Few things have the power to generate more sales for your online cannabis shops, like catchy and high-quality product photography. Do you know why?

It’s because, on the online business landscape, the way you present your products goes a long way in influencing shopping decisions and ultimately affects conversion rates and sales.

Thankfully, taking clear and crisp product photography is not rocket science. In fact, it is something that you could quickly achieve on your own. Yes, some professionals are in the business of creating great product photos. And, of course, their deliverables are often top-notch.

But here’s the thing. What do you do if you can’t afford the high rates that these professionals charge as you look to start or scale your online cannabis business?

The good news is that you can also create compelling product photos that can pique the interest of your website visitors and increase your conversion rates in the process.

All you need is to have the right gear and master the right techniques, all of which we will be describing in this article.

So if you are looking to create awesome product photos, you might want to read on till the end.

What You Need To Get the Right Product Photos

To create compelling product photos, you need the right tools. The best part of taking the DIY route to great product photography is that you don’t have to break the bank to get the latest gear.

With that in mind, here are some of the tools you will need to produce a high-quality photo of your product:

  • A functional camera
  • A sturdy tripod
  • A white background
  • Some white bounce cards made of foam board
  • A table
  • Some tape
  • A room with some great natural light

7 Steps to Take Great Product Photos

Like we already mentioned, you can create eye-catching product photos that grab your buyers’ attention and make them connect with your business.

This section discusses the seven steps that should help you create beautiful product photos.

Work on a Strategy for the Photo Shoot

It is one thing to make up your mind to take your product photos and get the gear you need. It’s another to get the images right. The difference between your decision and taking product photos that count is your strategy.

It would be best if you came up with an actual plan on how you intend to go about the photos. It would also help if you got everything right from the outset.

So have you decided on the kind of product photos you want to take? What type of lighting will work best for you? How do you set up the right background? What are the angles that you will be working with and such?

Don’t worry, we will be answering some of these questions later in the post, but it’s important to consider them before starting the photoshoot.

Pay Attention To Your Table

Your product photo will come out a lot more attractive when you cast the product in the right light. The best way to do this would be to set up the table right. You need to get the shooting area right, and it all starts with the positioning of the table.

To do this, you want to place the table right next to the window. We suggest that you put the table as close to the window as possible if you are looking to get a soft light cast on the products.

However, you want to be sure that you are not too close to the windows not to get some shadow in the photo.

You also don’t want any direct sunlight because the image doesn’t turn out to be less appealing. The aim is to have soft, natural light. This is why you need to be careful about setting up the table for the photoshoot.

Whatever you do, always put off the lights in the room. And always ensure that your product labels are not cast in harsh light.

Here are a few options you might want to explore:

  • Set up in a spacious garage with the door wide open
  • Try shooting outdoors at dusk or on an overcast day
  • Try shooting indoors with several lighting sources that you position at different locations

Fine-tune Your Camera

Next is to reset your camera so that it gives you the right shots. Depending on the type of camera you will be using, some adjustments might be necessary.

The following are some tips on how to fine-tune your camera settings:

  • Set the white balance (WB) settings on the camera to “Auto.”
  • Set the flash settings to “Off.”
  • Set the “image” settings on the camera to the highest quality possible.

You might want to use the ‘raw” setting on your camera if it has that feature. This is because it allows you to make the most of the camera’s bit depth.

However, if the camera does not have a “raw” setting, then you should set it to the largest “JPG” setting available on the camera.

  • You may then set the camera’s ISO to 100. This should make you regulate the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor.

To get the most of your camera, you also need to ensure that you get the exposure settings down pat. Here are some options for you to explore when fine-tuning your camera depending on the type you are using:

Set your camera to Manual (M)

We will advise you to work with this setting because it is about the best way to get the most from your camera when taking your product photos. It would be best if you changed your f-stop to the highest number so that you can take advantage of the most depth of field available.

After that, you then preview the image on the back of the camera via “LiveView.” You can then move to the shutter speed and revolve the dial bright enough for suitable image exposure.

If you are doing things right, there will be an increase in the shutter number. You want to modify the shutter number until you get a correct preview of the product’s image.

Try Aperture Priority (AV)

If you use a camera with this feature, you should change the f-stop to the highest number. This modifies the shutter to a default setting in the camera. The downside of this option is that you may need to add more light using the exposure compensation dial.

Auto Exposure
If the camera you are working with has an exposure compensation dial, you will need to add +1 or +1½ to achieve the right exposure that works for your shots. A histogram on the back of the camera should help you ascertain if the exposure is right.

Here’s a quick tip, the far right-hand side is white while the left is black. Depending on the situation, you want to modify the exposure until the part of the curve representing the white background touches the right edge without going over.

Here is another tip for zooming in on your product.

Don’t use the camera’s digital zoom feature because it automatically lowers the image’s quality. Your best bet will be to use the optical zoom option feature if it’s available. The trick is to zoom in as far as you can without using the digital zoom feature.

Then always ensure that the camera is held steady if you want to get the sharpest photos. This is where your tripod comes in. A sturdy tripod will keep your camera steady enough for you to take as many products as possible without any problems with the focus.

