Product photography is so important when selling your makes, whether it's on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, eBay and so on. The photography of your craft is the first thing a customer will see when searching for products, and often their decision on whether or not to click on your listing will be solely based on that photo.
The only way a customer will see your product before they buy it is through the photographs. You could have the best most beautiful product in the world, but if the photography doesn't do it justice, no one will buy it - which will be really disappointing when you have put so much time and effort into creating it!
I specialise in product and stock photography, I sell stock and mockup photography in my Etsy shop, as well as working on freelance photography projects. I also studied Commercial Photography at University. Below I have written 7 simple product photography tips that I believe everyone can do that will make your shop stand out. You can apply these tips to your Etsy shop, Amazon, eBay, Shopify and more!
Getting the right lighting is one of the most important parts of product photography.
Tip 1: Don't use your on camera flash
Using the flash on your camera or phone will create harsh lighting with unflattering shadows. The two images above are some quick photos I took of an owl candle, the one on the left was taken with the on camera flash, the one on the right used diffused lighting (more details on this shot in tip 2). As you can see on the photo on the left, there are dark shadows behind the owl, and really bright reflections. Whereas the photo on the right has much more even lighting and no distracting shadows.
Tip 2: Use diffused lighting and a reflector
Daylight is a great light source for your product photography, and it doesn't cost anything to use! The only problems with daylight are that it will only come from one direction, depending on where the sun is, and, unless its cloudy, it will be a really harsh light.
To diffuse the light you can hang a sheer white curtain or tracing paper over your window. Another option is to purchase the diffuser/reflector below:
The great thing about this reflector (its the one I use for my photography) is that it is a reflector and a diffuser in one. You can use the diffusing sheet to cover your window or light source. Then use the silver sheet and hold it on the opposite side of your product to the window, it will reflect the light back into the shadows, creating a more even light - as seen in the examples above.
The styling of your photograph can make the difference between an amateur photograph and a professional looking one.
Tip 3: Use a plain white background
At a quick glance, which of these photographs looks more professional to you? Which would you be more likely to buy?
If you just place your product on any table etc that you can find, chances are the surroundings will be cluttered or distracting. As you can see above, placing colourful candles on a patterned background is very distracting. By placing them on a plain white background they stand out a lot more. This, along with creating a uniform look, is why the majority of big brand shops that you see online use plain white backgrounds in their product photography.
Tip 4: Setup
This tip is just to show you how easy it is to set up a photograph with a white background. All I do is buy a large sheet of white paper, push a table against the wall, and stick the paper to the wall and table creating a smooth curve upwards. This prevents any unwanted shadows and lines that you would get if you were to just use a white table and a white wall. I use this set up when photographing my crafts against a white background.
Tip 5: Styled shots - keep it simple
I always say that a plain white background is a great go to set up, particularly if you are a beginner with photography, or if you are not confident in styling. However sometimes styling your products can really help your Etsy shop - it will help the customer to picture your product in their home, and can also create an atmosphere that matches what you sell.
If you look at the two images above, which candle holder would you be more likely to buy? Which listing would you click on?
Here you can see just how much of a difference the styling and photography of your product can have. To create the photo on the left I just placed the candle on the floor and snapped the photo. The image looks dull and boring, which will create the impression that the candle is dull and boring. To create the image on the right, all I did was place it on a white surface with brick wallpaper attached to the wall, and I added a few light pink roses behind the candle. It only took me a few minutes longer and it makes a huge difference!
Remember to keep it simple, only add one or two props, nothing too dark or vibrant otherwise it will distract the viewer away from your product.
Tip 6: Use a contrasting background
There are times when a plain white background is not the best option - usually if your product is mainly white itself. In the photograph on the left, the card and envelope blend in with the background, making it difficult to see, especially when it is used as a thumbnail image. On the right, I have used one of my card mockups, it is on a slightly darker background and styled with a few props. The card stands out much more, and the overall image looks much more interesting!
If you sell cards, prints, invitations, mugs etc then using a mockup may help you out massively. It saves so much time as the photo is already created for you! I sell frame mockups, card and invitation mockups, mug mockups and much more on my Etsy Photography shop, and if you sign up to my newsletter and select 'creative business info and offers' you will receive an instant 20% off coupon!
Obviously you don't want to go over board with the editing as you still want your product to look as it does in real life. However by using some simple editing techniques your photos will look much more professional.
Tip 7: Adjust the exposure and white balance
Often when you photograph your product, the image won't be perfect instantly. By editing it slightly you can make it appear much much better. This can be done with either photoshop or any free editing software - there are plenty of free online programs to use. To change my photo from the one on the left to the one on the right, all I did was brighten the image by adjusting the exposure, and make the tone less orange by adjusting the white balance.
Thank you for reading, I hope these tips will come in handy next time you are photographing your products! Subscribe to my newsletter to receive more tips and offers!
Please note: this blog post contains affiliate links, however all opinions are my own and I only link to products that I personally use and recommend.