Build Your Own Creative Business: Product Photography {Day 9}

Build Your Own Creative Business: Test Your Product's Marketability {Day 2}

Welcome back to the Build Your Own Creative Business 31 Day Series! This is {Day 9} of the program (click here to catch up from Day 1), and when it comes to selling online, there’s no more important aspect than good product photography. I’m no photography expert, but I have shared a few do’s and don’ts on the subject before, and I know it’s an ever-evolving aspect in creative business.

Your photographs are the first thing the customer will notice about your shop, and you can teach yourself to take great photos! The best part about self-taught photography is that the handmade maker’s eye becomes the lens through which the world gets to view the product. Your photography must be on par because it’s the only way to get customers to start clicking through your shop.

Enhance Your Product Photography

Here are just a few basic tips for big shop appeal:

Use models (when possible).*  

The better you can help your customers imagine using your product, the better your sales conversion will be. In general, when people are considering any purchase, they imagine that product or service already in their life. If that’s an appealing idea, they buy the product.

Models show your piece being worn or used, giving the customer an even clearer mental image of where the product would fit in their own life.

*I’ve heard some sellers say that they’re not fond of products photographed on models because it makes the product look used. Most sellers taking shots on models are professional enough not to sell things that have been worn – I give the product away to the models who wear it (and so do the other sellers I’ve interviewed). You may want to disclose in the listing whether the stock for sale has ever been worn.

Simplify backgrounds and backdrops.

A simple background directs the customer’s eye to the product for sale. A creative or busy background forces people to search for the product for sale, and most potential customers won’t take the time to find it. Try to keep the photographs clean, clear, and bright. Remember: The more professional it looks, the better your overall presentation will be.

If you have an already simple-looking product (such as dainty jewelry or white porcelain dishes), experiment with different scrapbook and stationery papers.

Finally, make sure your backdrops and backgrounds have a matching theme and that every picture helps to strengthen your brand identity. For instance, I try to capture an earthy, slightly magical look in every product photo. I find that three to four different (but matching) backgrounds keep my shop looking cohesive, yet add variety to my listings.

Lighting Matters.

Lighting is the most important aspect of product photography. If you can find the right natural light to shoot your product, you will save yourself hours upon hours of photo editing. Experiment with both indoor and outdoor lighting at different times of day to find the perfect shot.

For example, if your shop is romantic, model shots could be taken at golden hours (sunrise or sunset – when the sun is golden and appears soft and diffused). As I said before, my jewelry is shot in high, direct sunlight, and this often leaves distracting shadows in the picture. However, it saves me time in editing because I’m always pleased with the exposure (the brightness and vividness of the picture). You can diffuse strong sunlight by shooting a product through the window or outside under cloud or shade.

Patience is key.

Give yourself all day to take the photographs you need because it’s the first thing that’s going to matter to your future customers. There’s a lot to learn and adjust in product photography: lighting, exposure, backdrops, focus, etc. Take deep breaths and allow yourself the space and patience it takes to improve your skill.

And that does it for Day 9 of my 31-day series. Are you ready to continue? Come discuss Etsy on {Day 10}.

***As promised and in honor of the 31 days to Build Your Own Creative Business Series, I’m offering my complete business-boosting e-program, Shop Fundamentals ($57) for $31 while it runs! Click here to learn more.***

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