Setting a timer function to a 2-second delay might also be helpful.

4. Position Your Product Right

At this point, you should have set the table and reset the camera features to where you want them. The next step would be to position your cannabis product in such a manner that you can take a picture-perfect photo.

There are tons of cannabis products online, and since your customers do not have the opportunity to assess the products physically, the way you present them matters a lot.

This is why you need to pay attention to how well you position your product. Always make sure that the product’s label is in the centre of the photo.

The idea is to make the product come to life, even if it is just an image. To achieve this effect, we suggest that you ensure that your white background is well set up. Never underestimate the ability of a white background to promote your product’s photo.

Plus, a well set-up white background enables the camera’s white balance to calibrate perfectly. The results of this calibration are colourful, convincing product photos that can arrest anyone’s attention.

5. Take The Shot

If you have taken all the steps we described here to the letter, this is the point where you just take the shot.

We believe that you should experiment with the shots, so take multiple photos. Do you know why?

Your first shot is not likely to be the best one, so you want to take as many takes as possible. On the one hand, it gives you more options to choose from.

On the other hand, you get to provide your customers with a variety of product photos that give them a chance to see what you have been selling much better.

Here’s a caveat. Taking multiple shots of your cannabis product(s) does not mean that you have to take them from the same position. We advise you to experiment with the angles. Here are some angle suggestions for you:

Bird’s Eye Angle

Here, you take a photo like the product is below you.

High Angle

It is similar to the bird’s eye view but might be a bit lower.

Low angle

You take this shot like you are looking up to the product.

Eye Level

You take this shot like you are on the same level as the product and looking straight at it.

Wide-angle

These are shots taken from an angle that gives you enough room on all the sides of the cannabis product.

However, you might want to explore other types of product photography besides the more popular white background style.

Here are a few other alternatives to “regular” product photography you might be interested in:

Lifestyle Shots

You might want to take this kind of shot when you want to add a story to your product photo.

Lifestyle shots work best for various online channels like blogs, social media posts, website content, and emails. They are a great option to explore because they provide context for your product photos, and they can be used to connect with potential customers.

Detailed Shots

These shots are taken to provide your customers with a better look at the specific features of your cannabis products that set them apart from other products on the market.

Group Shots

These are shots taken so that your cannabis products can be grouped. This is an excellent option if you are into bundle offerings.

6. Edit Your Photos

Once you are done taking the shots, it is time to evaluate your work. To do that right, you might want to upload your images to a computer to get a better view. It is also a great idea to install an app that allows you to manage and edit your product photos where necessary.

We believe that a bit of editing here and there will constantly improve the quality of your product photos. So after you have vetted the photos, you would arrive at some that work for you. This is the point where you go to work on them.

You have two options here, which are to either do it yourself or outsource.

You could get some professionals to retouch your product photos for you since editing pictures doesn’t cost much.

Then there is the other option of hunkering down with some editing software and doing it by yourself. There is a range of editing software, from paid software to free editing services, that you can exploit.

Should you choose to do your editing yourself, we’d like to warn you to be careful about the process. Be mindful of how much cropping you do, and you want to stick to square,regular-sized product photos. You also want to temper the brightness, contrast, and colour features just right.

Whatever you do, don’t rush. Neither should you try to overdo the editing because the more you edit a product photo, the less quality it has! Plus, you never want to forget the first rule of photo editing, which is always to save a copy of the original product images! You never know when you might need them.

7. Optimize Your Product Photos For Your Website

By now, you should be aware of the significance of Search engine optimization (SEO) and how much organic traffic it can drive to your online cannabis store. So, always make sure that your product photos have excellent captions to go with them.

But here is the thing: SEO does not stop with written content. It applies to your product photos too.

The speed at which your product photos load is crucial, so you want to compress them to byte size to load faster without compromising their quality. To do this, you want to resize the height and width of your product photos.

Here is how you go about optimizing your product photos:

Determine the HTML container size

The trick is to restructure your product photos to suit the container before uploading them to your website. But you need to determine the image container size.

To do this, simply access the “Developer tools” feature on your web browser. You then right-click on the product photo before choosing “Inspect Element.”If you got it right, you’d see the pixel dimension of the container.

Rework the product photo:

You could use any number of free solutions to resize product photos. Once you are done, you export them before saving them to your desktop as a jpeg at 100%.

Compress the Product Photos

After saving them at 100% quality, you will still need to work on the size of the files. So to do that, you’d need to compress the photos right, or you risk losing some of the quality.

This is one of the reasons why people opt for professional photo editors because it can get tricky here.

If you feel you are up to the task, some software uses algorithms to arrive at the best compression rates for your product photos. You might want to check them out.

Takeaways

Product photography is something of a blend of science, art, skill, and technique.

It is a must-have ability when you are looking to stay afloat in the online cannabis business landscape. Mastering product photography will go a long way in increasing your conversion rates and keeping you in business over time.

Sway provides auxiliary services for commercial cannabis stores that help your business run smoothly. Whether you need cannabis delivered to the buyer’s doorstep or want help driving traffic to your website through SEO, we are your best solution. Contact us for a quick chat.