6 Tips to Taking Professional Quality Product Photos on a Budget

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Photography | 0 comments

In the competitive world of e-commerce, your website’s design and the quality of product presentation on it goes a long way in generating trust among the potential buyers. The buyers would base their purchase decision on the basis of perceived value of your products.

The perceived value of your product, of course, is greatly affected by web design as well as the quality of images of your products.

Photography equipment can be expensive, but getting high quality pictures doesn't have to be.

Photography equipment can be expensive, but getting high quality pictures doesn’t have to be.

However, if you are a start-up on a tight budget, it may be difficult for you to hire a professional photographer because they do not come cheap. The good news, on the other hand, is that there are several photography tools and hacks that you can master yourself to take some professional quality photos of your products.

Good photographs are essential for all types of web projects and websites, not just eCommerce websites, so learning these skills will help you out in many different ways.

Let us then take a look at the tips and tricks to take high quality product photos without paying through your nose.
1. Choose the right lighting
The quality of light available during your photo shoot is a key determinant of the overall worth of your pictures. As a rule of thumb, you should choose natural light over artificial light sources.

This is because natural light has a more uniform spread in contrast to artificial light sources that are patchy in their distribution. Early to mid-afternoon are perhaps the best time to schedule your photo shoot.

Good lighting can make or break a photograph

Good lighting can make or break a photograph

Similarly, shadow generation is another trick you should master to enhance the quality of your photos. Typically, product photos are best displayed when you make use of soft shadows as opposed to hard shadows. Hard shadows are generated when you take photos where the source of light is smaller than the size of product itself. In other words, make sure the source of your light is a large window, or simply arrange the photo shoot outdoors.

2. Mind the background

One of the oft-used tricks of product photography is a white background that helps the to put the focus on the product itself. Creating this effect is indeed fairly easy, and all you would require is an appropriate sized white fabric that is bent into a curve. However, if you want to do it a little more professionally, then obtain a mat board from an art supplies store.

Remember to set up the white sweep carefully. The easiest and most practical way is to keep the product on a table which itself is placed against a wall. You can then easily tape the white sweep on to the wall and the table. The product should be placed on the flat part of the white background.

3. Get a tripod

One of the cardinal rule of professional photography is to reduce any instance of motion blur, an effect caused by unsteady hands. You may think you have exceptionally steady hand but it is best to not rely on it at all.

In fact, since product photography involves really small distance between the camera and your object, the effect of slightest unsteadiness is greatly exaggerated and compromises the quality of pictures.

Therefore, try to arrange for a tripod to completely eliminate any chance of motion blur affecting your photos. Any functional tripod would do greatly, and, if you cannot arrange for it, then look for a workable scaffolding.

In conjunction with the tripod, make use of the camera’s in-built timer to further sharpen your photos.

4. Experiment with angles and scales

You should have fun taking pictures with different angles of your product. This is because, as a novice photographer, you would not know which angle would bring out the best features of your product.

Your only chance is to experiment as much as you can so that you can compare the end result.

Similarly, provide a sense of scale to viewers by generating contrasts. Sometimes, it becomes difficult for viewers to get the right scale of your product by looking at pictures alone. By placing another everyday item next to the product, you can help them visualize the correct size of the product.

5. Be careful with camera settings

Right camera settings are key to generating professional quality pictures. Resist the temptation to use flash as it may create hard shadows and highlight your product in an uneven fashion.

Alternatively, you may also use a white plastic tape on your flash. Set your white balance to auto. When it comes to image setting, you can choose raw as your default option.

Set your ISO to as low as possible as it controls the sensor. The lower the ISO value, the lower the noise captured in your images. Finally, use aperture priority mode when it comes to exposure settings.

6. Make use of editing and retouching services

Finally, do not think your job is complete once you have done all the hard work and taken the photos.

These photos need further processing so that there is uniformity in terms of sizes and color correction.

Editing your photos with affordable software like Aviary or GIMP is a great way to make them more professional.

Editing your photos with affordable software like Aviary or GIMP is a great way to make them more professional.

Thankfully, this does not require any sophisticated Photoshop experience and can be competently done on basic photo editing software such as GIMP or Aviary image editor.

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8 “Must Have” WordPress Plugins for Every Blogger

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Wordpress | 0 comments

If you run a blog of your own, you no doubt want to add some extra functionality and make sure it is well optimised for the search engines.

In order to make this happen, you can easily add WordPress plugins. There are 3 basic things that you should watch out for in any plugin:

1) They ought to be easy to use and bug free
2) They need to be lightweight – so that they don’t use lots of resources and slow your site down
3) They work alongside other plugins without conflicts

 

Setting up your blog with good plugins will help security, stability and search engine performance.

Setting up your blog with good plugins will help security, stability and search engine performance.

Trust me, I have literally tried over a couple of hundred plugins all by myself over the last 5 years. Amongst them, there are a few dozen plugins that have managed to really impress me. But I have narrowed the list down to the best in class plugins that are my real favourites and are installed on all my blogs.

Here are the 8 best WordPress plugins I recommend every blog should use:

1) WordFence: (link)
In short, this is the best security plugin that works by adding an extra layer of protection to your website. It locks out the people who try to hack their way into your site and also blocks the IP addresses of any bots which try to gain access.

