Learning how to take product photos on an iPhone or a comparable smartphone is a must for selling your garments online. Though a dedicated camera like a DSLR or Mirrorless system is great for professional product photos, product images on an iPhone are quicker and in many cases higher performing on second-hand marketplaces like TRUSS and Vestiaire. TRUSS has analysed thousands of listings, and concluded that well taken flat-lay images sold for an average of 15% more than other images of the same product.
In this guide, learn how to take product-style photos on an iPhone, through the lens of an archivist.
FINDING A BACKDROP FOR IPHONE PHOTOS
Find yourself a white backdrop or a concrete floor – Think the bougie abodes of architecture fanatics, the Tate Modern and chic coffee shops. Concrete is the go-to for a simple uncluttered flatlay for the second-hand vintage designer (archive) market. If you’re taking images for the TRUSS Archive app, any plain backdrop will do, as we remove the background for you.
LIGHTING FOR PRODUCT PHOTOS ON AN IPHONE
It’s essential to minimise shadows and correctly light the garment in your photos to pick up all the lovely details. Of course, when using a professional DSLR or Mirrorless camera one would lean towards using a flash kit, with an iPhone however, you’ll have to use your ingenuity.
Soft lighting is best, so no harsh sunlight: an overcast day is your friend if you’re shooting outside. If you’re inside, finding a large window with some kind of diffusion is best, and the lighting can be balanced using a bounce board or something white like a bedsheet or whiteboard held at a 90 to 45-degree angle above the garment. A constant lighting kit made up of LED panels is also a good option, set up with two lights at 45-degree angles on either side of the garment.
COMPOSING IPHONE PHOTOS FOR SELLING CLOTHES ONLINE
Flat lays are best when shot level overhead of the garment, easy enough with a studio set-up, but tricky with an iPhone. Changing your camera settings to include a grid and level is the first step to taking better levelled images. Navigate to settings, then camera, and make sure that grid is toggled to on. This allows you to even out your composition, and when shooting overhead two crosshairs will appear on screen.
As you adjust your angle the crosshairs will move closer together, signalling that you are level once they have become one. A tripod with an iPhone attachment is worth the investment, but it’s totally possible to take flatlays without.
HOW TO STYLE PRODUCT PHOTOS SHOT ON AN IPHONE
If you’re photographing multiple garments, continuity is key. The height from which you photograph and the garment's position in the frame should be regulated. Where possible, creases should be removed and you should decide how you're going to display the garments. For example, how will the sleeves be folded to best show them off? And will the garment be zipped/buttoned up? Its best to include photos of the garment in its various states to give buyers a clearer picture of what they're buying, and minimise returns – which burns a hole in your pocket, and the environment.
Whilst it’s generally best to keep the image clutter-free, elements such as rugs or books can add visual interest to a flat lay, but be careful not to detract from the garment.
Sellers with a regular flow of used clothing will use steamers to remove creases without risking damaging the garment - a safer and more efficient option than using a household iron. Investing in a cheap steamer may be worth it if your are selling higher ticket items.
IPHONE PRODUCT PHOTOS STEP BY STEP CHECKLIST
- Find your location. Somewhere well lit, ideally softly lit. The location should have a large level area to lay your garments for your iPhone product photos. Ideally the area should be white or concrete. This could be the floor, a table, or paper.
- Lay out and style your garment. There are some helpful tips in the styling section of this guide.
- Compose your shot. Use the level guide/ crosshairs applicable in your iPhone’s camera settings. Make sure you’re an appropriate height from your garments to capture the whole piece, but not so far away that you lose quality when cropping in.
- Some minor edits made in your iPhone’s inbuilt editing software – or Adobe Lightroom mobile if you have it – can rectify lighting mistakes and help to sell your garment. Make sure not to edit your photos in such a way that it misleads the buyer i.e adjusting the black levels too much to make your piece seem less worn.