Even the most brilliant idea needs proper implementation especially when it comes to online stores. You may have the best product ever at the most reasonable price. However, you will never bear fruit without its introduction to a wider target audience and your potential buyers. This is where a solid website will come as an ultimate solution.
Product photography plays a crucial role in the success of your website; poor quality or amateurish images cheapen the look and feel of your work, and have a big impact on your audience’s first impressions, not to mention their decision to buy your products. Still, ecommerce is awash with terrible product photography, from out-of-focus and under-exposed, to poorly colour-corrected or crooked images. One might be mislead to think that product photography is just too technical for most of us to achieve on our own. We’d like to let you in on a little secret: Product photography doesn’t have to be difficult, or time-consuming, or even expensive. It can be done right in your own home using a few basic materials – and a little bit of DIY know-how. Before you upload images of your work, be sure to read these 9 simple DIY product photography tips, then watch how these photos transform the look and quality of your website.
Choosing the right camera
Despite what you might’ve been led to believe, you don’t need an expensive camera to take great photos. Even an iPhone or smartphone with a good lens will do the trick in a pinch, especially with some added power by way of the dozens of inexpensive photo apps available, like Camera+ for iPhone and Camera Zoom FX for Android. Ideally though, try to borrow or rent a digital SLR camera that allows you to take RAW files and to adjust camera settings. While it helps to have a macro lens to shoot detailed objects, the standard lens that comes on any digital SLR camera should do the trick.
Choose a location
Chances are, you already have a great spot for your DIY photography studio in your own home. The best location to shoot product photos is next to a window that lets in plenty of natural, but not direct, sunlight. To set up your studio, place a table next to the window. Your table should be big enough to hold whatever you’re shooting, as well as a stage (or sweep) for it to sit on. If you can’t shoot your photographs during the day or don’t have a great light source in your house, take a look at tip #3 on how to construct your own light tent.
Build a Sweep
Even if you’ve taken a crisp image of your work, awkward background angles and shadows can diminish your final image results. To solve this problem, you’ll need to build a corner-less sweep. All you need is a piece of bright white bristol board (about $1 at a craft shop), some tape, and something to prop the bristol board up against. If you have a table in a corner next to a window, tape the piece of bristol board to the wall and to the edge of the table so that you have a smooth curve with enough room on the table to place your object (don’t fold the board). Otherwise, a stack of books or a piece of furniture can act as a support. Your sweep should be big enough for allow room for about three times the size of the product you’re photographing on all sides. If you’re not shooting with natural light, a light box is crucial. Check out Digital Photography School’s tutorial on how to build one using a cardboard box, some bristol board, and a high watt bulb.
Use a Tripod, or Fake One
A tripod is a photographer’s best friend, especially when shooting with the kinds of camera settings that are best suited to product photography (see tip #4 for more information). Sure, a great tripod can cost a small fortune, but several perfectly decent models are available to buy on Amazon for under $50. Craigslist, eBay, or your local second hand shop are also bound to have even cheaper (and often great quality) tripods available. Look for brands like Manfrotto and Benro, which are often expensive when new but deeply discounted second-hand. For more information on what to look for in a good tripod, read TechRadar’s stunningly complete report. If you’re shooting with a smartphone, the Joby Gorilla Pod is the perfect tripod alternative (and it also comes in handy when you want to shoot a great selfie). The Gorilla Pod hooks on to just about any surface, and clocks in at about $40. If you’re really strapped for time (or cash), however, the best way to fake a tripod is with some heavy books, a level, and a bit of silly putty or poster board tack. Simply place the heaviest books you can find where you would normally place your tripod, use your level to make sure that the surface the camera will sit on is on an even keel, and use a bit of tack or silly putty to keep your camera from slipping away. If you feel like getting even craftier, check out these Instructables on alternative tripods.
