When buy­ing online, cus­tomers can­not feel the prod­uct, so they pay atten­tion to two things: a pho­to and a descrip­tion. And the first thing that catch­es it is the pic­ture. High-qual­i­ty images can attract a buy­er and increase sales. Unsuc­cess­ful — blur­ry, yel­low, dark — on the con­trary, scare away. How to take pic­tures of goods for an online store, read in this arti­cle.

A good shot makes peo­ple con­fi­dent in the qual­i­ty of the prod­uct, an unsuc­cess­ful one pro­vokes doubts / Pho­to: unsplash.com

How to shoot small items for an online store
How to choose a back­ground for pho­tograph­ing cat­a­log shoot­ing of small objects
How to set the light­ing for shoot­ing for an online store
How to shoot prod­ucts for a cat­a­log in a light­box
How to get soft light with­out a light­box
How to pho­to­graph clothes for an online store
Where to shoot cloth­ing
How to set the light on the cyclo­rama
How to work with a mod­el when pho­tograph­ing clothes

Let’s make a reser­va­tion right away that it is dif­fi­cult to write a uni­ver­sal instruc­tion, since dif­fer­ent goods are sold via the Inter­net: from ear­rings and sweaters to cab­i­nets and refrig­er­a­tors. Here are col­lect­ed gen­er­al tips that are use­ful for both the fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­er and the jew­el­ry mak­er.

How to choose a background for catalog photography of small objects

The eas­i­est option to imple­ment is to shoot prod­ucts against a white or light back­ground. It is easy to imple­ment and quite ver­sa­tile: suit­able for any type of prod­uct. In addi­tion, it is eas­i­er to set the light on a white back­ground.

Pic­tures tak­en in black often look more expen­sive. But shoot­ing against such a back­ground is very demand­ing on the set­ting of light. This is a tech­ni­cal­ly more dif­fi­cult task, which should be dis­cussed sep­a­rate­ly. There is one more thing — a black back­ground is more often used for shoot­ing adver­tise­ments than cat­a­logs.

To shoot on white, you can use a spe­cial pho­to­phone or make it your­self. For home­made, it is enough to pur­chase paper or what­man paper at an office sup­ply store. Please note that you need to buy sheets with a mar­gin: in the process of shoot­ing, they can get dirty, torn and wrin­kled.

You can shoot with the dia­grams below, not only on white, but on any light back­ground. When choos­ing a back­ground col­or, be guid­ed by the theme of the prod­uct and design.

When choos­ing a back­ground col­or, you should avoid too bright flashy shades: they will draw the view­er’s atten­tion to them­selves.

So, chil­dren’s toys or books will look appro­pri­ate on a pink back­ground, expen­sive men’s watch­es are unlike­ly / Pho­to: unsplash.com

How to set the light on the shooting for the online store

The best option for cat­a­log pho­tog­ra­phy is soft dif­fused light. Let’s leave it sharp and pro­nounced for adver­tis­ing pho­tog­ra­phy. In the cat­a­log, it is impor­tant that the con­sumer can see the prod­uct in all its details, and hard shad­ows will be dis­tract­ing.

Com­pare: on the left is a shot of can­dles with hard light, on the right — with soft light / Pho­to: unsplash.com

How to shoot products for a catalog in a lightbox

The eas­i­est way to cre­ate shad­ow­less light­ing for a small sub­ject is to use a light­box.

A light­box is a device that is often used in prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy. It allows you to cre­ate a shad­ow­less light pat­tern and avoid unnec­es­sary reflec­tions. Anoth­er plus of a light­box is that you need few­er light sources to work with it. In the sim­plest ver­sion, only one lamp is required. More advanced mod­els have an LED lamp on top.

Light­box — in fact, just a box of white mate­r­i­al that reflects light in all direc­tions / Pho­to: fotosklad.ru

On the Inter­net you can find dozens of instruc­tions on how to make a light­box with your own hands. But, giv­en the rel­a­tive­ly low cost of ready-made light­box­es (from 1,000 to 3,000 rubles), you can choose an option almost at the price of paper.

