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/

 

Timesaving Tips For Your DIY Product Photography

Timesaving Tips For Your DIY Product Photography

Taking a lot of product photos at once, whether you’re updating your listings or creating new ones, can be hugely time consuming, but in this post I’m going to give you some awesome timesaving tips for DIY product photography.

The key to quickly get those product photos ready for your listings is preparation.

1. Plan

The planning phase of the photoshoot is the most important in ensuring a quick workflow. Planning involves know exactly what photos of each product you need, gathering your props, setting up your shooting space, and double checking your equipment to make sure it’s in working order.

Hot tip: Set aside an entire day/afternoon of undisturbed time to make this happen. By focusing a block of time on updating the photos in your listings, you’ll save loads of time in the long run by not having to re-focus your brainspace every time, re-doing your setup, bringing your props back out, etc.

2. Take your photos sequentially

Once you’ve planned your photoshoot, including background, props, shot list, etc, and you’ve got your block of time set aside, it’s time to start taking those photos. You want to take your photos sequentially, ie, photograph all images of all product in one setup, before moving onto the next setup.

Example: You make jewelry. You’re going to take roughly the same images of each of your pieces for the sake of cohesiveness, right?

So what you’re going to do is set up the scene for the first shot (perhaps your main image), then shoot all of your product on that setup one after another. This should go fairly quickly. If you are going to take several shots on that background, do them now. For example, the product in it’s entirety, three different angles, one close up detail shot. Done. Next product.  

Then, prepare your setup for the next shots (styled shots perhaps). Shoot them all at the same, simply swapping out the pieces.

And that is how to photograph a lot of photos in a short period of time.

That’s great! But what about editing them all? That’s gotta take forever right?

Nope.

3. Edit for a quick workflow

If you use Lightroom (which is an awesome program for quickly and efficiently editing photos), you can all of the same images in one set with just the click of a button.

Let’s take all of those main image photos you just took. They all have very similar tones, right? Same basic colours, same background, and in need of the same editing tweaks. You can edit the first photo in that set (adjust the tones and the colour balance), and then select all the photos in that set (by shift+clicking on the last photo in the set). Once you’ve selected all of the photos you want to apply the edit to, simply click the “Sync…” button below the Develop panel and click “Check All” to select all of the edits you want to copy to the others photo. Click “OK” and bam! All of those photos are now edited. Slick. Fast.

Also with Lightroom, you can very quickly export all of the photos you’ve just edited by making sure they’re all selected and then export them. At that time you can set the size you want them all to be. They’ll all be saved at once and ready to be uploaded to your shop.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?

Product Photography Quality Checklist

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

Do you NEED a white background for your product photos?. Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/do-you-need-a-white-background-for-your-handmade-product-photos/

 

The Best Sizing For Etsy Product Photos [UPDATED December 2020]

The Best Sizing For Etsy Product Photos [UPDATED December 2020]

One of my most frequently asked questions is what size and ratio Etsy product listing photos should be. Sizing and ratio is very important when it comes to your Etsy product photos, so in this post I’ll be covering:

⭐️ Why getting your image sizing right is important

⭐️ The correct ratio for Etsy images

⭐️  The correct pixels for Etsy images

⭐️ How to optimize your Etsy images for web use (1 MB or less)

⭐️ DPI explained

First let’s talk about size and ratio.

The ratio refers to how wide the image is compared to how tall it is (eg, 1:1, 5:4, 4:3, etc). You set your ratio when you crop your photo in your editing process either on your computer or your smartphone, or within your camera when you take the actual photo.

Size refers to how many pixels wide and how many pixels tall your photo is. This can be adjusted when editing, but needs to be at least a certain size when captured (more on that in moment).

So why do we even care about this?

The ratio is important for two reasons.

One, when someone searches Etsy, or views your shop, the “gallery images” that are meant to capture the attention of shoppers are a ratio of 4:3 (so slightly wider than they are tall). If the photos you upload aren’t a 4:3 ratio, you risk your product being cut off and not shown in its entirety. The search results are a crucial opportunity to capture the attention of shoppers, and with part of your product not even been seen, there’s a good chance you’ll be passed over.

