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4 Tips for Better Product Photos on Instagram

Tips for better product photos on Instagram - how to attract potential buyers with high quality images and elevate your visual marketing with simple photography tips.

If you sell your products online, having high quality product photos is incredibly important. It’s the only way to convey the quality of your products because customers can’t actually touch or feel them before they make their purchase. The quality of your product photos directly affects the perceived quality of your products… so if you have low quality images, chances are people think your products are low quality as well!

When it comes to marketing your products on Instagram, just because someone sees your product photos doesn’t mean they’ll take the action to click through and buy it. In fact the most of the time / most of the people won’t. Ever. #truth

That’s why it’s SO important to have visually compelling images on Instagram in order to attract potential buyers to STOP and take a look instead of scrolling by. DIYing your product photography? Here are a few tips will help you capture better product photos for Instagram.

Lighting is Everything

Whether you’re using your iPhone or a DSLR camera, lighting is the most important thing when it comes to your product photos. I generally prefer using natural light when possible, but natural light can be a bit tricky since it isn’t something you always have control over. Start by finding the best natural light in your space. When you’re at home or in an office, the best natural is usually by the window or door. If you don’t have natural light in your space, you might need to go outside.

Pay attention to how the light changes throughout the day. You might want to avoid direct sunlight because it can create harsh shadows. If you don’t have access to natural light, you can obviously use studio lighting. There are a range of lighting options from basic and cheap to super professional (this is a great set for less than $200).

Background Basics

For easy and affordable white backgrounds, you can buy foam boards at a craft store or Amazon. These are a great hack for flat lays when you don’t have a white table or desk (and they are super cheap)! If you need a seamless background for any sort of vertical product shots where you don’t want to see the wall in the background, seamless photo backdrop paper is the best option. You can find a range of sizes and color options to fit your brand but if you really want your products to stand out I recommend using a neutral white or gray background for basic product photos. Savage Paper is the seamless backdrop paper that I use (it’s nice and thick!) and it comes in a ton of different colors and sizes to fit your space.

Styled and Lifestyle Combinations

One thing that gets a little confusing for people is the difference between styled and lifestyle images. Styled photos are products photos that you plan with intentionally placed props in order to highlight or “accessorize” your main product. This is what you might think of when you see food photography or desktop photos where things look almost too perfect. Lifestyle photos are photos that look more like they are taken of things happening naturally in everyday life. These might show your product actually being used by a person the way it would on a daily basis.

Having a combination of the two types of photos can be ideal for product based businesses. Lifestyle photos can be more relatable for your audience because when people see other people using / wearing products, they can envision the product in their own lives. On the other hand, styled photos can be a more focused and clean way of showcasing a product so that the focus is really on the product’s features. You may notice that your audience responds better to certain types of photos in comparison to others so pay attention to which photos get higher engagement as well as which ones drive more sales!

Consistent Style

Having a set of photography tools you use on a regular basis will streamline your product photography. Using consistent lighting, consistent editing, and consistent colors, and consistent props will help you create a consistent style that makes your brand more memorable. Consistency breeds credibility.

You want all of your product photos to have a cohesive look, and using consistent colors and props is an easy way to visually tie things together. I recommend having a “prop box” on hand with small items you can use to style with your products. I have an overflowing closet full of props for my various clients and customers, but even if you start with a few items that you use on a consistent basis, that will help to create a more consistent look to your images!

Are you ready to up-level your own product photos?

The Best Resources For Instagram Props

Must-haves for your instagram prop box - keep small accessories, paper goods + more around to help you in styling your instagram photos and creating a more cohesive brand.

If it isn’t obvious already –

My instagram feed is rarely instant.

I previously shared that I prefer batching tasks, and taking photos for instagram is one of the things that I tend to do in batches to save time. Also, since my “ideal” natural lighting happens mid day, taking a lot of photos at once helps me to get more consistent (and better) lighting. Throughout the week I might share photos of things that are more “in the moment” like when there’s a really pretty sunset or a cute photo of my dog, but most of my photos are taken ahead of time.

For me, instagram is a curated gallery / highlight reel of my life and behind the scenes look at my business, so I’m very intentional about which photos I decide to share. 

Whether your styling your photos for instagram or your website, it’s helpful to have a prop box of items on hand to help you create more interesting photos. To build your own prop box, think about what types of items you already have around your home and gather them together in one place. From there, you can start to purchase additional props within your niche – for example, I work with a natural beauty brand that incorporates a lot of “natural” elements like flowers and greenery to complement their products.

Often I want to take a photo of a particular product like lipstick or jewelry, and having things like trays and coffee table books around helps to make my photos less blah. I try to only buy “props” that are things that I will actually use in real life and that relate to my brand – so you’ll primarily see polished, feminine, and modern accents in black / white / gold / pink  anywhere that’s associated with wonderfelle.


You can find almost anything on Amazon, Target, or Etsy – but one of my favorite resources for stylish Instagram props is Shopbop, specifically for their curated collection of small home accessories + gifts. 