Read also:

Illu­mi­nat­ed pho­to­box: what is it, how to use it, how to do it your­self

A light­box object looks some­thing like this: neat and dis­creet / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Many lightcubes have inter­change­able back­grounds — you can shoot not only on white, but also on oth­er col­ors. When choos­ing a cube, pay atten­tion to its size: your prod­ucts should not be cramped in it. The per­fect light­box twice as muchthan the sub­ject to be pho­tographed.

A few tips for shoot­ing sub­jects in a lightcube:

  • pre­pare the item first. If it’s a bar of soap wrapped in plas­tic wrap, take it off. If the jam is in a glass jar or a belt with a met­al buck­le, pol­ish every­thing that should shine. Wipe off dust and fin­ger­prints. This is much eas­i­er to do before shoot­ing than to suf­fer in Pho­to­shop lat­er;
  • if you are shoot­ing hand­held and the pho­tos are blur­ry, switch to shut­ter pri­or­i­ty mode (Tv/S) and choose a val­ue of at least 1/100. If it gets dark or you’re shoot­ing with your phone, use a tri­pod or palm rest;
  • adjust the white bal­ance so that the back­ground looks white. This will reduce the amount of work after shoot­ing;
  • don’t be afraid to light­en up the back­ground a bit. The main thing is not to over­ex­pose the main sub­ject;
  • shoot the prod­uct from dif­fer­ent angles. You can see in advance how such objects are usu­al­ly pho­tographed. So, per­fume bot­tles are removed from below: the cam­era should be approx­i­mate­ly at the lev­el of the bot­tom edge of the bot­tle. It is bet­ter to shoot flat objects (plate, mobile phone) from above, at an angle of 30–45 degrees.

The light­box is well suit­ed for cat­a­log pho­tog­ra­phy of small and medi­um-sized objects. If your prod­ucts are fur­ni­ture or some­thing large, you will need a stu­dio.

Read also:

Why pho­tos turn out blur­ry and how to get rid of it once and for all

Man­u­al mode: cam­era set­tings for a begin­ner

How to get soft light without a lightbox

To get dif­fused light, you will need a soft­box that is mount­ed on a light source. This is nec­es­sary if you are shoot­ing with flash. Also, soft light can be obtained by plac­ing the back­ground for shoot­ing near the win­dow. It is impor­tant that direct sun­light does not hit it.

Read more about shoot­ing with soft light in this arti­cle.

Clothes for an online store are usu­al­ly pho­tographed on a mod­el. There are, of course, options for still lifes, but this is more of a cre­ative that can dec­o­rate your social net­works. When buy­ing clothes online, the cus­tomer wants to see how the sweater fits, how long the sleeves are, and how deep the neck­line is.

Such pic­tures can attract atten­tion, but are not very suit­able for the cat­a­log / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

Where to shoot clothing

It is best to take cat­a­log shots of clothes in the stu­dio. Opti­mal­ly — on a cyclo­rama. This is a rigid struc­ture with a smooth tran­si­tion between the wall and the floor, which allows you to cre­ate an end­less white back­ground on the frames.

Mod­el. Cyclo­rama. Stu­dio / Pho­to: unsplash.com

You can also work on paper back­grounds, but, as a rule, there is more trou­ble with them. Often in stu­dios they are not allowed to walk on them with­out a spe­cial plas­tic back­ing, which then has to be removed in graph­ic edi­tors. In addi­tion, paper back­grounds are eas­i­er to dam­age or stain.

If it is not pos­si­ble to work in a stu­dio, it can be sim­u­lat­ed at home or in the office.

Shoot­ing a cat­a­log at home. You will need: white walls, a roll of old wall­pa­per, two light sources and dri­ve the dog out of the frame / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

When shoot­ing against an impro­vised back­ground, we inevitably increase the amount of pro­cess­ing. All pieces of adhe­sive tape will then have to be cov­ered in a graph­ic edi­tor. If you need to reg­u­lar­ly update the cat­a­log, it makes sense to buy a paper back­ground of the desired col­or and hang it in the office.

