A Comprehensive Guide To Mobile Phone Product Photography

In this blog post I hope to give you a comprehensive guide to mobile phone product photography. Everyone has a smart phone – be that iPhone or Android. This means that you have a great lens in your pocket and if you are not using it at work then there is something missing. In this blog post I will walk you through the steps of composing the image and a bit about the editing of the image – if you have the smartphone then the apps used in this guide to mobile phone product photography are all free.

guide to mobile phone product photography

Starting The Guide to Mobile Phone Product Photography

I would like to point out that if you want really good results then please employ a professional photographer – you will achieve okay results using a mobile but nothing like a Hassleblad Medium Format Camera.

This guide to mobile phone product photography is to talk you through you using the tips and techniques that I can teach you in person if you live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire – if you live elsewhere then this tutorial is the next best thing.

Setting Up Your Mobile Device

Within the settings of your phone, please ensure that the GUIDE GRID is switched on. this will help you with The Rule Of Thirds. More on that later.

Organising Your Shoot

Care and attention should be used to organise your shoot.

Artists and designers have long known that Photos/Painting of items grouped together and composed of an odd number of items grab the most attention.

Photos of 3 items, 5 items are all good. Group this items together within the frame so that they do not crowd the main item – have you thought about using props?

Lighting: indoor lights cause a yellow tint to the image where as natural light has a blue look. I will show you how to compensate for these two elements in the video at the bottom of the post.

Most of my clients are businesses who sell things – but, they have a bricks and mortar shop front. This means that having a mobile photography studio could be a bit unnecessary. I would recommend shooting in your shop and with a blurry background. I will explain how to achieve the blurry Background after I have explained how to compose your image in camera, in the next section of this comprehensive guide to mobile phone product photography.

*A quick point to note is that if you are shooting for Instagram – I would recommend that you shoot the image in your mobile phone’s camera using the Square Mode.

Composing You Product Shot In Camera On Your Mobile Phone

If you remember earlier, I recommended to enable the Guide Grid on your camera. This will split your camera viewfinder in to thirds – this will allow you to take photographs easier because you are using The Rule Of Thirds.

What is The Rule Of Thirds? Well, The Rule Of Thirds is a compositional technique to create an image that is artistically pleasing. I am unsure why it works – it is just a law of nature discovered in the Renaissance.

Below, you will see an okay attempt at getting the rule of thirds as an attempt. Yes, this is not a perfect photo – the shadows are all over the place and it was shot under fluorescent lighting. But, for the purpose of this demo it is a good photo.

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Notice how the bottle of Vape juice is lined up? The idea with the rule of thirds is for your subject matter to hit the corners of your line guides, or to be on the line of the Guide Grid for the subject’s own important points – such as a corner of the subject or a corner of the zip. The Grid Gide shows you where the thirds of the image are. It is a good thing if your image is split in to layers of three. This is the rule of thirds. The above is a reference, using my mobile phone for product photography.

How To Get A Blurry Background In A Mobile Phone Photo

Assuming you will want to shoot for Instagram, you could already have the square setting activated in your camera. This means it could be easier to get ready for Instagram.

However, in this guide to mobile phone product photography there is a better setting on iPhones called Portrait Mode. However, these steps outlined below will work in all camera settings – just portrait mode is designed to have the blurry background emphasised.

The blurry background of an image, when the focus is on the subject, is called Bokeh – I believe it is a Japanese word for ‘Blur.’

  1. Make sure there is plenty of depth to your composition.
  2. As in, make sure there is no wall or some such directly behind the object you want in focus.
  3. Compose your image using the Rule of Thirds (see above).
  4. Tap on the item you want in focus on your phone’s screen – this will auto focus (and do quite a good job of it).
  5. This should result in a focus with good Bokeh (good Blur).

How To Edit You Mobile Phone Product Photography On Your Mobile Phone

The free app I recommend to my clients is Adobe Lightroom CC – this is available on your phone’s app store (Apple & Android) and it is free on mobiles – when you use it as a Desktop app it gets very expensive. But, it is free for mobile users.

  • Download and install Adobe Lightroom CC.
  • Create a new Album and name the album for the job you are doing.
  • Open the album and tap the left hand side of the blue button in the bottom right of your screen – this allows you to import your photos.
  • Select the photos you want to import.
  • Tap on the first photo you want to edit.
  • In the bottom row of your screen you will see the tools available for you.
  • Click on AUTO.
  • Crop your image how you want, maintaining The Rule Of Thirds.
  • Working our way along the right of the tools in the bottom, within OPTICS click on the LENS CORRECTION Slider. This gets rid of most of the errors for shooting with your type of mobile camera.

How I Edit My Product Photos On A Mobile

I have made a quick video of how I go about this guide to mobile phone product photography – What do you make to it? I will not win any prizes for the photo – it is a mobile photo. But, for a mobile photo it is quite good.

Video Transcript

“This video is for a blog post I have written on www.andrewbackhouse.design – I am writing about mobile phone product photography in Harrogate.

Please don’t judge this post on the resulting image. It was shot using one of my wife’s ‘beautiful things.’ The photo is okay but it was taken under flourescent lighting – always try and get natural light for product photography, near a window.

The blog post I wrote covers most of the composition elements of taking a photograph, most of the stuff you will need to know for product photography using a mobile phone, or pretty much how I do it – so, in this video I will walk you through how I edit the photos in Adobe Lightroom CC on a mobile device.

The Adobe Lightroom CC app is free for a lot of the functionality it offers when it is on a mobile. Do not just take my word for it – have a look at the app when it is on your phone and try new things with it.

So, you open up your phone and select the Lightroom CC app.

You need to tap on CREATE AN ALBUM at the bottom and give it a name.

Tap on the album, once it has been created. In the bottom right hand corner of your screen you will see a blue ‘nugget’ – tap on the left hand side of this blue ‘nugget’ to import photos.

You can import them from your camera roll – for photos you have just taken using your camera’s phone. But, for the sake of this video I will use images in the cloud.

This is one of my wife’s ‘beautiful things’.

I tap AUTO and then I crop the image observing the rule of thirds. This is going to be for Instagram so it needs to be square.

As a side note – the rule of thirds with anything with a face you should line the leading eye up with a corner.

Then I went across the tools in the bottom to OPTICS and selected ENABLE LENS CORRECTIONS. This gets rid of the bad bits of your lens (90%-ish of the time).

I then click on the SHARE Button in the top of the screen and save the image.

Jobs a good ‘un!”

Summing Up

So, this is how I recommend you go about using your mobile phone for product photography. I am based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire – so, if you want me to workshop your staff in how to use their phones to take the images that will sell your products let me know. My contact details are HERE or in the footer of every blog post.

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