Product Photography Trends in 2019

Product Photography Trends in 2019

In this blog post we’re talking about the 2019 product photography trends that you should be watching for as a handmade seller.

First up, big this year, is the outdoors. This goes for product photography and photography in general. But, basically, think about how you can take your products and show them off in the great outdoors. Nothing is bigger right now than being eco-friendly and in tune with environment, it’s a big trend this year. So think about how your product might fit out in the outdoors, if it does, and how you might be able to start taking some really cool photos of it outside. Which leads into the next trend of 2019, lifestyle photos.

Okay, so I’ve always loved lifestyle photos. This isn’t a 2019 thing for me. This is an always thing. But it is definitely big in 2019 overall, so it is something that I want you to think about. Lifestyle photos are those photos that you take of your products actually being used. If you make things that people wear, like watches, or jewelry, or garments, or hats, or scarves or whatever it is, you want to show them on people in context.

So if you sell scarves, I photograph them outside, bringing in that first trend I talk about. Have people wearing them outdoors, actually putting it to use, because that kind of connection that you can make with potential customers is really valuable. When people actually see your product being used in action, it helps them see your product in their own life, which makes them more likely to want to buy it.

Trend number three: ditch the white background, folks. Get rid of it, it’s out of here, no more white backgrounds. Okay, so that’s not entirely true. White backgrounds are fine if you sell on Amazon, not Handmade at Amazon, but regular Amazon, or if you are submitting to magazines or publications that require you to have that white background. Sometimes you just need to embrace a white background.

However, if that’s not you, time to let the white background go. Now, it’s okay to use a white background if it fits with your brand, if it really shows off your products well, but what I want you to really think about avoiding is that super white, digitally pure white background. Because what happens is it looks sterile. It doesn’t look very friendly. It doesn’t make people feel connected to your product. It looks catalog-y. It looks like something you might see on eBay. It doesn’t make people feel that warm fuzzy feeling that they should feel when they’re shopping handmade.

So think about some other options. What is in style this year is light-coloured neutrals, so we’re talking a nice light-coloured marble, not with tons of veining, but with just some subtle light-gray veining. Or perhaps a subtle whitewashed wood. When I’m talking whitewashed wood, I mean shiplap, or old barn style wood with the whitewash on it. Be careful to make sure that there isn’t a ton of wood grain coming through, or really severe lines in your whitewash wood background. We’re looking at subtle textures this year. You can also incorporate things like linen textures and so on and so forth. So light-colored textures in, and white coloured background out.

The fourth big trend this year is including eco-friendly props in your product listing photos and on your social media. We’re talking about that eco-friendly piece that I mentioned in the beginning with photographing your products outdoors, but in terms how you can really make sure that you are embracing an eco-friendly message with your product photos. If you are using things like fake flowers, that’s an example of something that’s not so good for the environment. Fake flowers are created with plastics and chemicals, so definitely not eco-friendly. Instead go outside, pick a real flower. Or pick some up at your local florist. Bonus, it really amps up the quality of your product photos and the message that you’re sending about the value of your products. Because if you’re using cheap fake flowers, you know that doesn’t make people feel like you’ve got a really awesome expensive product. It makes people think “she’s using fake flowers, I now question the quality of her products”. Which is no good, because I’m sure your product is great quality.

As another example, perhaps you sell children’s products so you’re including some children’s props. Try to avoid those plastic toys. Get some wooden toys instead. Those are more eco-friendly and will communicate a really great message about your product, the quality, and that you take the environment seriously. A lot of people are into that this year, embrace it.

Last but not least, the number five trend this year is actually – video. Okay, so you’re just getting used to the product photography idea, and now I’m saying video so you’re freaking out. I understand. But I don’t want you to panic about the fact that you need to be doing video. I’m just making you aware that this is a trend that is coming in, in a big way. You can even keep it really simple. You can shoot a really short video clip with your phone and put it on Instagram. Same rules apply as product photography, in terms of lighting, background, and set up. It’s just a matter of using a little bit of video technique instead of photography.

