When you start out in eCommerce, you have to learn a lot of things, quickly, to help save time and money. Photography is one of them.
You do not need to be a professional photographer to take a great product photo, nor do you need the full kit with lights and studios - but you do need a good eye and a clear shot. Some basic understanding of what focus is and how it works would be good too.
What's great about the modern world is that almost everyone has a camera, even if it's in a phone, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with using an iPhone 4 (Guilty - I still haven't upgraded!) and a white wall to frame your photo - you just have to work with what you have.
So let's jump straight in!
Set your scene
Avoid putting too much stuff (best word for it) in the background - your product is your focal point and the main attraction of the photo. If you have a smaller product, you can make a makeshift studio out of a large piece of paper - there are plenty of tutorials on Youtube about this. I personally just put a white table against a white door frame (See below). For a larger product, like furniture, get creative in a garage - make sure the walls aren't too dirty and add some nice flowers, or even hang up a pretty bedsheet to spruce it up.
Your product is the star attraction - the leading lady! You want it to look good - so ensure there's light on it - you don't want it hiding in the shade. Improvise with some lamps without shades - top tip, investing in white light bulbs will take out the weird yellow colour you sometimes get in photos. (Just ensure you're getting the right ones and make sure you unplug the lamp while changing them - safety first guys!)
Don't just take one photo from one angle - shoot your product from all sides, even the bottom, so your customer can really see what they're buying.
Focus, focus, focus
Blurry photos aren't good- make sure you take a moment to ensure that your photos are in focus and that the focal point is on an important part of your product - for example, if you have a nice buckle on your shoe, focus on that.
Top tip: when on an iphone, you can focus an image by tapping the part of the screen you want to focus on.
Try to ensure your product is in the centre of the shot, but if you want to be a bit more creative then you can always use the white space and the rule of thirds - imagine your shot has a grid with three boxes over it - make sure the product is in one of the three boxes.
Editing your shots
Try your hardest to get the perfect shot BEFORE you take the picture, but if you need to tweak it a little, that's ok.
There are plenty of free editing tools out there, so you don't need to worry about breaking the bank. The iPhone editing suite alone is great, and iPhoto on the mac has all the basics. If you have a little extra to invest, Affinity Photo is an awesome alternative to Photoshop, and has pretty much all the same features, albeit with different names.
Don't change any of the colours - your don't want to advertise falsly, but take out any tiny specks of dirt or dust that may have been caused by the camera, and that will be brushed away before sending to the customer anyway.
Protect your items pictures by adding a non intrusive logo or watermark - you took this awesome shot, so people should know about it!