Common Mishaps in Product Photography Lighting

We’re going to give it away right up front: lighting is probably the most important element to shooting solid product photography. When isn’t it in photography? But because getting the nitty-gritty details is often so important, there’s a lot more involved in planning and setting up your product shots.

For some product photography lighting tips and advice on getting those miraculously detailed images, we talked to product photographer Lucas Zarebinski. Lucas is routinely sought out by editorial and advertising clients for his food photography and unique concepts for fashion and electronic products. His edgy work has appeared in magazines such as Men’s Health, Prevention, Bicycling, and Details.

Here is Lucas’ list of some of the most common mishaps he’s seen (or experienced) and how he keeps clients coming back for more:

Unlike photographing a person or group of people, “It’s entirely up to you to create the photograph – there is no active collaboration between you and the object,” says Lucas. “Product photography requires a greater attention to detail and critical lighting skills since you find yourself a lot closer to the subject than most cases.” While getting into someone’s personal space during a shoot might be inappropriate for a living subject, it’s encouraged in product photography. “It’s all about styling your subject prior to shooting and coming up with the right approach,” notes Lucas, who carefully studies all the product’s details before even setting up lights.

Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the product, and you’ll be better prepared to light it.

Creating a “scene” on set

Lucas points out that the product should be the center of attention. That means the setting should be clean-cut. “I try to work with as little distractions as possible,” says Lucas. “That way I can just emphasize the object without worrying to much about props.”

Avoid harsh shadows and aim for softer lighting (try using a light tent or softbox), which helps the viewer focus on the details. You can start by aiming two lights down on the product, and then adjust the brightness and angle to bring out the right texture.

In most cases, you’ll also want to remove all distractions from the shot and create a simple composition. This is particularly important for editorial clients who will likely want to add text or position several products on the same page.

Approaching it from an expected angle

There’s a simple approach to product photography lighting – don’t take that one. Coming up with new ideas is what makes you stand out and leaves clients wanting more. So, what about lighting from underneath using a lightbox? This is one of Lucas’ favorite techniques, and the result is often a much more interesting image with shadows and texture details that you wouldn’t normally see. “I ended up setting up on a lightbox to give the product a fresh and airy feel,” says Lucas of the above shot. “I was paying close attention to the shapes and texture in the subject to give them colorful and strong impressions.”

Acting like a know-it-all

Remember: you’re the photographer on set. So just as you wouldn’t want the stylist or art director on set to interfere with your shooting, be sure to return the favor. Sure, it’s fine to collaborate with them, but don’t step on their toes. Trust their expert and leave it to them to do what they’ve been trained to do.

Though most clients will likely bring along their own people, you should also consider befriending a few good stylists. “I almost always work with a prop or food stylist,” says Lucas. “Concepts are developed as the photographer, client, and stylist all talk about a particular assignment and come up with the best visual solution to the problem at hand.”

For the above shots, Lucas let the food stylist pick out and arrange the best looking. “As much as you try to figure out everything before the shoot, you still need to leave room for changes – things might look better or worse from what you planned,” he says.

You still want to maintain your personal style and put your own stamp on the shot. For example, Lucas is known for his stop-motion photos. “I just love freezing motion and capturing moments that you don’t really see in everyday life,” he says. “It’s like magic to me. In a sense it’s like I have the wand and I can stop time.”

Demanding that you get everything in camera

Lucas reminds us that it’s okay to do some extra work in post-production. There are always corrections to be made, no matter how good your product photography lighting might be. You might even find that you spend as much time post-processing as you do shooting. “Sometimes it’s just a simple clean-up of dust and scratches, but in most cases things need to be layered, enhanced, and re-positioned,” says Lucas.

Other techniques often include color boost, contrast change, and sharpening. Or you might simply want to create a concept that’s impossible to get in real life. “I think these days all commercial photography is retouched to some level,” Lucas says.

If you’ve worked in product photography before, what do you think are some of the most common misconceptions about lighting objects vs. people? Share your expertise in the comments.

Top 7 Reasons Why Product Photos Need Editing For E-Commerce Stores

We are living in an era of e-commerce now.  E-commerce business is growing rapidly.  The main reason is that if a customer want to buy something, she or he can choose the product in the comfort of their home.  They have the option to compare it with the other e-stores.  It is not mandatory now to look for a product walking or travelling from store to store.  When they find the product that matches to their necessity and taste, they can order the product online with just few clicks.

But how can they see the products?  Not an intelligent question, right?  The answer is simple, from the product images e-stores display.  Virtually every photo for commercial display need one or the other kind of editing.  Generally speaking, a bright, polished and crisp image catches our attention easily.

