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10 Ways to Take Better Product Pictures Immediately!
by Kimberly Deprey

So you need to take a few pictures of your products but you could use a few pointers. Here are some tips you can use right now to take better quality product photos.

Prevent Out of Focus Photos

There are many reasons why a photo can become out of focus, but this most commonly occurs when you are shooting out of the camera lens's "focal range". In other words you are simply too close to the product. Try backing up, some cameras need up to four feet of distance between what you are shooting and the lens to focus correctly.

Too Much Light

Don't blast your product with light. If too much light or too strong of a flash is used it wipes out the details of your product in the final picture. The texture in fabric or handmade qualities in pottery are instantly removed when the lighting is too strong. If your camera does not allow you to adjust the flash when your photos are too bright try covering the flash with a piece of white tissue paper to diffuse the light. You should also use a slower film with a lower ASA. 200 ASA or lower should be used.

Not Enough Light

When insufficient light is falling on the subject your photo looks "flat" or "muddy" and lacks contrast. If this happens switch to a lighter colored background, and shoot near a window to take advantage of the natural daylight. Also use a faster film, 400 ASA or higher.

Prevent Camera Shake

If the camera is not properly supported sometimes a noticeable blurriness can appear in the photo. A tripod is the best solution for this, but a re-sealing plastic bag filled with sand can be placed on an elevated stable surface and can be used as a suitable camera base.

Avoid a Busy Background

Most importantly keep the background simple! Patterns and lines distract from the product. Use plain fabrics and avoid patterned lace. Also, do not use sheets of poster board, since the dividing lines that this causes can be very distracting. Instead use paper that is wide and comes on a roll for a more professional look.

Watch Your Camera Angle

Try not to angle your camera so that it appears as though you are looking down at the product. This could imply inferior quality to your product. Conversely, don't angle your camera to look up at your product. As a general rule if you set your camera exactly parallel to the product then raise it about six inches, your angle of view should fall at the ideal point.

Cropping Your Photo

Cropping refers to the amount of empty space around the product in the photo. If the image is cropped too closely the product can appear to be boxed in. Too much space and the product can lose impact. Coordinate Your Colors

If more than one product is being photographed try to use pleasing color combinations. This rule also applies to the product and it's relationship to the background. A brown basket on a bright pink background may not be a good choice. That same basket on an emerald green background would look stunning!

Product Placement

If more than one product appears in a photo be sure not to bunch them together too closely. Also, placing them at different levels is also very pleasing to the viewer. Keep the products on the same plane. In other words don't place one product too far from the other from front to back. Even a distance as little as four inches can cause one of the products to be out of focus.

Image Composition

Naturally most people prefer to take a horizontal picture, but don't be reluctant to turn your camera on it's side to take a vertical photo when shooting products that are taller than they are wide.

You can also take advantage of a composition tool that artists often use. It's commonly referred to as the "rule of thirds". Visually divide the photo using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. The points of intersecting lines create the four points of interest. When composing your image try to place objects on these imaginary points of interest to increase visual impact for the viewer.

By following these simple tips you can improve your picture taking. Always remember, take your time, pay attention to the details and most of all have fun! Your patience, enthusiasm and creativity will always shine through in the final image.

Kimberly Deprey is the author of the "Photographing Your Products" and publisher of If you're selling products online, you need great photography!
This article is copyright 2001 by
All rights reserved. Published here with permission.


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