How to improve your product photography – 5 Tips

When selling your items online, good photography is crucial. Since potential buyers can’t physically see or touch the product, your pictures and description are all they have to go by. Another thing I have found is that high quality photographs are without a doubt more often shared by others. If you notice on Etsy the majority of the photos of the items that end up on the front page are very well taken. They are more likely to be shared on blogs, pinterest, Facebook etc. If you’re looking to increase your sales, or just want nicer looking images, try a few of these tips and see if they help you!

Photograph by LilyEmme Jewelry

Photograph by LilyEmme Jewelry

Lighting: In my opinion, lighting is the most important factor in good product photography (and photography in general). You can have the fanciest most expensive camera in the world but still take terrible photos if you don’t have the proper lighting. Natural lighting is the best. If you have the opportunity to take pictures outside, do it! However, be cautious of shooting your products in direct sunlight, this will cause your items to have harsh shadows which may be unappealing and not showcase well.

But sometimes, it rains, snows, or is just too cold! That’s okay, you can work around it. The next best thing to natural light is artificial light with a lightbox. The more control you have over your lighting, the better.  I would suggest purchasing small table lamps and positioning them at the sides of your product, this will create a soft lighting effect. If you’re planning on doing most of your photographing indoors, investing in a quality lightbox might not be such a bad idea. This is the lightbox I have, it came with two table lamps, two lightboxes, something like 8 different colored backgrounds and a tripod. You can read more about it here if you’re interested. Or if you feel like going all out, this is the one I would love to get if I could afford it.

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Background: There are a ton of options when it comes to choosing a background for your item; solid colors, textures, pure white etc. The background you choose really depends on the product. If you’re trying to sell a busy patterned scarf, a solid background would probably be less distracting therefore making the scarf stand out more. There are endless possibilities of backgrounds, my advice for the background is just put some thought into it. Treat the background as equally important as your item, it will really make or break your photo. One Etsy shop that has beautifully chosen backgrounds is Fashion Field. I adore these photographs!


Shoot different angles: take a photo of your item from the front, back, top, upside down  every side of your product. You don’t need to post every one of them online but you should absolutely show a few different angles of your item.  The buyer wants to know exactly what they’re getting, they don’t want any hidden surprises they didn’t know about. And the great thing about digital photography is that you can take tons of pictures so easily, take advantage of that!

Use models: f you’re selling clothing, jewelry, or something along those lines, try taking some photos with a live person modeling them. Before I buy a piece of clothing online, I know I want to see it on someone else, it makes me envision wearing it myself. If you can find someone interested in modeling, you can give them some copies of the photos as compensation; that way you get your shots and they have some new images to use in their portfolio. Or you can use yourself! Just set up a tripod and model away!

Editing – Use with caution: Photo editing is wonderful, you have an endless amount of ways to manipulate your photo. BUT I’ve seen way too many images WAY too over edited  If you’re taking pictures for the purpose of creating a piece of art that’s one thing, but in the case of product photography you want your image to represent the item as closely as possible. You don’t want a customer to come back and complain that the product they received isn’t what was shown in the picture.

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  1. Great tips!

  2. Great tips! I absolutely agree about taking pictures outside. The lighting is just so much better. A sunny window can sometimes work too if you can’t take the item outside (too windy is a problem I often have).

  3. Yes! natural light! Almost always the best for product-style photographs, unless the concept of the photo calls for something else…


  1. [...] Number 8: Your pictures need work. You don’t have to be a professional photographer by any means in order to take good pictures. A decent camera, natural lighting and a clean background is all you really need. This is SO important. Even if your product is the most amazing thing since sliced bread, you’re going to lose tons of buyers if your pictures aren’t up to par. They are a crucial part of selling online. People can’t see your item in person, or touch it, all they have to go buy is what it looks like in the photo. Step up your game when it comes to product photography and I guarantee you’re sales will increase. Read more about product photography here. [...]

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