For e-commerce websites, to improve the product images using product photo editing techniques is really very important.

The top 7 reasons are –

1. Images Should Be Appropriate In Quality

Photo editing makes an image bright and appropriate for displaying on an e-store.  A product image may need various types of manipulations.  Most common requirements are changing unwanted background, Adding and/or removing objects, color corrections, exposure adjustment, neck joint or ghost mannequin effect for garment products to name a few.  Aside from the image manipulation techniques mentioned, there are numerous techniques and affects you can apply to your product image to make it stand brilliant in the crowd.

2. Visitors See Only The Images Of The Products

Visitors of an e-commerce store can only see the images of the products.  They cannot touch, test or try it like a physical outlet or showroom.  They take their buying decision seeing the pictures, price, and the short specification/description provided on the website.  If the picture is attractive customers go for the further details like price and specifications.  If they feel like they want the product, they places an order for that product

3.  It Is More Applicable For The Garment Products

 Shooting a proper garment product is a bit tricky.  A flat garment hanging on a hanger does not look so appealing.  If the garment is put on a mannequin and then shot, it gives a better look but the mannequin becomes distracting.  But if ghost mannequin or neck joint technique is applied the garment becomes prominent in the picture.  The prospective customer can get better view about the shape and look of the garment.  The label on the neck also becomes more clearly visible.  Ghost mannequin technique is also suitable and excellent for jewelry pictures.  Very often the jewelry pictures are taken after putting it on a jewelry holder mannequin or necklace holder mannequin.  Jewelries look better when there is no mannequin on the picture.  This effect can well be achieved by editing the picture with ghost mannequin/neck joint effect.  Even if the product is shown using a human model; some image improvements, retouching and manipulation is very often necessary.

4.  Visitors Skim Through Dull Images

As a customer we tend to overlook the dull images on the website.  Raw images can convey misconceptions.  A product may be useful and cost-effective, but because of the low quality image it may convey little impact to the buyer.   Even if the product is useful for the customer, there is a great chance that the buyer may skip the product.  On the contrary, we are inclined to stop when the image catches our eyes.  If the image is dull and dark the visitors tend to pass through those products quickly while browsing.  As a result, customers will not click on the product image, so the sale of that product will cease to increase, eventually the web store will be deprived of sell.

5.  Bad Images Will Lower The Impression Of The Web Store

Business is decreasing because of unimpressive images

If a web store contains a lot of low quality product images, ultimately, it may affect the impression of the website and it’s branding.  The competing e-commerce website with glittering pictures will gain more interest of the visitors.  As a result they will be popular than the website which contains lots of dull and gloomy pictures.  To increase the reputation and ranking an image quality assurance team should be there to decide if the product is publishable to the website.  Or, if some editing of the images is required.

6.  Fancy Products

To increase the sale of fancy products, photos of the stuffs should be eye-catching and tempting.  Buyers of decorative and fancy products focuses on the look of the product.  This is why it is important to showcase these types of products brightly, sharply and smartly.  For this kind of items, people tend to order which looks better and attracts them.  While buying fancy products people sometimes get impulsive.  To catch customers’ attention it is wise to display a luminous and attractive picture of the products.

7.  Ultimately Better Images Increase Sell

We all like to see clean, clear, bright and perfect images.  The same thing reflects in the case of product pictures of e-commerce websites.  Delightful images catch our attention and increases sell.  It is better to invest very little money on image editing and enhancement to increase the sell by thousands of units, than to let the product get unnoticed and have thousands of units remain unsold in the warehouse.  The main objective of e-commerce websites is to sell more products to increase the revenue.

If you are an e-commerce shop owner, you must need a large number of finely edited product photos. We have more than 30 years of experience in image editing services. We have been working with many world famous media, fashion and printing houses. We provide free trial offer, quality services and 24/7 customer support. For the best quality and experienced workmanship, please contact us.

Why Outsource Clipping Path Services?

Clipping path is now an important service for all kinds of online based company that provides online promotional business like online shop, E-commerce business, design house etc. clipped images are also most useful things for e-commerce trades which have a group of product’s images to attract the probable customers. Clipped images are being used in Posters, flyers, brochure, websites, catalogs, magazines, newspaper, photo house, advertising and all different sector where images are used frequently. That’s why clipping path service is becoming very useful thing to Advertising agencies, e-commerce business provider, photographers, design house, publishing companies, affiliate marketer, graphic house and web developers.

Digital Agency:

In the digital agency, using of photo editing service is very high. A large amount of clipped images are used in advertising agencies, promotion agencies, marketing agencies, design agencies, social media agency, media planning agencies, branding or identity agencies and public relation agencies. Some of them are fully depended on photo editing techniques where clipped images are their raw material.

