An attractive website is a must for an online retailer to be successful. And a big part of having a good-looking site these days also means having high-quality, professional product photography.
But when you're just starting out, getting your product photos shot can be an intimidating prospect because good photography can be expensive. You either pay big bucks or you must learn how to take professional product photos.
The good news is that you can achieve great product photos using minimal equipment with minimal investment.
A good example for getting high-quality photos from cost-effective alternatives is one of the coolest startup businesses selling unique handmade friendship jewellery, Pacific Summer Bracelets. They not only make trendy fashion accessories, but they also contribute to a great charity. A portion of profits made on their charity bracelet range is donated to causes helping people, the environment, battling cancer, and more.
Pacific Summer Bracelets had some fabulous products requiring professional photos, and they had about $1000 to spend. The good thing was that they already had an old Canon DSLR and an EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens to start out with. Less than ideal for product photography, but a good start nevertheless.
Our recommendation for them was to get a tripod suitable for product photos, a shooting table, continuous lighting, and extension tubes for close-up photos (a dedicated macro lens would have taken them over budget). They ended up going for the following gear:
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263AB 100 Tripod Kit - $309
Kenko DG Extension Tube Set for Canon - $219
Falcon Eyes LHDK-2B428 Continuous Lighting Kit - $259
Jinbei JB-613D Foldable Photographic Table - $75
Total cost - $862
They set up the equipment in a well-lit room with the Vanguard tripod's centre column locked horizontally to shoot with the camera downward. Using only the 12mm extension tube from the set gave them about 50cm working distance, which made it possible to fill the frame with the bracelets. The Falcon Eyes continuous lights were set up on either side of the shooting table, with one light head at half power only to get some shadows from one side for some 3D effect.
If you are venturing into ecommerce and your budget is tight, you should think about taking the DIY approach to taking your own images? It’s not as hard as you might think.
A big thanks to Nikki and her team at Pacific Summer Bracelets for sharing the story of their photographic adventures with us.