Product Photography: DIY Tips for Product Images

Amazon Product Photography is a unique niche within the overall art of photography and is the one item common to every single product being sold on Amazon.   Many people do their own product photography, while others hire a professional photographer.  Those experienced with promoting and selling products on Amazon, know full-well that there is a true correlation between the quality of the product image, and the number of resultant sales.  With the right equipment and knowledge, one can save money by producing your own professional-looking Amazon Product photos.  Here are a few things to help you get started:

  • Understand Amazon’s Technical Requirements
    • photo must be a professional-type photograph of the product being sold and cannot be a drawing.
    • it needs to contain the product only, with nothing to confuse the buyer
    • the photo must meet all typical photography quality standards of focus and colors.
    • most products require the product comprising 85% of the available space. The exceptions are books, music and movies which need to comprise 100% of the photo.
    • use a Pure White Background
    • no text or other images in the product photo. “Product only” as subject of photograph.
    • anything offensive cannot be displayed.
  • Use the Correct Camera for Amazon Product Photography

I personally prefer a modern digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) model.  There are many good cameras in the $200-500 price range that can take superior quality product photographs.  I would recommend for most people a 50mm lens but if you can afford it, a 105mm lens if even better for close-ups.  Some people just use their smartphone camera and with today’s smartphone cameras of up to 8 megapixels, you can get by as long as the rest of your photography setup is optimal for products.  You should also obtain a tripod, as I do not recommend taking photos without them. You can purchase small tripods or gorilla tripods for product photography for less than $20.

  • Photography Backdrops

If you look at the Amazon Technical Requirements for Product Photography, it states that you must take the photo on a solid white backdrop.  This means both the backdrop and the base of the photograph area.  For the backdrop itself, I would recommend a backdrop stand with a professional white backdrop attached to it.  You also need a shooting table that has a white base of fabric or paper.  I recommend fabric over paper due to the thickness and you might also want to consider a V Cut.  Many professional-looking photography backdrops are available for far less than $100.

  • Product Photography Lighting

Having the optimal product photography lighting is probably the most important item to remember and plan for.  You should consider purchasing at least two softbox light kits of bulbs of at least 5000k.  One of the lights serves as your main light and the other is your “fill” or backlight.  Sometimes people use a photography tent which is a way to diffuse the light coming in thus creating some softer shadows.  The main light is placed at the front of the product or slightly to the side while the fill light is on the opposite side, back or above.  You will probably need to optimize the angles of the lighting in order to achieve soft, evenly distributed shadows.  I do not recommend using natural lighting. An ideal lighting setup can be secured for $50, or so.

  • Photography Editing

Having taken your photo(s), next you will want to touch-up the product photos by eliminating imperfections, unwanted shadows or colors etc.  There are several tools that can be utilized, and many are available free of charge, or low cost.  The most popular tool is Photoshop, but it is also the most expensive.  Photos should be at 500×500 or 1000×1000.  These are square images, and not wide screen.  Remember, typically the product should comprise at least 85% of the photograph.   Once your editing is complete, you can then start adding your photos to your Amazon product listing.