Product photography—it has to be one of my favorite things (naturally, it’s my job! 🙂 ) In a hyper-connected world where a lot of shopping is done online, the value of your products and credibility of your brand are often based on the quality of your images. Unlike in a physical store, we can’t actually feel, try, smell, taste, or test a product. Hence, we rely heavily on visuals to compensate for that. That’s why it’s important to have great product photography for your business.
Understandably, not everyone can afford it—especially smaller businesses on a tighter budget. Luckily, there’s ways to bring your images to life with a little DIY effort and creativity.
I’m always finding new ways to tell a story with a product that’s beyond a plain, shot-on-white, image. With loads of new content poured online everyday, it’s imperative that your products stand out and captivate your audience.
If you’re looking to breathe some life into your product images, look no further! Read on for a list of my favorite product photography tips.
1. Show it in a fresh way
Unless you’re shooting it on a white background for your shop’s catalog, try something new. This is especially true for social media, where your content has a short life span to make an impact. Change up the background or show it in a new setting, playing with textures and colors that reflect your product or brand.
Think of creative ways to show your product. Let’s imagine you have a cosmetics brand and you want to focus on a new lipstick. You could take a plain picture of it, front-and-center, shot on a plain background. That would suffice—but how can I, as a consumer, relate to that? Maybe it has a chic, retro name you can play off of; you could put it in a 50’s diner setting, popping out of a cute purse.
Or maybe you could express the goodness inside of it. If it has avocado oil or other essential oils in it, you could use those fresh ingredients to create a fun flat lay.
The possibilities are endless once you start thinking of some fun ways to show off your amazing product.
2. Seek out some props
Find cute props to accent and make a scene. Naturally, we’re more drawn to pictures that are placed in a setting because it helps us envision the product in our lifestyle. Of course, you don’t want to distract from the product itself, but if chosen correctly, you can evoke emotions that go along with your product.
Touching back on our last example, this could something like fresh fruit or a cute clutch or purse. Stick to a theme and limited color palette to make your image stand out. Your scene doesn’t have to be 100% realistic—don’t be afraid to add some surreal elements to breathe a bit of whimsy into your brand.
3. Show what’s inside
Your packaging is lovely, but I also want to see what I’m getting! Try showing the actual product outside its packaging. Maybe it’s a swipe of mascara, a splash of nail polish, or a pile of body scrub.
Show off textures and create depth in your images. If it’s the smoothest lipstick on the market, use a swipe of it on your background. You could also create your own background by forming a pattern using those makeup swipes. Repeat elements to create a captivating composition.
Tip: try using a piece of glass or transparency paper to save your background from getting messy and make cleaning up a breeze!
4. Use a fill to add more detail into your shadows
Often times when you’re photographing something, especially if you’re using natural light, the shadows in your product are often too dark. It doesn’t have to be an expensive piece of equipment, you can use white foam board or even a piece of paper, depending on the size of your product.
Use your fill card and just place it a few inches away from the shadow side of your subject. This will bounce the light back into your shadows and produce a more even tone in your image.
5. Add human elements
Have a cute piece of jewelry? Show it in use! Add hands into your pictures and add some human elements. I want to see how fabulous I’m going to look when I’m wearing that piece of jewelry. You can even show a mix and match of other products you carry.
You can still add a human element into your images even if it’s not something wearable. For example, if you have a food product, it could be interesting to show someone grabbing for it on a counter top or table. Or, maybe there’s hands at a table, holding silverware. Create a story with your product and show how someone would interact with it. Adding hands is a great way to show how your product will fit into someone’s lifestyle.
6. Prop up objects
Sometimes when you’re styling an object, it can appear a lot different once you capture it on camera. This is mainly due to the angle your product may be sitting at. A common issue is when you’re shooting an object that’s near the edges of the frame; there’s a slight warp that happens that can make your product (especially if it’s round) look a little wonky.
Try using a piece of modeling clay to prop the object up to compensate for the distortion. Have a round object that won’t quite stay in place? Use some modeling clay to keep it put. Want to stack something on top of another object? Use some modeling clay. You probably get the point 😉 it’s a perfect, non-destructive way to fix your issues before they ever reach your camera.
Having great product photography is not only important in showcasing your lovely product, but for also grabbing your audience’s attention in our information-inundated world. Think of fresh ways to make your product stand out. Show what’s inside your product, or add some human elements in your image to show how it fits into someone’s lifestyle.
All in all, remember to create consistency with your product images. Stick to your brand’s color palettes and keep your image style consistent. With a little creativity, you’re well on your way to engaging your audience, boosting your brand credibility, and selling your products.
What do you struggle with when it comes to styling your products? I’d love to answer any questions in the comments below!