3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay

3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay

Hey makers! In this blog post, we’re going to be talking about the three different arrangements you can use for your product photography flat lays. Let’s get started.

3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay Linear

Style #1 – Linear

Arrangement style number one is linear.

This is a very purposefully arranged style in which all of the items in your flat lay are arranged in a parallel or perpendicular way with one another. Everything is placed in straight lines and looks very neat and organized. This style is great for brands that really focus on things like minimalism and clean style.

It’s really great for products that tend to be structured and geometrical anyway, like a stationery or notebooks for example. Another example is garments that are very simple. Maybe you’re a big proponent of the capsule wardrobe. It would make sense for your brand to maintain kind of a minimalistic, simplified arrangement for you product photography flat lay.

3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay Logically placed

Style #2 – Logically placed

Flat lay arrangement number two is logically placed.

For this style you want to place things in a flat lay the way that they may actually occur in real life.

Let’s say you sell journals. You can set up your shot so that there’s a coffee mug within arm’s reach, some cute pens, and so on. If you sell lip balm the lip balm could be spilling out of a clutch handbag with some other commonly found things in a handbag (sunglasses, cell phone, etc). So, you set up the shot to look almost like lifestyle photo, almost like it occurs in a real-life situation.
3 Ways To Arrange a Flat Lay Random

Style #3 – Random

Arrangement style number three is random.

This is where you’re going to place your props randomly around your product. For this strategy, you want to make sure that your product remains front and center. It should be more or less the largest thing in the shot. It needs to really stand out. It should be right in the center, and other props can be scattered around the edges. They can even be peeking in from the edge of the photo frame. You don’t need to capture the entire prop in the photo, but you need to make sure that your product is entirely captured in the photo.

You should place the props in a strategic way to lead the eye toward your product by pointing them in angles towards your product creating lines that lead the eye towards your product.

The important thing to keep in mind when it comes random placement is that you need to make sure that your product is the most obvious thing in the photo. You don’t want anyone to look at those kinds of photos and think, “What’s really for sale here? It’s not really clear what this person is selling.” You definitely want to avoid that for all of your flat lays, but especially for the randomly placed strategy. This placement can look really great, but you do need to be careful about planning where you’re going to put your props and how you’re going to make your product the star of the show.

If you arrange your flat lay so that your product is front and center, it’s the largest thing in the photo, have the props be peeking in from the sides, and have them be pointing towards your product leading the eye towards your product, your product will undoubtedly be the focal point.

And that is the three styles of arranging your product photography flat lays that you need to know!

If you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to props for your flat lays, be sure to grab my free 90+ prop ideas download. I have listed over 90 ideas for props which will inspire new ideas that are a great fit for your brand and your styled product photos.

90+ Prop Ideas For
Your Styled Photos

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/

 

Master These 3 Things For Gorgeous DIY Product Photos

Master These 3 Things For Gorgeous DIY Product Photos

For many handmade sellers, product photos are a real thorn in their side. Product photography can feel overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be! If you master these three things, you’ll have gorgeous DIY product photos every time.

  1. Lighting.

Lighting the the MOST important thing when it comes to product photography. Or any photography at all. Photography literally means “drawing with light” and an photograph is create based on the relationship of light with the items in the image. Without great lighting, your photo will have quality issues, colour issues, and the general overall aesthetic of your photo will be poor.

Lighting isn’t an easy thing to master but once you have a grasp on a set up that works for you, you’ll notice a world of difference. Seek out bright, natural light that is indirect – meaning it’s not direct sunbeams. Areas like the shade or near a bright window in your home are good places to start.

If you don’t have a suitable area for natural light, you may have to introduce artificial lights. Avoid using the built-in flash on your camera at all costs. It creates a bright foreground and a dark background in your image which is unsightly and looks unprofessional. Instead, purchase a simple tabletop lighting setup or softbox studio light kit for your setup, or if you have larger items opt for a speedlight (FYI though, only DSLR cameras can use these though). You can check out my recommendations for lighting and other equipment on my Amazon Influencer page here.

  1. Styling.

Styling your product photos is very important in drawing in the attention of your ideal customers, standing out in a sea of product images, growing your social media following, and being featured by influencers.

The key to good styling is keeping it simple and keeping it consistent with your brand. If your brand is all about being eco-friendly and that’s important to your ideal customer, you won’t want to use cheap plastic props like fake flowers. Customers are super savvy these days and they’ll see that inconsistency a mile away. A misstep like that can cost you sales and social media followers.