I’m going to be including some of that information in my tutorials and in my courses throughout the year, because I think it’s a really cool trend. Especially on social media, because videos are getting a lot more reach than just photos. It’s a really great opportunity to reach more people, grow your social media, and grow your customer base. Because that’s what it’s all about, folks.

Those are the five trends in product photography coming up in 2019!

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments.

Until next time,

Amy

Product Photography Quality Checklist

Master These Three Things For Gorgeous DIY Product Photos >> https://amytakespictures.com/master-these-3-things-for-gorgeous-diy-product-photos/

5 Free Or Cheap Tools For Awesome DIY Product Photos >> https://amytakespictures.com/5-free-or-cheap-tools-for-awesome-diy-product-photos/

The Best Sizing For Etsy Product Photos >> https://amytakespictures.com/the-best-sizing-for-etsy-product-photos/

 

6 Types Of Social Media Images That Make Customers Want To Buy

6 Types Of Social Media Images That Make Customers Want To Buy

This week’s post is all about creating and sharing images on social media that make people want to buy. Creating images that connect with your ideal customer, and making them feel connected to your products and to you, is how to grow a fan following that will buy from you year after year.

One of the reasons I love buying handmade is because it’s made by an actual human. It has a story. My purchase helps someone’s dreams come true. That’s why people buy handmade. If they didn’t care about the maker, they’d probably just go to Target.

So just how do you create and share these images?

Creating connections with your customers is all about quality images and storytelling.

With social media (Facebook and Instagram) and your Etsy shop updates, you have the opportunity to connect and share images above and beyond your product listing photos. Product listing images should be fairly simple and show off the qualities of your product. Social media images offer the chance for you to tell a story – about your products and about you, the maker.

Connect with your customers on social media and in your shop updates by telling the story of your brand/business through photos. This can include:

1. Your beginnings.

How did you start out in your business? When? What season was it? What are your business’s roots? What was your first product? Share photos of your first product and reflect on how far you’ve come. Share your first rave review and reflect on how good it felt to receive it. Celebrate your business’s “birthday”.

2. Your “why”.

Why do you do what you do? Is it to fund your travel addiction? So you can stay home with your kids? So you can have the freedom to go where you want, when you want? So your spouse can retire? Because you just can’t stop creating? Any time you feel yourself grateful for your biz and life, take a photo and share it with your following.

3. Your inspiration.

Are you inspired by nature? Architecture? Fabrics? Patterns? Other creatives? Music? The weather? Books you’ve read? The ocean?  Think about what inspires you and photograph it. Carry your camera (or smartphone) with you wherever you go and take a snap any time you feel inspired by something.  Look for inspiration everywhere you go. Not only will it enhance your social media feeds, but also your creativity in general.– If using artificial light, ensure your bulbs are somewhere around 5200k-5500K.

4. Your creative process.

What do you need to start creating? A mug of coffee? Your favourite Spotify playlist? What is the evolution your product goes through from materials to shipment? Document and share the life cycle of your product, each step of your creative process, and everything you need to bring your products to life and ship them off to their new homes.

5. Your creative process.

What and where is your haven for creativity? Where does the magic happen? What are your favourite tools? How do you adorn the walls of your creative cave? Are you perfectly organized or functionally chaotic? Do you share your space with anyone? A furry friend perhaps? Share images of your creative space with your following so they can see where your products (and soon to be their’s) come to life.

6. Your product in-action.

Lifestyle photos show your product in use. They provide real-world context and help customers see your product in their life. They evoke a desire to have your products. Lifestyle photos are images that turn customers into buyers – and fans. Add a living touch to your lifestyle photos by including an actual human being, or stage a photo so that it looks like a human has just stepped away. You can recruit friends, family members, or even use yourself to model. You don’t even need to show your face. A well placed hand, a shot from the neck down, etc can go a long way.

Sharing these special behind-the-scenes glimpses and lifestyle photos help you resonate and strike a chord with customers. Even though these photos may be more casual in nature than product listing photos, the same rules apply. Your photo must be clean, well-lit, properly edited, well composed and staged tastefully.

Note: Your Facebook and Instagram feeds should not read like a catalogue. That’s what your shop is for. People won’t follow you or engage with your posts if you just post your product images. Social media is a chance for you to interact with your ideal audience, grow them into fans, and convert them into loyal customers.

