[intro]If you want to create your own Product Images for your EKM online shop, this guide will teach you how to set-up and take photographs which then can be edited into Product Images.[/intro]

When you are populating your EKM online shop, remember that the overall aesthetic of it is key to building up good brand recognition and a relationship with your customers. A large part of this applies to the images you use to represent your Products. If your Product Images are all different shapes and sizes, if they all have different backgrounds and there’s no uniformity there, that’s not going to encourage people to buy. In fact, it’s going to put people off. 

However, if you are going to be taking your own photos to make into Product Images, it’s really easy to create high-quality images yourself using free resources readily available online and this Guide aims to show you how. What you’re aiming to create is a collection of images that are all uniform in terms of composition. This ensures continuity of your EKM online shop. Each Product can have five images to represent it, so when you’re taking pictures, be sure to bear this in mind.

You will need:

Mobile Phone/Digital Camera

Strictly speaking, you don’t need a large professional camera to take your own Product Images. Many mobile phones have a good enough camera to use for this purpose, and if one is not available, a simple ‘point-and-click’ digital camera set on Auto will do the job just as well. It’s worth mentioning too that whatever you choose, you should keep that camera local in case you have any more Product Images you need to take in the future to ensure that every Product Image is created in exactly the same way to ensure uniformity. 

White Card

Dependent on the size of your products, a couple of pieces of white card are invaluable for creating a backdrop and reflecting light onto your product. If your Products are relatively small, such as cups, jewellery, ornaments or similar, three pieces of A2 sized card should be perfect. You can slightly bend one piece to become both the backdrop and the floor for your Product, and use the other two to ensure that any light you have pointing directly at your Product is reflected to prevent dark shadows. 

You can also purchase Light Boxes (also known as 'photo studio tents') very cheaply online - these are often around the £20 mark and provide the same function. These are definitely worth investing in if you plan to have lots of new Products to add to your EKM online shop where taking your own Product Images will become a regular thing. 

Tripod

To help encourage uniformity between your images, a tripod of sorts is essential to ensure that each photograph is still, steady and taken in exactly the same position each time. A tripod eliminates the problem of blurry photos and encourages uniformity between your Product Images. There are lots of small tripods available online for between five and ten pounds which will do the trick perfectly.

Lighting 

As a bare minimum, you can get away with not using any lighting if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where the sun perpetually shines. However, since we’re in the UK, we can’t rely on the sunshine to bless us every day, so we need two standard desk lamps instead. If these desk lamps take LED bulbs too, that’s perfect, as you’ll get more of an even daylight effect to your images which means they will more accurately represent the colours of your Products compared to a standard bulb (which gives things a yellow tint) and daylight (which can make things appear blue). 

Your lighting needs to be placed in front of your product at each corner, shining into the Product area. With some adjustments, this should light up the Product and eliminate any dark shadows behind it, which makes the finished image a lot easier to edit later on.  

Location

Whether you’ve purchased your own Product Light Box or you’re using white cardboard, the next most important aspect to remember is your location. To get the same effects every time you take your Product images, ensure you use the same location each time - the kitchen table, your desk or whatever’s easiest and available to you. Paired with the same lighting and the same camera, this will become part of your routine for each session of creating new Product Images. 

Taking the Photos

It’s a good idea to take some test shots before you begin. Ensure that there are no unsightly creases visible on your white cardboard or seams visible on your Product Light Box and that your lighting illuminates your product evenly without creating unwanted shadows.

If you are using a mobile phone camera, ensure you have the camera set to take photos using the highest quality available to you. Turn the flash off, and turn the camera timer on to ensure every shot you take is crystal clear. Equally, if you’re using a digital camera, turn off the flash and turn on the timer for the same reason. Again, if there are image quality settings on your camera, ensure that these are set to take the highest quality photos possible. It’s also worth jotting these settings down to ensure that any Product Images you take in the future match perfectly. 

Once you’re happy with your test shots, and you need to decide how you want the products to appear in each image. The main Product Image should ideally feature the Product from the front, so a customer can see at a glance what it is. After this, you’ve potentially got four more images to represent that Product; you could have different angles - left, right, front and back, or dependent on what your Product is, different images depicting the Product being used or worn.

Now you’re ready to begin! Take photographs of each of your Products in turn, checking each as you do so (which prevents you having to come back later on if a specific shot has been missed).  When you have taken Photographs of all of your images, transfer these onto your computer. Generally, you can do this via a USB cable from your digital camera straight into your computer. If you're using your mobile phone, install the Google Photos app, upload your images there and then log into Google Photos on your computer and download the images that way. Once the photographs are on your computer, we can begin the process of editing them.

Ideally, all of the Product Images on your EKM online shop should be square in shape and measure 1024 pixels by 1024 pixels - this ensures that regardless of the Theme you have selected, your Product Images will always display perfectly with no negative space. You can read about the ideal format for Product Images by clicking here

If you don't have your own image editing software on your computer, click here to learn how to edit your images using Pixlr

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]