Tips For Taking Great Product Photos

blog Sep 04, 2022

Taking product photos is one of the most important parts of any e-commerce business. Those images are used for more than just listing a product on your website, they are what SELL your products.  You’ll use those images on your website, social media, blogs, Pinterest, etc. They are HIGHLY important to your business, so it’s important to take the time and effort to make them the best they can be. Put those images to work for you. 

Spending a little time upfront with your pictures saves you a TON of time later when you want to use them over and over again. In this blog, I am pulling back the curtain and sharing my top tips for taking great product photos. 

* This post contains affiliate/referral links. I could make a commission at no charge to you if you purchase my recommended products.  Please read my disclosure and privacy policy HERE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1. Product Photo Backgrounds

You need a background for your product photos. This can be in MANY different forms. I have a few different backgrounds I use to keep my photos looking fun and fresh.
  • Vinyl backdrop -  These come in many different sizes and are relatively inexpensive. Choose the right size or sizes for your products. If you have smaller products get a small one, if you have larger products, get something larger. Find similar ones HERE on Amazon.

 

 

  • Wood Floor -  Do you have a gorgeous wood floor? Take advantage of its beauty and use it as your backdrop. Just make sure it's clean each time you’re ready to take pictures.
  • Poster Board, Scrapbook Paper - You can even use a file folder like this cute marble one I had laying around. Make sure the pattern isn't too busy - you want your product to be the star of the photo.
 
 

I’ve taken things from the floor to a table for most of my product photos. I have a light-colored 4x4 table that does the job perfectly. 

 

 

When choosing a background, the most important thing is that it is light. I love a light wood or white background. It doesn't compete with the color of your product. It’s important to realize that colors can change the appearance of your products. I have a turquoise table I use sometimes and it can make my items look green!

 

 

2. Lighting

You do not need a fancy lighting system to take great product photos. When we first moved into the warehouse, we used the ceiling UV lights that shine really brightly and more recently upgraded to a table set up with a few ring lights and softbox lighting. We also have a lot of big windows in the front that are perfect for taking great photos. 

 

 

Before I had my store, I used to take photos in the entryway of my house.  I would lay my background down and open the front door to let all that natural light in. Be careful not to be in direct sunlight. It's harsh and doesn't photograph well.

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect background and your lighting is on point, it’s time to "set the stage!"

 
 

3. Coordinating Products

You can photograph your products by themselves for single product pics. Or you can create a "look" by adding coordinating items with just about any kind of product, home decor, jewelry, clothing, etc. 

In these examples, I am photographing pullovers and t-shirts.  Instead of just creating a picture with the item alone I am creating a whole outfit. This helps customers imagine how they can fit products into their wardrobes.

 
 

 

I create coordinating looks for photos by using:

  • Other products I carry in the store like bags and earrings. This generates extra sales for you and increases your average order value!
  • Items I've purchased on clearance at other stores. When I am out shopping, I like to check the clearance section for a cheap way to stockpile items I can use all the time. I have several pairs of ripped jeans in every color specifically to use in photos.

 

 

  • Items from home. I grabbed this cute mug from the cabinet.  Don't be afraid to use some of your personal items.
  • Items from Amazon. I am an Amazon Influencer, so I have the ability to create affiliate links from Amazon. I buy several things a month from Amazon to use in my photos. I want to make sure the quality is up to my standards before suggesting them to my customers, and I earn a small percentage of sales every time one of my customers buys from my Amazon shop!  

Find all my favorite subscription box supplies in my Amazon Shop!

Coordinating items can be more than just items of clothing and accessories. Adding my laptop and clipboard to this picture of a striped bag helps my customers see what it can be used for!
 
 

 

 

4. Watermark  

When I am setting up my pictures and adding additional items to my photos, I make sure to place them strategically to allow room for my watermark.  I watermark all my pictures. In the past, I've had my photos stolen and used on someone else's page. Placing a watermark logo on the picture helps to deter that.  

I use an app called iWatermark from Apple, right from my phone.

In this example, I've placed my finger right where I am going to put the watermark. I leave space in my flat lay to make sure I don't cover anything up!

 
 

 

5. Camera

Telling you about the watermark app on my phone was a hint about the type of camera I use for my product photos. I don’t use any fancy equipment - I actually use my phone to take all my product photos.  You can, too. Today’s cell phones have some of the highest quality cameras built right into them.

 

 

 

There’s no need for you to invest in a fancy camera. Using one requires a lot of time and effort to take photos and edit them. Instead, just whip out your phone, snap a few pics, edit them right there and move on!

 
 

6. Editing

Let's talk about editing. Even if you have great lighting, chances are you may still have to edit your pictures. I use the Lightroom app on my phone to take a good picture and make it great! You can see from the examples here that it really brightens up the product and background.

 

Just be careful when using the presets in Lightroom. You want to make sure it doesn't alter the color of our items.

*Sarah’s tip: Update your pictures in Lightroom first, then watermark them.

 
 

7. Lifestyle Images

I've shown you several different ways to set up and take pictures using backgrounds, but also want you to take photos called 'Lifestyle Images, ' pictures where your product is being used or is in its environment.
 
The mug in the image below is full of coffee and in its natural habit so to speak.  I've taken this image in the spot where this mug will be used. 
 
 
 
 
 
The next photo shows how this lunch bag can be used and I’ve staged it on the break table at work just the way I would want my customers to use it.
 
 

 

The main picture of my subscription box below is more of a staged picture showing you all the items in the box, but I’ve taken it poolside. This is where I envision my subscribers using the items.

 

 

The photo with the cans inside the cooler is more of a lifestyle picture. You could go a step further and put someone else in the photo drinking a can from that cooler.

 

 

Think about where and how your products will be used.  There are so many ways you can create lifestyle images. Get creative and have fun with it!

 

One last bonus tip for taking great product photos...

When you are creating your images....spend a little extra time and take multiple pictures of the same thing in different ways. 

Check out these pictures I did for my T-Shirt Club tee.

 
 
 
 
I created four different looks at the same time. Now I have a new picture to post each week, several different pins, conversation starters to ask my audience which look is their favorite, and I can even write a blog about how to style the same tee in four different ways.

Follow these tips for taking product photos, and take a little extra time upfront to create a load of content for myself. You’ll be so glad you did! 

 

Learn from me:

  • Subscription Box Blueprint eBook: This $10 ebook covers logistics from product selection to packaging to shipping. Plus a 90-day launch plan and bonus ‘Instant Scripts’ for your social media.
  • Launch Your Box: My complete training program walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business.
  • Launch Your Box Podcast: I share tons of practical tips and strategies to help you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. You’ll also hear from industry experts and current Launch Your Box members who are crushing it - get ready to get inspired! 

 

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