Choose one or two props that are consistent with your brand message and are a fit for your product. Be careful not to choose props that will overwhelm or take away from your product. Shoppers should be drawn to your product, not the props! Click here to read my blog post on where to find props for your photos.

When arranging your styled photos, keep your product front and center so it’s the star of the show. Arrange props so that they lead the eye toward your product by “pointing” them toward it or have them subtly interacting with your product.

Possibly even better than styled photos are lifestyle photos. Lifestyle photos actually show your product being used in-action in some way. Lifestyle photos create a strong connection between your product and your customers, making them envision your product in their life and making them more compelled to buy. Most product looks even better and more desirable when being shown in action.  

  1. Editing.

Editing can be enough to make some handmade sellers just straight up say “nope, no editing for me thanks.” The programs can be confusing and knowing how to edit correctly can feel unachievable for makers. But, my friends, I am here to tell you right now that it is TOTALLY achievable.

The first thing to know about editing is that you only need to know a few of the tools. How to crop, how to adjust light and dark tones, and how to balance your colours are the main players you need to focus on. If you focus on just those tools, editing suddenly becomes a lot less overwhelming.

A quick note about editing programs: Make sure that your photo editing program enables you to embed a colour profile. Programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom, Affinity Photo, and Snapseed all embed color profiles. Programs like Pixlr do not.

When it comes to cropping, you should crop your product photos at a 5:4 ratio (for Etsy) or square (for your own website). Your photos should be 2000px at least along the long edge.  Next, adjust your image tones. Using the levels adjustment, drag the sliders around until the tones are bright with appropriate amount of contrast. Be careful not to over-do it. Next, balance your colours using the color balance tool. Then, save your product photo (with an embedded color profile!) and you’re good to go!

Now that you know what you NEED to know, you’re ready to go out, learn, and conquer your DIY product photos! You’ll find loads of information about these topics here on my blog, in the free Facebook group, in my free webinar and trainings, and of course in my masterclasses and courses.

Got a question? Drop it in the comments!

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 Background Ideas For Handmade Product Photos

5 Free Or Cheap Background Ideas For Handmade Product Photos

Last week I answered question of “do you really neeeed a white background for handmade product photos?” and the big answer was NOPE. You do not. But, you do need a simple, neutral background.

Those kinds of background don’t have to break the bank either. Here are 5 ideas for cheap or free backgrounds for handmade product photos.

1. A desk or table top

When I bought my desks (I have two), I bought them both with product photography mind. One is a natural wood, and the other is slightly glossy white. Now you don’t have to go out and buy a new desk (that would hardly be cheap or free, amiright?), but take a look around your house. You may very well already have a cool desk or table with a suitable surface for your product photos.

Hardwood floors may also work. Just make sure that the wood you’re using (regardless of its source) isn’t tinted or stained to create colour-affecting undertones. If the wood is reddish, yellowing, greenish, etc that can seriously impact your photo in a negative way.

2. Contact paper affixed to foam board

One of my favourite DIY background hacks! You can buy contact paper (intended to line shelves or drawers) or even wallpaper and stick it to rigid foam board for a great DIY product photography background.

Don’t forget – you’re going for neutral and no busy patterns. Keep it simple! Avoid glossy finishes (they will make glare-free photos virtually impossible), and opt for patterns that could be table tops, like marble, woods, slates, etc.

3. Posterboard for a seamless background

Ever see one of those product photos where it looks like the product is floating in nothingness? Those are seamless backgrounds. You can buy paper roll seamless background for a chunk of change at a camera store, or if your products are smaller, you can grab a piece of posterboard from the dollar store and make your own seamless background.

To do this, take your posterboard and stick one side of it (the short side if it’s rectangular) to a wall and allow it fall straight down the wall, curve toward the floor (or tabletop) to lay flat on the surface. Place your product on it and start shooting!

4. Scrapbook paper

If you have small products like jewelry, scrapbook paper can be a great option. They’re smaller, easy to store, and inexpensive. They come in a wide variety of patterns and are pretty easily replaceable as well.

Same rules apply as with contact paper and wallpaper. Keep it simple, neutral, and avoiding patterns. Seek out marble, woods, slates, and maybe even a linen texture. Experiment! With scrapbook paper you can afford to.

5. Nature backgrounds (slate, moss, a log, etc)

While not suitable for every brand, this may be one of my very favourite  free or cheap backgrounds. I love incorporating nature into product photos. It creates character, interest, and deepens a connection between the product and the shopper.

Seek out things like slabs of slate, bark, logs, stone, and moss for your product backgrounds. This approach is really only suitable for brand that embrace things like eco-friendly lifestyles, rustic vibes, adventure, and wilderness. But for those brands, this can be a super option.

