Tips For Taking Great Product Photos

product photography Aug 31, 2020
 
Taking product photos is one of the most important parts of any e-commerce business.  These images are used for more than just listing a product on your website, they are what SELL your products.  These images will be used on your website, social media, blogs, Pinterest, etc.  You get what I am saying here, they are HIGHLY important to your business.

If you spend a little time upfront with your pictures, it 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 giving you 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.
 
 
Ok, stop.  You might be thinking you need a professional photography studio or a whole bunch of fancy lighting, or maybe even an expensive camera...but that's simply not true.  I am going to show you how easy and inexpensive this can be, and ultimately turn into product sales for you.
 
 

1. Product Photo Backgrounds

You need a background.  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.  You can get one the size of your products...example if you have small products get a small one, if you have larger products, get something larger.  I am using a 4'x5' in my photo. You can find similar ones HERE on Amazon.
  • Wood Floor-  Do you have a gorgeous wood floor?  No need for a vinyl backdrop, just make sure it's clean each time you are set to take pictures.
  • Poster Board, Scrapbook Paper, or even this cute file folder I had laying around.  Make sure the pattern isn't too busy, you don't want it to take away from your product. 
 
 
*My best tip for a background is to make sure it is light.  I love a light wood or white background.  It doesn't compete with the color of your product.  Also, colors can change the way your product looks.  I have a turquoise table I use sometimes and it can make my items look green.  So be careful with that!
 

2. Lighting

I already told you, you don't need a fancy lighting system. In my store, we have UV lights that shine really bright plus a lot of big windows in the front. It's perfect to take 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.
 
You have your background set, your lighting is on point, now let's "set the stage!"
 

 

3. Coordinating Products

You can photograph your products by themselves, just like the earrings above.  Or you can create a "look" by adding coordinating items.  You can do this with just about any kind of product, home decor, jewelry, clothing, etc...  
 
In these examples, I am photographing pullovers.  But instead of just creating a picture with the pullover, I am creating a whole outfit. 
 
 
I do that in using some of the following items:
  • Other products I carry in the store like the purse and earrings.  This will create extra sales for you and increase your average order value!
  • Items I've purchased on clearance at other stores in this case, the jeans.  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 too my standards before suggesting them to my customers, and I earn a small percentage of sales every time my customer buys from my Amazon shop!
 
 
 
Find All My Favorite Subscription Box Supplies In My Amazon Shop!
It's more than just clothes...check out how I did the same thing by adding my laptop and clipboard to this picture of my striped bag.  It helps them see what it can be used for!
 

 

4. Watermark  

When I am setting up my pictures and adding additional items to my photos, I am strategically placing them for my watermark.  I watermark all my pictures.  I've had several of them stolen and used on someone else's page before, so I just place a watermark logo on the picture to help 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 am leaving space in my flat lay so I don't cover anything up!
 

 

5. Camera

Since I just told you about the watermark app on my phone, I might as well spill the beans that I just use my phone to take all my product photos.  Our cell phones have some of the highest quality cameras built right in them.
 
There is no need for a fancy camera.  It requires a lot of work to take and edit them, when you can 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 a tad.  I use the Lightroom app on my phone.  It takes a good picture, and makes it great!  You can see from the examples here, 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.
 
*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.'  These are images where your product is being used or in it's environment.
 
 
  • Mug.  This mug is full of coffee and in it's natural habit so to speak.  I've taken this image in the spot where this mug will be used.  

 

  • Lunch Bag - here I am showing you how this bag can be used and on the break table at work.  Just the way I would want my customers to use it.

 

     

  • Subscription Box - The main picture is more of a staged picture showing you all the items in the box, but it is 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.
 

One last bonus tip for you...

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 4 different looks at the same time.  Now I have a new picture to post each week, several different pins, conversation starters on which look is their favorite, and I can write a blog on how to style the same tee in 4 different ways.

By following all these tips for taking product photos, and taking a little extra time up front,  I've just created a load of content for myself.
 
-Sarah
 
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