12 Common Product Photography Mistakes

ProShot Media Product Photography Blog

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


#1 Not Enough Photos to Show Product Accurately

One of the most common mistakes is only uploading one or two images to a product listing. Although this may be enough photos for straightforward products, it is usually not enough to effectively demonstrate the features of a product. 

In fact, Amazon recommends 7 photos per listing. 

If you are unsure of what kinds of photos to add you can try multiple angles, close ups, lifestyle shots, shots with props, or infographics. 

#2 Neglecting Proper Retouching

Retouching is the part of the process that really makes the images SHINE! A professional retoucher can do wonders to a photo. But this doesn’t mean a great retoucher can make poorly shot photos look good. Well shot and professionally retouched images are the recipe to great product photos. 

You must also keep in mind that too much retouching can result in poor results as well. Too much retouching can cause an unnatural and undesirable effect, which will turn off potential buyers. 

#3 Poor Lighting

Lighting is a crucial aspect of product photography. Although there are many different lighting setups that can achieve varying results, it is very important to remember that technique is far more effective than buying expensive gear. Learning how to use lighting properly is the most important skill for product photography.

 Many photographers make the mistake of viewing lighting as a simple necessity rather than the largest contributing factor to how photos come out. Lighting needs a lot of attention, and there is a lot to learn about it. 

#4 Unwanted Reflections and Shadows

Many amateur photographers don’t understand how different forms of lighting can cause unwanted shadows and reflections, especially on reflective materials. Furthermore, they don’t understand how to deal with these unwanted artifacts. There are three ways that these can be addressed: 

  1. Lighting Technique 
  2. Modifiers/scrim 
  3. Retouching

Practicing with reflective materials is a great way to learn the different methods of dealing with unwanted reflections and shadows. 

#5 Not Using a Tripod

Maintaining uniformity in photography across different items is crucial. Ensuring that your objects are positioned consistently against the background and that your camera remains at a consistent distance from the subject is essential.

The use of a tripod is instrumental in achieving this level of consistency during your session. It eliminates unwanted blurring and prevents variations in the placement of the product from one image to another.

#6 Awkward Angles and Positioning

Getting too wild with positioning and angles in product photography can be a significant mistake for several reasons. Firstly, it can result in a lack of coherence in your visual narrative, confusing viewers and diverting attention from the product. Straying too far from conventional positioning may compromise the accurate representation of the product’s features, making it challenging for customers to understand its details.

Moreover, inconsistent angles and positions create a disjointed visual experience, hindering the establishment of a cohesive and memorable brand image. This approach may unintentionally convey a lack of professionalism, potentially diminishing the perceived quality and reliability of the product. By adopting a more conventional approach in positioning and angles, you ensure a sense of stability and visual harmony, allowing the product to remain the central focus without unnecessary distractions.

#7 Poor Exposure

Exposure holds paramount importance in product photography as it directly influences how the product is perceived by viewers. Proper exposure ensures that the details, colors, and textures of the product are accurately represented, providing potential customers with a clear and realistic view. Adequate exposure highlights the product’s features, allowing it to stand out and captivate the audience’s attention.

Overexposure or underexposure can lead to loss of detail or distortion, impacting the overall quality of the image and potentially misrepresenting the product. Achieving the right exposure not only showcases the product in its best light but also contributes to creating a visually appealing and professional presentation, instilling confidence in consumers and encouraging them to make informed purchasing decisions.

#8 Low Resolution Images

Utilizing low-resolution images in any marketing or e-commerce strategy can significantly diminish visual appeal and negatively impact sales. Low-resolution images lack the crispness and clarity necessary to showcase product details, resulting in a less visually appealing presentation. This limitation can deter potential customers, as they may struggle to perceive the product’s features and overall quality.

Moreover, a lower resolution diminishes the professionalism of the visual content, potentially eroding trust and confidence in the brand. In the competitive landscape of online commerce, where visuals play a crucial role, high-quality images are imperative for capturing attention and enticing customers. Investing in higher-resolution images not only enhances the overall aesthetic but also contributes to a positive user experience, ultimately influencing purchasing decisions in favor of the product.


#9 Improper White Balance

Maintaining proper white balance is a crucial aspect of product photography, and its neglect can lead to significant mistakes. Improper white balance distorts the true colors of the product, creating a visual representation that may not accurately reflect its real-life appearance. This mistake can mislead customers, impacting their perception of the product’s color, texture, and overall quality.

Inconsistencies in white balance across a product catalog can also disrupt the visual coherence and brand identity. Addressing white balance issues ensures that products are showcased in their true colors, fostering a sense of authenticity and trust among consumers. By correcting white balance, product photographers enhance the accuracy of their visual content, contributing to a more professional and appealing presentation that positively influences customer engagement and purchasing decisions.

#10 Lack of Preparation

Surprisingly, inadequate preparation or the absence of it for products stands out as one of the most common mistakes encountered in product photography. It is crucial to meticulously clean, iron out any clothing creases, and ensure the item is free from fingerprints and stains before capturing it. These oversights are inevitably exposed by the camera. Additionally, it is essential to present any packaging in pristine condition. Displaying products poorly in product photography can lead customers to assume a correlation with poor product quality. Therefore, thorough preparation is key to conveying professionalism and ensuring the accurate representation of the products in the photographs.

#11 No Consistency

One thing that can be a problem is when you have different ways of taking pictures on your website or online store, even if you sell a lot of things. Some stores take pictures with a white background, some with a gray background, and some outside with a totally different background. It’s important to show your products in the same way, no matter how you like to take pictures or where you take them.

This means if you change how you take pictures, you have to go back and take new pictures of all the things you already had pictures of. If you don’t do that, it can be confusing for people looking at your store because things will look different on each page.

#12 Scaling/size issues

Most products look better in pictures taken in real places rather than ones taken with a plain white background in a studio. Pictures in real situations show how the product is used, like carrying bags, wearing clothes, or putting furniture in a room. There are funny stories about people ordering furniture online and getting tiny versions instead. Take a few pictures of the product in its normal place to show how big it is. This way, your customers will know exactly what they are getting, and it will avoid problems later on.


What are the possible quick solutions to avoid mistakes in product photography?

  • Use soft and diffused lighting
  • Use a conventional angle and product position
  • Use a tripod 
  • Keep the background clean and simple
  • Understand and prep your product

Is there a standard equipment setup for product photography?

There is no standard equipment or setup for product photography because every product needs different attention. Although there is no standard setup that will work for every single product, there are some common setups. Some of the common elements are 

  1. Soft and diffused lighting from a large softbox
  2. White Background 
  3. A tripod 
  4. Detailed retouching


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Gabe Tabari Bio Picture

Gabe Tabari

Meet Gabe Tabari, the go-to project manager at ProShot Media. With a knack for keeping things organized and projects on track, Gabe is the man behind most projects. In his blog posts, Gabe shares practical tips on how businesses can succeed with product photography.

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