 E-Commerce Business:

This Types of Company needs clipping path service very effectively because all e-commerce business sites are fully online based. They outreach their information and products by internet. Product’s clipped images are being used in business to business communication, business to consumer communication, consumer to consumer relation, consumer to administration connection and others e-commerce businesses sector.

Online Shop:

Online shop is known as electronic retail service or e-shop service where consumers buy products or services directly from online sellers over the internet. E-shopping is the best alternative way to physically going in market. In online shop, shopkeepers sell their products to customers through product’s image with text. So all web stores and E-shops need clipping path service at widely. Generally Online Book Keeping Shop, Online Grocery Store, Online Bakery Shop, Online Delicatessen, Online Liquor Store, Online Drugstore, Online Hardware Store, Online Newsstand shop, Online Boutique house displays their product’s image on their web-shop.

Web Developer:

Clipped images are an important portion of any website. Maximum amount of e-commerce and online shop’s websites are filled with product’s image. Image processing service is most relevant sector with web development sector. Clipped images are used in website’s visual content, product or service part, alt tags, portfolio, blog page and other Purposes.

Printing House:

There are many printing house like Digital printing company, electrostatic printing house, flexography, gravure printing house, letterpress, offset lithography, thermography, screen printing and photo printing company needs clipping path service hardly. A large amount of clipped images are used printing sector frequently.

Photo Studios:

Photo Studios are involved with different types of photographers and photography house where clipping path service is used hugely. This sector needs large amount photos individually or corporate purpose which are processed by clipping path technique.

Design Studios:

Advertising design studio, in-design house, fashion design house, architecture design house, factory shape design house and other design studios are quite depended on clipping path service. Clipping path is the fundamental step for any kinds of composite design. It is also use in product design, interface design, visual design and engineering design sectors.

Publishing House:

Clipped photos are appropriate part for all publishing sectors like photo publishers, book publishing house, printing publishers, newspaper publisher and magazine publishing Company. Maximum numbers of publishing companies have photo editing sector where clipping photos technique is used as a large volume from others editing service.

There are no found any online based companies in the world where processed images are not used frequently. Processed images are most useful object for different online stages like online community, online media, online service provider companies and different social media sectors. Not only online purpose but also traditional marketing techniques need this service. There are some photo outsourcing company that provide image manipulation service like clipping path, photo retouching and color correction services to individual clients. So all the outsourcing company is fully depend on this service who outsource clipping path service mainly.


How to Take Gorgeous Product Photos

The way you present your products online has a significant impact on sales. Amateur-looking product shots erode consumers’ trust and could send them fleeing. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend $10,000 on equipment or hire a professional to create beautiful product photography that will instill faith in your online store and get results.

In this article, I’ll show you, in eight simple steps, how to save money on product photography and improve your store’s look and performance.

1. Camera

It’s important to use a nice camera. Fortunately, they have become very affordable. You can’t go wrong with a modern digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) model. I prefer the Nikon D7000 in terms of its price vs. performance tradeoff. Be sure to choose a camera that can capture video, and invest in decent lenses. I normally use a 50mm lens — here’s an example — which can accommodate mid-range and portrait work. A 105mm lens — here’s one from Adorama — while a bit expensive, is great for close-up work and jewelry product photography.

Although it used to be that having a DSLR was necessary for taking quality product photographs, smartphones have dramatically changed the game. The iPhone 5 has an 8-megapixel sensor and can produce professional grade shots. It’s received glowing reviews, like this one from The Sydney Morning Herald. I strongly encourage you to explore using your smartphone after you have the proper setup before committing to purchasing a higher-end camera. You may be surprised.

2. Lights

You will need some good lights. Of course, Mother Nature has a built-in option, which can produce great results. But the Sun is fickle. I like the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 Kit, which includes two lights, tripods, and attachable diffuser squares. While there are many photography lighting kits available, what’s most important for your setup is to get lights that operate in “continuous” mode — versus flash only — as this allows using them for video as well. In fact, I prefer to shoot even still photographs with my lights in continuous mode as I find this makes previewing the shot easier and adds depth to the result.

3. Tripod

You need to take longer exposures; holding your camera by hand will produce blurry images that shoppers will not like. I prefer Manfrotto tripod products. There are also some very functional tripods for smartphones such as the Woxom Slingshot.

4. Photo Setup

I like to shoot products in front of a continuous background — often white or neutral grey. It’s a simple and professional look that is often used by major online retailers. Fortunately, it’s simple to achieve.

