360 photography is the newest trend in the product photography market. In a very short time, it has proven that it is extremely beneficial for any online store. You can also learn how to do 360 product photography in this simple yet detailed guide.
What is 360 Product Photography?
360 product photography allows the viewer to inspect the product from every angle and direction. The workflow for this photography is simpler than you probably think. You need to place the product on a turntable and then shoot it from all directions. After that, the images are uploaded to software which stitches them up into a 360 image. Then you can simply upload it to Amazon or any online store that allows this format.
Still vs 360 Product Photography
An important point to discuss before learning how to do 360 product photography is to know whether you want it. If you are already a photographer, you will only have to get a turntable, otherwise, you will need to invest in all of the photography essentials. Secondly, although it is expensive than the still photography, it has huge business advantages. Viewing a product from all angles can boost customer confidence which will consequently result in higher sales and lower return rates. It also depends on the kind of product that you are selling on an online store. For instance, this will be an oversell for simple products like books.
Now, that you are invested in this photography, let’s start gathering the essential tools. You can even use an entry-level camera for 360 product photography to keep the quality at normal to decrease the loading times. Moreover, the products that you shoot will be of varying sizes. Therefore, a zoom lens will be best as it will allow you to zoom in and out to bring any size of product in the frame.
A turntable is necessary for 360 spin photography. You simply place the object on it and then rotate it. During the rotation, it is stopped at regular intervals and sequenced images are taken. Also, you can either make a DIY manual one or buy an automatic one. More on these later.
The most important thing during the shoot is that all images are coherent. For this purpose, you are going to need a reliable tripod and a remote shutter release. Tripod is necessary to balance the camera at a fixed location whereas, shutter release minimizes any shake that might occur from pressing the buttons.
Finally, you are going to need a good light setup as well. Soft light is mostly preferred for products that can be achieved using two lights and a few softboxes.
Setting up the Shoot
Now that we have all the gear we need, let us start with the shooting process.
Photo edited in Lightroom.
Firstly, you just need to place the product on the turntable. Unlike still photography, 360 product photography requires white spaces on all the edges of the image. Therefore, you must place it in the center of the frame. Also, if you have to use props, try to place them in such a way that they do not conceal any part of the product.
The second step is to set up your lights according to the product. Mostly, you are just going to need two lights. You can place one directly above the product for proper illumination. The other can be placed behind the product for backlighting. You can use a few softboxes and modifiers to evenly distribute the light.
Now, place the camera on the tripod in front of the product. You can even place it at some angle or directly in front of it. Keeping the ISO low will also help in reducing the noise in the image. Similarly, shutter speed and aperture will depend on the amount of light you use. It is better to keep the products evenly lit for a good exposure.
After setting up your camera, do a test shot to check if any parts are over or underexposed. If this step goes smoothly, proceed to the next step.
This is the most crucial step while learning how to do 360 product photography. If you use a manual turntable, you will have to make sure that you rotate it at equal intervals and stop at the point where you started. However, the process is a lot simpler if you use an automatic one. It comes with software that controls the rotation of the turntable. Additionally, it connects with the camera to automatically take the images as well.
The last step is to edit the images in the software. In some cases, the software that comes with the automatic one will stitch the images themselves. During the post processing also consider other editing factors such as making the product look clean through dodge and burn, white balance, resizing, etc. Adobe Photoshop is also one of the best options for this purpose but it can be quite complicated for beginners. You can become a master of Photoshop with the amazing courses on the Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials website.
On the other hand, you can do it in 360-viewer software. It allows you to view the images as a 360 image would appear in Amazon or any other online store.
Conclusion - How to do 360 Product Photography
Now that you know how to do 360 product photography, it is time to put these skills into action. Practice with some basic products first to get a hang of it and then move towards complex ones. Keep creating!
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Have a nice photoshoot!
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