We talk a lot about how to great technically great product photos, but how to brand your handmade product photos? That's another story.
As a handmade seller, you've likely heard all about the importance of branding. It's your business's identity and it communicates who you are, what you believe in, and what makes you and your products special. It makes you stand out and be recognizable. Your branding should resonate throughout your Etsy shop, your social media accounts, your logo, your product descriptions... And of course, your handmade product photos.
But, a lot of handmade sellers don't know what their brand is or even where to start. I totally get it. You just makes cool things and want to sell them. Why the need for a brand? Because having a brand is what will make your customers recognize you, love you, and sing your praises to everyone they know. It's branded handmade product photos that will make them stop scrolling in their Instagram feed or in those Etsy search results because they see an images and instantly know that it's your business and your stuff. How you style your images is what communicates your branding through your handmade product photos.
But, one of the struggles I have heard from the handmade/product-based community is that they have no idea how to style their images. I believe the words "they look crazy" have been thrown about to describe how their styled product photos look. And I understand. You add one prop, then another, then another, toss in a chaotic background and BAM. Crazy. It all happens so fast. As Ron Burgundy would say, well that escalated quickly. The reason this happens is because of uncertainty and a lack of guidelines around what should be (and should not be) included in styled photos. The beauty of your branding is that you let it be your guide.
Take some time and examine what you want your business and your brand to be all about. And then consider how your product photos will communicate your brand.
For example, perhaps your brand is clean, modern, and minimalistic - how should your photos be styled? Exactly like your brand. Clean. Modern. Minimally. So this could likely translate into white backgrounds, very few props, with props and products arrange in a structured, linear fashion. If your brand is very earthy, eco-friendly, and natural, you could easily use wood backgrounds and incorporate moss, stones, bark and the like into your photos. You may have a super trendy fashion brand and your ideal customer is a fashion-forward urbanite. Here you can have chic-looking models (or a fashionista friend) wear your clothing and shoot them in a cool urban setting.
Here is the step-by-step process to brand your handmade photos.
Take some time to figure out what your branding, and/or what you want it to be. Take an hour or so, sit down somewhere comfortable with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine), and brainstorm. Jot down words and phrases that fit with your products and your business. Brainstorm who your ideal customers is who is buying your stuff. Write down what kinds of values they have and what's important to them. Pinpoint adjectives that describe your brand. By the time you're done, you should established a sense of your business's brand identity.
Consider that props fit with your newly established brand. Eco-friendly? Don't use plastics or props that harm the environment. Is your ideal customer older? Don't use a bunch of youthful, hip and trendy props. Use props that will being awesome supporting characters to your products and not steal the show. Stumped for ideas? Grab my 90+ Prop Ideas PDF for free by clicking here.
News flash: The background for your handmade product photos does NOT have to be white! This myth was started many years by Etsy who very quickly changed their tune. Choose simple, neutral textured backgrounds like wood, marble, slate, bead board, etc to compliment your products and your brand while creating a bit of interest and intrigue in your photos.
Once you have your background and props picked out, now it's time to set it all up and start taking photos. Defer back to your branding to determine arrange - what makes the most sense? Is having a structured, organized flat lay layout the best for your brand? Or should you set up a lifestyle scene? Or show your product in action with the props? My best advice here - try everything and see what looks the best and is the best fit for your brand.
The most important take away from this post - establish a consistent, unique look to brand your handmade product photos. Product photos that stand out with a unique look will win fans, garner you followers on social media, and turn those followers into repeat and raving customers.
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.
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