Have you ever visited a really good website but been distracted by the poor quality photo's they've used?
You may have heard that old phrase, "A picture speaks a thousand words," well it's true about your website also. Pictures can speak volumes to your customers, and can absolutely make or break your website.
Today, we are going to help your pictures speak the right words to your customers in three simple steps. So buckle up, and get ready to learn how to shoot like a pro and shove those poor quality pictures off your website.
Firstly, you're going to need a few things.
A Camera - It's kinda hard to shoot without one, so this is highly recommended!
Don't worry if your camera doesn't look like the one at the top of this article, it doesn't have to. A fully fledged SLR is fantastic if you have one (and entry level dSLR's are getting cheaper all the time) but most of today's point and shoot cameras will do just fine. In a pinch you might even get away with using your iPhone.
Lighting - You can use natural light from a window or you can use a flash if you have one. Although I know that most camera's have their own flash built in, that is the last thing you want to use. If you can invest in a portable (off camera) flash for your SLR, and you are happy to learn how to use it you will get great shots.
However, if you are using your point and shoot camera, or you don't have an external flash, turn off your flash (this is only for happy-snapping at parties) and find a nice window to work in front of. I know it sounds simple, but honestly, you will get the best lighting next to professional strobe lighting setups by just using the window.
Background - If possible, you're going to want a background that will not distract or take away the object in the photo. A white sheet or table cloth can make perfect backdrops for your photo's, keeping the item you are shooting as the main object and focus in the photo. (If you have a large item and a white background is not possible, then when taking your photo, make sure your focus point is on the object and you're using the largest aperture (That's the lowest F number in manual mode) to cause the background to blur out as you see in our blog pic for this week.
Patience - This is something you're going to need. Your pictures don't just become perfect because you tell them to, practice makes perfect, and believe me it's worth it in the end.
Arrange the plain background near a window and place your item on it.
TIP: To make your background look like it's one even surface, have the sheet/table cloth sit under the item and then come up behind the item, rather then have it as a straight backdrop. (This will vary due to the size of your item. If your item is too big for that, then stick to the original plan)
Start shooting! If you have a macro lens, now is the time to pull it out, but if you don't, have no fear, you will still get good pictures.
TIP: Don't get discouraged if the first few photo's don't turn out right. Like I said, it's going to take some practice and experimentation on your part. Try different angles or even times of day and use a tripod if you have one.
Upload the pics to your computer and begin the fun part! Place your photo into Photoshop or your favourite image editor and crop your picture to the desired size and shape needed, and remove any distractions that may have made their way into the photo. When you have completed this, go to your brightness and contrast settings, and adjust them until you get the desired look. (Feel free to play around with this setting for a bit so you get the idea and feel of what a difference contrast/brightness settings will do to your picture. Trial and error is a good way to learn these things.)
TIP: Photoshop can do amazing things, but try to remember to keep your picture looking as real as possible
Now it's time for you to go and make your pictures speak the truth about your website.
I'd love to hear how your shoot goes, so please tell me in the comments below, or if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.