10 Product Photography Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

Updated on April 3, 2024 in Photography by

10 Product Photography Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

Product photography is the silent salesperson in this digital age. It’s your brand’s first impression and a single click away from holding your product. But just like any first impression, there are pitfalls to avoid making these product photography mistakes.

In the hustle of optimizing Google shopping data feed and writing convincing product descriptions, it is demanding to acquire photography skills. Product Photography may appear high-tech with technical jargon, angle adjusting, subject lighting, and more, but it holds a crucial role in the success of online businesses.

It increases the chance of boosting customer purchases and helps build a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. However, many photographers make common product photography mistakes while capturing product photos, resulting in lackluster photographs.

PixelPhant, a professional photo editing service, will guide you on how to avoid these product photography mistakes that could make or break a sale.

Avoid Auto Camera Settings

Using Auto Camera Settings- Product Photography Mistakes

Few things are as detrimental in product photography as achieving inaccurate results. Potential customers expect an accurate result, and relying on random camera settings poses a significant risk of misleading lighting and coloring.

To avoid product photography mistakes, opt for manual mode to ensure your images closely match reality. Fine-tune the white balance to match your photography light sources accurately.

Using Manual Mode

Choosing the wrong focal point is one of the frequent product photography mistakes. Beginners often struggle with proper subject focus, leading to distractions in the overall image. This problem becomes more evident when shooting with a shallow depth of field. 

Manual mode unlocks advanced camera options, enabling precise exposure and subject capture. Monitor your camera’s exposure indicator and fine-tune shutter speed, f/stop, and ISO for optimal results.

Poor Lighting Setup

Poor Lighting Setup- Product Photography Mistakes

Accurate lighting is crucial for product photography. If lighting isn’t correct initially, post-processing services may not recover the outcome, often necessitating a reshoot. 

There are two primary types of light: natural light and artificial light. Try to prefer natural light for its ability to create realistic, dynamic, and captivating images. However, it can be challenging to control. That’s why many brands opt for using a light tent to have more control over the lighting conditions. 

Harsh shadows, washed-out colors, and inconsistent lighting can also create issues. It turns a potentially stunning product into a bad image. To avoid these product photography mistakes:

  • Use consistent light sources. Different lights may require slight adjustments in white balance settings.
  • Try balancing light, brightness, highlights, and shadows to achieve optimal results.
  • Soft, diffused light highlights textures and creates a natural, inviting feel.

If you decide to use flash over continuous light challenges beyond exposure, involve f-stop settings, sync speed limitations, and triggering equipment. Ideally, choose a location with natural window light or shoot outdoors. If not possible, consider hiring a studio for optimal results. 

Neglect to Show the Scale

In product photography, it’s crucial to highlight essential details and offer a sense of scale. Displaying scale helps shoppers understand the product’s size. It is important for various reasons to avoid these product photography mistakes. 

Showing scales tells how the item integrates into its intended context so that there are no surprises when they receive the product. They might be curious about how to place a hairbrush or the counter space a coffee maker requires. 

Another way to avoid product photography mistakes is by including props in the product photo. Using props related to the product gives a visual idea of its size and dimensions. For example,

  • Include a human hand for products meant to be held or worn.
  • Place fruits, pencils, or coins beside your product. It provides an instant size comparison that viewers can understand.

Bonus Tip: Consider interactive zoom options on your product pages. It allows them to virtually inspect the product and get a closer look at its size and intricacies.

Having a Distracting Background

Product Background Drop- Product Photography Mistakes

Neglecting the background while concentrating too much on the subject is again one of major product photography mistakes. It can lead to problems if the background is too busy or clashes with the subject. 

  • Keep the background clean and sleek to minimize distractions and the whole focus on the subject. 
  • Avoid clutter in product photos, as it can dilute your intended message.
  • To showcase a scenic view, carefully position your subject. 
  • Ensure the background complements the subject seamlessly.
  • Keep the necessary props, and aim for one or two focal points at most.

The white background is industry standard for a reason- making the product the only focus. It should also be the same for your website, yet many brands overlook it. It makes it difficult for users to scan, browse, and compare products on your online store. 

Not Using a Tripod Might Backfire

Not Using Tripod Might Backlash- Product Photography Mistakes

In eCommerce, product photography captures a series of items, making consistency essential. You will want to keep objects in the same spot or on a white background, maintaining the same distance, which requires a tripod. 

The tripod is crucial to prevent blurry results, especially when using a shutter delay. It helps avoid camera movement during the photo. Use the tripod’s leveling feature to ensure your camera is perfectly horizontal, avoiding tilted shots that look unprofessional. Since every blurriness can’t be rectified in post-processing, avoiding such product photography mistakes will help avoid the need for a reshoot.

