If you’re running a small business selling products, it goes without saying that product photography needs to be a big part of your Instagram grid if you want to get leads! If you’re lucky enough to have a professional photographer capture your products, you’ll know just how incredible these photos can be.
Unfortunately, recent events have made it difficult for some businesses to engage professional photographers to capture their product images. In fact, we’ve had quite a few clients who have had to DIY their product photography in the last few weeks, and we know that some of them really struggled with it.
Here at Content Savvy, we’re committed to helping you create an Instagram presence that is true to your brand and showcases your business in the very best light. That’s why we’ve prepared a few product photography tips for our clients, and we thought it would be useful to you as well, dear reader!
Keep scrolling to find out how you can sharpen your product photography skills to make your Instagram really stand out.
Words: Adriana Thani
How Often Should You Post Product Photos?
The first thing you should understand is: there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer here! While some businesses might do well with posting product photos five times a week, some others might do better with posting product images twice a week.
The big variable here is: your audience.
You need to experiment with the frequency of sharing your product photos and see what resonates with your audience. If you post too frequently or not frequently enough, you’ll quickly see results reflected in your engagement rates.
Another thing to remember is that you need to make sure there’s a variety of different photos on your grid. There needs to be a mix of different types of content there to showcase all your content pillars.
If all your images and videos are of your products, you run the risk of your Instagram looking more like a product catalog than a reflection of your brand values. Put simply, this just doesn’t provide value to your community, and can be really off-putting for your audience!
Product Photography Tips
Here are some tips to help you get started with DIY product photography! These are tried and tested tips that we’ve collected over the years from professional photographers and through our own experience. We know you’ll find these useful!
1. Show your products in action
When you show your products being used in some way, it allows your audience to imagine themselves using your products too! There are several ways you can show your products in action.
The first thing you can do is interact with your product in a meaningful way. For example, if you sell hand-made mugs, you can pour tea into them, or sip some tea from the cup. If you sell clothes, try walking around and being active in your photos instead of just standing there.
You can also use your body to create movement in the shot – adjust the scarf on your neck, or twirl a skirt. Movement – even in a still image – makes an image way more interesting!
Another idea? Take a photo of you putting your product away! So that means popping your product on a shelf, into a cabinet, or on a hanging rack. Putting your product back in it’s ‘home’ is another way for your audience to imagine themselves using your product.
2. Show your products from different angles
For the sake of variety, make sure you’re capturing your products from multiple angles! Yes, a front-on, catalog style image is always important (particularly for online store listings), but people need to get a feel for your products before they can be convinced to buy it.
Here are some angles you should include in your next DIY product photoshoot:
- Capture the details
Close-up shots featuring the shape of a mug handle, the embellishment on a sleeve, or the texture of your latest skin cream. Let the details tell a story!
- Think of what it will look like when being used
This is especially important for products that will generally be viewed from a specific angle. A mug, for example, won’t usually be seen from the bottom. But a top-down shot from a slight angle? Now that makes sense to capture.
- Show it in context
A photo of your product on a white background won’t ever go out of style, and can be used on multiple platforms. But to be completely honest, it’s also a little bit boring. If you really want to stop the scroll on Instagram, you need to show how your product looks in context: a gorgeous vase in a beautifully decorated home, or a cute dress on someone walking through a gorgeously green park, or a pair of the cutest little socks on a tiny newborn being held in his mumma’s arms. Real life is much more interesting than a studio backdrop!
3. Take us behind-the-scenes
People love having a peek behind-the-scenes! If you have a studio, a shop, or a factory, give your audience a glimpse into your world. Images and videos like this are unique to you and your business, and will truly set you apart from everyone else.
Here are some types of content that you can share from behind-the-scenes:
- Sneak peeks
Got a new collection coming out? Let your audience have a quick peek at what’s coming!
- The process
How your product is made may seem uninteresting to you, but humans are curious creatures. Show us bits of the process behind the creation of your products!
