Photos on your company’s website or social media platform can make a huge difference in the way buyers see you. Are you a professional, polished company, or a startup that’s still working out the kinks? Low-resolution photos with bad lighting can turn a buyer off, especially when there are so many other websites getting it right.

Common Mistakes Websites Make

The biggest mistake websites make when uploading visual content is not paying enough attention to image resolution, which is the number of pixels in a photo (in pixels per inch, or PPI). Most photos for the web are set anywhere between 72 PPI and 120 PPI.

Keeping photos in this range will ensure your images don’t change sizes drastically depending on the device that’s accessing it. It will also keep file sizes manageable; files that are too large can slow down your site. Pixels are the reason many photos look blurry or fuzzy (called “pixelation”). This happens when a photo is stretched beyond its original dimensions. You can avoid pixelation with some easy technical maneuvering, which will immediately boost the quality of your visuals.

Another issue to avoid is making the focal point of your photo unclear. Some shots try to encompass too much at once, losing the main product in a mix of others. Cropping photos like this to only focus on one product is not usually the best option since cropping too close can easily distort your photo.

In the photo above, not only is it impossible to make out which product you’re supposed to focus on, but it’s also unprofessional. The lighting is badly managed, which can be remedied using DIY reflectors. There is also a poor background, which is the next important oversight websites make.

The object of a photo is nothing without a background to contrast it. Beautiful backgrounds for products can be constructed using things you have around your home, or that are easily bought and made yourself. For example, the stunning “El Bokeh Wall” effect can be created using tinfoil. Spending extra time to make a standout background can make a world of difference.

How to Take Class-A Photos

You don’t have to invest in a $2,000 camera or pricey equipment to take great photos. In fact, the smartphone you probably have sitting next to you right now is capable of snapping some stunning shots. With today’s advances in technology, and priority being placed on smartphone camera capabilities, taking professional-looking photos has never been more within reach.

Most smartphones have high-quality sensors and backside illumination (BSI) to harness light with the efficiency of a much larger camera. They also have autofocus, which immediately eliminates blurry photos, and image stabilization. If you want to get even more in-depth than what your smartphone already offers, you can buy relatively cheap add-on equipment, such as the Photojojo or Olloclip.

Now that you have your camera, the next step is to create a backdrop. Simple backdrops are best for the clean, minimal look trending today. You can make an effective backdrop using a sheet, rolled paper, wooden boards, or a well. The best product photos utilize the “sweep” method, where the background is not just behind the product, but beneath it as well. White or light gray backdrops behind a product look professional while still keeping a clean, consistent look.

Light is the biggest issue photographers face while trying to take brilliant product photos. Most amateur photographers don’t have high-tech lighting equipment or reflectors, and don’t know the tips and tricks to getting the best lighting. Often, however, natural lighting works wonders to brighten your photos and highlight your products for free.

You can also use the DIY reflectors mentioned above, made using cardboard and tinfoil, to direct natural light or artificial light onto your product for a professional look.×684.jpg

Once you’ve captured the perfect photo, you can make it even more memorable using easy editing techniques. Several apps have come out that enables users to edit their photos to professional standards. Some of the best apps on the market help you line up your shots correctly, adjust saturation and gradient, and optimize your photos for HD. There are apps for every level of photographer, from those who need point-and-shoot direction to those wanting incredibly specific pixel-by-pixel fine-tuning.

Sharing Your Photos

It’s not always enough to only post your photos to your website. Besides, why would you want to limit your exposure after all of that hard work? There are dozens of sharing options online for users, and deciding which one is right for you will depend on your audience. For example, Instagram is a popular outlet for photo sharing used mostly by people 30 years old and under, while Twitter is used by a broad audience.

Sharing your photos has been made simple through years of technological advances. If you’ve used a smartphone to capture your images, share them instantly by just tapping on the platform you want to access. Photos will be posted immediately after you’ve captioned them, hashtagged them, tagged them, and whatever else you wish to do. If you aren’t using a smartphone, you can use other photo sharing sites like iCloud or Dropbox, or simply upload photos to your desktop and add them to social sites individually.

Spending the extra time on making sure your product photos wow your audience can drastically increase your site traffic, as studies show that people are 80% more willing to read a piece of content with colored visuals, and that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without images. With stats like that, putting in the extra effort to optimize your website photos is sure to give you a serious return on investment.