Product Photography for Creative Business Owners: Top Tips to Help Your Products Stand Out & Sell | Alice Ladkin | Skillshare

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Product Photography for Creative Business Owners: Top Tips to Help Your Products Stand Out & Sell

teacher avatar Alice Ladkin, Art Tutorials | Art Business Tips

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why Good Product Photography Is So Important


    • 3.

      Recommended Equipment


    • 4.

      Important Things to Consider Before Taking Your Photos


    • 5.

      Lighting Tips


    • 6.

      Backgrounds and Textures


    • 7.

      Product Photography Tips


    • 8.

      Lifestyle Photography Tips


    • 9.

      Editing Your Photos


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About This Class

Top tips for creating beautiful product and lifestyle photos for your handmade business!

Who is this class for?

Anyone interested in creating their own beautiful product photos at home. Particularly suited to artists and creative business owners who sell their products online.

Why should you take this class?

You'll learn how to take great product and lifestyle photos at home, help you attract your target audience and stand out in crowded market.

What does this class cover?

  • Why good product photography is so important
  • Branding tips and tips for attracting your target audience
  • Lighting tips
  • Ideas for some intriguing backgrounds and textures using things you may have already at home
  • Tips for great product photography
  • Top tips for creative and focused lifestyle photography

What equipment do you need?

You can create great product photography at home just using your phone if you're starting out! I recommend using a DSLR camera if you can and a tripod. I also recommend good editing software (I use Lightroom). 

Meet Your Teacher

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Alice Ladkin

Art Tutorials | Art Business Tips


Hey! I'm Alice Ladkin, and I've been a professional artist since 2012. I spent nearly a decade taking commissions for realistic coloured pencil drawings, then had a baby and everything changed. I wanted to create art from my soul that truly felt like me, and in 2022 I completely rebranded my business. I now create bold, fun and quirky art and products with a sprinkle of sass.

