If you are looking to improve your product photography, here are several things you can do to create photographs that show off your goods and encourage sales.
Since I make and sell jewelry, I am using my photographs to demonstrate, but the principles are universal. You might require larger backgrounds and props, but proper light, well-chosen props, good composition, contrast, varied angles, and helping your buyers “touch” your products with their eyes, will improve the way your online store looks which can only help sell your stuff.
Let’s break it down:
Always start here. Plenty of natural light, but not direct sunlightl. A window or open door in your home is great. Get a while reflector of some kind and you’re set. Poster board works great for bouncing light into your photographs (and it’s cheap!).
Choose backdrops and/or props thoughtfully.
Think about they mood or feeling you want to convey with your photographs. Moody? Bright and ceerful? Modern and sleek? Rustic and vintage?
Choose props and backgrounds that support that mood. Your background should serve to make your product pop. Props should only play supporting roles in the photo.
If you start shooting and realize that you are noticing the props more than what you are selling, get rid of them. Sometimes clean and simple make for the strongest photographs. I like to take a variety of photos and have the most simple as the main image on my website and Etsy store.
By leading with the strongest image, I can attract people into my shop to see the more styled and artistic photos.
Rules of Composition
There are a handful of “rules” of composition that you can use to create more powerful images.
The first of these is the rule of thirds. You have probably heard of this rule before. It’s simple. Divide your photograph into three equal parts vertically and horizontally.
To shoot with the rule of thirds, you would place your subject within one of those sections.
If you place your subject in one of the spots where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect, you are utilizing a power position.
Try not to place your subject in the exact center. Centered photos are just not very interesting. You want people to think of your work as art, right? Let’s present it in an interesting way then. Similarly, you can visually divide your photo into four equal quadrants and place your subject in one of those boxes.
Your eye naturally goes to points of contrast, or spots where dark meets light. This can work for or against you.
Just be mindful of what you are trying to draw attention to. White backgrounds are great for showing off products because unless you are photographing a white item, the contrast works in your favor.
It draws attention right to your goods.
I was recently photographing a leather cuff bracelet and I really wanted to highlight the beautiful natural stones I had used on them. I placed the brown leather cuff against a brown wood background to draw all the attention to the stone. The leather is still part of the picture but it’s not the star, which is exactly what I wanted.
Shoot from different angles.
Not only does experimenting with your angles help you to find the best photographs, but it also shows all sides of your products. Shoot straight above, try shooting from below. You can even show people behind or the back of your goods. I know I am often interested in these pictures. They give me a better sense of what I’m buying. Would a close up be called for? How about an extreme close up to show details? Definitely include full view shots. Include a common object to illustrate size/scale.
Show your goods in use.
Selling throw pillows? Put them on a chair or bed. Selling art? Show it hanging on a wall. Help people see how your items will look in their homes. If your goods are accessories or clothing, it is a great idea to include a person in one of your product shots. People are better able to visualize your products fitting into their lives this way.
Using a model really helps my jewelry sales.
As an added bonus, if I post photos of someone wearing it on Instagram, I always get more interest in that particular piece. If I show photos of my jewelry on models at craft shows, I sell that piece more than others. It just works.
Answer your buyers questions with your photos.
Details, textures, size, options, features, packaging, etc. Anything you can think of that they might be experiencing at a brick and mortar store if they were holding your goods in their hands. Can you give them a similar experience with your photographs?
I hope you found these tips useful!