Are you a budding entrepreneur in the second-hand goods market trying to expand your customer reach and sales? As online shopping and e-commerce sites increasingly eat away at the market previously dominated by brick-and-mortar stores, it’s becoming more and more important to maintain a strong online presence. One of the key ways to appeal to an online audience is through your use of imagery: when it comes to online shopping, a picture truly speaks a thousand words.
Because the success of an online business is heavily dependent on high-quality photographs, it’s critical to ensure your product photography is well done and accurately portrays your brand. That’s why many entrepreneurs use professional image retouching as a final step in the process to ensure all their photos complement each other and their brand. Here we will look at the top tips to ensure your product photography is at the top of its game.
Working for an online audience
Second-hand goods can be rare commodities and using an online platform to sell lets you tap into and access both wide and niche audiences. From using the right camera angles to understanding your audience, there are various things you can do to make your pictures more successful and drive sales.
Know your product
Every item has its own particularities and consequently needs to be treated differently. If its rugs you are selling, remember that buyers will want to see not only the pattern but a close-up of the thread quality from the top and under-side, as well as the tie offs. For specific tips on car photography, take a look at our in-depth guide.
Clean the items first
You might be surprised at how such a seemingly simple point is often overlooked, but it is. No matter how artful your photography is, if an item is dusty, poorly arranged or not completely put together, no one is going to be convinced of its full worth. Take the time to ensure your products are in top shape before ever picking up the camera: if it looks like it has been unearthed from a garage after thirty years, don’t expect people to be rushing to buy it. Moreover, items that look uncared for will make potential buyers question their condition and assume their liability to break soon after purchase.
Find the right platform
Depending upon the kind of products you are trying to sell, finding the right platform will do half the job for you. If you have a lot of stock you might consider setting up your own site and enjoy total control over how you market your items and your brand. Alternatively, there are a number of specialist platforms for high value or niche items: for instance, Chrono24 specializes in luxury watches, including IWC and other high-end brands.
Create a space
If you are photographing small items it’s important to create a space in which to situate them. Using just a simple box allows you to set up an area in which to set backdrops for items and adapt lighting. Larger items obviously cannot be contained within such a studio space, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to the details. Try to ensure the background is not too busy, without any distracting elements which might draw the focus away.
Light items wisely
As the old mantra goes, don’t use the zoom – get closer to the subject. Equally, don’t use the flash – turn on a light. Lighting really can change the entire appearance of an item, helping to bring out the true color of surfaces and texture of materials. Moreover, it can affect the entire mood of your image; from bright and airy to somber and thoughtful. If natural light is not adequate using even low-cost household lamps can help to highlight key features. Avoid getting any glare or reflection in the camera by angling your light slightly off-center or shading it. For more in-depth tips about aperture control and dynamic range, take a look at this useful guide to help improve the more technical aspects of your shots.
Offer a range
It’s not enough to simply provide a single, stunning image of an item. Buyers want to see a product from every angle, well-edited so as to provide a consistent photo stream where all color tones match one another and there is a clear sense of continuity. Aim for between four to seven different images, depending on how big or complex the piece is. A ‘lifestyle’ shot of the item in context can also help identify its major selling points, as well as subtly convey how it ought to be used.