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Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hi guys, My name is Alice. I'm an artist and this class is all about how to take beautiful product photography at home for your hand-made business. I've been a professional artist for over ten years and I decided to completely rebrand my business at the end of 2021. I create fun, bold, quirky art and products with a sprinkle of sass. I've had to learn everything myself. If you are also a small business owner, you can probably relate to that. One of the most valuable skills I've learnt whilst building my business is product photography. When you're selling online, amazing photographs are essential because they are often the only connection that potential buyers have to what you're offering. In this class I'll be going through everything, the whole process, the equipment you need, things I think that are really important to consider before even picking up your camera. Editing tips, lighting tips, examples of really cool backgrounds and textures. And I'll also be sharing my top tips for awesome product and lifestyle photography. Any questions please ask. 2. Why Good Product Photography Is So Important: If you sell art and products online, either through your own website, etsy or another platform. Having amazing photographs of your products is essential. Photos are the main connection that someone has to what you're offering. Buying art, creative products, and gifts is both an emotional and logical decision. I like to present my products and art in a way that clearly shows what I'm offering and also appeals to emotion. I'll go a bit more into how I do this later on in this class. If you value your art and your products, others will too. If you take the time to make your products and art look beautiful online, this increases their value to potential customers. Even if you have amazing products that look absolutely stunning in the flesh, if your photos are bad quality and make your product look terrible, this will put buyers off, how you present your products really means everything. You can apply this to in-person selling as well. So if you imagine going to a market and walking past a stunning market table, there's different levels on the table. Everything is presented beautifully. Some items are elevated to make them look more expensive. There's beautiful attention to detail all across the table. There's maybe some flowers and little bowl of sweets or something at the end of the table. You think the products are more valuable. The person values their products and it draws you in a little bit more compared to if you walk past the market. So whatever things just chucked on the table, there's no thought about it. There's dirt all over the table and little marks on things. And it's just presented in a way that makes the products not look very expensive or valuable and the person doesn't seem to care about what they're selling. It really makes a massive difference. 3. Recommended Equipment: If you're just starting out, you can just use your phone as most phones nowadays have decent cameras. I just use my iPhone to take all my photos for quite awhile and I'm even filming this video using my iPhone, which is why I can't show you a phone on the table here. You can still take beautiful photos that stand out just using your phone. And in this class, I'll be taking you through some tips on how to create awesome photographs. As it's not just about the camera that you use. You can have the most expensive camera. But if your composition, lighting, and editing is awful, it's not going to help your product stand out. If you do have the budget or highly recommend investing in a DSLR camera if you don't have one already, I won't lie. This has been a game changer for my business. The quality of the images is so much higher compared to the photos I can take with my iPhone eight, there is a learning curve. Obviously with DSLR cameras on the settings will probably be different for you than they are for me. It took a lot of trial and error to find the right settings for my camera to take these photos. So you'll need to have a play and see what works for your space lighting and your specific camera. You might be able to tell that this particular video is a little bit shaky because I've been using my tripod to actually film most of the videos during this class. But obviously, I want to show you my tripod. So if you have super steady hands, unlike me, you might not need one of these, but I do recommend getting a tripod as it makes things, make things a lot easier and you can pick one up fairly cheap, Although bit of a warning, you get what you pay for. This one cost me 15 to £20. It lasted me less than a year. And as you can see, the tops come up compared to this one which is a lot steady. I don't see it breaking anytime soon and it did cost me quite a bit more. So it's up to you whether you want to invest in it or not. This was absolutely, absolutely fine if you're just starting out. But yeah, try and invest in a better one if you can. Sometimes when you buy cheap, you buy twice. This tripod is a standard camera tripod. And then I also bought a separate tripod attachment. I can attach my phone to film and take photos as well. Onto a software editing helps enhance your photos. I think you should create photos for the edit as a badly taken photos with no regard to lighting or composition can't be sued with editing. I personally use Lightroom to edit my photos. There's so many other options out there, including free ones. I'll go a bit more into editing later in the class. 