What Makes A Good Product Photo?

branding | photography

If you’re a crafter or a maker, the likelihood is that, at some stage, you’re going to start selling your products online. Especially these days, where selling on the internet is so accessible and cheap for anyone to set up. Whether you’re selling through your website using WooCommerce, or through a system like Shopify or Etsy, you’re going to need good quality product photos. But what makes a good product photo? And how can you achieve this at home with the tools you have at your disposal?

product photo of wedding cake on table with props

Why do you need product photos?

First off, what’s so important about having product photos anyway? If you’ve got stuff to sell, just saying that and putting that out there is good enough, right? Err, well, wrong actually. You can try it but the chances are you’re not going to get very far. The thing is, human beings are very visual. And we’re much more likely to buy an item we can see than one we can’t. 

People are buying online more than ever. So, if you’re selling online, photos and words are all you’ve got to persuade people to choose your product over someone else’s. Especially when you’re competing with in-store purchasing, where people can touch and pick up items they might be interested in. 

Product photos can show potential buyers things you might struggle to describe with words. Things such as size, shape and texture are better explained with an image. 

You can also use product photos to help a potential buyer imagine and envision themselves with the product. Creating desire by showing how that item might fit into their lives can encourage them to part with their money and make the purchase. So sharing an image of it being worn (if it’s an accessory or clothing) or in use can help people to see how it might work in their own lives.

Strawberry champagne marshmallows product photography

Styling your product photos

There are a variety of different ways you can style your product photos. The main thing to remember is to be consistent. If you choose a simple white backdrop to show one item, you should use the same process for all your items. Consider what works best with your brand. 

Suggestions for styling include the white backdrop which is the most typical you’ll see for product photos. This is easy to achieve even if you don’t have a studio or fancy lights and a professional camera and it’s very easy to keep this look consistent. 

If you want to dress your photos up, you can include props that fit in with your brand. Be careful not to go overboard though. Your product is the focus of the image, remember. So don’t detract from that.

I’m a fan of a more natural look when it comes to product photos. I like taking products outside and shooting them in natural spaces, or creating more natural backdrops around my home. 

When styling your backdrops, try to style them in keeping with the products you’re shooting. So, for example, with these wedding cakes, I used a kitchen table and tipped over some flour. I then added some other items that looked good with the cakes themselves.

Jewellery on driftwood product photo

Tips for tackling your product photos

#1: Light

When it comes to getting good quality images, light is key. That means either shooting in natural daylight or purchasing some form of good lighting. I’m a big fan of natural daylight. When you harness it correctly, it’s flattering and natural and makes your images look good. So try not to save your product photo-taking for last thing at night when it’s dark and you’re tired!

#2: Tools

As I said, you don’t need to buy a professional camera and lots of expensive equipment. You can achieve good quality images with your phone and a bit of patience and practice. Consistently good images come from knowing how to use your camera on your phone and its settings. Knowing how to edit your images and how to light and compose your photos helps too. There are plenty of resources showing you how to do all those things online so do take the time to read and learn from them! My favourite is this awesome resource over on Etsy

#3: Consistency

Consistency is the key to show you mean business. It’s what makes you and your business look professional. So if you can be consistent with your product photos, you’re halfway there! That means shooting them in the same way, editing them and consistently displaying them too. Aim to batch shoot products, which will help you to keep that coherence running through all your product photos. 

#4: Steer clear of filters

It’s so easy to slap on a filter and be done with it. But filters are not flattering and it looks cheap and lazy. They also have a horrible effect of changing colours in your photos so you might find products won’t look the same. This can cause issues if a customer decides the product they receive doesn’t look the same as the one you showed in your photographs! Aim to keep your editing as true to life as possible. I aim to brighten images and boost the colours a touch and that’s about it.

sea glass pendant on fern product photo

If all that seems like too much work, have a chat with me about including some product photos in with your branding shoot. I often do it (and it makes a nice change for me) so get in touch and let’s have a chat. If you only want product photos, we can talk about that too!