31 Aug 10

How To Display and Present Your Products Effectively

With online stores, photographs are the only way of communicating to a potential customer what your product looks like, so capturing it perfectly in one shot is imperative.  I scouted some amazing product photography online and talked to the people behind those photographs for their tips and advice on effective product photography.

Tip #1: Create Dimension & Personality

Having a sense of depth adds more interest to a photograph.  Jennifer Herrick and Janet Thomas from Pretty N Preppy have a fun quirk to their product photographs.  They sell travel mugs, bottles and lavender sachets among their other items, and manage to make these inanimate objects seem like they have a mind of their own.  When I look at their water bottle photographs (shown in the main image above), I think of those bottles as children waiting along a wall for their turn in a game of Red Rover.  Jennifer and Janet recommend using depth in product photographs, and you can definitely see that they’ve used it to their advantage in their photographs.  By placing and focusing on the product in the foreground and placing other items in the distant background, it really creates dimension in the image.  Their main aim was to create a sense of fun in their photography and said that their photos that have dimension are their most successful.

Tip #2: Keep a Signature Style

You don’t need to confine your branding simply to your logo and printed materials – the way you style and photograph your products can also represent your brand and style.  Lavinia Hanachiuc, the owner of the gorgeous store Alma Pottery has displayed her products with clean, simple, beautiful photography (shown in the second image above).  I was drawn to her products because the way they are photographed looks like something straight out of a Design or Lifestyle magazine.  Notice that she keeps the background of her photographs in the white tonal ranges, with soft and delicate textures in the background.  Her ceramicware is soft and delicate, so she does a great job with repeating that in the background of her images.

Tip #3: Convey Beauty yet Proportion

Lavinia explained to me that not only should a store’s product photos be aesthetically pleasing, but they should also give an indication of proportion.  She highlights jewelry as an item that definitely would need to convey some sense of scale in the store photographs, and she recommends including a few objects in the background to help the customer get an idea for the piece’s size.

Tip #4: Tell a Story

Your customers are looking at your product to be part of their lives.  Photographing your product in a ‘scene’ will help them to picture it in their own story.  Claire from This Neck of the Woods does a great job telling a story with her photos of her lovely garlands and mobiles (shown in the third image above).  She advises to photograph at different angles and distances and to bring other objects into the photo to help you think of the product in a different way.  She also adds that bringing in other pieces will help add to the mood of the picture.  Lavinia agrees with this point, and shared with me that she starts by thinking about how she personally feels about the piece and then models her shoot around capturing that feeling in the photograph to build her story.

Thank you, ladies, for sharing your tips with us!  If any of you have any product display and photography advice, please let us know!

Dionne Christiansen is a graphic designer based in Houston, Texas. She is the face behind the Etsy store City of Dionne, and blogs at Notes From Dionne.

Posted by: Dionne Christiansen

Posted in: selling

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1 CC Morgan commented on 08/31/2010

Thank you for this information. All three shops have great photography which really draws you in. I'll have to practice some of these techniques for myself.

2 Betty commented on 09/01/2010

Excellent tips and tricks! Mahalos nui loa for the inspiration and how-to!

3 Eva of ZAFRÁN commented on 09/01/2010

You chose some excellent and inspiring examples for product pictures. Thanks for all the important things you pointed out. This post really helps. Thank you!

4 Jayne commented on 09/02/2010

Awesome ! Thanks!

5 Eva / Sycamore Street Press commented on 09/15/2010

Great advice. I'd just been thinking that I needed to take the time to redo all my shop photos. This article gives me some things to think about.

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