5 Styles Of Photos For A Dynamic
and Engaging Instgram Profile

 

Looking for cheap or free tools for your awesome diy product photos? Check this post out! >> https://amytakespictures.com/5-free-or-cheap-tools-for-awesome-diy-product-photos/

Ready to get big on Instagram? I wrote about branding your Instagram and the steps you can take today to get there. Read more here >> https://amytakespictures.com/5-steps-to-a-branded-instagram-account/

 

Social Media Image Sizing Guide (with Infographic)

Social Media Image Sizing Guide (with Infographic)

Hello all. You know that moment when you’ve found the perfect cover photo for your Facebook page, only to upload it and find it pixelated and blurry? Or perhaps you’ve uploaded a product listing photo to your Etsy shop and it looks okay in your shop, but as soon as you click enlarge the quality plummets? Social media image sizing is a tricky one to master. In this post, I’ve gathered all the info you’ll need to optimize your images for your social media sites, complete with a handy infographic.

Before we get started with the specifics, here are a few general tips:

  1. Contrary to popular/previous belief, web images do not have to be saved at a resolution of 72 ppi (if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it – it doesn’t matter). Web images appear the same at a variety of different ppi settings. I save my web images at 150 ppi just for fun.
  2. When in doubt, save as .png file. PNG files are “lossless,” meaning they don’t compress. Saving as .png seems to be especially helpful when saving for a Facebook cover photo.
  3. It’s not a bad idea to save your images (especially jpeg images) at a slightly larger image size than required. This allows for the images to be downsized slightly when viewed on smaller screens, but will still retain a high quality if viewed on a larger screen.
  4. Aside from Pinterest, the social media sites mentioned in the article favour the landscape (horizontal) view, meaning shorter and wider. Of course the optimal shape for Instagram is still square, and Pinterest favours images that are portrait, meaning skinny and tall.

Without further adieu, here are the recommended image sizes for popular social media sites.

Facebook

Cover photo: 828px X 315px (save as a .png file)

Profile picture: 180px X 180px

Image post size: 2048px wide (to retain quality with fullscreen option selected)

Twitter

Header size: 1500px X 500px NOTE: This is the recommended file size as indicated by Twitter. However, it should be noted that Twitter further crops the top and bottom of the photo, so keep that in mind while choosing and cropping your image.

Profile picture: 400px X 400px

Tweeted image size: 1024px X 512px

Instagram

Post image size: 1080px X 1080px

Profile picture: 110px X 110px

Etsy

While technically not a social media site, it is super important that images in your Etsy shop be sized properly. I’ll be writing a dedicated and more thorough post on optimizing images for Etsy in the future, but for now allow this information to tide you over.

This shop featured in the example images is the shop of my friend, Dayna, from Dayna Lee Collection.  I highly recommend checking out her shop for some beautiful female-centered goods.

Listing Image: 1000px X 1000px (thumbnail will crop to a landscape version, taking a bit off the top and bottom, so crop first image accordingly)

Shop Icon: 500px X 500px

Shop banner: 760px X 100px

Pinterest

Pinned images: 735px X 1100px or more (tall/narrow)

Profile picture: 600px X 600px

And that’s it! Check out the infographic below to see all of the info in a neat little chart.

Until next time,

Amy

5 Styles Of Photos For A Dynamic
and Engaging Instgram Profile

Where to Find Props for Your Product Photos

Where to Find Props for Your Product Photos

Hello friends. In last week’s post we talked about how to style the perfect flat lay, so it just seems natural to follow that up with where to source props for your product photos. I’m talking real, tangible places you can scout to get awesome props for your images. It’s a lot easier than you think, and if you’re planning ahead you can grab some pretty sweet items at some pretty sweet deals – or better yet, free. Check it out.