How to set the light on the cyclorama

The back­ground has been decid­ed. The sec­ond impor­tant thing to do is to set the light. There are sev­er­al sim­ple light­ing schemes for cyclo­rama. Clas­sic option: one source per mod­el (a lit­tle in front, a lit­tle on top, maybe a lit­tle on the side), one on the cyclo­rama so that it does not look dark.

A sim­ple scheme for work­ing on a cyclo­rama or a plain back­ground / Illus­tra­tion: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

An even eas­i­er option is to work on a cyclo­rama with nat­ur­al light. Often in stu­dios it is placed next to the win­dow. If you are pho­tograph­ing dur­ing the day, this light may be suf­fi­cient.

This option is pre­ferred for peo­ple who shoot their prod­ucts them­selves and are not too inter­est­ed in pho­tog­ra­phy. When shoot­ing with nat­ur­al light, spe­cial skills are not need­ed, but you will have to focus on the weath­er and time of day.

As for arti­fi­cial light, even sim­ple cir­cuits require at least knowl­edge of cam­era set­tings. We wrote more about this here.

Pho­to on a cyclo­rama with light from a win­dow on a cloudy day / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Ide­al­ly, there should be no direct sun on the cyclo­rama. You can shoot on a cloudy day or choose a stu­dio where the win­dows face the shady side. When work­ing with such light, the back­ground will be gray rather than white. But, in prin­ci­ple, it can be your chip.

Such pic­tures also look good / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

The absolute white­ness of the back­ground for cat­a­log shots is a debat­able issue. If even 5 years ago every­one tried to whiten it as much as pos­si­ble, now pic­tures on gray, bluish, green­ish or light pink are not uncom­mon.

The fact is that, first­ly, bright­en­ing the back­ground to white is a more dif­fi­cult task in terms of set­ting the light. Sec­ond­ly, with the advent of the trend towards slight neg­li­gence, pic­tures against a whitened back­ground began to be per­ceived by the pub­lic as some­what old-fash­ioned.

So you can not be afraid to shoot on a cyclo­rama with dif­fused light from the win­dow. But tak­ing pic­tures by the light of lamps that hang from the ceil­ing is def­i­nite­ly not worth it.

How to work with a model when photographing clothes

The biggest chal­lenge when pho­tograph­ing cloth­ing is often work­ing with a mod­el. The main advice — try to work with a pro­fes­sion­al fash­ion mod­el or some­one who has had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence. If it is not pos­si­ble to involve a spe­cial­ist, con­sid­er a few impor­tant points.

Don’t put the mod­el too close to the back­ground: no mat­ter how soft the light is, it will pro­voke extra shad­ows. The opti­mal dis­tance is at least a meter.

Shoot the per­son from dif­fer­ent angles. Remem­ber that it is impor­tant for the buy­er to con­sid­er the prod­uct in detail. For exam­ple, are there pock­ets on jeans, how is the back of a swim­suit tai­lored?

If your prod­uct is trousers or skirts, it is not nec­es­sary to shoot a per­son in full growth.

Feel free to crop the frame so that the rest of the image does not dis­tract / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Ask the per­son pos­ing not to look at the cam­era. You have prob­a­bly noticed that in adver­tis­ing pho­tos, the gaze of pro­fes­sion­al mod­els is often direct­ed into the dis­tance. This is done inten­tion­al­ly so that a focused look at the cam­era does not draw atten­tion away from the prod­uct.

A typ­i­cal cat­a­log shoot: the mod­el looks any­where but in the frame / Pho­to: unsplash.com

But this effect, on the con­trary, can be use­ful if you sell your prod­ucts on mar­ket­places. By plac­ing an emo­tion­al shot of a mod­el look­ing at the cam­era on the main page, you will high­light the prod­uct among sim­i­lar ones. At the same time, it is impor­tant to add calm shots to the gallery: they will allow you to see the details of cloth­ing.

The left frame is appro­pri­ate for the pre­view, the right one is in the gallery / Pho­to: unsplash.com


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