You have the option of customising your email alerts in case you find any suspicious activity going on. They also offer a premium version of WordFence which grants access to the support team.

2) VaultPress: (link)
There are absolutely no words to describe the importance of having an off-site backup for your blog. Even while having the best hosting provider who has extra layers of protection, there is always the remotest probability that an error might creep in and messing up your entire data.

After trying several Backup plugins, I have settled for VaultPress made by the makers of WordPress. With a monthly fee of $5, you can get your website backed up day-to-day. Even if your site gets completely hacked, you are literally two clicks away to restore all the data from yesterday.

3) WordPress SEO by Yoast: (link)
Despite the way the title is framed, it is not just an SEO plugin. Rather, it is a complete package that offers website optimization.

Apart from adding descriptions and titles to your articles, it also helps you to do page analysis, add open graph data and much more. It is pretty easy to setup and install and is a great choice for all kinds of websites.

4) Frizzly: (link)
It is not at all wrong to say that social media is the heart and core of today’s business marketing. In order to exploit the most of the social media, Frizzly is the plugin that has satisfied me the most.

It places a Facebook, Twitter and a Pinterest “Share” button over the images on your website. These icons turn up only when the user hovers the pointer over the images and when clicked, it automatically displays a default description which can be set by yourself beforehand.

When planned carefully, this has the potential to drive crazy amounts of traffic to your website.

Plugins can help with your social interactions and communicating with your visitors.

Plugins can help with your social interactions and communicating with your visitors.

5) Edit Flow: (link)
Basically, it provides an efficient editorial workflow management system for your WordPress. Edit Flow displays your editorial calendar, assigns posts, leave editorial comments, manages authors and much more.

It also allows you to create custom post status and brainstorm your content strategy within your dashboard.

6) AdSanity: (link)
It is a wonderful WordPress ad management plugin which is rather easy to use. New ads can be added in Adsanity just the way new posts can be added.

You have the option to create time-based ads or continuous ads that keep running on your blog unless you opt to remove them. There are separate graphs and stats for various ad views and clicks.

If you are looking to display ads in WordPress, then AdSanity is the answer.

7) Login Lockdown: (link)
It is a common practice that websites provide users with a limited number of login attempts before their account gets locked. Most hack attempts exploit the password lists to gain access to your website’s admin area.

Login Lockdown does exactly the same job and allows you to set the maximum number of login attempts before it locks down their account.

This is a much-needed plugin for all those websites that have mandatory user logins.

8) Comment Reply Notification: (link)
This plugin allows you to send a notification to your reader once someone replies to their comment on your site. This can go a long way in driving additional traffic to your site.

The only downside of this plugin is that it has not been updated for the last couple of years, but still works like a charm.

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4 Common Myths about Selling Products on Amazon

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Amazon | 0 comments

Amazon is one of the leading online marketplaces on the globe. With an estimated income of $100 billion annually, the marketplace controls a large market share of the global economic sector. In the last few years, the marketplace has been witnessing a tremendous increase in sales and a growing number of users and visitors every month.

selling_on_amazon_is_not_hard

This growth has presented business people with a great opportunity of selling products on Amazon to clients from allover the world.

However, despite the site being a successful online marketplace, there are some common myths about selling products on the site.

These myths include:

Selling on Amazon is difficult

For beginners, selling their products on the marketplace may seem to be quite difficult at first. However, it is actually easier than most people think.

This is because all you need to do when you want to sell on Amazon is have a reliable sales strategy that you will use to market and promote your products on the site. Additionally, the well-organized structure of operations makes it easy for sellers to market their products, communicate with potential buyers, close deals and arrange for shipment of products sold.

Ideally, when selling on Amazon, the sellers just need to ship the product and the site facilitates all the other processes.

Amazon is a crowded marketplace to join

is_amazon_crowded

It may seemingly appear daunting to join the marketplace as it has over two million sellers but the site has over 175 million visitors every month and over 200 million products sold through the website.

As such, even with such a high number of sellers, there is still room for new sellers to join and get a share of the 175 million visitors and potential buyers.

Based on statistics from the last few years, Amazon is not showing any signs of slowing down or winding up operations any time in the near future. Therefore, it is a great avenue for sellers and markers to use in selling their products.

Customer acquisition is easy

While it may appear to be quite easy to set up a merchant account on Amazon and start selling your products, acquiring customers may be a hard venture.

You need to do more than write a generic description of your product and list the product to watch buyers competing to get your product. There is need to undertake listing-optimization so that your product ranks high in the site’s search engine.

Since there are millions of products listed on the site, listing-optimization enhances the visibility of your products on the site hence more visitors are able to see the products.

You have to be a pro-marketer to sell on Amazon

amazon_pro_marketer

Selling products on Amazon does not depend on your marketing prowess. There are beginners whose sales grow from zero to five figure amounts in just a few weeks.

The secret to being successful on the site is identifying the best selling strategy to use and how to make your products readily visible on the platform. While marketing exposure and experience may help you to sell more products on Amazon, these skills are not a requirement to be successful on the platform.

There are lots of tips, strategies, ideas, concepts, and secrets about selling products on Amazon that you can consider using. These pieces of resourceful information are given as first hand information by successful sellers and merchants on Amazon – check out this video for some great insights:

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