Good product photography is vital for the success of any e-commerce venture. Research shows that people remember 80% of what they see, but only 20% of what they read. Thus, a high-quality representational image can be the deciding factor for a customer seeking to buy your product. A low- quality image often makes the seller look unprofessional and untrustworthy.
A photographer can use a wide variety of cameras ranging from high to low cost DSLRs and point-and shoot-cameras to smartphone cameras. Although having a DSLR is considered a plus, it is not a necessity. Nowadays, superior smartphones such as the iPhone 5 and above are well equipped to take beautiful product photography, specially with the wide availability of photo editing apps and filters.
Below, we will give you a basic rundown of the various options available to you and how to choose the one most suitable for your needs.
1. POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERAS
Point-and-shoot cameras are compact, light and easy to carry. Digital point-and-shoot cameras are capable of creating pictures which are easy to transfer for electronic correspondence such as to friends and for uploading on Facebook. However, their megapixels are usually low, and thus, the image will blur for zoomed in close-ups.
A point-and-shoot camera allows for wide angle photography, but has limited zoom range. Thus, it is best suited to shoot small products in which you can focus your camera close to the product. (Eg: Candles, shoes, etc.) It is best not to use a point-and-shoot camera for products which are bulky, detail oriented, or requiring models and scenic backgrounds.
If you are taking photographs for sharing and promotional purposes via social media, a point-and-shoot camera should be just fine. Keep in mind to buy one with at least a minimum of 12 megapixels and one that is equipped with the latest technology(i.e, released within the past one year). You can also improve image quality with the various photo editing apps available today.
2. DIGITAL SLR’S
A DSLR offers a wide variety of lenses (fixed and zoom) and allows for optimal creative control. DSLR’s have large image sensors, which consequently increases the quality of the image taken and makes it more accurate and defined. It is excellent for detail-oriented projects. (For example: Jewellery).
It is a common belief that a larger megapixel camera is synonymous with better quality photographs. However, that is not the case. A 12 megapixel DSLR will result in higher quality photographs than a 16 megapixel point-and-shoot camera.This is because the image sensor consists of millions of light sensitive spots called photosites, which gain information regarding the image. Consequently, the larger the sensor, the more information the lens gains with regards to the photograph, leading to a better end result. Thus, when choosing a DSLR, focus on the image sensor.
DSLR’s also provide in-built features such as the ability to shoot in low light, noise-free images, higher shutter speeds, image stabilization,video, etc. Thus, a DSLR would be a good investment if you are aiming to run a large-scale business focusing solely on e-retail.
Although DSLR’s are expensive, there is a wide range of entry level DSLR’s which are more affordable and adequately suitable for your business needs. We will cover how to choose the perfect DSLR in an upcoming post this week. Stay tuned!
3) SMARTPHONE CAMERAS
Although taking product photography with a smartphone camera may not be the first go-to choice for a high quality image, the fact of the matter is that the perception is slowly changing. With the rising technological developments, lots of people choose to take photographs with their smartphones and later edit the photos with editing software.
However, one has to make sure that the smartphone comes equipped with a technologically advanced camera. For example, while taking product photographs with an iPhone 4 is not recommended, an iPhone 5 or 6 would show considerably better results.
Thus, we recommend a smartphone as a camera for seasoned users who have access to the latest phone models and have experience in shooting high-quality images with their phones. Mastering photography via smartphones is a skill which takes time to develop.
If your e-commerce activities are small-scale and you intend for it to stay that way, then we recommend you stick with a point-and-shoot or smartphone camera. However, if you are selling items which are expensive and of high value (even on a small scale) or are already running or hoping to grow a large business, then we urge you to choose a DSLR. There are a variety of affordable entry level DSLR’s available (In the Rs. 30,000 range) which result in excellent professional quality images. Stay tuned for our future post on how to choose the best DSLR for your business needs.