When any prospective client asks "Can I shoot product photos on my smartphone?" the first question I ask is; what do you want your customers to think of your brand?
As a marketing professional, it's my job to ensure brand values and messages are communicated accurately and speak to the prospective audience we are trying to target.
Smartphones are a fantastic tool to capture a moment in time and will definitely produce a quality image when viewed on your phone or PC but consideration needs to be made for whether your images will be adaptable across the multiple platforms you might be planning to communicate on.
Ever tried printing a smartphone image larger than 6x4? Rarely do they come out looking like a masterpiece.
The advantage of high resolution DSLR or mirrorless cameras is the ability to scale images accurately for enlarging (say for a tradeshow banner), printing or simply dramatic cropping an image to use a particular element of a larger image on social media.
Accurate colours, image detail and quality of the overall image determine a customers immediate perception of your brand - whether you like it or not.
High end brands invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on imagery to support new product launches to ensure customers know what they are purchasing and why they need that particular feature.
Are you trying to draw attention to a particular feature of your product?
Depth of field is a defining, yet, in my opinion, often under-valued element of product photography. Shallow depth of field draws the eye to a defining feature of your product and ensures the viewer sees exactly what you want them to see, without the distraction of backgrounds or non important features. Some smartphones offer "selective focus" but this is a very rough approach to producing an image with accurate depth of field to match your subject.
Depth of field plays a defining role in quality product photography. This espresso cup of coffee beans shows the result of a shallow depth of field on a small subject.
Lighting also plays a key role in quality product photography. Studio lighting delivers total control over how a subject is represented. Flat, bright lighting reduces contrast and is unflattering, while controlled lighting allows you to highlight contours or elements of your product which can be a unique and therefore, competitive selling point for your product.
At the end of the day, sure, an image from any device will show a prospective customer what your product is, but does it portray the value of the product you have to offer? Does it highlight the features of why your product is different? Does it look like a quality product that is going to pique the interest of your target audience?
Before you answer that question; "Can I shoot product photos on my smartphone?" identify how you want to be seen in the market and whether someone will get all the information they need to choose you over the rest!