Know Your Camera Settings
This is where it really helps to have a camera with manual settings. Make sure that your camera is set to the highest possible quality, which, for digital SLRs, is usually a RAW file set on “superfine” quality. RAW files need professional editing software like Photoshop, but will go a long way in preserving your photos’ quality. As for manual settings: You’re going to need the biggest depth of field that your camera allows. Depth of field is determined by your “f-stop”, which, for most cameras, is around f/8. Maxing out your f-stop means that your camera will let in less light, which is why you’ll need to compensate by setting your shutter speed to a very low speed (this is also where a tripod really comes in handy). Next, there’s you’re ISO, which will control your camera’s sensitivity to light. Set your ISO to a low rate, 100 is usually optimal. Any higher, and your images risk coming out grainy. Finally, exposure: Most cameras, even on smartphones, allow you to adjust your exposure. For product photography, it’s usually best to adjust your exposure to become brighter, so +1 or +1.5. Take heed: finding the right camera settings for your shoot can take time. Take plenty of test shots, then upload them to your computer to see what kind of quality you get before you start shooting different products and angles in earnest. Your photos don’t have to be perfect from the get go, but it helps to have them in good shape before you head to the editing stage.
Taking Your First Photo
Once you’ve tested your camera settings and have the product you want to photograph placed in middle of your light stage, it’s time to get shooting. Make sure not to use your zoom, as this will diminish the quality of your images, and if possible, use a timer. Using a timer will help you to avoid rattling your camera as you press the button, which should provide crisper photographs.
Use a Reflector Card
Scraps of foam core can be used to make a bounce sheet (otherwise known as a reflector card), which will help to evenly disperse light around your object and get rid of any distracting shadows. If you don’t have foam core or can’t find it in your local craft shop, try cutting apart a tetra pak carton and using the reflective interior side as your bounce sheet. Ideally, your bounce sheet should be able to sit on its own, which can be done simply by folding whatever material you’re using in half.
Editing Your Photos
Now that you have the photos you’d like to work with, it’s time to move onto the editing stages. Explaining the basics of photo editing software like Lightroom, Photoshop, or their freeware cousin, Gimp, would be too lengthy to describe here, but here are some great resources to help you learn how to edit photos yourself:
- Product Photography Retouching Photoshop Tutorial: How to (YouTube)
- How to Quickly Isolate Product Photos Onto White Backgrounds Using Lightroom and Photoshop (Tuts+)
Exporting Your Photos for Your Website
With IM Creator, the photos you upload are automatically re-sized so you won’t have to worry about cropping beforehand. Still, in order to retain the best image quality once your photos have been uploaded, make sure that you export your photos as .jpgs. Your photos’ dimensions should remain as big as possible, while keeping your DPI at around 72 or 100. Make sure to keep your images set on RGB, not CMYK. Image Credits Nikon D7000 Digital SLR Camera 05 by Bernie at Wikipedia Commons Aperture Diagram by Cbuckley at Wikipedia Commons
Ecommerce is evolving fast, and for you, that means easier and faster accessibility to tools that once loomed large and out of reach for your small business. Without the confusion of figuring out sales integrations, payment forms, and tax rates, your website can be turned into a money-making machine with just a few simple adjustments.
Here’s how to turn your IM Creator website into a web shop:
Okay, so their underwhelming webpage might not look like much, but PayPal’s Buy Now Buttons are possibly the easiest way to start selling online.
Buy Now Buttons allow you to sell individual items on your website using credit card or bank transfer payments, at fees on par with the rest of PayPal’s services. You can create your own button on PayPal simply by filling in some information about your business, sales tax, and delivery. PayPal will then generate HTML code that can be easily implemented into your website using the “HTML” element in your drag & drop editor.
Buy Now Buttons do come with some limitations, though: They won’t help you manage orders and payments or let you view sales reports and customer analytics.
For more information on how to make your own Buy Now Button, check out this IM Creator tutorial.
Perfect for: Small businesses that need a fully-functional e-commerce set-up for their own website.
