curved screen or cardboard behind the product. This removes distractions and makes your product look like it is floating. This background also has the benefit of making it easy for you to remove or edit the product from the background using an editing software like Photoshop.
- Horizon line background – A horizon line background pertains to having a line running through the background of your photo. This is where the wall and the surface will connect. This background creates depth but may be difficult when shooting a lot of photos since you should make sure that the line matches across all images.
- Lifestyle background – Using a lifestyle background puts your product in relevant situations that are appropriate for it. Like soaps in a bathroom or hiking equipment shot outside. You can also include people in the shot to give a better indicator of size and to show where and how to properly use your product.
The Process of Creating Great Product Photos
1. Planning out your ideas for the photoshoot
Start out by thinking about certain shots that you would want to use for your products. After that, you can try to find photos that you found inspirational on social media and websites.
Next, you can ask your product photographer to send over their portfolios of their previous work and apply some of those ideas to come up with your own.
Try to take note of how to incorporate your brand’s story, tone, and mood into your products that will be displayed in all the different product photographs that will be taken.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of different types of product photographs that can suit the specific products that you have.
Once you are done with coming up with ideas to present a clearer picture of what you want your product photographs to look like to your photographer, you can now start to prepare everything you need for the photoshoot itself.
2. Setting up
Setting up everything for your product shoot is important as it will make everything else after this run as smoothly as possible. Here are three important things you need to set up before you can start shooting your product photos.
Image Size and Orientation
First thing you need to do is establish what sizes and orientations you will use for all of your product photos. Most cameras have options to shoot in landscape, portrait, or even square which is suitable for Instagram.
You would want to shoot at the highest file size possible because you can then just reduce the size later on. Also, if possible, you should choose RAW files rather than JPEG files which are compressed.
For the lighting, there are two main choices: natural light and artificial light. If you are taking photographs of people or your product is intended to be used outdoors, then natural light may be a more appropriate option.
For artificial light, this works well for beginners because it allows you to have more control over it. You are able to easily adjust the lighting for your shoot especially if you are using high-quality lighting equipment and bounce boards. This artificial lighting setup helps you be consistent on all your shots and can adjust for shadows, shapes, and product details.
Here are some of the most common compositions that can make your product stand out:
- Front and cropped – These are how classic full product shots look like. You can also use an interesting crop to showcase the finer details in your product.
- Dynamic diagonals – This is when you use angled lines to draw in your audience. This adds a more dynamic look to what is a static composition.
- Rule of thirds – The rule of thirds will make your product look more visually appealing by placing it at the intersection of the divided lines.
- Odd groupings – Having an odd amount of your products in the frame creates tension and attracts attention because there is something to focus on in the middle.
- Flat lays – Flat lays are an aesthetically pleasing way to compose your shot as it is being taken from above. Your product alongside other items allows you to tell its story.
3. Shooting the products
For the process of shooting your products, there are three important things to consider which are the camera viewpoints, camera angles, and framing for your products.
There are three basic point of views used for product photography:
- Eye-level shot – this is when the camera is at the same level as the product.
- Low shot – this is when the camera is slightly below the product and looking up.
- High shot – this is when the camera is slightly above the product and looking down.
Here are the most common camera angles that can be used for shooting your products:
- Front angle – This one of the more commonly used angles as it is an organized and clean way to showcase your products which makes them more identifiable to consumers.
- Profile angle – This is an angle that is used when your photo is taken from the side of the product, usually at eye-level. This is typically used for footwear products so that the logo on the sides can be visible.
- Three-quarter angle – This angle is used to showcase multiple products or variants of a product. The image is taken from about a 45 degree angle and usually from a high-level.
- Back angle – These are used as supporting shots and are usually taken at eye-level. The purpose of this is to display additional context to show details that may not be visible in other angles.
- High angle – These shots come from a bird’s eye view. This is when you take a photo directly above the product. This view may only be necessary depending on certain products.
- Low angle – These shots show a worm’s eye view because of its low angle. Shooting your product upwards makes it look larger and more impressive in size.
It is recommended to shoot in a landscape orientation when framing your products for the shoot. This is an easy format in terms of cropping and can also be adaptable enough to be made into other sizes like square or portrait.
You will need the product to always be the focus of the photo, but that does not mean that it should always be in the center of the shot.
4. Editing the photos
The next task is to edit these photos to make them look even better. Here are three photo editing applications that can be used for your product photos:
Adobe Photoshop is widely recognized as one of the best photo editing software as it is used by almost all professional photo editors. It contains a lot of different features and does not contain your creativity.
With Photoshop, you are able to do basic editing tasks like color adjustment and exposure enhancement. It can also do major edits like background removal, graphic design, and many more.
However, all these features come at a cost that not a lot of people may want to pay for especially if they are on a budget. But if you are thinking of having a photo editing software for the long run, it will be worth the investment.
PhotoScape can also be another option for a photo editing software that can do a lot for you. It includes all the important features you would expect in a popular software like batch editing, a collage maker, background remover, an intuitive editor, filters, special effects, and more.
This is a great software for beginners who want to start out learning about editing with an interface that is easily understandable and also easy to use.
GIMP is a very viable option for a photo editing software because you do not need to spend anything to use the software. It is an open source photo editor which is compatible with all the popular operating systems like Mac, Windows, and Linux.
It is similar to Photoshop as it also has layers, filters, masks, and other helpful tools like healing tools, saturation sliders, and auto white balance.
