Learning how to take product photos with an iPhone or high-end camera can seem like a daunting task. Using a smartphone is an effective way to take product pictures for e-commerce websites like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. Here are some tips and tricks on how to take stunning product pictures with an iPhone.
Gear You Will Need
When taking product photography, it is vital that you have the proper gear. This will save you time taking the picture and editing the photo. If you forget the gear, your image may be out of focus due to camera shake.
Here are a few things to look for when buying a tripod. First is the size. With mobile photography, size matters, the smaller the better. Joby makes a small tripod for your smartphone that is 7 inches long and can fit into any bag or purse. The GorillaPod comes with adjustable legs that balance on rocks or can wrap around a tree.
Next, look for a sturdy tripod. When taking pictures outside, a sturdy tripod is important for balance. A cell phone could tip over and get scratched. The Manfrotto Pixi is one of the best small tripods.
2. Wireless Remote
Camera shake equals blurry photos. Every time you touch the screen to take a photo, it creates camera shake. The smallest movement can affect the quality and sharpness of the photo and lose the tiny details in the photo. The Joby Impulse Bluetooth Remote works to take one picture or many pictures from a distance. There is no need to run to make it into the shot with the timer.
Shoot in a Manual Mode App
The next step for learning how to take product photos with a phone is mastering manual mode. It is a great way to enhance your photography and learn the basic elements of photography. Manual mode is great for shooting in low light situations. Manual mode gives you a little bit more control over the settings, [Comma splice] you can adjust the ISO, Shutter speed, white balance, and exposure compensation. Manual mode does take some practice, but it is a great way to take fantastic product photos with an iPhone.
For Samsung and many Android phones, this feature is built-in as the pro feature. On the iPhone, you need to download a third-party app. Some of my favorites editing apps include ProCam, RAW+, VSCO, Camera+, and Halide. By learning how to use manual mode on your phone, you can do many of the features a SLR camera can do.
Preparation for Shooting Product Photos
The setup and plan are the best way to have a successful product photoshoot. It takes thought and planning to create good product photos with your phone. The first item to focus on is the shooting surface. Will you be outside with natural light or inside? Then consider how you will stage your product and hold your phone. You will also need to choose a background and props.
When choosing where to stage your product photos shoot, look for an area that has a lot of indirect natural light. This could be facing a window or in the shade outside on your porch. Shoot in both areas depending on the time of day.
If you have an e-commerce store, I suggest writing down the time of day and what you used as settings or props. Then you can quickly recreate the same image in each shot.
1. Build a Creative Background
Creating the right environment is very important when taking product photos with a phone. A white background is a very traditional way to create a background. You can purchase a simple lightbox or create your own for fairly inexpensive. If you would like a more decorative approach, you can do scrapbook paper of different patterns in the background. Sometimes they have different brick or wood patterns that work really well. You can also take your product to a specific outdoor setting that would match the theme.
2. Use Props
Adding a personalized touch with props is a great way to enhance your photo. If you are taking a photo of a craft you are selling on Etsy, you can use buttons, ribbon, washi tape, or a journal in the background. Try to add only 1-3 items. Too many items will distract the viewer and create clutter.
Create Great Lighting
Creating great light is an essential skill to master when learning how to take product photos with a phone. You can use natural light by going by a window or being outside. Artificial light is also a great option. Artificial light has a professional look and style which works great for products that will be listed on eBay and Amazon. If you are selling on Etsy, the natural light look is very popular.
To create great natural light, consider the setting where you will be shooting. The best natural light locations have indirect sunlight or shade. Sometimes in natural settings, it’s hard to get the light even, so I suggest using a poster or foam board to bounce light onto the product. When the lighting is correct, then take the shot.
Artificial light requires a little bit of work to set up but it’s a great way to take product photos with your phone. When using artificial light you will need a background or white poster board to bounce the light off. When using artificial light make sure you keep some distance from the object so the product doesn’t get glare in the picture. You can also angle the light one direction if you are using more than one light. This will create an even look.
The Litra Torch is a product I recommend. It is small and fits on a small tripod. Also, it has three settings for brightness. The Litra comes with a diffuser that you can put over your light so the light is less harsh, this creates better photos.
Enhance Images with Editing Apps
The last step to create fantastic product photos with an iPhone is to edit your photos using an Editing App. I recommend Lightroom and Snapseed, due to their ease of use and versatility. Snapseed is one of the most comprehensive apps for mobile editing and it has great features to adjust white balance and details. Lightroom also works great to adjust and fine-tune the color.
Learning how to take product pictures with an iPhone can simplify the timely process of product photography. With these quick tips, you will be able to improve your mobile photography quickly. First, remember that gear will save you time and will save you from many blurry photos. Next, for more detailed and specific shooting, try a manual mode app. You can adjust the shutter speed and ISO. Take time to prepare by coming up with staging ideas. Look for different backgrounds or props you can use. Plan your lighting by using natural light or artificial light. When you have completed your shoot, take the time to edit the photos in Lightroom or Snapseed.
Try these tips and let me know in the comments what went well and what was challenging.
Take a minute to try these tips to become a great smartphone photographer. Want more inspiration? Here are some additional resources that can help you:
- How to Shoot Outstanding Smartphone Street Photography
- Olloclip Multi-Device Lens Review
- How to Use the PicsArt App
Give those tips a read and you’ll be ready with new hacks and tips to help you make the most of your phone’s camera. See our photos on Instagram at @picxtrix.