Hand-Made. How to take a “selling” photo of a product

The article has been updated. First published January 9, 2017

You have made the decision to take your handicraft talent to the next level and start making money on it. Your page on Instagram or a group on VKontakte already has a name and description. It remains to photograph the product in such a way as to attract the attention of potential buyers.

Just a “pretty photo” is not enough. In addition to the fact that the photo should highlight all the details of the product on display, the photo should be of high quality and compositionally competent.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer and have expensive equipment for this. It is enough to have a phone with a good camera and know some of the nuances of shooting.

Take care of the lighting

Natural light is the key to the success of any photography.

To achieve a beautiful photo, it is important to consider:

  • direct sunlight gives too contrasting changes in bright light and deep shadows;
  • not only the total amount of light is important, but also its uniform distribution;
  • when shooting bulky or glossy products, one light source is not enough;
  • to lighten the opposite side of the piece, use a reflector.

A sheet of white cardboard or paper can be used as a reflector

Composition and background

Don’t forget about the composition. First of all, you need to choose a background on which the product will stand out and will not merge. As a background, you can use a plain fabric, a wooden board or a simple sheet of paper.

Old wooden table makes the photo atmospheric
Old wooden table makes the photo atmospheric
When you need to show the result before / after, a light monochromatic is an excellent solution
When you need to show the result before / after, a light monochromatic is an excellent solution

Chewed parchment paper can also be a good background.

Read also:   how to use them effectively, how to arrange them beautifully and when is it better to forget about them

And the eye is pleasant, and nothing distracts
And the eye is pleasant, and nothing distracts

Avoid a colorful design, as it focuses on yourself, and not on the product being sold. Now there are special photographic backgrounds of various textures and colors that can come to the rescue in this matter.

An example of a bad background.  Background merged with multi-colored product
An example of a bad background. Background merged with multi-colored product

As a rule, on social media, the gaze lingers on photographs with a lot of detail. It is important that the details create a cohesive concept, not a mess. To do this, place props with a similar and matching color scheme, create a story with their help. Anything can do here, don’t hold back your imagination. But don’t get carried away too much. The emphasis should be on the product itself.

A good example of composition.  Nice, there are details, but there is no doubt about what is for sale
A good example of composition. Nice, there are details, but there is no doubt about what is for sale
Bad example of composition.  Nice, but at the first viewing I thought that they were selling a star, not a wreath
Bad example of composition. Nice, but at the first viewing I thought that they were selling a star, not a wreath

There are many rules for building a composition. Some are sure that the composition should be built on an ascending basis, others calculate the position of each object with formulas, others just try not to fill up the horizon, and act to their liking.

There is an opinion that a photo becomes more attractive if it shows an odd number of objects, for example 3. Thus, you kind of frame the main subject with the help of the other two. It is more comfortable to look at such a picture, and the presented product immediately catches the eye of the buyer.

The Power of Three is especially popular with a well-known Chinese online store.
The Power of Three is especially popular with a well-known Chinese online store.

Read also:   How to make a selling post on Instagram: 7 rules + examples

The simplest thing you can do to surround the main subject in a photograph is to hint at the material the subject is made of. A piece of what’s inside. A knitted sweater may lie surrounded by skeins of wool or a toy lamb, silver earrings surrounded by blanks for them, and a wooden smartphone stand surrounded by beautiful cuts of wood.

It makes sense to surround citrus-scented bath salt with orange pieces.
It makes sense to surround citrus-scented bath salt with orange pieces.

Another rule of composition worth mentioning is the rule of thirds. It is based on the simplified golden ratio. In this case, the frame is conventionally divided by two horizontal and two vertical lines. To make it easier to navigate, turn on the “grid” function in the settings. The point is that the accents in the photo will be at the points of intersection of the lines – it is at these points that the main subject should be placed.

Rule of thirds.  The object is positioned along lines or at the intersection of lines
Rule of thirds. The object is positioned along lines or at the intersection of lines

Also, try to create some rhythm in the picture. It is achieved by repeating the same lines, shapes, slopes.

The doll is positioned according to the rule of thirds.  In addition, there is a rhythm in the photo - repeating stripes of boards
The doll is positioned according to the rule of thirds. In addition, there is a rhythm in the photo – repeating stripes of boards

Remember: the perspective should show the product from the best side. Therefore, try to photograph the product and the composition you exhibited from different angles.
For the main photo, choose the best shot, but take care to add some photos that show the product from different angles. Better yet, shoot a short video.

About what programs to process video, read the article: “Processing photos and videos for Instagram: trends, services, life hacks” in the SMMplanner blog.

When it comes to handmade clothing, you should take care of a model or a mannequin.

Read also:   what is it and how to do it

Firstly, it is easier for the buyer to imagine this thing on himself, and secondly, such a composition looks more aesthetically pleasing.
Firstly, it is easier for the buyer to imagine this thing on himself, and secondly, such a composition looks more aesthetically pleasing.

It is easier for buyers to imagine any thing if you show it in the process of use. In addition to the main photo, add a photo of your vase in the interior, decoration on the body, stuffed toy in baby’s arms

But if you are a minimalist, then in the design of the page you can bet on your minimalist style – take all the photos in one angle, against the same background, without unnecessary items.

A page in this style always looks neat
A page in this style always looks neat

Post-processing

After the product has been snapped off, process the photos. Choose the best from the series of shots. After that, you can start editing.

You can use your smartphone’s built-in photo editor, but in most cases even free post-processing programs are much more effective.

VSCO

Photo editor for smartphones and PCs with great free functionality for adjusting images. A shooting function is also available directly from the application with ready-made shooting settings, including flash.
For example, let’s take a photo taken with a smartphone in the worst shooting conditions.

By simply editing exposure, brightness, contrast, sharpness and saturation, you can get a photo usable for publication.
By simply editing exposure, brightness, contrast, sharpness and saturation, you can get a photo usable for publication.

MOLDIV

Photo editor for smartphones with good free functionality for adjusting images. cosmetic filters are also available if you are demonstrating handmade products on your own.

Again, an example with a hare shot in poor lighting conditions.

Here the same settings were applied as in the previous photo editor.  The result is different, but each is good in its own way
Here the same settings were applied as in the previous photo editor. The result is different, but each is good in its own way

But the quality of photography is ruined by the abuse of filters and other image processing tools on smartphones. In particular, they can distort colors and give the buyer a misconception about the product.

Important: the color in the photo and the color in reality must match.

But it is possible, and sometimes even necessary, to adjust brightness, contrast, shadows and sharpness, which I demonstrated in the examples above.

You can improve your visual skills on the course “Design in Social Networks with Crello”.

Another way to get an interesting photo is to blur the background, leaving only the product in focus.

How not to blur.  Not a very good background + blur at the edges, which is why the toy itself does not look clear
How not to blur. Not a very good background + blur at the edges, which is why the toy itself does not look clear
How to.  The background is color-matched and blurred.  The product is clearly visible
How to. The background is color-matched and blurred. The product is clearly visible

Your nickname must be present on the “selling” photo. It can be done using the SMMplanner service. As a customer, I really dislike watermarks that cross the photo right in the center and hide the details of the product. Place the markings in the corner, with a slight swim over the subject of the photo.

It is difficult to cut the sign here, but the work is not spoiled.
It is difficult to cut the sign here, but the work is not spoiled.

Summarize

In creating a photo that will sell, the main thing is practice and more practice. Train, develop a sense of taste, use your imagination. See the work of others. And then the result will not be long in coming.

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