11 top tips for taking product photos with your smartphone

Running a small business online needs quality product photos to get your customers to click "buy now". Most consumers say visual appeal is one of the key deciding reasons for purchasing online. Our simple tips will help you take better product photos just by using your smartphone.

Photos capture our attention. Whether it is food, jewellery, antiques or clothes, the same principles apply. Look to Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration on framing and stylising your photo and you'll be well on your way to taking photos that stand out.

Clean neutral background for good product photos

Product photography with a phone and tripod

Your background should be plain white or a neutral colour so it will make your product stand out. Ensure the surface is clean of dirt and specks and that there are no distractions in the background.

You can even create a small studio with some white art board. This ensures your online store will have consistent product photos and therefore look more professional.

Lighting for product photography

Nice even lighting is critical for quality product photos. If possible, use for a bright well lit room with even light and few shadows. Position the studio set to face the window. A white board propped on the side or a white wall can act as a reflector.

Natural light is great but keep an eye on the sun moving throughout the day as you might not retain consistency with your product photos.

Avoid your phone's flash if you can. The flash on mobile phones tend to be right next to the lens and can give you a result you might not expect or like.

Without camera flash
With camera flash

Focus and exposure with your smart phone

An out-of-focus photo is not acceptable. Tapping the screen where you wish to focus is a good way to ensure your product photos are nice and sharp.

Some smart phones have manual settings that allow you to control the exposure.

Alternatively, you can download manual camera apps to do this. This will give you a lot more control to ensure your product photos will stand out.

Angles and views

Avoid using the digital zoom on the phone camera as this can make your photo look pixelated and blurry. If you can, move in close but watch your own shadow falling into frame.

Try different angles to find the one that best shows off your product. Some customers like to see lots of photos, especially with more expensive products, so take multiple views and angles.

Tripod for product photography

A smartphone tripod is handy for making sure you have sharp and consistent-looking photos.

It's easy to leave the camera set up in position and photograph each item in the same light and spot.

There are plenty of good and inexpensive tripods and mounts designed for smart phones and are well worth the effort.

Camera phone settings for product photos

If you can, adjust your phone setting to have higher quality and higher resolution. It gives you more flexibility in design and you can always reduce it later.

Before you start, check you have plenty of storage room in your phone or on your memory card. No use having all your products lined

Use “product”, “closeup”, “selective focus” or similar menu option which will enable you to feature the product and blur the background. Some add-on apps allow you operate your smart-phone in manual mode and have even great control.


Clean your lens - it’s been sitting in your pocket collecting dust and grime and finger smudges.

Clean your set - you don't want dust and fluff in photo. Nothing looks worse in a stylised food photo than bits of dirt and fluff.

Handy product photography studio toolkit

A small toolkit is invaluable in any product photography studio:

  • Tape - double-sided and masking tape

  • Glue dots and "blue tac"

  • Clamps and pegs

  • Fishing line to hold objects like jewellery up

  • Small scissors to cut away stray threads on clothing

  • Small duster, cleaning cloth and lint brush for clothes or even just to brush down the set in between shots

Lenses for product photography

You can buy additional lenses such as close-up or wide-angle lenses to fit your smartphone which is especially handy if you plan to do product photos regularly.

Third-party apps

There are lots of great apps available for both Android and Apple iPhones that will make your photos stand out. There are so many to choose from

Experiment with brightness, contrast and sharpness to make your photo look amazing but do avoid over-editing.

Hire a professional photographer for product photos

The majority of consumers make their decisions based on photos alone so you want to make sure you have photos that stand out and represent your business. If a product looks attractive and inviting, then you are more likely to have your customer click “buy”.

High-quality product photography is worth the investment to get your online store converting into solid sales.

And if you are planning on investing in printed materials such as brochures and glossy ads, it is well worth investing in a professional photographer.

Professional product photos are worth the investment, especially for printed materials







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