The Clearance Section

Ahhhh, the clearance section. My very favourite place in just about any store. I have spent far more time than I care to say in the clearance section of my favourite stores. Here are a few that offer up awesome selections for styling your photos:

Chapters/Barnes & Noble

Chapters is my absolute favourite store for my photo styling needs. And reading needs. And to fulfill my need for pretty things. And Starbucks. But anyway, Chapters always has a section in their store for clearance and these things are often pretty little home or stationary items. It’s a great place to check out. Sorry in advance if you spend way more than you intended (I usually do). For my American friends: Barnes & Noble is a similar type of store, so check it out (and let me know how it goes). Bonus: You can shop online too.

Sidenote: Chapters is a supporter of handmade business and I have a few friends who’ve had their lines picked up by Chapters.  I shop there as often as I can, because I too am a huge supporter of handmade business (and you should be too!).

Michaels

Not all Michaels stores have a clearance section, but they frequently have awesome markdowns, great coupons, and a section for odds and ends that are great for photo styling. I’ve gotten really cute notebooks, mini clipboards, scrapbook paper, cute pens, and lots more there. Definitely worth a look.

Target

Give me a moment to grieve the loss of Target in Canada. It may have been two years ago that they closed, but I still feel a sense of loss. For my American readers, Target (as you no doubt know) has a fantastic section for odds and ends and lots of great clearance items.

Homesense/HomeGoods

Always awesome deals here, and they have super cute stuff. I could drop a lot at Homesense if I didn’t have self-control (or if my significant other didn’t rein me). Their home décor section is rife with unique items and they have really cool office accessories too. The last time I was there I scored some gold binder clips and huge gold paper clips. They had rose gold too. I highly recommend scouting them out.

I also recommend checking these stores/sections out on a regular basis. If you know your brand vibe and values, and/or have defined brand colours, you can easily pick up what will be a good fit for future use even if you don’t have a particular need for them at that time. If you’re not sure where to start in terms of defining your branding for your photography, check out my free downloadable styling planner with 90+ props ideas and stay tuned for next week’s post which is all about creating photos that fit your branding.

 

Poppin.com

Poppin.com is a website that’s fantastic for grabbing your brand-specific colours in a large variety of office accessories. The website is SO FUN. You can shop by colour or what items you’re interested in. Turquoise scissors? Yes, please!

Nature

Depending on your branding, picking up a few things on a nature walk might be exactly what you need. Nature is abundant with fantastic things you can use to style and give life your photos. Examples include moss, stones, bark, ferns, wildflowers, twigs, pussy willows… You see where I’m going with this.

Grocery Store

Again, this one will depend on your branding, but there are loads of awesome accents to be found in the grocery store’s produce section. Sliced lemons, a bowl of shiny red apples, cherries, limes, oranges, and the like can bring a lot of character and feel to a photo.

Your Own Home

Never underestimate the value of finding styling props in your own home. From home décor items to cute coffee mugs, our homes are chock blocked full of things we can use to style photos. For example, you might have a really beautiful vase that would look great in some photos (bonus points if it has flowers in it). Or, you may have a set of wooden bowls that would look great with your products. You might have a vintage camera in the attic your forgot about, or perhaps an old wooden crate that perfectly fits your brand vibe. It’s important to be open-minded and keep your branding in mind. Walk around your house and look at your things through a new lens (first figuratively then literally). You’ll be surprised how much you find!

The Flower Shop or Your Garden

I’m a straight up sucker for succulents. I love the texture and colour of them and I especially like that they’re difficult to kill by accident which strangely seems to happen to a lot of the plants I own. I have a few succulents I keep “on staff” for photo styling and when not at work making a photo look great, they hang out in my office. In addition to succulents, there is a huge selection of plants for styling at your local flower shop or greenhouse. Fresh cut flowers, ivy, dried lavender… There are lots to pick from. Even better, if you’re so inclined to have some growing in your yard, you can pick straight from there.

Do you have any tips on where to get props for styling? I’d love to hear them!

Until next week,

Amy

90+ Prop Ideas For
Your Styled Photos

5 Tips for Styling A Flat Lay

5 Tips for Styling A Flat Lay

I hear this all the time from creative entrepreneurs: “Taking photos drives me crazy. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why do my photos look like crap?”

I know your frustration. Honestly, I do. It’s how I feel when I try to DIY my own website. Sometimes I get a little ragey. One day I will have a web designer on staff so I never have to look at code again. But in the meantime, I’m asking the experts how I can do better. And that’s what this blog is all about: To help YOU do better with your product and brand photos.

