Take Great Product Photos with Minimal Investment

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to provide clear, crisp, high-quality images and professional-looking photographs when it comes to your branding and packaging. Consumers today are both savvy and unforgiving – and the simple fact is, one poor image can result in the loss of a sale.

Fortunately, there are a variety of easy methods you can use (even if you’re DIY’ing your photos), to make sure you get the best possible images for your packaging and other branding efforts. The following tips will help produce great product images, even if you have a small budget to work with.

Stuck for ideas? Use what’s already out there to help you decide what you want to go for in terms of your images. Search competitors or like products and see how other brands use product photos. Of course you’re not going to steal anything, but often, you’ll find a place to start. Once you see what others are doing, you can review your images until you eventually get to the point that you can’t tell the difference between yours and the others. Congratulations – you’re now taking product photos like the big stores!

If you’re attempting to take your own photos, hands down, the best investment you can make is a lightbox. Lightboxes allow you to properly light your item, so you remove shadows and get the best chance at professional-looking photos. You can buy or build a lightbox.

MAKING A LIGHTBOX: Building your own light box is easy – you just take any sturdy box that, when laying on its side, stands more than twice as tall as your item and gives enough room for you to use your camera. Tape up the bottom, cut off the top flaps and cut out a square on each of the sides – be sure to leave about an inch or two around all sides of the square to keep the structure of the box intact. Tape white paper to the outside of the box to cover the openings.

BUYING A LIGHTBOX: If you don’t want to build your own lightbox, you can find a high quality, relatively inexpensive photo tent available online or from your local camera store. These work effectively the same way, and most can be collapsed for easy storing.

In either case, you’ll want to flood the box with light using desk lamps or flood lights. Place your product in the box, turn on your lighting and snap away. For an added touch, you can create a platform by taking a smaller box, wrapping it in white paper or cloth and placing your product on top of it inside of the light box. Play around with angles and positions, and take dozens of shots so you have multiple options to choose from.

When you’re talking cameras, you could spend anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. How much you want to spend is really a personal choice. Keep in mind, you can get high quality photos of still subjects with the right lighting much easier (hence, with a much cheaper camera) than if you’re taking action shots of moving subjects.

If you’re taking a lot of photos, it may be worth investing in a mid-range DSLR camera. Now, these beauties are available for a few hundred dollars, and they’re a massive jump in quality over any cell phone camera. However, depending on your cell phone and the steadiness of your hands, you can sometimes get what you need with that phone in your pocket.

WHAT TO SNAP: Take photos of every detail, from every angle. Feature any connections, labeling, artwork or other details a customer might want to see up close.

Finally, use an image editor to adjust settings, mainly brightness, contrast and white balance, until your product stands out completely by itself. Microsoft’s Irfanview is a simple viewer editor, whereas GIMP is more of an open-source Photoshop clone. If you want to get detailed, use GIMP. Irfanview is perfect for simple changes.

KEEP IN MIND: If you’re taking photographs for your packaging, there are a few simple tips and tricks that most companies will require. Knowing these ahead of time will help ensure that all your photos don’t go to waste and you need to start all over taking pictures again. Be sure that you:

  • Send any artwork or images as a vector file
  • Include any fonts you want printed
  • Only use high resolution images for best quality
  • Look for a packaging company that will send you a PDF proof for review and approval

For best results, seek out a company that does all pre-press and printing in-house – this means that the entire manufacturing process can be controlled from start to finish…and you’ll end up with the best possible quality.

Need more direction or help with your brand images? Custom Boxes Now offers the best in the boxing business, with high quality packaging options that are totally customizable. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you.