One thing I've heard over and over again from handmade sellers is the challenge of knowing how to properly style their DIY product photos. What props to use, when, and how many?
It's super tough to know the balance between interesting but not too much, and how to make sure your product is still the star of the show.
Figuring that out is what today’s post is all about.
Let's get started!
First things first. When picking props for your photos, you need to defer to your branding.
If you're not sure about your branding, there's no better time to figure it out! Because it really does make a huge difference in your business.
Having a clear brand message will attract the right customers who will love your stuff, have no issue with your price point, and will buy from you again and again.
Plus, it'll make your business stand out from crowd, and with a clear identity you'll exude a level of confidence and professionalism in your business that others in your category may not.
I'm not going to get into the details of branding, because that's a big topic all on it's own. But don't worry, you'll still be given a lot to think about here.
Some general things to consider when it comes to props is:
- Quality. You want your products to come across as high quality, so your props need to be too. Read: No fake flowers. Choose props that have been well-made, or are natural, so they speak to the quality of your product.
- Keep it simple. One or two props will do. Seriously. Any more and your image will be cluttered, busy, and your customers will be overwhelmed. Don’t fall into the trap of adding this, and that, and oh maybe this too… Stop. Just one or two is more than enough. I promise.
- Choose props that are a fit for your brand and will appeal to your ideal customers. Here’s the part where know your brand and who you’re selling to is going to go a long way. If your brand is all about being eco-friendly and your ideal customer values that, you’ll want to avoid using props that are harmful to the environment.
- The function of props is to assist in creating emotion and desire in your customers. Associating your product with the right props will grab the attention of your ideal customers and make them want to buy. Example: if your ideal customer is a coffee lover, having a beautiful latte pictured with your product is going to make your product stand out.
- They are your product's supporting characters. Props shouldn’t overwhelmed, distract, or take away from your product. If a shopper is more intrigued by the props than your product, you’ve missed the mark. You should always choose props that don’t make the shopper wonder what exactly is for sale.
- Your product should always be front and center. This is a great way to make sure that your customers know what’s for sale and what they should be looking at. If your product fill more of the frame than anything else, and is right up front and in the middle of your photo, it will leave little doubt that it’s the star of the show.
And a quick word about backgrounds. Backgrounds are separate from props, but they've been a hot topic lately so I'll give you a quick tip.
Ditch the white background.
There's this rumour going around that backgrounds need to be white. That's a reeeeally old guideline that has long since passed. Read about that in this blog post.
Seek out backgrounds that are a good fit for your brand. If white is a good fit for your brand and you can nail your exposure and make a white background look awesome, you go for it.
But otherwise, seek out neutral, textured backgrounds that are a good fit for your branding.
Here’s a great way to figure out what props are a good fit for your products. Grab a pen and paper and jot down the answer to the following question: If your product had supporting characters, what would that be? What "goes" with your product?
Example: Scarves. Supporting characters could be a mug of cocoa, a twig of winter berries, a book, pine cones, etc.
Go-to product photography instructor for creatives since 2017
I'm a photographer and I teach makers, artists, and creatives how to take beautiful, compelling, and effective brand and product photos for their business.
With my signature straightforward teaching style and affinity for blending the technical with the creative, I'll teach you how to not just take a nice photo, but how to LOVE crafting stunning, stand-out images that significantly elevate your creative business.
A free 3-part video series to bust you out of your product photography funk so you can start taking better photos, faster
Free 3-Part Video Series To Bust You Out of Your Product Photography Funk So You Can Start Taking Better Photos, Faster