4. Important Things to Consider Before Taking Your Photos: I think there's a few things to consider before even picking up your camera to take photos. The first thing I feel is so important to get really clear First is your target audience. If you know who your target audience is, your photos will be more unique and personalized and effective because you will attract who you actually want and who you think is going to buy, what you're offering. Here are some examples of questions that can help you establish your target audience. How old are they? What are their interests, lifestyle, motivators and values? What is their personal style? Do they like bright and bold colors or pastel, muted shades and patterns, for example? Try to get your target audience as clear as possible as you can in your mind, as this will be the foundation of great product photos, knowing your target audience better and applying what you know they like to your photographs will help your target audience connect more with what you're offering and help you stand out in a crowded market. Another really important thing to consider is branding. Branding isn't just colors and a logo. It's how you make people feel. So before you take each photo, consider how you want the person to feel when they look at the photo. What emotions do you want to evoke? What mood or vibe you want for your photos? Think about your target audience and how you want them to feel about your brand. And finally, you want to aim for consistency so people can instantly recognize your products. Once you have your branding and your target audience established, it will be a lot easier to create consistent photos. Obviously, it doesn't mean that every single photo has to be the same. I recommend trying to create the same mood, editing the photos in a similar way, using similar colors or textures, or even creating consistent composition. 5. Lighting Tips: My number one top tip for amazing product photography is lighting. You've got to get the lighting right. Daylight is free. I personally think that daylight is the best lighting for product photography. The main issue with this is obviously you need to take your photos at the right time of day. So for me, this is between 11 AM and 3PM, and you also have to have a room, preferably with some big windows. You can obviously take photos outside, but this is obviously very weather dependent, especially if you live in the UK, you kinda know what that's going to be like. Things might blow away. You might get a little bits coming into the shot. It might start raining or something. It's not ideal, can be done if that's your only option. But obviously, you are restricted a little bit by the weather if you want to take your photos outside, or that might be your only option. I highly recommend taking your photos on a cloudy day. So direct sunlight doesn't make for the best photos that unless it's a stylistic choice, a cloudy day is best. And obviously on a day that's not too windy, so things aren't blowing away and you're not like constantly fighting with the wind. You can't obviously by daylight lamps, if you don't have a room to take photos in using natural lighting, daylight lamps are an extra investment and they can be quite pricey and bulky as well, some of them. So if you don't have a lot of space or big budget, it's not ideal. I just highly recommend using daylight is the easiest, it's free and it gives the best results in my opinion, but I'm just putting this option. And for those of you who definitely can't get natural lighting. Here's an example of a similar photo being taken in good and bad lighting. Can you notice the difference? The one on the left is taken in really poor lighting with the flash on. I don't recommend using a flash to take your product photos. Also don't rely on editing to try and get your photos perfect. You should aim to take great clear photos in good lighting and editing should be used to just enhance them. Another plus of using natural lighting is taking advantage of shadows. I've seen some amazing lifestyle photos for the products have these beautiful shadows over them and it creates this moody, atmospheric feel that really gives me a connection to the photo. This might work really well with your target audience and the mood and emotions you want to evoke through your photographs. Get creative and see if you can create some cool shadows in your photos without taking the focus away from your product or your art. 6. Backgrounds and Textures: Playing about with the background and textures in your photos can really help you attract your ideal audience and also help your products to stand out. You can get really creative with this and it doesn't have to be expensive. You can use things just lying around your house. My brand is quirky, a bold and colorful, and my art includes vivid blocks of color. So color paper works really well for my product photos. I got these large sheets of colored paper quite cheaply at my local art store. But if you can't get access to these, you can also lay lots of A4 sheets of colored paper onto a table. You can use random things that you have around your house, like satin material, a soft dressing gown. This is actually a dressing gown or even a fluffy rug. So these two things are actually coats. This is a fake fur coat and that's another coat that I have. I've used both of these to take photos in the past, wrapping paper or patterned tablecloth that can make a great background for flatly photography obviously makes sure that the tablecloth and wrapping paper is not copyrighted. So a wrapping paper like this, It's really simple. It should be absolutely fine. If you want to create rustic natural vibes, you can include wood textures as well. Think about what colors, textures, and patterns suit your brand. Always ask yourself, does this reflect the product and help it stand out? Does this suit my target audience and what they like? Feel free to get really creative with your background, but always keep the focus on the product. Your background should elevate the product, not distract attention away from it. 7. Product Photography Tips: As I mentioned earlier in this class, buying art, creative products, and gifts is both an emotional and a logical decision. In order to satisfy the logical decision-making part of the mind, It's really important that the buyer knows and understands exactly what they're buying. Leave the buyer with no doubt whatsoever in their mind about what you're offering and what they will get. You can do this by taking a range of photos from different angles and perspectives. It take a photo straight on, then from the side, then from the corner, if it has gone as zoom into the product so the details are super clear. Also take photos that clearly show the texture of the product. Doesn't have a glossy surface or a matte surface, reflective surface with some products. And if it's relevant, I like