How to Take Better Photos of Your Handmade Products for Sale

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Difficulty Cost Time Age Person Event
Easy
$0 or Free
30 Minutes
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If you’re trying to conquer design, sales, marketing and manufacturing, you may be finding it tricky to get it all done perfectly.This may be because you strive in one or two of those areas, but aren’t as well versed in the others.

Nowhere is this more evident than on Etsy or eBay. Bland product descriptions, poorly shot photographs of items for sale, and very little done to make a “professional” experience for the customer. If you want to increase sales and make people think you have a quality product, learning to take better photos of your products is one of the best places to start.

Design your Shot

Is this a small jewelry item? Large piece of furniture? How about a scarf or other article of clothing? All of these different items will need to have a different perspective when shooting. Small items like jewelry will need to be shot very close, to show detail and design elements. Larger pieces of furniture like Adirondack Chairs will need to include the entire piece, along with a few close-ups of the joints. Clothing should highlight the item from all sides, as well as close ups on seams and stitching if they are part of your “brand” image.

Selecting the Background

In the above examples, each background should be carefully considered, but simple. Don’t photograph the jewelry on a countertop or table. Put some effort into finding a piece of cloth that compliments the colors, or get a friend to model a pair of earrings for scale. The Adirondack Chairs should be set against a backdrop of woods, with no children’s yard toys or other distracting items in the shot. You can be more flexible with the clothing; the setting can be almost anywhere, as long as it’s not cluttered or disorganized. Think of your target audience, what they will be interested in doing, and make sure that your model looks like they’re enjoying themselves. These are all marketing tricks to make your product seem more appealing.

Lighting

Always use natural lighting whenever possible. Setting up a small studio outdoors on a table can help you stage some great pictures, without having to deal with the glare and shadows produced by a flash. If you can’t work outdoors, take your photos on a sunny day, in a well-lit room where you can take advantage of the natural lighting.

If using natural lighting isn’t really an option, make sure that you are familiar with your camera’s settings and functions, and how to create filters if necessary. You can learn more about cameras, lighting, and basic photography skills by signing up for an online photography class like one of these offered by Open Colleges.

General Tips for Photographing Products

Always use a tripod, unless your model is moving as well. No matter how still you think you can hold the camera, you just can’t. If you want the clearest, sharpest images, a tripod is the way to go.

Make sure that you get in close, so that the product takes up most of the frame, even with tiny objects. You may want to invest in a few close-up filters for your camera. Otherwise you may not be able to get the camera to focus correctly.

Take LOTS of pictures. With today’s digital cameras, you can take nearly unlimited photos, then discard the ones you don’t want to use. You may find a particular angle or shot that works great, that you weren’t planning on.

Educate Yourself

The best way to get better at taking photos is to learn about photography. You can buy a book, read online, or take a class like the one mentioned above. You may find out that you’ve been making mistakes all along. Remember that presenting your products well is one of the most important things you can do to increase your sales.

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