Just purchase a few rolls of craft paper and some metal clamps. Roll the craft paper down a long and wide table and use the clamps to attach one end of the paper to something a few feet above the table. This will produce a smooth ramp. Place your product on the craft paper just after it comes into contact with the table.

Place your setup near a big, sunny window if you want natural light, or in a dark room if you want to use your photo lights. For about $50 you have a professional studio like my setup below. If you’re looking for a ready-made setup, Modahaus carries a good line of all-in-one tabletop photography studios.

5. Use a Wide Aperture

The aperture is the opening that lets light into your camera and is specified by an “f-number” like “f/16” or “f/4”. A wide aperture (small f-number) produces a narrow depth of field that makes your photos look richer and more professional. I’ve found that shooting with a narrow depth of field works particularly well for product photos of electronics. Set the aperture on your DSLR to something like “f/1.8” or “f/2”. You will need to have your camera in “aperture priority” mode to do this. Check your manual.

These images below are from my iPad app, “Bokeh: A Book About Cameras.” The images illustrate the effect of a camera’s aperture on the final shot. The image on the left was captured with a wide aperture and has a narrow depth of field. The image on the right was from a narrow aperture and has a wide depth of field. In short, use a wide aperture to produce product photos with a more professional look.

6. Pay Attention to Shadows

Avoid harsh backlighting and other setups that cast shadows on the surface of the object. Keep the lights on the same side of the object as your camera, or slightly off to one side.

7. Clean Up

A big fingerprint on your product or dust on your lens produce poor, amateur results. Buy some microfiber rags and wipe everything down carefully before shooting.

8. Don’t be Afraid

The biggest obstacle to doing something new is often ourselves. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be creative. You will make a few mistakes on your way to gaining a deeper understanding of the process. Not only will your sales increase, you will likely develop a new hobby along the way. When you’re ready to delve deeper there are many wonderful books. I like The Art of Photography, by Bruce Barnbaum.


You are well on your way to having an outstanding photography studio. Your product photos will appear as if you spent thousands on them. But really you did it all yourself.



Why Your Company Should Consider Outsourcing Content Creation

Outsourcing content to the experts at an agency that specializes in exactly what you’re looking for has some major benefits:

1. You can scale your efforts quickly and in bursts.

When you build an internal content team, you risk being forced to hire quickly when it’s time to scale up your efforts or make major layoffs when you want to scale down. But if you’ve outsourced your content to a trustworthy agency, your ability to scale is limited only by budget, not your team’s time or personnel resources. And for a fast-growing startup, this ability is helpful.

2. Custom technology can empower your team.

Hiring an agency focused on effective, collaborative content creation and management means you can gain access to that agency’s tools rather than use general software that doesn’t meet your specific needs or build your own tech, which requires significant time, talent and financial investment.

For example, Influence & Co.’s clients have access to CORE, our proprietary content technology, that allows them to access their content, view their content’s analytics and even showcase their published content on their public profile, which makes the entire process easier, more enjoyable and more transparent.

3. You can save time and money.

No matter how much confidence you have in your marketing team, if it’s already focused on executing 10 other marketing initiatives, content creation, management and distribution won’t be as timely, as high-quality or as efficient as an outsourced firm that specializes in content marketing. If you’re in a time crunch, consider using a knowledge management template to streamline your content creation efforts.

Now that you understand a few key benefits of outsourcing content, it’s important to really think through what type of agency relationship you’re looking for. Here are three kinds of agency relationships to help you decide what you need to make outsourced content marketing work for your team:

The curator

Content curators collect, organize and deliver published content that’s relevant to you or your audience to help you grow a following. They’ll usually deliver content for your social platforms, blog and email newsletter on a weekly or monthly basis. Normally, this is content that’s been published before in online publications and may be tweaked a bit to fit your branding, but it’s not unique to you, exclusive to you or bylined by you.

The implementer

Implementers take your documented strategy and execute the content creation. It’ll normally be a network of freelance writers who turn around articles based on your parameters, such as cost, quality and time. This is a good option for companies looking to churn out high quantities of average-quality content very quickly.

The partner

Content marketing partners handle everything from strategy development to content creation, editing, publishing, distribution and analytics, and they act as true partners in your team’s marketing efforts. Partner agencies often assign teams of account managers, content strategists, writers and editors to work with you to understand your company, your audience and your goals and to create content in collaboration with you.

While I’m biased toward a partnership firm as the best kind of outsourced agency relationship (as my team and I built Influence & Co. to act as a content partner), only you and your team know what type of relationship meets your needs.

Outsourcing your content means you understand your team’s limitations and want to be confident that your content marketing is as high-quality and effective as possible. And delegating it to the experts at an outsourced content marketing agency can achieve just that.