Are You Making These 4 Simple Mistakes in Your Fashion Photos?
More than in most other industries, fashion shoppers have a particularly keen eye. They’re looking for products that look great, so your product photos need to be spectacular.
Unfortunately, getting a great image is especially difficult in this industry. This means you need to take extra care to ensure you’re not making any serious mistakes with your product photos.
Are you making these mistakes?
Too Few Images
Fashion shoppers care about angles. They want to know how the garment will look on them from all different sides. At the very least, you should have 3 images; front, 90 degree side view, and rear view. This is the bare minimum, though, and more is better. Most platforms will allow you to have 10 or more images. Take advantage of this.
Providing front and rear ¾ views, and lifestyle images (models wearing the garments out in the world) will help to sell the product.
Most sites will allow shoppers to click on an image or hover over it to see a zoomed in view. Even if your site supports this, it’s usually helpful to provide zoomed images of important features or areas. If your product has lace, for example, providing a close-up shot of that area will help shoppers see the pattern and determine if it fits their style or not.
Too Much Noise
If you’re new to photography, you would be forgiven for having less-than-optimal settings on your camera. Having a graininess in your image usually results from having ISO set too high. ISO artificially brightens an image digitally. This can be very helpful when shooting low light images, but it isn’t necessary in a studio setting.
Ideally, ISO should be set as low as possible. Since you’re shooting still images, and can thus have long exposure times, ISO can usually be set very low. If you’re using a tripod (which you should be) there will be no camera or garment movement, which should allow you to set your ISO around 100.
Additionally, increasing the amount of light on the subject will help greatly. If you need to turn ISO up to brighten the images, that means that either there’s not enough light, or you need to let more light onto the sensor.
To increase the amount of light hitting the camera’s sensor, increase aperture or exposure time. Depending on your lens, increasing aperture might introduce unwanted depth of field blur, but this shouldn’t happen with the lenses normally used for product photography.
Improper White Balance
Correctly communicating color through your images is very important in fashion photography. Improper white balance settings can ruin an entire photo shoot. All modern cameras have white balance adjustment options. White balance aims to make images look “correct” by altering the white point.
Have you ever removed your sunglasses on a particularly bright day and noticed that everything appeared blue? Human eyes automatically adjust so that, after a short time, new lighting conditions all appear to have the same white point (i.e. white objects look white).
Camera white balance is designed to accomplish that same goal, but cameras aren’t always great at doing this on their own. Ensuring that white balance is set properly is crucial in order to ensure that all of your images look the same, and that your white background matches the other white elements on your website.
Even if you’re shooting in a studio with professional lighting equipment, manual adjustment will generally be necessary. Studio lights are not all the same. Some are “warmer” (more yellow) and some are cooler (more blue). This is measured by a kelvin figure that should appear on most studio bulbs. Natural white is generally said to be around 6000k, so numbers lower than that will be more yellow. It’s important that all of your lights use bulbs with the same kelvin rating. Once this is set up properly, assuming nothing in your studio changes, you shouldn’t have to worry about it again.
Depending on your camera, you may be able to use a white card to help the camera set appropriate white balance. Otherwise, you may want to turn on your studio lights and experiment with the various options to find a setting that works appropriately.
Importantly, the screen on your camera is probably not the best indicator of the actual color that will appear in your image. Before deciding which setting looks best, put the images on an external monitor with a wider color gamut and higher contrast.
Using Distracting Backgrounds
As tempting as it may be, using interesting or busy backgrounds is almost never a good idea when shooting for ecommerce. The focus has to be on the product.
In lifestyle images, this becomes a little bit more difficult since there will always be something behind the model. But good backgrounds do exist.
Using shallow depth of field (with a wide aperture lens) will help you to accomplish this type of photography. With the background blurred enough, many backgrounds can become a lot less distracting, and help to pull the eye toward the model and the products. This technique can even be used when shooting in a studio to eliminate post-process background removal from your workflow.
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