Two, if your product photos in your product listings are all different ratios, that will produce unsightly spaces above and below, or on the sides, of some of your photos. The “container” for your product photos will fit the largest photo, so anything smaller will show space around it.

So what ratio and resolution should your photos be for your online shop?

The size (pixels) of your photo is also important, as it affects the quality of your photo especially when viewed with the zoom tool. Your photos should be 2700px along the long edge. For the best size and quality with a 4:3 ratio, your photo would be 2700 pixels wide and 2025 pixels tall. This size is perfect for Etsy’s recommendations, and will allow you optimize the image for web.

To summarize:

Ratio: Your ratio should be 4:3.

This means your photo will be wider than it is tall. It’s a perfect size for Etsy, as this is the ratio of the thumbnails that appear in the search and in your shop view – which means your entire photo will be shown and none of your product will be cut off.

Size (in pixels): 2700px wide by 2025px tall

This maintains your 4:3 ratio and ensures your photo is large enough that it will still look great when viewed with the zoom tool.


Keep in mind – your customers need to see great, high quality photos in order to feel like they’re making an informed purchase. That means that if you want customers to click on your listing when it pops up in the search, they need to be able to see the whole photo (and not have parts of it cut off due to incorrect ratio).

That also means that when they enlarge your photo and/or use the zoom tool, they need to see a sharp, crisp image that shows off the details of your product – not a pixelated, low quality photo that makes your product look low quality too.

IMPORTANT: You cannot enlarge your photos after they’re taken. When the photo is captured by your camera it must already be larger than your finished image. To ensure your photos are captured at a large enough size, check your camera settings. If you are using an iPhone the native size of image captured isn’t changeable, but it is large enough at 4032 x 3024 px.

Watch my YouTube video on how to re-size your images in Photoshop and Lightroom

Watch my YouTube video on the Etsy image sizing update for 2020

Optimizing Images For Web

In order for web images to load quickly (so potential customers don’t lose interest), your images should be a small enough file size to load quickly. A good rule of thumb is to for the images to be 1MB or less.

To ensure your images are 1MB or less, always save your images in jpeg and if you need it, you can reduce the quality of the jpeg down to 80% without losing quality.

Watch my YouTube video on how to optimize your images for web

A Word About DPI

It is a widely-held misconception that your images should be 72 dpi. 

The dpi of an image has no impact whatsoever on a digital images. It doesn’t impact the image’s resolution, or it’s file size. It’s a metric that only applies to print media, and thus isn’t even uploaded with your image to the web.  So you don’t need to worry about what the dpi is. 72 is fine. So is 300. So is 3000. It makes no difference to digital images. 🙂

And there you have it! The complete low down on the best sizing for Etsy product photos. Have a question? Drop it below!

Want to make sure you never download another less-than-stellar product photo again?

Grab my free Product Photography Quality Checklist!

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

You don’t have to have a fancy-schmancy camera to take great product photos. Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/diy-product-photos-smartphone/

5 Free Or Cheap Tools For Awesome DIY Product Photos

Growing and running a business can be expensive, so finding free or cheap ways to enhance your DIY product photos can be a HUGE savings.

We all need to invest in our business if we want to succeed, it’s inevitable. But it’s also important to invest wisely and save where you can. Product photography can get really expensive, really fast, even if you’re DIYing it. Equipment can come with huge price tags, and often can be complicated to learn.

I’ve put together a shortlist of my favourite free or cheap tools for DIY product photos for handmade sellers. Check ‘em out!

  1. Natural Light

Despite having quite a bit of lighting equipment myself, I always prefer to use natural light whenever possible. Because, if you can get it right, it looks the best.

Natural light tends to render colours quite accurately, and is soft and even (if your setup is right). Set up your shooting space next to a bright window without any direct sunbeams filtering through for that dreamy natural light.