The interface for GIMP may be a bit clunkier compared to other paid photo editing software but it can get the job done if you are on a tight budget.
Once all your photos are edited, you are now ready to upload them online onto all your social media accounts and your website as well.
Tips For Getting the Best Out of Your Product Photographs
Here are some tips to get the best out of your product photographs on Instagram:
Get inspiration from other great brands
A lot of successful brands have posted on Instagram and it is always helpful to look at their materials to get some inspiration. Take a look at the brands you love and see why their posts and photos are successful on Instagram.
Check out how they set up their shows and what techniques they use and see if those can also be applied to your own products.
Take multiple shots from different angles
Taking a lot of shots of your products at a lot of different angles will get to show your customers an almost perfect view of your product from all angles.
Doing this can also provide you with a lot of different options you can choose from when these photos have to eventually be edited.
Showcase your product in context
Placing your products in the appropriate context can help them envision how they will be using your product for themselves. This can help potential consumers feel more confident about the product if they are able to easily see how it can help them in their daily lives.
Examples of this are by showing soap and bath products inside a bathroom, showing someone wearing footwear outside, or people using a piece of furniture in their house.
There are some tips you can follow when posting your product photographs on popular ecommerce platforms and search engines (like Amazon and Google).
Follow their preferred photography specifications
To get the best results from these websites, you have to optimize your product photos to their preferred specifications. Amazon has guidelines like only having professional product photos, white backgrounds, and only allowing certain photo files among others.
Google also has their own guidelines like not allowing stock photos, disallowing promotional text or watermarks, and having specified photo formats among others as well.
Stick to a plain white background
While you may want to experiment with your shots by using colorful or creative backgrounds, this can be a bit challenging for ecommerce websites and search engines.
When in doubt, you should just stick to a plain white background because most of these websites prefer or even require having a plain background. It also is better to keep your background simple so that it will ensure your product to be the focus of the shot.
Make sure to display the details of your product
While it is important to provide additional information about your product through text, you will still need to display the important details of your product through photos.
For others, this may be the easier way for them to absorb information and this can also help out everyone in general because it leaves nothing to the imagination. What your consumers will see is what they will get when they buy your product.
Types of Product Photography Services
Local Independent Photography Studios
These are normally composed of independent photographers that offer a wide variety of services to their customers like event, wedding, portrait, or product photography. These photographers may work out of their own home, share a studio, or have their own.
Pros of choosing an independent studio
- There may be more available and accessible options in your local area.
- It may be easier to negotiate a good rate because they are typically a one-person operation.
- The cost of shipping your products to their studio can be more affordable since they are just probably around your local area.
Cons of choosing an independent studio
- It may be challenging to find an independent studio photographer that specializes in this.
- They may not have the suitable studio capacity to handle your project.
- They may not have the studio equipment to handle your products.
- They might not have enough expertise, software, and equipment to handle your photography requirements especially if it is a large-scale project or requires 360 degree product images.
Full-service Photography Studios
Full-service photography studios offer a more complete range of photography services including product photography. They have the capacity and equipment to handle large-scale projects, large shipments, and all different types of products.
Pros of choosing a full-service studio
- They are able to accept large shipments of your products.
- They have the overall capacity to handle large projects.
- They can handle all types of products regardless of shapes, sizes, and weights.
- They can provide both still images and 360 product images.
- They have an expertise in product photography so you are assured of great photos for your products.
Cons of choosing a full-service studio
- If the studio is located somewhere that is not near your area, then the shipping costs to send your product will be higher.
- If the studio is not within your local area, then visits to it will be costly as well.
Product Photoshoot Pricing Guide
These are the three most common ways of pricing product photography services: by the period of time (hour or day), by the product, or by the image.
1. Charging by the number of hours
This method of pricing will have you charged a flat daily or hourly rate. If your photography project has specific image requirements that vary among products, the photography studio will find it difficult to estimate how productive the shoot will be.
This reason and situation is where they would want to opt for a daily or hourly rate. This pricing method can be difficult to budget for because there is no ceiling on what the costs will be.
2. Charging by the amount or size of products.
With this pricing method, the client will be charged by the product. There are typically two conditions that come with using this pricing method.
First condition is that the number of images per product should have a limit. Going over this maximum limit is an additional charge. Second condition is that each product category will get its own rate.
3. Charging by the number of images.
This is the most straightforward pricing method because it is transparent and fair to both the client and the photographer. This is why this is the pricing method preferred by most photography studios. With this model, clients get charged per photo and can get discounts on a basic rate if they order more images.
Here are some other factors that are considered which can affect the pricing:
- Layout – There are certain products that require a lot of time and effort to lay them out for the shoot. These can be car parts or toys that have parts to be assembled.
- Styling – Some products require a lot of styling which has to be in line with what the client wants. They would normally want the style to be aligned with the brand’s look, audience, and values.
- Photographer’s skill level – An experienced photographer who has already had a lot of positive reviews and a lot of experience will have a higher price demand compared to those that have less experience than him.
- Product category – Some product imagery requires more know-how, equipment, or human power so that it can be shot professionally. Products like electronic equipment, bulky vehicles, or jewelry, may require additional charges because of these reasons.
We are a production agency that provides full professional photography services in Singapore. We can help you out in making your products stand out so that you can use these photos on your social media accounts, websites, and other promotional materials. You can visit our website to get an instant quote for free.