DIY: Simple product photography.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I had every intention of putting this post up last Friday to finish out DIY week, but when we didn't get home until after 11pm after a double date, it just didn't happen. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking committing to 5 DIY products in a row with a baby and a small business, but it sure was ambitious. Thanks for hanging in there with me. :)

So here we go! The last DIY of this series. It's been fun - and so challenging - for me. I hope you've enjoyed it and been inspired!

I've gotten several emails asking how I take product photos for my shop, Brighter Day. While there are a thousand ways to go about this, I'll show you the basics of how I typically photograph the purses in my shop.

But first, a quick tour of my always-a-mess-but-extremely-functional craft room. It's a cheery place where Liam and I spend hours a day, and I'm so thankful for the space, the view, and the fact that I only have to walk about 50 feet from my bedroom to "go to work."

So here's the humble photography setup: a large white posterboard (that desperately needs to be replaced) and an extra white shelf I found in our garage. I told you it was simple! I place the shelf on top of our piano bench, lean the poster against it, position the purses, and photograph them. I have a Canon DSLR camera, but even a point-and-shoot camera can work really well with this setup.
I then upload the photos to photo editing software (I use Lightroom) and typically crop the photos to a square shape, add a little brightness if needed, up the contrast, and make other minor adjustments.

A few tips...
+ Keep the white balance as consistent as possible from one picture to the next. Along the same lines, try to make sure the photos represent the true colors of the item. This can be so tricky, but very important to the customer.
+ For Etsy shops, I recommend cropping photos to a square. Etsy automatically crops them to a square anyway, so you might as well take control of how your photos are cropped.
+ Try keeping a similar background for all of your photos, but changing up the positions of items. This keeps it clean, simple, but still visually interesting.
+ Try to take photos with similar lighting conditions every time. For me, it's usually in the morning to mid-day because there's indirect sunlight coming in the windows. Try to avoid really dark times or direct light. Both can be difficult.
+ Don't use your flash. Try to use natural light if at all possible.
+ Remember... a good picture sells! Looking at your photograph of your item, would you want to buy it based on what you see? If not, what needs to change?

I hope that helps put you on the right track!


  1. Love these tips! Hope you do more photography tutorials in the future :) -Courtney

  2. beautiful purses and good idea for photos! thanks for share it!

  3. Thank You!

    This is so clever! I Love It. Perfect tutorial...will keep these tips in mind.

  4. Picmonkey is great if you don't want to purchase the photo editing software. I have some software that really seemed beyond me to figure out. Picmonkey is very user friendly and you can do all the things you spoke of. You do take great photos!

  5. Wow! That is so much more simple than I was expecting! I have been admiring your photos and wondering what fancy things you do to make them look so great! This is really encouraging for me. I am starting up a small craft business of my own and at the moment the only backdrop I have is a white sheet but even that does help a lot. It's tricky when you live in a small crammed flat. Thank you again for the tips! God bless, Leilani

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  7. Lovely. Very simple but its really going to help too.

  8. HI, That was an awesome tutorial Maybe you could take a look at my shop and tell me what you think. Here's the link to my Etsy shop!

  9. I love how easy that was! It`s something I could do as well! and about that craft room of yours; loving it! How great to have all projects in one room.

  10. thank you..great tips. simple to follow.

  11. I have always noticed that white background can make a shot look good in product photography always. So its wiser to use plain background instead of some other background during taking shots.

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