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Five Tips for Taking Better Product Photos

By Gabriel O’Brien

Pick a consistent background. One of the fastest ways to stand out is by using a consistent background in all your images. Not doing this is

I spend a lot of time talking about content, specifically video content, because I think it’s a crucial part of modern MI retail. Another important type of content many aren’t thinking about are photos, specifically product photos. Product photos are arguably the least sexy type of content and the easiest type of content to pay too little attention to. I see so many independent retailers struggle with online sales, and the reasons why become clear when you look at their listings on third-party websites like Reverb.com and eBay. Good photos are one of the things that separate the pros from the amateurs, and they offer one of the easiest ways to stand out online. And consistently good photos build trust with your audience. Pick a category on Reverb and scroll through the listings. You can immediately see who the individual sellers are and who the stores who sell a lot are. If you’re a consumer, which of these sellers would you rather buy from? There’s an appeal to the high-quality photos, and you learn to recognize your favorite stores pretty quickly by the quality of their photos. So, if you want to stand out and help grow your online presence through ecommerce, here are a few quick tips on taking better photos.

1 one of the biggest errors I see on third-party and ecommerce websites. Photos taken all around your store are visually confusing and take the focus off the product itself. Pick a spot in your store that’s out of the way and make it into a small photo area. It needn’t be fancy. Treat the wall with a background that’s not distracting but can be visually identified as your own. You can go on Amazon and search “wood photo background” and find 3x5 vinyl backdrops that photographers use for portraits for $9. Keep it simple. You can attach the backdrop permanently to a wall and screw a String Swing into it to hang guitars on, or drape it from a curtain rod and set your products on a small table in front of it. Again, this setup does not have to be fancy or take up a lot of room.

If you have questions about taking product photos or would like me to send you links to tutorials on lighting or other topics, write to me at gabriel@ upperhandstudios.com

Coming in the September Issue of the Music & Sound Retailer: 40

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2 Lighting. This is another key area where most people go terribly wrong. Images that have a bunch of glare on an instrument or that are too dark to see clearly make it difficult for buyers to make decisions and increase the likelihood of unhappy customers returning the products. So you need to take lighting seriously when you’re taking your product shots. You don’t need a professional lighting rig to do this. You can pick up reasonably decent LED softboxes on Amazon that will get the job done fine. I recommend two to three to cancel out shadows, and there are great online resources on how to position lights to reduce unwanted glare. Turn off or block all other light sources.

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