Don’t get stuck with the notion that “center frame is the best lane”. I just made up that, by the way. But it's a common myth. Don’t get caught walking down that path! Dead center photographs can be really boring sometimes! So today, we’re going to chat about your product photos online and how a little off center can be a good thing.
To begin, let’s just go over what composition is exactly. Composition is actually defined as the action of putting things together. This comes into play a lot when you have products with props in the frame and you want to compose the set to make sure that the product is the highlight of the image. We’ll talk about props in another post, but today we are using composition to refer to the way the product is positioned in the frame.
For most product photos, a landscape image will be your best format rather than vertical images. That’s just the way most online shops are set up. Specifically, if you’re on Etsy, you’ll want to make sure that your image is horizontal. If it’s vertical, crop it in the main thumbnail picture to be horizontal. When the image is clicked on (which is the goal, right?) then the full vertical image will display as normal.
When looking at a landscape product photo you can use the rule of thirds when focusing on composing your product. Let's look at a few examples below of different products and the set up:
Digital Products: Stock Photography
This image is focusing more on the arrows and the white space than the ampersand light. If your product is a stock photo showing the example of lot of white space to add text to it, this set up would be really nice. Get as much light as you can in the area of focus and get the other elements to assist but not take away focus!
Food Styled - Editorial
If your item is food based, why not play around with the styling a bit. This shot is composed to have a just off-the-center-to-the-right focus on that sliced cut of bread. It's where you want the viewer's eye to focus.
This photo has a very similar composition to the one above. It's a simple photo with just the seeds in focus in the bottom right side of the center focal point. If you look closely, you'll see that the bottom right is actually the most in focus!
You may see a bit of food in this series, I can't help it! It's fun to shoot. You can also see a trend in my photos. I tend to focus on the bottom right, or center-right quadrants. There's just something about the human eye wanting to focus on that area that brings a bit of something extra to a photo. I'm not sure if there is a science to it, or if it's because I'm right handed/I favor the right side. What do you think?
Imagine if this is a notecard or a thank you card. It has plenty of space on the left side for adding text to personalize it. The products are composed on the very far right, which would stick out in a sea of images that are strictly center focused.
How large something is in the frame is a great way to compose a picture. This photo, like many of my other ones have a just off-the-center focus. The main draw is the sheer size of how much it takes up on the right side! It also helps that the green sticks out among the grays, whites and neutrals in the shot.
To The Left
I know what you're thinking, and yes, sometimes I do shoot on the left :) It's rare though. While the focus is in the center, the object itself is taking up the majority of the left side of the frame. Its still has a great effect of drawing you in and getting up close and personal with those taste buds.
This time the focus is on the top right instead of the bottom right. The white highlight of the jar is a strong focal point and the text written on the label is clear to see. The lid propped up on the side "closes" off the photo. Sure, you could go with a dead center jar, but where is the fun in that?!
Alright, your turn, let me know what your product photos look like in your online shop! Also comment below and let me know which one is your favorite!