There are many components to taking a good brand photo. So much content is going to be shared here in this blog (and let’s not forget my upcoming webinars and e-course) so I want to keep the information in simple, broken-down chunks. Streamlined information will make your life easier and will allow you to implement these tools with more ease.

Today we will discuss the ever-popular flat lay and how you can start styling your flat lays like a pro.

What is a flat lay?

A flat lay is an image taken straight down from above. A birds-eye view, if you will. While technically speaking a flat lay can simply be a photo of a single thing laying flat, the real bones of a flat lay comes in the styling. By styling I mean the props and items that you add to the photos to give it a more branded and editorial feel, to provoke more interest.  At the bottom of this email you will see a link for a free download that includes a styling planner for your flat lay and a list of over 90 props ideas, so be sure to grab that.

With those suggestions in mind, let’s move on to our top five tips for styling an awesome flat lay.

 

 

1. Keep your branding at the forefront of your mind.

Your brand vibe & values are of utmost importance when selecting props and creating your flat lays. If your vibe is very earthy and natural it is unlikely that you will style your image with say, bottles of nail polish. Consider some words that come to mind when you think about your brand – Modern? Comfort? Luxury? Feminine? Alternative? Edgy? Your brand should always guide your prop selection.

 

 

2. Use props that make sense.

When styling your flat lay, keep in mind what makes sense. If you’re a blogger having a day at the beach and you want a pretty flat lay to go along with that, consider what makes sense for a beach day. Sunglasses, yes. Towel, yes.  Beach bag, yes. Stilettos? Nope. A purse? Naw. No one takes their purse to the beach. That’s what the beach bag is for.

Carefully consider the “genre” or category that your flat lay would fall into and ensure you’re selecting props that would also belong in that category.

 

 

3. Carefully select your background.

Your background can add as much to the flat lay as the actual props you use. It can also detract from the image if it’s not a great call. With current trends followers, clients, and customers tend to be most drawn to white, wood, or marble backgrounds. White backgrounds can be created with white bristol board or foam board. Wood backgrounds can be a desktop, a wood floor, or a deck surface. Do be careful of the tone of the wood – some wood, like hardwood floors in older homes, can be very yellowish and does not translate well in a flat lay. The important take away here is that the background should be simple, clean, and allow your products and props to do the muscle work.

 

 

4. Carefully arrange your props.

First, consider the dimensions of your image. Is this shot for Instagram and will be square? Perhaps it will be a Facebook cover photo and will be very short and very wide. Or will it be a more standard 4:6 ratio? Planning ahead will help you arrange your props appropriately to ensure you get the most out of your image.

Next, consider the feeling you want your image to give off. Clean, organized perfection? Effortlessly chic and casual? You can either arrange your props in a linear fashion with right angles, or you can arrange them as if they just happened to land in that way and look perfectly fabulous. Both options are great – just depends on how you want the feel of the photo to roll out.

 

 

5. Keep it simple.

Perhaps my most valuable tip – keep it simple. Your flat-lay does not need to have 10 different items. Some of the most beautiful flat lays contain just a focal point (ie, a product), and one other styling element. The more you add, the busier it gets, and the more places there are for the eye to go. When it gets too overwhelming to look at, your audience is going to shut off their interest and move on. It’s much more valuable to pick one or two perfect styling pieces that compliment your focal point to keep your audience coming back for more.

Bonus flat lay tip!

Proper lighting is everything.

I won’t delve into too much depth on this subject, because I covered it a bit before in this blog post and will be getting into the more technical aspects of lighting in future posts. But I would be remiss if I didn’t stress it again here. Proper lighting is absolutely instrumental in creating an attractive flat lay. This can be achieved with natural or artificial light, but it must be bright and diffused, meaning the light must not be direct from the source. Some examples of great light sources include next to a bright window (without a direct sunbeam streaming through), a lightbox with lights shining through thin white material, or lights with softboxes. If all this lighting talk feels overwhelming, don’t worry – there are future posts coming your way that will help you master great lighting.

