DIY Product Photography: 4 Things You Should Know

| By Kelly Vaughn

DIY Product Photography:  4 Things You Should Know

First impressions mean everything, especially when it comes to selling online. So what’s one of the make-or-break factors when customers are hovering over the “Buy now” button? Visually engaging, high-quality product photography.

For the most compelling customer experience, you need pops of imagery for website banners, social media, and even marketing materials. But…  professional photography costs professional prices. If you can’t afford to hire a photographer, investing in a DSLR camera and learning how to take your own pics is a huge asset in building your online brand story. We’re here to show you how.

The Taproom’s in-house graphic designer and photographer, Angie Webb, shares her top 4 tips for a do-it-yourself approach to product photography. (Check out her swoon-worthy portfolio for inspiration!)

1. Set the Stage

    Nothing ruins a great photo more than a distracting background. Your background should show off your goods, not compete visually with them. Don’t have a neutral backdrop? Create one!

    For the classic white background, pick up white foam core board or poster board from your local craft store. Feeling more adventurous? Head to the hardware store for masonite or gatorboard. You can paint these cheap, lightweight cuts of material any color you want. But remember, use complementary or neutral shades to draw attention to your product, not your paint job.

    2. Find the Light

    Progressive NutraCare

    The most effective way to highlight your products in photos is through clean lighting. If you're a novice photographer, the quick and easy shortcut to good lighting is soft, even, natural light. Great news: you don't need softboxes or flash diffusers for this—just the power of daylight.

    Photograph your product outside on a cloudy day or in the shade and, presto, you have flattering light that will make your product shine. Look for full, even shade, not dappled sunlight coming through leaves. Photographing your products in soft, overcast lighting instead of direct sun will make colors and features look their best, and prevent reflections from stealing the spotlight.

    3. Choose Your Angles

    Before photographing your product, consider its most important features or components. What do you want viewers to see right away? Then determine which angle would best showcase those aspects. For instance, laying a T-shirt flat on a surface and photographing it from above shows off the shirt's design. A pair of shoes, on the other hand, would be best photographed from the side, so you can see the shape, heel height, and material.

    4. Keep It Clean

    You want your products to appear high quality, so you need your photographs to tell the same story. How? By eliminating imperfections before you press the shutter release button. Make sure your products and background are clean and clear of all fingerprints. Dust your surface and iron out wrinkles in fabric backdrops or apparel products. Remove tags or stickers and give everything a quick quality check before beginning your shoot.

    Bonus Pro Tip: Want to save yourself a major headache? Make sure to edit your photos and save the file for web – the file format your camera uses might not be the same as what you require for your website, and they’ll almost certainly be far too large. Check what sizes and formats you need for different parts of your site, and edit accordingly.


    OK, now start snapping! By applying these tips, your product photos will catch the eye and imagination of your ideal customer before you can say “cheese.”


    Ready to start your Shopify store, or need help making it beautiful? Get in touch!

    Extra Resources

    Need free stock photos for your online store? Download high-resolution images from Shopify Burst.

    Read more advanced photography tips in "The Ultimate DIY Guide to Beautiful Product Photography."

    Learn more about photo editing in Shopify's "Photo Editing Basics."


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