Have you taken a good look at the visual elements of your website? Though fonts, graphics, and design are significant factors in your customers’ experience, the true captivating element is the photography, especially when it comes to selling a product. Whether your viewers realize it or not, they are reacting and responding to your images and as business owners we want our customers to be captivated and willing to spend time on our site.
But for many busy Raleigh Mompreneurs, grabbing a camera and taking a quality image for our website or product page feels like a daunting task. So consider taking these steps:
Identify the message your images are sending to your customers.
How do you want your customers to feel when they visit your site? Perhaps you craft handmade candles or pottery. Place your customer inside a quaint beach cottage by keeping your image light and airy. Or perhaps you sew clothing for children and want to express youth and playfulness. Imagine a child playing in front of a colorful wall or building.
For product pages shop around on etsy.com to see what works for other business owners. The products that tend to stand out are photographed with clean and simple backgrounds. The photos clearly highlight the product and, most importantly, the images are well lit and in focus.
Some of our very own Raleigh Mompreneurs are great examples of how good photography can showcase your unique products. Check out Jennifer V. Event Design & Planning to see how photos can transport you to another place. Butter Beans & Chic Peas and Lucy2’s are wonderful examples of quality product pages. Their images are crisp, clean, and clearly highlight their unique products. What’s more, they carefully display their products and use multiple angles.
Develop a production plan for your product page.
Whether you are a high-volume business or you produce one product a week, consider photographing your products in blocks of time to avoid feeling so scattered.
1. Gather your ready-to-sell products in one location. Seeing your products in a group may give you new and creative ways of photographing them.
2. Prepare your shooting location. Gathering your backdrop, props, and identifying your location well before the shoot will help you identify overlooked items.
3. Schedule time after the shoot to download your images, color correct, crop, and upload them to your site. The longer your images sit on your camera the less likely you will have them up on your business site in a timely manner.
4. Keep your images organized so they are easy to find. Be a stickler when it comes to captioning your images and saving them with identifiable files names. You just never know when you will need to locate them again. Be sure to include the date and product name.
If you are like many Mompreneurs, you are not in possession of a pro camera. But, if you are in control of your shooting location, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish with your point-and-shoot camera. Remember, one good photo is worth far more than ten mediocre snapshots, so take your time and do it right.
1. Turn off that flash. Direct flash is harsh and unflattering. In fact, using direct flash on your images may actually push your customer away, rather than draw them in. So read your manual and learn how to manually turn off your flash.
2. Open the blinds. Once your flash is turned off, you need light. And there is simply nothing better than natural, indirect window light. Best of all … it’s free and readily available.
3. Focus. Set your camera to the macro setting (most point-and-shoots have this setting). You will be amazed at the detail and depth-of-field.
4. Zoom with your feet, not the lens. The quality of your image will deteriorate drastically if you use the zoom function on your camera. Zoom your lens to the widest setting and physically move the camera closer to the product.
5. Take lots of pictures of the same product. There is nothing more heartbreaking for a busy mom than to upload your photos and realize that your images aren’t in focus. So shoot a lot of pictures from the same angle, then adjust your angle and shoot more. There are so many benefits to living in the digital world and one of them is that you can never take too many photos (at least when it comes to product photography).
Ask for help.
This seems to be a mantra with Raleigh Mompreneurs and it’s worth repeating. It’s ok to recognize when we are not good at something, so pay someone else to do it for you. If what you truly need is simply not attainable using your personal camera consider calling up a local professional photographer. Collaborate and see if you can come up with a cost-effective solution. Find out if the photographer will offer a discounted session if you promote them on your site. Or find a photographer who is willing to offer a training session to help you improve your own photography skills.
We work so hard at being moms, wives, and business owners. We owe it to ourselves to have photographs that reflect the joy and beauty of being a Mompreneur.
Becky Catlett is a professional photographer who operates JoBe Images, an on-site photography studio. A recent transplant from New York, Becky looks forward to using her years of experience as a photojournalist to help Raleigh Mompreneurs improve their photography and appreciate their value.