We’re thrilled to be able to share this invaluable tip sheet from UK designer makers’ favourite photographer Yeshen Venema. Here are his top 5 tips for taking great product photography.
Product photography is not about your product, it’s about how your product looks photographed.
A good photo of your products could be worth a thousand sales! When selling online, what you make is only 50% of your products, the photo is what completes it.
Yeshen’s top 5 tips
No 1: Planning
Are you prepared?
Start planning your shoot 2-3 months ahead. You want your products to look their absolute best because these images will be representing your business. You should be confident in your brand before you do a photoshoot, it’s not an brainstorming exercise. If you’re working with a PR agency, keep them updated with your plans. Think about how you’ll use the images and where. Create the plan, not simply for the shoot, but also think about how you’ll use the photos throughout the year. Working with a stylist can make a huge difference, especially if you are not confident in sourcing props and working with colour.
No 2: Scale and function
How large are your products and how should a customer use them?
Your customer should be able to see at a glance the relative scale of your product. Use common household objects to achieve this, such as a pencil or mug with a notebook, a throw draped over an armchair or bench or a book alongside a vase or print. If the product has a particular function that is not clear from a product shot, you must show this in at least one lifestyle image.
No 3: Consistency
How’s your visual grammar? This is crucial. It only takes one inconsistent image to ruin a great product page. Ensure your lighting, backgrounds, surface, props, angle of view, colour temperature (how warm/cool the image is) and angle of shot are consistent. It’s fine to vary the style between product groups, but the whole thing should be joined by a common theme.
No 4: Get Inventive
It’s fine to do straightforward lifestyle and product images (if you are selling via Not on the High Street you will have to). However, when it comes to your own website and press, don’t be afraid to do things differently. You could do this by stripping away all the unnecessary elements, building your own props, painting your own backdrops, using a unique location or by placing your products in unexpected surroundings.
No 5: Using your images
Well done for completing your shoot, now the real work begins – you need to get your images out there! Your ‘visual outlets’ should include social media, printed materials, your website and other selling platforms and the press. If you have a trade show coming up be sure to share the photos with the press team as they are always looking for good shots to promote the event. If you approach bloggers do your research first, one meaningful contact is worth a hundred random emails.
And don’t forget… Back. It. Up.
Digital things are only real if they exist in 3+ places, one of which should be offsite (as in not with the other two). Laptop, two external hard drives (one offsite) and dropbox is a good mix. I have seen several clients lose their computers without backup! Don’t let that be you.
Credits: all images by Yeshen Venema styled by Hilary Lowe on location at The Welsh House for: Sue Pryke, Minor Goods, Jam Furniture, One Must Dash, Gloria Dean