  1. Foam Board

To make the most of that bright window + natural light setup, use white foam boards to contain the light to your shooting area. You can add one or two white foam boards to surround your product (behind it and on the side opposite the window) to majorly brighten up the space and avoid those strong shadows that can occur on the side of your product opposite the window.

You can also use white foam board to block off surroundings to reduce reflections on shiny products, as a background for a flat lay, and to hold a piece of poster board for a seamless background. Hot tip: tape some L brackets (for shelving) to the back of your foam boards so they stand upright and can easily be moved around.

  1. Contact Paper

Yes, that stuff that goes inside of drawers.

Contact paper comes in loads of different colours and patterns, with marble being my favourite. You can affix the contact to a piece of foam board for an attractive background for your products. Make sure you select a pattern that’s neutral and not too busy. It should show off your product, not steal the show. Also be sure to get a matte finish and not glossy. Glossy finishes will create an unsightly glare in your photos.

  1. Stuff Around Your House (Props)

Great news! You don’t have to buy a whole bunch of cute props for your product photos. First of all, you should only be using one or two props for your product listing photos. Any more and you start to draw attention away from your product. Second, I bet your house and/or yard is packed FULL of props you could use for your photos.

Some of my very favourite props are simply plants. I love to grab plant life from outside and bring it inside to add a little colour and life to my photos. A well placed sprig of lavender can go a long way! You may even have some house plants that would be a good fit. Succulents are perfect for product photos!

If plants aren’t your thing or aren’t a good fit for your brand, I’m will to bet there are any number of other things around your home that would be perfect, depending on your products. A cute coffee mug or pen, a piece of ribbon, a nice jewelry dish, and so on can all make great props for your product photos. For more info on where to find props for your product photos, click here.

  1. Smartphone Lux Meter

Quite possibly my favourite free tool – a lux meter app for your smartphone. You can download them for free on your iPhone or Android device and, using the camera sensor, they detect the amount of light in an area (aka lux). For product photography, a reading of 1000 lux or higher is ideal.

My picks for free lux meters are Galactica Lux Meter for iPhone and Lux Meter (Light Meter) for Android. Simply download the free app, open it up, and place the camera of your phone near where your product would be when you’re photographing it. The reading should indicate 1000 lux or higher. If not, add some white foam boards to strengthen the light, take readings in other areas of your home at different times of day, or try moving your lights closer if you’re using studio lighting. Keep experimenting until you get a decent reading.

And that’s it, friends! My top 5 free or cheap tools for DIY product photography. Do you have any to add to the list? If so, drop them in the comments!

Product Photography Quality Checklist

Wondering why you need great product photos for your Etsy store? Check this post out! >> https://amytakespictures.com/6-reasons-great-product-photos-etsy/

Looking for branding tips for your Instagram? Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/5-steps-to-a-branded-instagram-account/

5 Steps To Awesome DIY Product Photos For Your Etsy Shop

5 Steps To Awesome DIY Product Photos For Your Etsy Shop

Hey there handmade seller!

If you’re just joining us for the first time, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amy and I’m a product photographer and educator teaching handmade sellers just like you how to rock their own product photos for their online shops.

‘Cause here’s the thing – I’m about to break some serious news here – without great product photos, your online shop probably won’t succeed. I know, that’s some tough love right there. But I said it because I want you to succeed and because I believe in you. (read all about why product photography is so important in this post)

The good news is that you are not doomed to a life of dreadful DIY product photos and no sales. I’m here to help you transform those “meh” product photos into photos that’ll have shoppers hitting the add-to-cart button faster than you can say “cha-ching”.

The topic of product photography is vast, overwhelming, and often confusing. There’s sooooo much information out there and, let’s be honest, it’s really not directed to you as a handmade seller. That’s why it’s full of technical jargon you don’t understand.

Every resource you’ll find here on my blog and on my YouTube channel was developed with you in mind. It’s the nitty gritty – no muss, no fuss, just exactly what you need to know to start taking great DIY product photos, and quickly.

