eCommerce outdoor product photography tips Taking advantage of outdoor photography


Product photography is much more than pack shots and white backgrounds – although those are essential for almost every eCommerce platform.

One of the powers of photography is its creativity and range, and this can be used in product photography just as much as in any other photographic genre.

Some products need an outdoor shoot, but many more will benefit from it.

Scroll down now and read about:

  • Which products benefit from an outside shoot
  • Why it is more challenging
  • Extra equipment that may be needed
  • Why it is all worth it

So here are our tips to help you get the more out of taking you eCommerce product photography outdoors.

Woman with a skateboard - Outdoor product photography

Will your product benefit from an outside shoot?

Whilst you will almost always need some studio shots or plain backdrop shots for your products (some eCommerce platforms insist on it), many products will benefit from an outdoor photoshoot as well.

Anything that belongs outside or is used outdoors should be the first items on this list.

Cars, gardening tools, outdoor clothing and barbeques are just a few things that spring to mind from what turns into an almost unending list once you start to think about it.

But aside from these, many other products will benefit from an outside shoot as well.

Think about products with natural ingredients – soaps, shampoo, skincare. Food products – natural products or food items made with natural ingredients.

Many healthcare products are promoted now because of their nature-loving content.

Box of water outside - Outdoor product photography

Ecologically friendly ‘green’ products also fit into this group.  In fact, almost any product looks good in an outdoor, natural environment! And that’s without starting to mention products that look great un urban settings!

Outdoor product photography will benefit almost any product; there is something very appealing about any connection to the outdoors and if there is one, it should be highlighted in your photographs.

The more you take a moment to stop and think about it, the more you could add to this list. So take a few moments to think about your products and how this may benefit them.

Outdoor product photography is a challenge

Photography is about understanding the interplay of light and shadows and how they interact to produce ranges of colours and tones.

And there is no getting away from the fact that outdoor product photography presents very different challenges to studio shots.

In our ultimate guide to product photography, we talk about lighting equipment and some technique for studio product shots.

When shooting outside, you are working with natural light (predominantly, at least).

Photographing your products during the ‘Golden Hour’ (dawn and dusk) will give you a softer light to work with, whereas during the main daytime hours the light will be harsher and create deep shadows.

Make sure the light is to one side of your products, not in front of them. Even with the sunlight behind them (facing the camera) can work, but can produce a hazy effect, depending on its strength and the angle you are shooting at, so this is best avoided unless it’s the look you are wanting.

If the sunlight is too harsh, it can be softened using a diffuser – a screen that will soften the light for you. If some of your product is still in deep shadow, then you can use a reflector to throw extra light from the direction opposite the sun.

Man excercising at sunrise - Outdoor product photography

Much outdoor photography is done using a combination of both of these, in conjunction with a lot of manual adjustments to the camera settings to adapt to the available light conditions.

For a professional outdoor photoshoot – this is one of those times that the single best option is to hire a professional product photographer.

They will understand how to control the light and get all the keys shots that you want and that your products deserve.

Make sure you engage a professional with experience and knows what they are doing – this means they will already have all the equipment that is needed also.

Discuss what you want with your photographer before the appointment and – although the customer is always right – in this case, try and be as adaptable as possible around shoot times, because if the professional says early morning will make a real difference – that’s because it will.

Regardless of perfect times (not always possible, of course), you can be confident that a professional product photographer will do the best job possible, whatever the light conditions.

The benefits of outdoor product photography

We’ve already mentioned a few – but if outdoor photography can be a challenge, why bother?

Here are just a few reasons:

  • An outdoor photoshoot will make your product stand out from all the other similar items that have only been photographed in a studio. They will get you noticed.
  • Outdoor product photography can show scale, by having your product being worn or being photographed next to something else – even a building!
  • There are many more ways to get creative with in-context or lifestyle shots than if you are restricted to a studio; you can show your product being used in real-life situations.
  • Products with natural ingredients or components look great in natural settings.
  • You have a limitless choice of backgrounds – so there is definitely one that will make your product look perfect!
  • If you want a promote a ‘natural’ message you have an endless supply of props and extras – literally everything that nature provides.
  • Natural sunlight makes photographs look amazing!

Small bottles on a rock - Outdoor product photography

So go ahead and try it

Outdoor product photography is amazing – but do get a professional involved.

A good photographer will be able to handle it. A great product photographer will know exactly what is needed and know best how to make the most of the outdoor conditions – whatever they are.

Splento has experienced product photography professionals globally, which means we already have one near you. To get the very best photo results for your eCommerce platform, book a professional with Splento.

Please do check out our product photography portfolio.

For more advice on product photography, and how it can help boost your business, contact Splento today, or read about how to plan and prepare for a product photoshoot.

Whatever your product, you will find

Go ahead and try it – and see how eCommerce outdoor product photography works for you.


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