Tightening the focus on Product Photography for Independent Optical Practices

These days majority of all optical businesses will have a social media presence of some kind.  You’ll know from scrolling fellow business pages or even larger optical chain stores, that some pages just appear more visually appealing than others.  A lot of this appeal comes back to basic product photography.  An overwhelming concept for those that do not naturally possess that “creative mind”!

Not to worry though, we are here to equip with some knowledge and tools to have you kicking it with the best in the business in no time.

Do I need to purchase a fancy camera you ask?

In short, absolutely not!  Smart phone technology these days means that using your mobile phone to take professional looking snaps is a completely viable option.  If of course, you are looking for an excuse to purchase a Digital SLR camera, please go right ahead, just know it is not a requirement anymore to achieve beautiful photographic results.  Regardless of the camera you are using, it is essential to spend a little bit of time playing around with its features and settings.  Working out a cameras limits with features such as zoom, exposure times, flash and filters is essential to getting your desired results.

Next stop – tripods!

Stability is the key to supreme focus, and supreme focus is vital for a clear image.  Tripods are a quick and simple solution to ensuring stability when capturing clear images of your products.  If you are wondering how they work, we promise they are simple!  If you are using a Digital SLR camera, it will automatically come with a threaded mechanism that enables you to screw your camera securely straight onto the tripod.  For smart phones, these can vary a little bit in set up, but most come equipped with a claw like mechanism, or powerful magnet that holds your smart phone in place without effecting the camera’s view.  You can choose a tripod to suit any budget, with some even available for under a very affordable $30. 

It’s all about the lighting

If you have any teenagers in your life, you will no doubt have heard some reference to ‘good lighting’.  We hate to admit it, but they are most certainly onto something here.  The use of lighting and shadow is particularly important with product photography, especially when capturing frames up close.  There is a big argument as to whether to utilise artificial or natural light.  After reading extensively on the topic, we have concluded that it is purely down to preference, whatever method you chose, it is a good idea to stick with it and use it each time for continuity in your images.  Arguably we have found though that artificial light is simpler to use, as regardless of the light outside, you are able to achieve the same result time and time again with artificial lighting. 

Show off your individual style in your snaps

At the end of the day, what sets you apart from others is how uniquely you are you. 

Is your brand bright and colourful?  Are you vintage specialist?  Do you have a unique collection of styles with clean lines?  Does your range cater for the bold adventurous types? Whatever your brand represents, let it shine through in your photography by utilising different stands or platforms.  This can include a range of platforms you may never have normally considered as a base to a good product photo.  We recommend playing about with some simple things you have lying around such as a mirror, reams of paper, sponges, wood, metals and tiles.  By now you are likely thinking we have gone completely mad, but it’s true, all these things and many more have been known to make a totally ‘you’ base for a great image.

Beware the background

Remember when you are taking your images that you are championing one thing, and one thing only, the product you are photographing.  Be wary of image backgrounds taking away or distracting viewers from your product.  Plain block backgrounds are great to avoid this, but if you are still keen on having a busy background, try using portrait mode.  Portrait modes blur images in the background whilst keeping the foreground image clear making it the distinct focus.  If you are wanting to get really adventurous, the ‘sweep technique’, using a blank plain colour sheet of paper, can create some really intriguing shadow and produce some seriously quality images.

The above is a lot to consider, the best thing you can do is to just play around with different techniques, angles, colours, settings etc.  With time you will discover what works for you and best reflects your brand.  Posting a mixture of your own product photography as well as occasional supplier content (found in our Support Hub) will give your social media platforms a more personal feel and have you standing out in the crowd!

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