A picture is worth a thousand words; and for businesses, stunning images can translate into thousands of dollars in revenues. Yet, quite often companies underestimate the importance of quality imagery. Sarena Elias, owner of Moxie Media & Design says bad product photography can make even the highest quality products look cheap and undesirable and can impact a company’s bottom line.
Good quality product imagery is one of the most vital sales tools in your marketing arsenal. Vibrant, crisp and clear images can boost consumer confidence, enhance your brand image and make your products more appealing to prospective buyers.
Prepare the garment
In order to show off the features of your custom apparel, remove any distracting tags, stickers or labels from garments and steam or iron out wrinkles. “Wrinkles are a clear distraction from the qualities of a piece that you’re trying to highlight,” says Elias. While you can always edit out wrinkles in Photoshop, this can be a very time consuming task and the end result may not look as “natural” as having the garments properly steamed.
Invest in a DSLR camera
Sure, you can take some nice pictures with your cell phone camera, but using a DLSR gives you greater control over the camera’s settings and delivers the best result for your product photos. There are three main settings to consider when taking product shots: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. When shooting moving models, a fast shutter speed is essential to get a crisp, clear shot. If you’re using a lighting rig, set your ISO to around 100. A low ISO will reduce the amount of noise or grain in your photos. A low ISO might be more difficult when shooting in natural light. The f-stop controls the range in front and behind the subject that will be in focus. The lower the f-stop, the narrower the depth of field. A mid-range f-stop will ensure that all aspects of the product are in focus.
Use a Tripod
Using a tripod will help you to avoid blurry images. A tripod stabilizes the camera and helps you to achieve those crisp, detailed images that consumers love.
Set the Scene
Good lighting is arguably the most important component of quality product photography. Purchasing a lighting kit will ensure consistency and colour accuracy of your products. Multiple lights set up at different angles will cause light to wrap around the product, removing any shadows. Placing objects further from the background will also help to eliminate hard shadows.
Shoot Against a White Backdrop
A white background gives your images a clean, professional look. If you’re shooting custom clothing products on a mannequin, a white backdrop allows you to easily erase the mannequin in your post-production process.
Use Models or Mannequins
Avoid photographing your custom apparel lying flat or on hangers. Photographing apparel products on a live model or mannequin helps show off the shape of the garment and makes it easier for customers to visualize themselves wearing your product.
Models make your custom clothing come to life, but they can be very costly. If your budget doesn’t allow for live models, a mannequin can be the next best thing. Male and female mannequins come in a variety of shapes and can fit even a low photography budget.
Show Multiple Angles
Giving your customers more information up front can help to prevent any negative feedback about the custom products afterwards. Shoot multiple angles of the same product, showing customers the front, side, back and a 45-degree view. If there’s a special detail on the garment or if the material has a unique design texture, take a close up shot of that too. When shopping online, customers don’t have the ability to touch and feel before buying, so the more information you can provide about your custom printed apparel through great photos, the better your customers’ shopping experience will be and the fewer returns you’re likely to get.
Use an Editing Software
Spend the time in post-production to make sure your products look their best. An editing software can allow you to remove the background, crop and resize your images, remove wrinkles and adjust shadows.
Hire a Professional
If you don’t have someone in your organization who can take product photos, consider hiring a professional. It’s a small investment that will yield substantial revenue rewards.