These days, cell phone manufacturers are equipping even mediocre smartphones with high-quality cameras that boast between 8 and 16MP of resolution. This means sharper, clearer photos — and better colors too. But this also means that you can utilize your smartphone to produce beautiful product photography consistently for your eCommerce endeavors. In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that! (All images in this smartphone photography guide were captured with an iPhone 5S).
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First things first
Before you can get started, you will need to own and understand how to operate your smartphone and its camera application. You may choose to use your phone’s basic camera app, which comes pre-installed on your phone, or you may prefer to download a different app with more advanced features. We recommend using Camera+, which will give you a greater amount of control than the basic camera apps that come preinstalled on most smartphones.
Whatever app you choose, it’s important that you become more than familiar with its various settings and capabilities to ensure that you are getting the best images possible.
If you’re having trouble, follow this detailed step by step smartphone photography tutorial to learn how to capture amazing images using your camera application’s manual settings.
Prep for success
Most of us are strapped for time and require quick turnaround when it comes to our product images. Below, you will find a list of five things to remember prior to photographing your furniture products with your smartphone if you want to carefully but efficiently create amazing photos.
1. Clean your phone
We use our phones so often that it’s nearly impossible not to smudge our screens and camera lenses with fingerprints. Remember to wipe down your phone and both the front and back sides of your camera lens thoroughly with a lens cleaner wipe or microfiber cloth.
2. Freshen your furniture
New furniture may not need as much care as secondhand goods, but each piece should receive specific attention. Always polish and clean your items with a multi purpose cleaner or furniture polish before photographing them. This step is not only important because you want each piece to look its best, but also because, when you do sell your item, your customer will be happy when it arrives in good clean condition.
3. Find a great space
Furniture pieces range in size, so make sure that you have enough room to photograph each one.
A corner wall across from a window would be a great place to set up shop because the light from the window will illuminate the product and the walls will reflect light onto the product as well, evening out the shadows.
Smaller products are usually quite easy to photograph, but since larger products require more space, they might pose more of a problem. If you’re having trouble fitting an entire piece into the frame by zooming in or out, try simply taking a few steps back.
4. Let enough light in
It is crucial that you produce bright, well-lit images.
For one, customers hate dimly-lit product images — and worse, bad lighting will make your products look dingy and dirty.
Another reason to take great pains to light your products properly is that good lighting allows customers to see your products in full detail, which will give customers confidence in buying from you. If you can’t find enough natural window light, try using artificial light from lamps and fixtures instead.
5. Go neutral
Not only should you choose a place in your house or studio that has enough space and light, but you should also select a shooting location with bright, neutrally-colored walls or somewhere that it is easy to install a temporary backdrop.
Depending on your product’s colors, white, grey, or lightly-colored walls will allow your furniture to stand out, emphasizing its colors and textures. For example: you should photograph white cabinets against grey walls (as opposed to white walls) and photograph black stools against either white or grey..
6. Do your homework
It is a good idea to research other furniture items that are being sold by competing retailers so that you can take notes on what works and what doesn’t work in their product images.
You should also spend ample time exploring and learning the eCommerce site you are planning to use to list your products.
Do all that you can to find out how to best market your products. Every detail counts!
For an all-in-one example of how best to photograph furniture utilizing all six of these tips, take a look at this product page from Chairish.com or at this listing from Ebay. The simplistic yet technically-sound way that these sellers have photographed their furniture against white walls is impressive. The white walls flatter the products and encourage customers to visualize the pieces in their own homes.
Set it up & snap
Now that you have prepared your product and located that perfect spot in your house or studio where your product will look its best, grab your phone, launch your camera app, and get to snapping. As you photograph your product, make sure to take time to turn it and capture it from various angles while avoiding taking duplicates. The point of using your smartphone is to publish your listing as quickly as possible so that you can spend your valuable time elsewhere.
As long as you keep the following principles in mind as you photograph your furniture products, you’ll be making money in no time:
1. Focus is key
This may seem like a no-brainer to many of you, but focusing is so important that we just had to list it.
Don’t forget to focus! Simply tap your phone screen on one of the furniture piece’s more prominent features and your smartphone will do the rest of the work for you.
Without proper focus, your customers will only see a blurry view of your product and will probably question your integrity as a seller.
2. Styling your product is overrated
You don’t need to worry about styling your furniture by arranging lifestyle items with it. In fact, adding props may serve to distract customers from the main piece being sold by stealing positive attention from your product.
Your customers are really only going to be concerned with one thing: getting the best views of the products they’re considering for purchase.
3. Detail shots are important but secondary
Shooting close-up shots of product details is always a good practice, but don’t let that distract you from capturing several standard, straight-on photos that provide views of the whole product.
After you have created images of a product from several different angles, zoom closer and feature the details that make the item special, such as tags, logos, and material textures.
4. Don’t lie about damages
New items should not have damages, but second-hand products do sometimes show wear and tear from years of use.
If a product that you’re looking to sell possesses any scratches or dents, be straightforward with your customers and consider including an image of the damage.
Just remember to highlight the exceptional qualities of your piece first and foremost.
5. Keep it consistent
When photographing a product from different angles, you need to make sure that you are photographing the product in the same relative position and distance from the camera with every shot. To accomplish this, mark a spot on the floor in the center of where your furniture should be positioned and a spot on the floor where you should stand to capture the images. This consistency will add a beautiful touch of professionalism to your listing, which will make customers more eager to buy from you.
When photographing multiple products at once, position the pieces side by side and try to line them up as much as possible. Consistency is key!
6. Shoot straight
To save yourself some valuable time later on, make sure that the images that you capture of each product are straight and cropped exactly how you want them to appear online. This way, you won’t need to straighten and crop them in post. If you do decide to use angled shots for dramatic effect, make sure that this creativity appears to be intentional instead of just as bad photography.
Add a little magic and upload
Once you have created the images that you want to use on your product page, open the images in an image editing application to tweak the brightness, contrast, and other related levels. For a basic furniture listing, this not necessarily a crucial step, but adjusting these settings can definitely add more “pop” to your images — and that might mean the difference in a customer’s decision to purchase a product or move on.
After you are finished editing, you can send your photos off to a professional outsourcing company who can really make your imagery shine. Here at Pixelz, we are great at taking your quality images and editing them even further to create truly stunning product photos with pristine backgrounds, beautiful colors, shadow effects, and crisp sharpness. With our quick turnaround guarantee, your images will be web-ready in no time.
Depending on where you sell your furniture online, you may be able to quickly and efficiently upload your images to the web straight from your camera application by syncing the app to your photo album. Websites like eBay, Chairish (shown above), and Etsy all have smartphone apps that you can utilize on the go. Each app is set up differently, but they require very little time to learn, so this is just simply a matter of selecting your favourite app.
Want to learn more about how to photograph different products with your smartphone? Check back with Pixelz’s blog very soon to hear more on how to quickly make money by producing excellent smartphone product photos!