Unless you happen to run an ecommerce empire, you probably don’t have the budget for professional product photography. You might not even own a DSLR camera.
Is that a problem? Not at all.
Most phones are capable of taking great photos nowadays. All you need is a little knowhow to produce stunning shots that will send your sales figures to the moon.
In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to take great product photos with your smartphone — no previous experience required!
Sure you can. In fact, thousands of top sellers on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy use iOS or Android devices to capture ecommerce product photos. And they genuinely look amazing.
A DSLR might offer you more megapixels. But the truth is, a professional photographer using a smartphone will probably take better product photos than a beginner using a high-end camera.
In the end, it comes down to how you use your equipment.
Right now, the very best smartphones for photography are Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy Ultra, and Google Pixel devices. Any phone from these product lines will serve up great images.
However, the truth is that most smartphones today can take pretty great photos.
Sure, having multiple camera lenses is a nice luxury. But as we will explore later in this post, there are other ways to get creative.
And you don’t need to worry about megapixels. Even budget smartphones have plenty enough pixels to capture crisp product photos.
You probably clicked on this post to get some smartphone product photography tips — so let’s get down to it.
Here’s everything you need to know about product photography with your phone:
Good lighting is super important when you’re shooting product photos with a smartphone.
Why? Well, smartphones have small lenses. As a result, they don’t collect light quite as well as a DSLR camera. So, shooting in dim light often produces dull, grainy photos.
Whenever possible, try to shoot in natural light. Even if you can’t go outside, setting up near a window will give you plenty of light. If you find shadows forming on one side of your product, use a purpose-made reflector or a piece of white paper to bounce some light onto the dark side.
If you want to use an artificial light source, please don’t use the flash on your phone. It makes everything look like a scene from the Blair Witch Project.
Instead, consider investing in a small lightbox or proper studio lighting. You only need to spend $60–$80 to see a massive difference in the quality of your images.
Unless you happen to be a professional product photographer, you probably don’t have a full photo studio at home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same level of polish.
One key ingredient is a nice clean background. It could be white, black, red, blue, patterned, or even an image — as long as it complements your products.
The best budget option here is a white background. All you need is a big roll of white paper, or just a sheet if your products are small.
If you don’t fancy creating a DIY backdrop, you can buy good-quality photography backgrounds online for $20–$30.
Alternatively, you can simply fake the background using Pixelcut. Our app lets you cut out your product from the scenery, and insert whatever backdrop you fancy.
If you’re anything like the average smartphone owner, you probably take photos all the time. But how well do you know your camera app?
“Point and click” works fine most of the time. But to capture perfect product photos every time, you may need to get a little more involved.
In practical terms, this means learning how to access the various camera settings on your phone.
For instance, most phones allow you to adjust the exposure of your shot.
In the iPhone camera app, you can do this by tapping on any part of the scene, and then using the pop-up slider. This feature works in a similar way on many Android devices.
You can also tap and hold your finger anywhere to make your device lock in the perfect exposure and focus for that area. This is particularly useful when you are experimenting with different angles — more on that later.
Some phones even provide access to manual settings, including shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Tweaking these options can make a huge difference to the finished photo.
If your phone doesn’t provide this option, or you want to get additional features, you can download a third-party manual camera app. ProShot on (iOS/Android) and Halide (iOS) are two of our favorites.
You’re probably itching to begin taking pictures by now. But before you start shooting, there’s one more thing you need to do: set up a tripod.
All smartphones nowadays have some kind of image stabilization technology. It works well much of the time.
But if you’re aiming to wow potential customers, you need premium image quality. That means getting rid of camera shake completely.
The best way to achieve this is by using a tripod. It doesn’t need to be a full-height one; tabletop tripods are cheap and perfectly good for smartphone photography.
If you already have a full-size photography tripod, you can grab a smartphone mount that attaches to the top.
Of course, you can also prop up your phone with objects from around your home. Feel free to give it a go, but don’t blame us when your phone falls on the floor or you can’t line up your photos properly!
The first photo on your product page should probably be a simple front-on shot. But once you have that in the bag, it’s definitely worth experimenting with different angles.
Close-ups are great for showing off beautiful details on fashion, jewelry, and timepieces. Getting low can make your product seem more impressive, and opening up furniture and bags allows customers to see inside.
Of course, some products come in multiple sizes, colors, and styles. To help buyers choose between them, it’s definitely worth putting several different variants in the same photo.
Remember: the aim is to attract the attention of online shoppers, and give them a complete tour of your products.
We often think about tapping the shutter button as the final step in the creative process. But the truth is, professional photographers usually shoot with the idea of editing their shots later.
You can do the same. Focus on making sure that your product is well lit, and there is plenty of space around the product to create different crops. You can then make adjustments, add filters, and even change the background.
Leaving some space also means you can recycle the same image in multiple formats: for Instagram stories, on Shopify product pages, and even in Facebook ads.
Some high-end smartphones today have multiple lenses built in, allowing you to switch between different views. However, this feature isn’t available on all phones by any means.
Often sold in kits, these accessories turn your device into a mini DSLR camera. As a result, you can take better close-up shots, get a wider view, or zoom in tight.
If you’re going down this route, be sure to invest in lenses made from glass. While plastic lenses are cheaper, they usually end up degrading the image quality.
Step away from your role as a seller for a moment, and think about your experiences as an online shopper. Which ecommerce stores really caught your attention?
We bet that the brands that come to mind have product images that help you imagine owning, wearing, or using the items for sale.
It’s pretty rare to be able to evoke this feeling by shooting products on a plain background. You really need to introduce a bit of the real world.
One way to achieve this is by setting up shots around your home, or having someone model the item. To make each scene appear authentic, you might need to add some props.
What type of things are we talking about? Say you sell picture frames. Rather than placing your product on an empty shelf, try putting a few books in the background.
If you sell plates, set them up on a dinner table, surrounded by cutlery and all the other items you might expect there.
This is your chance to get creative. While you don’t want to crowd out your product, adding the right props can take your smartphone product photos to the next level.
A common mistake made by newbie photographers is staring only at their primary subject. They don’t even notice that there is a burst of distracting sunlight in the background, or dust all over the backdrop.
One of the great advantages of shooting on a smartphone is that you can compose your shots on a nice big screen. This means you have the opportunity to spot whether anything is amiss before you hit the shutter.
Whether you’re shooting within a photo studio or setting up some lifestyle shots, make sure to take a look around the frame. You might see something that is easier to fix during your photoshoot, rather than in the digital dark room.
Editing is an essential part of smartphone photography. Even if you don’t want to spend hours playing around in the digital darkroom, you should definitely download some photo editing apps.
If you would like to enhance your images a little more, you might want to try Pixelcut. Our app has been optimized specifically for e-commerce sellers, allowing you to remove and swap backgrounds in seconds.
If you only make one adjustment to your product photos, make sure you resize them to match your online store design. Platforms like Shopify, Etsy, Poshmark, Depop, eBay, and Amazon all have recommended image sizes.
Take note of this advice if you’re using a regular editing app, or use Pixelcut to access our one-tap export templates.
The tips in this post should help you to start taking high-quality product photos with your smartphone. Plus, you can apply the same principles to your social media game.
But if you want to speed up the process, Pixelcut can help.
Powered by AI technology, our app lets you shoot, edit, and export perfect product photos in under two minutes. Look, it’s this easy:
Want to give it a try? Download Pixelcut today to see why 10 million small businesses have already adopted the app!