Oftentimes, just a different angle or position is all that is need to take a product photo from “just ok” to “Uh-mazing!” In this post I’ll share nine of my favorite composition tips for taking smartphone photos that display products in their best light.
Composition Tips #1
Need a quick way to make your photo more interesting? Just tilt it! This is especially effective when fitting an object in square photos.
Composition Tips #2
Leave Negative Space For Adding Text
When shooting product photos, always take at least one that leaves a negative (blank) space for easily adding readable text later on. I suggest taking a vertical shot (Pinterest, Instagram, blog) and a horizontal shot (Twitter, Facebook, blog) to cover all your social media bases. Remember, you’re not confined to square anymore with Instagram!
Composition Tips #3
FRONT AND CENTER
You probably know about the rule of thirds, but if something is super interesting, colorful, symmetrical, unique, etc., you can afford to bend the rules and let it take center stage in your photo.
Composition Tips #4
Foreground Focus & Background Blur
For this composition tip on an iPhone, make sure to lock and focus on your foreground object. Place something interesting in the background to add more interest. If needed, use an app like AfterFocus or Pixomatic to increase the blur effect.
Composition Tips #5
Pretend you are a drone and zoom over the top of your subject. Sometimes an object presents a very unique viewpoint overhead. I see this used a lot in food photography. The patterns on this lip balm provide lots of visual interest, especially when looking from above. Blurring the background intensifies this even further.
Composition Tips #6
NEGATIVE SPACE REVISITED
Making use of the space around your subject (negative space) can really help draw the focus to the positive space (the subject). Here you can see the white space leaves nothing of interest, so of course you are drawn to the adorable little Ariel (How could you not be? She’s the bestest of all the Disney princesses ?). Offsetting Ariel to the right and placing her in line with the rule of thirds keeps all the boring negative space in one spot to the left. And tilting Ariel also allows you to see more detail such as her cute bow and sparkly green fins.
Composition Tips #7
CORNER SHOT TEASE
Place the best features of your product in just the left or right corner and let the frame cut off the rest. Tease your audience with the best parts and keep them guessing at what the complete product looks like. Make sure your lens is clean. Also be sure to lock the focus on your product so the details will come through nice and sharp and will create a slightly blurred effect in the background.
Composition Tips #8
RULE OF THIRDS
This technique involves visually dividing what you see through the camera into nine equal parts and placing your subject on one or more of the lines of intersection. This is supposed to add more energy and interest to your photos.
You can add the rule-of-thirds grid to your camera app on your iPhone by going to ➡ Settings ➡ Photos & Camera ➡ Grid (press play for visual instructions).
Composition Tips #9
RULE OF ODDS
They say an odd number of items wins out over an even number when it comes to adding interest to your photo. It has something to do with an even number of objects being easier to organize in our minds and therefore boring. I feel like this also relates to real life. Odd will almost always win out over boring. Almost.
Composition Tips #10
THE FLAT LAY
This is great for completely showcasing several products at a time.
1) Start with larger objects and then layer with smaller ones.
2) Choose a simple, contrasting background that matches the colors in the products.
3) Try not to overlap objects.
4) Get as high as you can in order to include all elements in your image, even if you need to use a step stool or chair.
5) And remember, lighting is key so get as close to a window as possible.
6) On your iPhone, you can press down to lock the focus and manually increase or decrease the exposure.
Whenever you’re on Instagram, search the hashtah #flatlay to see a lot of great examples!
Hope these composition tips help you in your quest for amazing product photos!