Because, guess what? Product photography doesn’t have to be super complicated. Once you learn a streamlined and simplified photography process, you’ll be amazed at how your photos will transform.

So let’s get started!

Step #1

You MUST have great lighting.

When it comes to photography, lighting is everything. Literally. The word photography is derived from the greek “photo” meaning light and “graphy” meaning drawing – so, drawing with light. Hence its importance.

But it’s not just words. A photograph is made from the light that comes through the shutter of a camera to hit the sensor. So, great light = great photo.

Light should be soft and even, plenty bright (but not too bright), and the right colour (ie, daylight). Try photographing your product next to a bright window with white foam boards bouncing the light back towards your product. (pictured below)

Step #2

Choose your background.

News flash: Your background doesn’t have to be white.

So many makers think that their backgrounds have to be white, and it’s simply not true. Neutral? Yes. White? No.

If you like a white background, and you’re able to capture it well on camera, that’s great! Don’t change a thing. But so many handmade sellers struggle to take a great photo on a white background and if they’d just let it go, life would be so much easier. So I’m giving you permission. Let it go.

When choosing a background, pick something that is neutral and subtle. Textures are also a nice. Backgrounds like dark wood, white washed wood, marble, slate, beadboard, etc are all great option.

When determining which is right for you, think about your products, your branding, and your ideal customer. Your background should be a fit for all those things. (read more about how your branding play into your product photo in this post)

 

Step #3

Choose some props.

When it comes to props, you need to keep it really simple. One or two props are plenty. When it comes to social media and brand photos, you can incorporate more props, but for product listing photos it’s important no to do too much.  Too many props confuse buyers, clutters up your shot, and will have people moving on pretty fast. You want your props to be “supporting characters” to your product, not steal the show.

When it comes to choosing props, the same rules apply as they did for the background. They should be a fit for your product, brand, and speak to your ideal customer.

Want to grab my list of 90+ Prop Ideas? Click here!

 

Step #4

Arrange your shot.

Take care to photograph your products at the correct angle. If not composed properly, the angle can distort the image and make your product look strange or misrepresent it. Photographing your product as a flat lay (“bird’s eye view”) or straight on (“eye level”) is a good place to start.

When arranging props, keep them off to the side and/or in the background. It should be very clear what is for sale in the image and your props shouldn’t take attention away from your product.

 

Step #5

Edit your photos.

Yes, you must edit your photos. A photo isn’t truly complete until it’s edited. Back in the film days, the development process was when images were fine-tuned. In these digital days, the editing process is the same idea. Sure, your digital camera does a bit of this work for you. But it’s just a piece of equipment and its abilities are limited. You don’t let your washing machine pick out your outfits do you? I didn’t think so.

So edit those photos! One of my most commonly asked question is what editing programs and apps I recommend. I recommend Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, available for $9.99 USD a month through the Adobe Photography CC subscription. They are the industry standard when it comes to photo editing and they allow you to embed a colour profile, which is extremely important when it comes to product photos.

Edit your photos for correct tones, size and ratio, and white balance while avoiding faux pas like oversaturation and harsh contrast (read about other editing mistakes in this blog post).

And there you have it! You’re already on your way to better DIY product photos.

Got a question? Pop it in the comments!

Until next time,

Amy

Product Photography Quality Checklist

Wondering about how to make sure your colors look right in your product photos? Check this post out! >> https://amytakespictures.com/etsy-product-photos-colours/

Interested in learning how to brand your handmade product photos? Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/brand-your-handmade-product-photos/

 

 

6 Reasons Why You Need Great Product Photos For Etsy

6 Reasons Why You Need Great Product Photos For Etsy

Having great product photos for Etsy and your handmade shop is really important. Like, really.

If you want to run a sustainable, legit handmade business, good product photos are one of the major keys to your Etsy success. Other things are important, like SEO, customer service, and actually having a great product, but without good photos none of those things will matter much.