to place the product next to something to show the size. For example, with my stickers for one of the photos, I'll place a ruler next to the stickers so the buyer knows exactly how big the stickers and can actually visualize how big it is. 8. Lifestyle Photography Tips: So as well as appealing to the logical decision-making part of the brain, you also want to appeal to the emotional decision-making part of the brain. And this can be done through lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography is where you can get a little bit more creative. You can infuse more personality into your photos and also create more connection with your target audience. I'd like to create a fun, bold and colorful environment for my products to be in, for my photos. I consider what my target audience likes and what their style is, and include objects that reflect my brand, their style, and the five I want to create. My target audience happens to be people like me. I often ask myself what I like for me. I love to include plants, flowers, crystals, and affirmation cards. All of these suit my brand and my style. Your objects will be different according to your brand and target audience. Your product should always be the focus. So try to make sure that the surrounding objects enhance the product and aren't a distraction. One tip that works really well for me is when I've set up my lifestyle photo and I have all my surrounding objects setup, take one object away. Often, this can make a big difference. As I know for me, I always tend to put a little bit too much in the shot onto the rule of thirds. You may have already heard about this in photography or art. You don't need to do this with every photo, but it's just a really good tip. Try to avoid placing your product directly in the middle of the frame. Instead, imagine splitting or frame into three equal columns and three rows and place the product on the intersections of the horizontal and vertical lines. You can use the composition of your photos to draw the viewer's attention to your product and help it stand out in other ways to consider your use of negative space to bring attention back to your product. And you can also use lines to guide the viewers focus and also to point directly at your product. So I'm using this plant here to literally directly point to my bookmarks and these crystals here and just gently guiding the eye background, the bookmarks. I'm going to apply the rule of thirds for this particular product photo. I'm going to leave a bit of negative space here. Everything I've set up here is to try and keep the focus and the intention on the bookmarks. Another quick tip before I show you the finished photo is trying not to have anything coming off one of the corners. So whenever you're taking a photo, pay attention to the corners to make sure nothing is coming off directly off one of the corners because you might find that actually pointing away from your photo. And especially if you're on a platform like Etsy, where you're actually competing for attention, you might actually be pointing to another listing. And subconsciously somebody will click on the listing that their eyes are drawn to rather than yours. So just be a little bit wary of having anything in the corners of your shot kinda pointing away from your photo. Here is the finished product photo. I'm really trying to keep the focus on the bookmarks. I've used the rule of thirds. I've used a bit of negative space, and obviously the flowers are pointing directly at the bookmarks. And here is an example of a photo that I definitely wouldn't use. As you can see, the plant is going directly off the corner of the photo and pointing away from the photo. You can use a bit of your intuition with this tip and you don't need to apply every time. But if you're struggling with your composition, this tip might help. For some reason, odd numbers are more visually appealing than even numbers. So when you're creating your composition, think about including an odd number of objects along with your product. So for some reason here, Three Crystals just looks a little bit more satisfying than four. And also the total number of things that the viewer can see is five. So if for some reason that's just a bit more visually appealing, again, you don't need to use this every single photo that you take, user intuition a little bit, but if you're struggling, this tip can really help. My favorite lifestyle photo tip is to bring life into your photos. This could mean including a plant or flowers in the photos and animal, some nature, or even yourself or your hand holding the product, or someone wearing the bracelet you're selling, for example. Symmetry. The brain loves a little bit of symmetry and it makes for a really visually appealing and satisfying photo. Like with all of these tips, you don't need to do this with every single photo, but this can be quite fun and you can get really creative with this. Try to incorporate some symmetry and powder lines into your photos. And the final tip I have for awesome lifestyle photography is it gives your products some contexts. Help the potential buyer imagine what it'd be like owning your products by showing your product in contexts, for example, show an art print framed or on a wall. So close enjoy being worn if you're selling affirmation cards, for example, show them being used in displayed. If you're selling planners, stickers, show them in a planner. If you're selling bookmarks, show them in a book, you get the idea. 9. Editing Your Photos: On to the editing. So the editing of each photo shoot enhance and already amazing photo. Not save it. If the photo is already stunning, it clear. You've considered great composition. It's taken an awesome lighting than the editing of the photo. It should really be quite easy and fun. As I've mentioned previously in this class, I personally use Lightroom to edit my photos. There are many other options including free options, but this is just what I use. It costs 999 a month at the time of filming in 2022. As I have the app on my laptop, I think the app on the phone is a little bit cheaper at the moment. So here's how I edit my photos. I always avoid using filters on my photos as I want the colors to look as accurate as possible.