For specific props here are a few ideas that you can use for styling flatlays or behind the scenes shots:

Office supplies (pretty pens + pencils, notebooks, planners, folders, paper clips, scissors, post it notes, notecards, stationery, etc.). Find fun office supplies at:

Small home accessories + kitchenware (candles, trays, coffee table books, picture frames, decorative objects, coasters, plates, glasses, mugs, bar accessories, etc.) A few great places to find home accessories include:

Small personal accessories (jewelry, watches, keychains, scarves, wallets / clutches / pouches, makeup, glasses, headphones, etc.): Find cute options at:

Other: flowers, succulents, food / beverage items, technology (phones / tablets / etc.)

If you’re looking for resources to make the backgrounds of your photos more visually appealing, consider these:

What are your favorite resources for Instagram props?

BONUS: Download the FREE checklist of the 8 things you should be doing every time you post on instagram!

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

Expert Tips On Getting Clients From Instagram

Instagram isn't just for pretty pictures or product-based businesses. 5 experts share tips on getting clients from Instagram - plus beginner mistakes / what NOT to do!

I recently realized that usually, when I hear someone say “I don’t know what to post on Instagram” – it’s someone with a service based business. It’s easy to come up with ideas for Instagram photos when you have products, but for service-based businesses – it’s not always so obvious what we should be doing. BUT – that definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t get clients from Instagram (I’ve shared my thoughts on this myth before) – the majority of my clients over the past several months have found me through Instagram and I know that I’m not alone!

I asked a few fellow biz owners (and all around awesome gals!) how they use Instagram to attract potential clients and also what mistakes they made in the beginning that might have prevented them from getting potential clients – here’s what they had to say:


On getting clients from Instagram…

As a social media strategist, stylist & photographer, Instagram acts as a working portfolio to help attract potential clients. It is the perfect platform to not only display the creative work that I’m producing, but also to interact with the potential clients who may appreciate it the most. The hashtags that I use, and the community that I have built all support a bright, happy, and colorful brand aesthetic, and those are exactly the type of clients who reach out to me saying that they saw my work on Instagram and would love to work together somehow. I also frequently include a call to action to “click to the link to in my profile to…” which increases site traffic and ultimately leads to more inquiries.

But in the beginning… 

At the very beginning, I didn’t realize the importance of having my email address listed in my profile description, I assumed clients would just visit my website if they wanted to get in touch, and that was definitely a mistake. Having my email address listed nearly doubled the number of inquiries I was receiving from potential clients, especially for influencer related work.

Visit Alisha’s website + follow her on Instagram (photo credit: @asiacrosonphotography)


On getting clients from Instagram…

Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms because it’s incredibly visual, which works to my advantage as a graphic designer! It has sort of become my mini portfolio. I use Instagram to showcase client branding + web design projects, my own personal projects (i.e. free downloads + courses), and mood board inspiration. I also use strategic hashtags to get more eyes on my posts from dream clients. Doing this has helped me book a custom web design project and more inquiries about my services.

But in the beginning… 

The biggest mistake I made in the beginning was not posting relevant work on Instagram. I was mostly using Instagram to document life and realized that if my audience doesn’t SEE the type of work I do, they’ll have no idea what kind of services I offer. Of course, I don’t post work all the time. I still like to mix in some personal posts or styled desk shots here and there. But I noticed a huge difference in my ability to attract and book clients when I started sharing more of my design projects.

Visit Holly’s website + follow her on Instagram (photo credit: Amy Paulson Photography)


Louise Henry Solopreneur Sidekick

On getting clients from Instagram…

I started seeing real traction in my business once I started writing as though I was talking to my best friend! It’s a simple tip – but really works! By doing this, my followers get to know me and I’m able to establish a deeper connection with them. I also make sure to deliver as much value as I can before they are a client (inspiration, advice & humor work particularly well on Instagram). I believe the visual aspect of Instagram shouldn’t be overlooked either – it says a lot about you. A potential client can get a feel for your knowledge, style and personality – all from your feed! Once I realized this and wasn’t afraid to be myself, Instagram became a main driver of clients for me!

But in the beginning… 

When I first started out, I thought that I was “engaging” simply by liking lots of photos! As soon as I made the switch to genuine comments, I saw a tremendous increase in connections made. It can be tempting to go for the “quick like” method because you feel as though you’re accomplishing more, but it is truly not nearly as effective! Focus on quality, not quantity, in order to get clients.

Visit Louise’s website + follower her on Instagram


On getting clients from Instagram…

I post consistently with on-brand content, and I include my own work every day because potential clients need to see what they’re getting! I also always ask a question in my caption – starting engagement and forming a relationship is much more likely to turn a potential client into a definite!

But in the beginning… 

I had no ‘organic’ followers. I relied on ‘follow for follow’ ladders which meant the majority of people weren’t my target audience and weren’t actually interested in my content or work, they just wanted to boost their own following.

Visit Sarah’s website + follow her on Instagram

So there you have it – Instagram is NOT just for product-based businesses! If you have additional tips for finding or attracting clients on Instagram, share them in the comments!

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