5 Styles Of Photos For A Dynamic
and Engaging Instgram Profile

5 Steps to a Branded Instagram Account

5 Steps to a Branded Instagram Account

Hello creatives.  Instagram can be quite the powerful selling tool.  There’s something about going to someone’s Instagram page and being sure of exactly what their brand and vibe is all about.  I don’t know about you, but I loooove beautifully branded Instagram accounts.  The best part?  You can totally have one too.  It’s not even as hard as you’d think.  Just following a few guidelines makes a huge difference.  Here are 5 steps to a beautiful, breathtaking, and branded Instagram account.

 

octoberjuneblog

Lizzie | Creative Life + Style  //  @octoberjuneblog

 

1. Pick Your Style.

This is where the ‘branding’ part comes into it.  You know your brand and what you’re all about.  Is your vibe elegant? Earthy? Vibrant? Know your brand characteristics and make sure that your images reflect it.  Is your brand kind of vintage?  Make sure that you images support that with the way you edit them to how you style them (more on those things coming soon).  If your brand is vibrant and fun, you’re going to want to include colourful images with fun styling.

 

jlynndesignery

Jenna Murillo  //  @jlynndesignery

 

2. Edit your photos consistently.

Avoid major shifts in your editing style from one photo to the next because it disrupts the cohesion of the images on your Instagram page.  For example, if you use a filter that tones down the colour and darkens the shadows to create a bit of a rainy day mood, that’s totally cool (if that works for your brand – see step #1).  But don’t turn around and post a vibrant, bright, and playful image right next to it.  Choose an editing style or filter and stick with it.  It’ll create a cohesive collection of images that fit your style.  I’ll be writing a future post on my picks for the best photo editing apps for smartphones, but now here is one of my faves – A Color Story.  It’s fantastic, allows for lots of flexibility, and you can save your editing steps to be applied to future images.

 

hayleysolano

Hayley Solano  //  @hayleysolano

 

3. Style your photos carefully.

Keeping in mind your branding and plan out your styling.  Choose a few items that will compliment your products or images.  You might find that some plant material (leaves, herb bunches, lavender, moss, etc), a unique piece of pottery, a vintage camera, or some cute cookies might really add to your image and make your audience swoon over what you’re selling.  I know I swoon. I’m definitely a swooner.  Just make sure that it’s clear from the photo what the product is that you’re selling. Also, showing some life in your image from time to time makes an impact as well.  A hand, some wool-socked feet, your face, whatever works.  Style up it, add some life, and watch your collection go from meh to daaaamn.

 

crownflora

Crown Flora  //  @crownflora

 

4. Keep is simple.

Having just discussed the value of styling your images, I also must stress – keep it simple.  Too many elements in an image might be okay as a one-off but when you put them all together as they appear in your Instagram feed, it’s just way too much.  It looks busy, chaotic, and just too much for the brain to process.  Your audience is going to click through your account, take a look, and say… Nope. You don’t want to overwhelm your potential followers with too many details.  They should show up, see simple, beautiful images and want more.  Some ways to keep it simple include sticking to a general colour palette, keeping your styling minimal (but intentional and carefully selected), and being consistent with your editing as mentioned previously.

 

mamableudesigns

Laura Clauson  //  @mamableudesigns

 

5. Always (always) use high quality images.

There’s nothing that messes up a gorgeous collection of images faster than one low-light, grainy, or out of focus image.  There is just something about one crappy quality photo that brings down the whole works and says your brand may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.  I know, that’s a lot of pressure.  But that’s why you’re here, right?  You know how important high quality images are.  If you have a DSLR camera (and know how to use it), you’re going to get the best image using that.  Use your highest quality camera as much as possible.  If you do use your smartphone, just make sure that you’re using good lighting and edit the images carefully and appropriately.  You can check out my post, The Key To Taking Better Photos With Your Smartphone, for more info on how to do that.

 

There ya go, friends!  I hope you find this helpful.  You can do this. I believe in you!

If you have any questions or additional tips, please share them in the comments.

Until next time,

Amy

 

5 Styles Of Photos For A Dynamic
and Engaging Instgram Profile