- The people
It’s so important for you and your team to show up on your socials. Make it more fun by showing us “a day in the life” at your business, featuring your products, of course.
4. Showcase the customer experience
Whether you own a brick and mortar store, or sell at markets, showing how your customers interact with your products is such a fun way to show the customer experience to your audience, even when they can’t be there in person.
Here are some shots you can take the next time you’re in store or at your market booth:
- The set-up
You’ve worked hard on setting up your products for sale – why not show it off!
Take photos of your customers (or models/friends who act as customers) while they’re touching your products, holding it in their hands, or interacting with it in some way.
- Customer service
Take some shots of you and your salespeople actually interacting with customers. This generally means capturing a smiling face or two, and that will never go out of style on Instagram. It also shows your audience that you put your customers’ happiness first!
5. Style some cool flatlays
We love a good flat lay shot! It’s a fun way of capturing your product, and is usually quick to capture too. We recommend that you shop around your own home and/or business location to find props that will work in these photos. You should also invest in classic props like textured throws, coffee mugs, candles, and high-quality faux flowers – these products never go out of style.
It’s also best to take photos of a few different products on the same day, using the same backdrop or set, and maybe even the same props. This keeps things looking aesthetically cohesive, and is much easier to put together on your Instagram grid later on!
Here are some flat lay tips to help you get started:
- Save some inspo
Store some of your favourite flat lay shots in a folder and use it as inspiration for your flat lay composition
- Include some texture
Natural elements like leaves and flowers are great for this, and also textured fabric like a knitted blanket or fur throw.
- Pick a nice background
An area with neutral tones that fits your aesthetic will be the perfect spot.
- Create your own faux background
If you don’t have a nice enough surface for your flat lays, you can purchase a vinyl wrap and stick it onto a large poster board! We love a wood or marble look.
- Use the rule of thirds
This important photography rule is very useful in flat lays!
- Keep it simple
Make sure you provide a bit of space in the image so it doesn’t look cluttered.
6. Group similar items together
If your product comes in a range of colours, why not showcase all of them together? Alternatively, you could even group items of a single colour! The key thing to focus on is finding at least one element that ties these products together – colour, shape, texture – and then emphasising that by showcasing them as a collection.
This technique works for pretty much any product, and makes for a compelling image. Here are a few different types of shots you can take using this technique:
- Stack your products – we love this for clothes
- Fan them out – this is great for flat items
- Place them on a tray – if they can fit!
- Keep the focus on just one item – leave the other items out of focus
- Accessorise sparingly – you want the products to have the spotlight here!
Other Photography Tips
1. Find the light
Good lighting is a photographer’s best friend, so make sure you find a spot on location that has amazing natural light, or invest in a lighting setup that will really highlight your products.
2. Source user-generated content
Bloggers, influencers, and brand ambassadors create stunning photos of your products being used by real people. User-generated content has been shown to be hugely impactful on Instagram, so we highly recommend that you look into this.
3. Ask suppliers for photos
If you have suppliers that are able to send you photos, you can definitely repurpose those for your Instagram too. Just make sure they suit your aesthetic and brand identity.
4. Show people on your grid
Whether it’s a full body photo, or just a hand, showing people in your images and videos breathes life and movement into your content.
You probably won’t ever be able to take photos the way a professional photographer would, but over time, your skills will definitely improve! So experiment with different techniques and locations, and remember to be kind to yourself – learning is an ongoing journey.
Make Your Instagram Stand Out
Capturing your own product photos shouldn’t be a stressful thing. Use the tips above as a guideline for your next DIY product photoshoot, and you’ll be well on your way to showcasing your products in the best light.
Have you taken some amazing product photos, but you’re not sure how you’re going to put it all together on Instagram? We’re here to help! Our Instagram Management services include everything you need to create an Instagram presence that will wow your audience. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you make your Instagram stand out!