Here are 6 reasons why having awesome product photos is so important for your Etsy shop:

1. They replace the in-person buying experience.

When someone walks into a store and finds something they want to buy, think about what they do. They pick it. They feel it. They turn it over and look at it from different angles. They might smell it. If it opens, they’ll look inside.

Your photos should cover all of those different things that you think a person would do if they were buying your products in person. Help them imagine the feel of your product by capturing the texture of it in a close-up shot. Take photos of it from a variety of different angles. If it has a sense, style one of the photos with something that brings to mind that scent.

2. They communicate quality.

Your product photos are subconsciously (if not consciously) telling your customers what they can expect from the quality of your products.  You may have the best quality product out there, but without high quality product photos no one will ever know.

When shoppers see  a beautiful, well-lit, tastefully styled, and properly edited product photo, that screams “HIGH QUALITY, BUY ME, I’M AWESOME!” Poorly light, strangely styled, and improperly edited (or not edited at all) photos say “I’m not even worth a decent product photo. If you buy me at all, don’t pay more than a few bucks.” That could be farthest thing from the truth, but in the online space, people really do judge a book by it’s cover. In a sea of shops on Etsy, you want to be sure your product stands out.

So essentially, for better or worse, your product photos are speaking to quality of your product. What are you photos saying about your products?

3. They make you stand out.

In the vastness of the worldwide web, people are inundated with images non-stop. You can’t even scroll Facebook without having an ad pushed in your face every sixth post.  Mediocre photos will quickly get lost amongst the noise of the internet, causing your photos, your products, and your shop to be overlooked. Your images need to stand out and make you recognizable – in a good way!

4. They get you featured.

Some of the biggest breakthroughs for small businesses come from being featured, whether it’s by Etsy, a blogger, or an influencer. Some of my own students have had massive success being featured by bloggers with millions of followers. Those kinds of opportunity can be real game changers for your handmade business – but good photos are a must.

Just like customers are attracted to good product photos, so are those who looks for products to feature. Having good photos makes is easy for influencers to feature you. They can simply share your already awesome photo.

5. They attract (the right) customers.

Not only do great product photos attract customers in general, they attract the right ones. Properly styled photos, high quality photos will exude the vibe of your brand and call out to customers who will want to buy your stuff. From the props use you, to your background, to your lifestyle photos – if all of your photos are consistent in their brand messaging, you will consistently attract your ideal customer.

For example, if you ideal customer is adventurous, outdoorsy, and environmentally conscious your photos should include environmentally-friendly props, lifestyle photos outside, and other tools that outdoorsy folks are into to compliment your product. Then, the next time your ideal customer is browsing Etsy (or Pinterest, or Instagram, etc), your photo (and product) will jump out at them.

6. They reduce your chances of returns and unhappy customers.

Having photos that are clear, well-lit, properly edited, and portraying the colours of your product accurately makes it easy for customers to get a accurate sense of your product. Without those qualities in your product photos, customers can easily be mislead into thinking your product is different than how it really is.

For example, if the colours in your photo are off due to incorrect white or a lack of embedded colour profile, your customer may think they’re ordering a purple shirt when it’s really a blue shirt. Before you know it you’ll be facing a return and/or a bad review.

Colour is only one way you need to properly showcase your product. You also need to demonstrate qualities like texture, additional details or features, and the size of your product. You can do all this with different camera angles, special techniques, and by styling your product photos with a prop whose size is commonly known.

If you’re feeling a bit panicky about your product photos right now and the thoughts “I’m doomed” is running through your head – don’t worry! I’ve got your back.

Stay tuned to this blog, my YouTube channel, and join my free private Facebook group for more tips, trainings, and tutorials on how you can rock your product photos for Etsy.
Happy snapping,

Amy

Product Photography Quality Checklist

Wondering about how to choose a camera for your product photography? Check this post out! >> https://amytakespictures.com/camera-diy-product-photography/

Interested in learning the key to great product photos with your smartphone? Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/diy-product-photos-smartphone/