Shopify is the posterboy for simplified e-commerce. Employing the simplicity of a website builder, sellers can add a webshop to their own site simply by customizing a template, and adding products and billing information. What makes Shopify really useful, though, is its detailed analytics tools to help you keep track of customer accounts, sales, and SEO. Shopify also comes with a host of integrations, from MailChimp to Olark.
Shopify plans start at $29/month plus a 2% transaction fee for 1gb of storage space, mobile e-commerce, and 24/7 support, then jump to $79/month plus a 1% transaction fee for 5gb of storage, 24/7 support, and added features like abandoned cart recovery.
Perfect for: Businesses that are anticipating fast growth, businesses that need help handling shipment.
Amazon are the undisputed champions when it comes to e-commerce – their payment processing, ordering, and shipping processes have been optimized to near perfection, and with millions of dedicated shoppers worldwide, selling via Amazon is a great way to find an entrance into the market.
With Amazon Webstore, you can apply Amazon’s technology to your own domain and design. Your webshop’s payment plan can be customized to suit your business’ needs, and best yet, you can send your inventory to an Amazon storage facility so that they can be shipped automatically when an order is made.
At $79/month plus a 2% transaction fee, Amazon’s services don’t exactly come cheap to newcomers. Still, their monthly package does come with unlimited bandwidth, storage, and SKU’s, as well as instant access to Amazon’s enormous pool of customers. Amazon Webstore offers a 30-day free trial to make sure their services are right for your business.
Perfect for: Brands selling online goods like apps, mobile e-commerce
Selling online is all about making things simple for prospective customers. If there’s a lengthy form to fill out or a payment process that seems to take ages, buyers will flee. Google continue their takeover of just about everything web with their take on online payments: Google Wallet. For buyers, Google wallet simplifies the transaction process (especially for non-material goods) by bringing the payment process down to a couple clicks. What’s more, Google Wallet is built specifically with mobile e-commerce in mind.
For sellers, Google Wallet makes reaching the millions of US customers already using their service a breeze, and with highly competitive rates: Google Wallet is free to use, with each transaction costing at most 5% or 1.9% + 30c (USD).
To learn more about how to set up Google Wallet on your website, take a look at their how to page.
With attention spans running low, store-front businesses and pop-up shops need to be fast if they want to catch clients, which means accepting payments on the go, with whatever form of payment they have on them. You, the seller, need to turn your smartphone or tablet into a point-of-sale system.
There are various methods you can use to make sure that you do not let your business walk away, and one of the best is to use your smartphone in order to accept credit card payments. In order to do that, you require a few services, and there are dozens out there.
Please go through this list of 20 Ways to Accept Mobile Payments. As always, your comments are welcome.
If you’re looking for a nitty-gritty way to conduct portable credit card handling, then look at Square. With no month to month expenses, no contracts, and no shipper records, Square is a decent answer for businesses that infrequently require portable payment. Square connects specifically with your financial balance and acknowledges installments from all major charge card organizations. Its 2.75% transaction fee is somewhat steep, but with no extra month to month expenses, you could wind up with cash to spare through Square as long as you don’t use it frequently.
At $12.95 a month, Intuit’s GoPayment for iOSs and Android gadgets is an alternative choice for entrepreneurs searching for a versatile credit card processor. The fittings needed for swiping credit cards come at no extra charge, and transaction fees are aggressive, at 1.75%. Intuit additionally offers a pay-as-you-go plan for dealers that is just about indistinguishable to Square’s arrangement, at 2.75% for every transaction. On the off chance that your business uses Quickbooks or an alternate Intuit Payment Solutions programming, then Gopayment may be an smart decision. It naturally matches up with your bookkeeping programming, helping you effortlessly deal with your books, even on the go.
Created by ROAM Data, Roampay is a mobile payment solution that charges a month to month remote payment access expense of $7.95. Each swipe will set you back 19 cents in addition to a greater transaction expense of 1.58%. Roampay additionally collaborates with a few other credit card transforming organizations, including creditcardprocessing.com, which charges a $7.95 access charge and transaction expenses of 20 cents in addition to 1.55% of the aggregate deal.