Now that we’ve outlined some great free or cheap backgrounds for handmade product photography, let’s talk about some backgrounds you want to steer clear of.

– Anything cloth. Cloth is extremely wrinkly and nearly impossible to make look smooth, polished, and professional.

– Bright colours. Unless this is a stand-out characteristics of your brand, you’ll want to avoid bright colours. Colourful backgrounds take away from your product, and can distract and  overwhelm shoppers.

– Patterns. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this article thus far, patterns should be avoided. Patterns clutter up your photo, make it look chaotic, and will make shoppers just keep on scrolling. Your product should never have to compete with the background.

And there you have it! Some awesome free or cheap background ideas for your handmade product photos.  Have a question or comment about backgrounds? Drop it in the comments!

Got a question or comment? Drop it below!

90+ Prop Ideas For
Your Styled Photos

Look 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/

 

Do You Need A White Background For Your Handmade Product Photos?

Do You Need A White Background For Your Handmade Product Photos?

One thing I hear a lot from makers is how difficult it is to get a white background for their handmade product photos. And it’s true, it IS really difficult for the DIY product photographer. But the first thing I asked them is, do you really need a white background for your product photos? The answer usually is “I think I do… Don’t I?”

In short: No. You don’t need a white background.

Back in the day when Etsy first became a thing, the recommendation was that you should use a white background. However, they very quickly changed their tune and dropped that recommendation. If you visit any of their “Editor’s Picks” featured collections, you’ll see a variety of different backgrounds, many of them not white.

First let’s figure out when you do and do not need a white background, then I’ll give you some ideas for some awesome alternatives.

When do you NOT need a white background?

  1. When you sell on Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, or your own website.

There are no requirements for a white background on any of the aforementioned websites. So you’re off the hook!

  1. When it’s not really your brand’s vibe.

Your backdrop for your products should support you brand’s overall vibe. Unless your brand is super clean and minimalistic, it probably doesn’t warrant a white background. Even then, a dark grey background may give a better look. For more info on how branding plays into your product photos, click here.

  1. When your products are white or light in colour.

It can be SO tough to get white or light coloured products to pop on a white background. A camera’s limited dynamic range make it difficult for it separate the tones of your product and the tones of the backdrops. I can be done with a lot of editing, but why make more work for yourself?

  1. When you just CAN’T get it right!

If you’ve tried every which way to get a beautiful white background and you’re about ready to pull your hair out, then know this – you don’t need a white background. You can switch up your background, save yourself the frustration, and make your photos look even better with a different background.

When DO you need a white background?

  1. If it is 100% your brand’s vibe.

If you’re confident that a white background is what you need to express your brand properly, then a white background you should have.

  1. If you sell on regular Amazon.

And I don’t mean if your handmade listings show up in the regular Amazon feed. I mean if you straight sell on regular Amazon, and not Handmade at Amazon. Regular Amazing does require a white background. Handmade at Amazon does not.

  1. If the website/publication/etc requires you to do so.

There are some website aside from Amazon and some publications that may want to feature your products that do require a white background. Read the fine print before you submit to make sure. Also keep in mind that there are loads of websites, publications, social media influencers, bloggers, etc that will want to feature you even without a white background. Maybe especially because you didn’t use a white background, and your photos have more interest and are more editorial.

Okay, so now that you know you don’t have to use a white background – what should you use?

Here are some great guidelines for select a background for your product photos:

– Choose a background that is neutral.

There are many great options out there for background that are simple, neutral and won’t take away from your product. A brightly coloured background can distract from your product and make the photo more about the background than your actual product. The background should be a supporting character, not the star of the show.

– Textures are awesome.

Marble, slate, white washed wood, dark wood, beadboard, shiplap, linen, and so on are all great neutral textures for your products. It’s important to pick one that is a fit your for products, otherwise it’ll feel odd and out-of-place

– Avoid fabric.

Fabric almost always appear wrinkled, messy, and unprofessional. Use thick cut paper or poster board, vinyl, foam board, or specially made photo boards instead.

– Don’t go seamless with a texture background.

Textured backgrounds are meant to emulate things like table and counter top, floors, and the like, so setting them up as a seamless background looks unnatural and unprofessional. The line in the textures don’t curve well and it looks awkward. Use the texture for the bottom only, and use something separate like a white or black foam board for the “wall” behind your product (or an actual wall – that works too).

There you have it! You are now free to drop the white background.

Got a question or comment? Drop it below!

Product Photography Quality Checklist

Look 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/

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