Product Photography Tips: How to capture Product Shots

Do you struggle with product photography? Are you looking for tips on how to take better pictures? Or maybe you just want to learn about new equipment? I’m right there with you. 

I absolutely love making handmade products but hate the part where it comes to shooting the perfect product photo for my website or social media postings. It just feels blah, or the picture just doesn’t seem to capture the true beauty I see with my own two eyes. 

When you run a small business, you probably already know that having great photos of your products is important. But do you really understand how to photograph your products properly? And even if you do, do you have the right equipment? These were all things that I wondered as I was planning the next Soap Makers Meetup. 

Sidebar…I am the President of the New Jersey chapter of the soap guild and one of my duties is to plan workshops and gatherings to keep us all connected and continuously developing in our craft. Luckily for me I knew exactly who to call for this and that was Adeline Koh of Sabbatical Beauty. Take a look at her website and look at what she has done with product photography along with shop for some of her amazing products.

I had watched her transform her brand and leverage the power of product photography over the course of the previous year and I knew that she could provide some incredible insight for fellow makers. And boy did she deliver.

Adeline Koh demonstrating backdrops and Props
Hands on workshop

This article will review some of the concepts Adeline shared and my journey into putting them into practice. I will also include some products I’ve purchased to help make my product photos even better for ecommerce and social media. 

If you’re serious about growing your business, then you owe it to yourself to read this and to give product photography one more try.

Why does it matter if you take good product photos?

I think the reason is that people are starting to realize that they can actually make money based on grabbing attention on social media and bringing that story through to their online store. This is captured with your product photos and videos. The simplest answer to this question is…

It Matters Because It Makes You Look Professional. Additionally you have spent the time creating an amazing product, why wouldn’t you want it to be shown in all of its glory in its picture?

Furthermore, if your photos look like crap, then no matter what else you have going for you, you could ultimately lose the sale with that first impression to your website visitor. 

You need to spend some time learning about lighting, composition, and editing techniques and the truth is with a few basics and practice you can become much better and more confident. 

Here are five items you need for product photos

The best way to learn is by doing, but it can be difficult to find time and resources to do so. The following are five items that will help you get started with taking better pictures.

  • Camera – A good camera is essential for any photographer. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars in fact you can probably get high quality photos with your cellphone. All in all, a good camera will make you look like an expert and give you the confidence to take better pictures. remember to take lots of pictures and experiment with the different settings.
  • Tripods are used when the camera cannot be held or to get a steady shot. The tripod will hold the camera steady and allow you to take pictures without shaking.
  • White backgrounds are becoming more and more important depending on where you are posting your products. A white background helps to capture a photo without any distraction so viewers can focus on the product.
  • Lighting in product photos is critical. If it’s too dark you will miss the detail if it’s too bright the image will be washed out. In addition, lighting can make a huge difference when it comes to selling your products online. The more professional looking your images are the better they will look on social media and search engines. pay attention to the lighting and look for inspiration in magazines.
  • Imagination – the most important thing in a photographer’s life is their imagination. What I learned from the product photography workshop is shadows can be a great addition to photos. If you take some time and use your imagination you can compose and capture truly unique and eye catching product picture.

Tripod for product photography

Choose between different types of photography for your products

The way you shoot your product images can make or break your brand. If you want to stand out among the non-stop scrolling on social media, it’s important to choose the best type of photography for your product images. Here are some tips to help you decide what type of photography works best for your product photos. I’ve also included some pictures that I took at the workshop. they still have a ways to go but they are head and shoulders over what I was previously able to accomplish.

  • Individual Shots

These are great for showing off individual items like soap, lotion or bath bombs. They give customers a chance to see exactly how much detail goes into each item. This makes it easier for them to envision themselves using the item.

  • Group Shots

Group shots work well for showcasing multiple products together. These are especially helpful for selling complimentary products because people often don’t know what works best together.

  • Lifestyle Shots

Lifestyle shots show off your product in a natural setting. You might use a lifestyle shot to highlight a specific feature of your product, such as the color or material used. Or you could take a photo of your product next to something else in your home, like a sink or bathtub.

  • Scale Shots

The scale shot is one of the most important elements of product photography, especially when ordering products online. This image is used to show how big the item is compared to the photographer.

  • Detailed Shots

A detailed shot is another type of product photo that you might want to use. In this case, you’re showing off the features of the product. For instance, a crushed oats soap may have a close-up on the oats or other small details like the swirls or colors.

Props for product Photography

  • Packaging Shots

Packaging shots are great for showcasing packaging designs. They help customers understand what the package looks like and what they receive if they purchase the product. These shots are great for social media postings. 

There is no one size fits all in choosing the type of photos you take for your products. Be sure to remain consistent, particularly on your website. Have fun with exploring different types of shots on social media and see what resonates with your audience. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words. In the right context a product photo can speak for itself. 

Backdrops for product Photos

After attending the workshop I followed Adeline’s advice and purchased photography props and backdrops. Listed above are some of the items I picked up and will begin using to improve my product photos. Be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel for unboxing of these new goodies.

Additional Resources for Getting Started with Product Photography

You may want to take a hands-on class and I’m sure there are local classes that teach photography, but I would recommend using what you have and practicing in the interim.

Jotform offers wonderful suggestions to create unique product photos. Some of them that caught my attention were to shoot from strange angles, show the product in a weird use and incorporate an interesting background. Hubspot also offers a complete beginners guide to Product Photography and two of tips that I took away and were echoed in the workshop we hosted for the the soap makers gathering these included: Use the smartphone camera and Use natural light as much as possible over artificial lighting.

Follow along on my journey to improve on Product Photography for Natural Soap By Zakia.


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