17. PayPal Here
Many companies only permit you to have your customers use credit or debit cards, but Paypal Here allows businesses a great deal more flexibility. With this application and equipment, your clients can pay specifically from their mobilePaypal records. Card-less transactions are simple with Paypal: Clients login with your business on their mobile Paypal application and afterward exchange trusts to your record to settle their bill. The expense for every transaction is 2.7% of the last purchase, and there are no extra setup expenses or month to month charges. Paypal recently revealed an alternate mobile installment alternative that permits clients to make in-store installments. Still being developed, Paypal Beacon is a Bluetooth gadget that will incorporate with vendors’ current POS frameworks and unite with the Paypal application on clients’ cell phones when they stroll into a store.
Dwolla doesn’t require any extra equipment. Much like Paypal Here, Dwolla asks customers to log into an application on their cell phones and select which confirmed seller they’d prefer to pay with. Payments are sent specifically to the merchant’s shipper account, and can be observed from the vendor’s cell phone, tablet or portable computer with the Dwolla online booth. Dwolla charges 25 cents for every transaction with no extra month to month expenses, making it one of the most cost effective plans for dealers to take portable payments with.
15. Google Wallet
Using near field communication (NFC), Google Wallet lets organizations take payments both online and in-store. This fast payment system is a great choice for businesses looking to reduce long lines, or for those needing to extend their online client base. For in-store transactions, organizations that don’t, as of now, have a NFC receiver can purchase or rent one from Google’s partner, First Data. Clients with Android telephones running the Google Wallet application will then be able to hold their device over a scanner to make a payment instantly. Sellers pay the ordinary card expenses for Google Wallet transactions, with no extra charges from Google. Your business can likewise connect its client fidelity cards or Google Offers to its Google Wallet seller record to let clients recover rewards with a tap of their phone.
The ISIS Mobile Wallet is another NFC-empowered payment technique, a joint venture between Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Used by more than 200,000 retailers across the country, ISIS is set to become Google Wallet’s principle rival. To start using ISIS, your business will require a NFC receiver, which you can lease or purchase from a vendor of your choice or one of ISIS’ partners. ISIS doesn’t charge extra transaction fees for shippers or clients.
Mastercard’s Paypass lets your business receive quick payments through a NFC-empowered POS terminal. Clients simply tap their NFC-powered credit card or cell phone over the terminal to make a payment. Paypass sellers either buy a module NFC receiver from Mastercard or introduce a completely incorporated POS framework from the organization. Mastercard does not charge merchants extra utilization or transaction expenses for the Paypass framework. Having a Paypass terminal set up at your register will permit your business to receive a variety of contactless payments, not only those made with Mastercard, including Google Wallet and ISIS Mobile Wallet. Mastercard additionally offers a safe advanced wallet — the Masterpass— that your business can use to make checkout simpler for clients. The service is free for both dealers and clients.
Much like Mastercard’s Paypass, Visa’s paywave lets clients make contactless payments at a business’ POS terminal. To begin using contactless payments, sellers can either buy a NFC-empowered POS terminal directly from Visa, or purchase one from another dealer. It isn’t necessary for businesses to buy numerous NFC receivers from Mastercard-aligned organizations. Visa, Mastercard and American Express all issue NFC-empowered cards and gadgets that use the same radio-recurrence innovation.
Levelup is an application that allows businesses to receive portable payments from any client, without credit or debit cards. Vendors use a Levelup terminal, which coordinates with their current POS framework, to scan a (QR) code on a client’s cell phone. Notwithstanding making portable payments speedy and simple, Levelup lets shops create loyalty programs for clients: regulars can add credit to their Levelup account when they visit their favourite shippers. What’s more, this application gives entrepreneurs access to a reach of effective analysis tools so they can stay informed about clients and their purchases.
