PHOTOGRAPHY

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).

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!Click To Tweet

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?

How to Brand Photos for Your Business

How to brand photos for your online business or blog.

Branding is the key to differentiating yourself from hundreds of people who are doing the same thing that you do or selling the same thing that you sell. This is the reason why you should have brand photos for your business.

It’s about providing an experience and presenting your offerings in a way that makes your audience feel like they know you. Brand photos also help to create a recognizable brand so that when people come across your business online, they remember you. Your brand photos play an essential part in your overall visual branding and help to build the know / like / trust factor with your potential clients and customers over time.

How to Brand Photos for Your Business

Know Yourself First

If you think your brand is just a logo or some colors and a tag line, you’re wrong. When you’re a small business owner, solopreneur, or blogger you are your brand. Think about the way you speak, connect, and relate to other people. All of that is part of your brand. Your personality should come through in your brand images. If you’re funny and sarcastic or warm and friendly, think about how that comes across to your audience and how you can illustrate that visually. Your brand photos should help people visualize what it might be like to work with you / hang out with you / be IRL besties with you. How can your potential clients begin to like you if they don’t know who you are? 

Know Your Audience

Other than knowing yourself, knowing your audience is a key component to branding your images. You have to understand who you are trying to attract. If you don’t have a specific audience in mind and you’re trying to relate to everyone – you probably aren’t relating to anyone. Think about the people you actually want as your customers and clients. Defining your target audience is an essential step in the building of your brand and business. 

When you’re clear on who your target audience is, you can create brand photos with them in mind. You can show how your product will fit into their lifestyle or what their life might look like after they work with you. You want your clients to be able to picture themselves interacting with your products and services. By understanding your audience, you’ll be better able to attract and relate to them through your visual content.

Branding is the key to differentiating yourself from hundreds of people who are doing the same thing that you do or selling the same thing that you sell.Click To Tweet

Define Your Style

Keeping your personal brand and audience in mind, think about how your visual style can showcase your personality but also attract your target audience. Start with a Pinterest board and pin 10-20 images that really appeal to you and fit the vibe of your brand. Then try to narrow down your style to two or three adjectives that really convey your brand visually. All of your images should then reflect these adjectives. If your brand is ‘bubbly and colorful’ or ‘neutral, minimal, and organic’, keep these words in mind whenever you are taking photos (or having photos taken!) for your business.

Understand Your Goals

Think about how are you are actually using or going to use your photos for your brand.  Will you be using brand photos on your website or blog, social media, print marketing, or advertising? You’ll want to make sure that your visual content helps you achieve your goals on whatever platform(s) you’re on.

If you’re using your brand photos on your website for example, think about how specifically you're using those images. What feelings do you want your audience to have when they come across your website? You might have a hero image that calls attention to specific products or images on your about page that illustrate who you are. Do you need horizontal images or vertical images? Do you need a lot of white space for text? Determine specifically how your photos will coordinate with the rest of your website and brand elements before you create photos for your brand. Having this forethought may save you a lot of trouble in the long run!

Be Consistent

Consistency breeds credibility. People like to know what to expect. You want to send a consistent visual message to your audience so when it comes to your brand photos, consistency is key! From the colors you incorporate to the props you use to the way you edit your images – you should maintain a level of consistency to the point that your visual content flows together and your audience can easily recognize your brand photos. If you're constantly changing things up or incorporating a lot of different styles into your visuals, your audience is going to be confused! Keep things simple and be consistent when it comes to your branding photos for your business.

Do you have other tips for branding photos for your business? Share in the comments!

5 Times You Should Hire A Professional Photographer

5 times you should hire a professional photographer for your business - when you're a small business owner or solopreneur you may be DIYing your brand or product photography but here's when you should hire a pro photographer!

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, your visual brand is a key part of your online business. When someone comes to your website or finds you on social media or clicks a link to see your products, you want to make a good first impression. You can DIY your photography or use stock photos but if you truly want your brand to stand out with uniquely branded images, there are several times when you should definitely hire a pro!

5 Times You Should Hire a Professional Photographer

When You're Launching A New Product Line

You’ve been working hard to build a new product line, and the worst thing that can happen is for you to invest a lot of time and money into creating the products… and then be stuck with inventory because no one buys it! Before you launch it, think about what’s going to get people really excited to actually buy the product. When you’re selling online, people can’t touch or try on your product. This makes your visual content that much more important. A professional photographer can work with you to ensure that your products are captured in the most visually appealing way for a new product launch so you can focus on selling!

When You Want to Increase Your Sales

If you’re selling products online and no one is buying them, it may be because your products aren’t being showcased in a way that isn't enticing to potential customers. Your basic product photo should be well-placed on a clean white background. If you're background is dingy or chaotic, that's going to distract potential customers from your products. You might also want to add other elements that help customers envision what it would look like to have your products in their place. Professional photographers can help you style your products in a way that will make people actually want to buy them more. This can make a huge difference in having people just scroll past your images on social media or stop and actually click through to shop because they think, “OMG I need this thing right now.”

One of my clients has a luxury tea brand. They were posting basic product photos on their social media account and they weren't sure why people weren't engaging with the photos. We discussed ways we could make the products more appealing to potential customers. We photographed the tea to show how it would fit into someone’s everyday life. This way people could actually see themselves incorporating the tea into their own lives. By incorporating lifestyle photography into their marketing, this company was able to grow their engagement on social media as well as grow their sales.

When you’re selling online, people can’t touch or try on your product. This makes your visual content that more important.Click To Tweet

When You Want to Uplevel Your Business

Once you’ve been in business a while, you might want to increase your prices or start offering higher priced products. Having high-quality images is nonnegotiable if you are going to sell a high end products or services. If your photos are dim or amateurish, you’re going to have a really hard time convincing people that your products are high price item. To uplevel your business and sell on a higher end, you need high-quality images that feature your products in the best way.

One of my clients designs hand painted champagne flutes and wanted to sell her products at higher-end department stores. She knew she need to up level her photography to attract higher-end buyers, so she hired me to shoot a selection of her custom glassware for her marketing material. With her new professional photos she’s much more confident presenting her products to potential buyers!

When DIYing Your Photos Takes Too Much Time

Even if you’re capable of doing your own photography, it’s probably not the best use of your time. When you’re a solopreneur you spend your time building products, posting on social media, business planning, accounting, and answering 5 million emails (OMG all the emails!) – but your time could be better spent focusing on what you are an expert at doing. So hire a professional photographer to take your photos. They will save you a lot of stress and time.

One of my clients is a graphic designer, web developer and busy mom. She found that she was spending a lot of time on her weekends taking photos for Instagram because that was the only time she had “free” … but she was was missing out on quality time with her family. Now that she outsources her social media photography to me, she actually gets to spending time with her family on the weekend!

When You're the Face of Your Brand

When you need to be in your own photos, obviously it’s going to be harder to DIY (no selfies, please!) – sure you could try using a remote or a timer to do it yourself, but if you really want to be the face of the brand and have imagery that helps you connect with potential customers, hiring a professional photographer is going to make your life so much easier. A professional photographer will help to style your brand photos in a way that allows you to connect with your ideal audience. They can help you find the perfect locations for your personal brand photography and/or help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Bottom line: hiring a professional photographer makes your photos look more professional.

Are You Ready to Hire A Pro?

Are you on board with getting help from a professional photographer? Not only will it make your life easier, but your business will look a lot better too!