Thursday, 19 February 2015

Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

When you run your own handmade or design business, you can often find that photographing your finished products can either be a nightmare or one of the ‘perks’ of the creative job. This all depends on whether you are a natural creative or not and take joy in styling and displaying your items to look pretty. It also depends on whether you know how to get the best out of your items in the current climate, with little or no time, space or money (which is where we come in!)

I run the whole of my business by myself, and there'll be a lot of you that do this too. I have found these handy tips and inspiration have helped me to get my own product photos up to scratch without spending any money and adding hardly any extra time onto my daily work schedule.

1. Do Your Research

Look up your favourite shops online, either through their shop outlet or through their social media accounts. Do these people sell well and regularly? How do they display their pictures? What attracts people to this page to ‘follow’ them?

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

Take note of the key components they use like props, lighting and styling. Well styled pictures often trend like any other fashion/interior styling image, and you will find that pictures that tend to be simple and inspiring or show the product being used in an environment that people can relate to will help influence a customer’s decision to purchase something or not.

2. Use What You Have

You don’t have to be a super successful business to get the picture quality you desire. With a bit of imagination and thriftiness you can create really striking product photos. If you don’t have a really good camera, you can use your phone too if it comes with a good camera quality. Why not borrow a friend or family member’s camera if they have a good one and do a swapsies for some free products or a service that you can offer, that is useful to them and doesn’t cost you much?

Most people starting their own businesses will begin from home, so use your surroundings or yourself to show how you would display use your product.

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

Lighting is everything, so use a bright room with plenty of natural sunlight, or if the weather permits go outside! The time of day can also effect your lighting, so choose a bright morning or afternoon where you can dedicate some time to fit all your picture taking in. Even an amateur, techno-phobe can take good looking pictures on their phone if they have a good picture editor too, so download an app that you can use on your phone straight away to help crop, lighten and ‘prettyify’ your photos ready for showing the world.

When taking pictures of a range of items it would be best to keep them simple by using the same layout for all your images (as this would look better on your shop front too.) Either set up your camera in the same place (wonky photos are not a good look anyway) and swap items as you go for each individual image, or use a similar set up if you have to re-take images regularly.

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own ProductsMa Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

Whilst you might love the style of your home, try not to be too personal. People like to be inspired but also like to imagine items in their own life too, so give them the space to be allowed to do that in your photos.

3. Use Props

Objects from your home or life can help to lift the atmosphere of your images and make them seem more interesting. You can even pick up fun and quirky items from charity and second hand shops that might give your designs some edge.

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

I personally love a good DIY project, and have converted old, unused bits of wood/crates/furniture etc into pretty display pieces with just a bit of old paint or some tester pots of paint colours I like.

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

4. Edit And Optimise The Quality Of Your Photos

If you are lucky enough to own a good photo editing programme, this can save you a LOT of time and energy with photography - especially if you run a graphic design/illustration business. I tend to use a card, print, tote bag etc when taking my pictures which I can then edit onto later. This means I can use one set of images over and over again and simply photoshop all my designs on to the picture when and where I need to. All you have to do is overlay your image and then crop, rotate and ‘warp’ or ‘scew’ it so it fits onto the image perfectly.

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

Photo editor’s are also great for adding wording onto your products like ‘new in’ or SALE etc, plus you can even make collages of images together as one (which not only looks good, but can also be handy if you are wanting to show your product off but have a limited space for photos.)

5. Think Copyright

When taking your photos it is also worth thinking about putting on your own logo/website in the corner just incase it gets trending all over Twitter or Pinterest with no one knowing its original source. People can download images offline easily too so if you have a design or image you did, try to display it at an angle or different view so people couldn’t download it and put it on their own wall without it looking ridiculous. Never upload your design in its original form as someone could just print it straight off and put it in a frame, which obviously defies the whole point of your business!

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | Professional Photographs Of Your Own Products

I hope this helps you on your amazing photographing journey… we would love to see some of your well styled images and fab products so feel free to share any inspiration with us on our Facebook page or Twitter. Similarly, if there are any helpful tips you have found whilst taking your own photos let us know!

Steph B

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