This cloud-based application lets organizations oversee payments over various locales, monetary forms, and payment types, right from their cell phones. Its parent organization, Powa Technologies, offers a few other portable technologies for vendors. mPowa’s coordinated POS application lets organizations send and accept cash in more than 20 currencies, helping organizations avoid paying transaction costs and remote trade charges. mPowa additionally gives shippers access to many worldwide banks and payment services.
PayToo’s POS application (and card reader) works with credit and debit cards, and in addition to portable wallets, QR codes and RFID, otherwise called contactless payments. Vendors can accept payments in a few different currencies. Notwithstanding its wide cluster of payment alternatives, Paytoo offers global direct-deposit services for workers, free cash exchanges to other Paytoo clients and prepaid universal Mastercards, making it a good choice for multi-national businesses. Paytoo’s portable payment application is free, and there is no month to month administration charge. Vendors accept one free charge card when they sign up. Transaction charges change relying upon the system for installment and whether the installment is performed in individual or on the web. In-store installments with a Visa bring about a 2.69% expense for every transaction, in addition to a 29 cent charge for every approval.
Boku lets vendors acknowledge payments from clients utilizing just cellular phone numbers. Traders can decide to include Boku as a payment choice on their site, portable site or application. Clients essentially enter their cellular telephone number, and payments are added specifically to their telephone bill. Bank accounts and registrations are not required in any way. Boku does not distribute pricing data for potential customers on its site, yet you can seek a Boku account online by giving your business’ essential details.
Like Boku and other mobile payment companies, Payfone is not a credit card solution, but it is still a versatile payment option. The organization’s direct carrier billing permits clients to shop in online stores and charge purchases straight to their cellular telephone numbers. Payfone’s remote system is among the most secure in the business, reassuring vendors that their payment systems are kept confidential.
Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is the retail world’s endeavor to take mobile payments into its hands, as opposed to entrusting them to the companies behind Google Wallet, ISIS and other portable payment platforms. Insights about precisely how the application will function are few and far between, but MCX maintains that it offers vendors a “versatile trade solution that consistently coordinates payments with an extensive variety of advancements and administrations through practically any cell phone.”
linked2pay is an interesting choice for businesses looking to satisfy the majority of their payment needs in one spot. While the organization offers a versatile application and card reader for businesses, it likewise works as a payment option for dealer sites and encourages payments either in individual or through email, general mail or telephone. The cost of linked2pay’s services, which incorporates Visa and ACH preparing, comes to about $39.95 a month, with no extra transaction charges. Businesses get a free mobile card reader when they sign up. A less expensive bundle is likewise accessible for vendors that sign up for the organization’s services but simply need to process Visas with no ACH payments. The month to month expense is $29.95, with no extra transaction charges.
In case you’re searching for a portable payment option that can additionally work as an in-store POS, then Innerfence may be an incredible decision for you. The organization offers a free application and a card reader that attaches into the charging dock (not the sound port) of cell phones. For more flexible in-store use, Innerfence offers Mastercard readers compatible with Mac and PCs running Windows 8.1. For shippers without a current Visa processor, Innerfence charges $25 a month for Mastercard handling, as well as a 2.9% fee in addition to 30 cents for every transaction.
This mobile payment option from Groupon is giving contenders a run for their money. The no-agreement, no-month to month charge Breadcrumb application serves as a POS framework both in store and out and about. The transaction charges are among the most affordable in the business, at 1.8% in addition to 15 cents for every swipe.
An alternate application for organizations is PaySimple. Best known for its easy to use interface, this mobile credit card processor charges a month to month charge of $34.95. Transaction charges are 2.39% of the aggregate deal, in addition to 29 cents for every transaction.
If you’re searching for a mobile payment option that is certain to keep your clients’ information secure, then Forte may be the right decision for you. The iDynamo, study card reader from Forte offers fraud detection, capable encryption, and security innovation that guarantees most extreme security. The service costs $99.