Skipping the Image Editing 

Skipping Photo Editing- Product Photography Mistakes

Every photo needs a little post-processing, even if the shots are exceptional. However, lacking the necessary skills for these edits can come under common product photography mistakes. Retouching can enhance or ruin the perfect shot. Yet many brands allow themselves to fall victim to bad photo editing.

Consider outsourcing to a skilled photo editing service provider like PixelPhant for expert retouching. They can create a more professional and appealing look for your products, leading to higher conversion rates. 

It is the stage where you can erase spots on a white background or blemishes on the skin. You can also adjust exposure, white balance, and colors can be fine-tuned within certain limits. 

Skipping this step is not advisable, as customers carefully see every detail in the product photo before buying. 

Details Rendered Incorrectly

Details Rendered Incorrectly- Product Photography Mistakes

Highlighting the product’s texture is as crucial as paying attention to its small features. Many items come with hidden elements that may be detachable, offering extra functions and product’s possible uses. 

If customers skip minute details of your product, they may choose another store with a better overall presentation. To avoid these product photography mistakes:

  • Ensure you show all switches, pockets, and unique features in separate photos.
  • Using an HTML5 viewer for a virtual display of a product is a helpful way to ensure precision in presentation. 
  • Providing customers the ability to rotate, bird-eye view, and zoom in on details keeps them well informed.

In the era of increasing e-commerce competition and changing consumer habits, depending on visual online presentations becomes quite crucial.

Limiting to One Photography Style

Limiting to One Photography Style- Product Photography Mistakes

While uniformity is crucial for a consistent website experience, presenting products in various contexts and angles is equally important. To eliminate these product photography mistakes, try to capture each product from multiple perspectives- close-ups, side-views, font, back¾, and detail. 

White background photos isolate the product, while lifestyle images provide context with models, props, or relevant surroundings. Always aim for around 4-6 high-quality pictures from different angles. It will increase the likeliness of the sale. 

Take Monica + Andy, an organic baby brand, as an example. They use both types of images to present the benefits and features of their products. It adds variety and offers details for customers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Not Paying Attention to Details

In product photography, attention to detail is paramount. Minute flaws like fingerprints or dust can ruin a beautiful picture. To avoid these product photography mistakes:

  • Try to begin each session by cleaning your camera and lens with a specialized kit, removing any undesired debris. 
  • Wear latex gloves during styling to prevent fingerprints, and use a microfiber cloth to remove any lingering dust from your setup. 
  • Maintaining a hygienic environment is essential to avoid extensive post-editing corrections.

Using the Same Settings Everytime

Using the same camera settings for every type of photo is one of the most common product photography mistakes. It happens when a photographer gets good results from specific photography settings and applies them every time. However, this approach overlooks the need for varied settings based on the photo context. 

It’s essential to adjust settings based on the specific requirements of each shoot. Always reset to default values after each shoot. If you have increased ISO, bring it back to base value after every shoot.

Bonus Mistake

A common mistake among photographers is keeping their work offline. Now, with platforms like Behance and Instagram, photographers can showcase their projects online, gaining exposure and potential clients, thereby avoiding product photography mistakes. 

Creating an online presence, such as a portfolio website, not only displays your work but also provides a contact option for inquiries. It is essential for building connections and opportunities.

Closing Thoughts

Photographers often make these mistakes before they reach the master level. Avoiding these 10 product photography mistakes is the initial step towards recognizing other errors unique to your work. 

These photography mistakes, though small, can create barriers to growth. What’s unsettling is that both beginners and professionals are affected by these mistakes. 

One piece of advice would be collecting customer feedback to note public opinion. They can help build a consistent image for your business and provide tips for creating effective visuals.

It’s never too early or too late for photographers to start their journey to success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you avoid in product photography?

1. Don’t invest in expensive equipment without knowing how to use it
2. Try to avoid artificial lighting
3. Choose unsuitable backgrounds
4. Refrain from using your smartphone

What is the number one rule in product photography?

The rule of thirds is the golden technique in which you divide your camera screen into a grid and identify key intersection points. Placing elements strategically along these lines enhances the visual appeal of your compositions.

How can product photography mistakes be prevented?

Preventing product photography pitfalls culminates in three key areas: planning, lighting, and composition. 

1. Plan your shots
2. Choose angles that highlight features 
3. A background that doesn’t steal the show 
4. Keep the product the star 
5. Use the rule of thirds to guide your eye

By paying attention to these basics, you can capture professional-looking photos that entice and convert.

Beautiful product images across your website.

Background Removal, Clipping Path, Color Correction, Cropping & Resizing, Retouching, adding Shadows, and more.

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