Monday, July 13, 2009

Tips for Success: Photo Retakes

Selling online is difficult, especially if you're selling expensive items, like a leather bag. There's so much in a purse. The feel, the weight, the shape. We love to try things on, so slinging a big leather bag over our shoulders and taking a quick glance in the mirror is the way that we usually shop.

How can we online sellers provide that similar experience to a potential client?

Photographs. Lots of them.

Here are some easy tips taking great photos:

1. Use natural light. No light we can afford can match the brightness of the sun. Find a spot outside or in your studio with lots of natural light flooding through and stage your product photography there. In my old studio, I didn't have a lot of windows, so I used 3 really bright flood lights and it still required LOTS of photo editing to get the colors just right, and I still ended up getting some feedback about the color not matching the product description images. This situation has not come up at all since I moved to my new place which has a big window next to my work bench. It's great! Very minimal (if ANY) photo editing needed before the pictures make it to the shop.

2. Model your product. I buy a lot of jewelry online, and as much as I love numbers to show the dimensions of the item, the thing I look for most is a model of the product, whether it's on a human ear, mannequin ear, or on the edge of a coffee mug. Photographing a product on a well-known source for dimensions allows a potential customer see the actual proportion of the product.

3. Sell the stage. Set the mood. You walk into IKEA and what do you see? A simple couch on sale. But it's not just a couch in the middle of a blank room, it's a couch in the middle of a beautifully (and strategically decorated) living room. Handbags sell the same way. And so do lots of accessories. Model your product in an outfit that matches the product, because afterall, you're not just selling the product, you're selling the whole package.

Here's an example of how I changed my photography setting and had this bag go from no hearts, no treasuries, and very few views to 100+ hearts, 3200+ views, and 4 Front Pages!


Now if only this bag would sell... ;)

Have any other ideas that I missed? Got a success story about one of your products?? Share them in the comments! We're all always trying to find ways to improve our sales, so please feel free to provide lots of feedback. :)


  1. Thanks for the great tips on taking better pictures!!

  2. I think this is a great post, Jenny. Your example of how a fine picture that gives you a basic idea of what something is compared to a great photo that really makes you feel how that item can be used in somebody's life is a great one. I have felt stumped photographing my stained glass work. The suncatchers are easier to photograph since I can just hang them in the natural light and they do their job, but finding ways to really capture my lamps or nightlights in their natural setting has been more challenging. Your post has me brainstorming for ways to be more imaginative in my photographs. Thanks for the great insights!

  3. Great Blog! The difference in the before and after pics is remarkable! I also like the natural light best, but run into a problem with reflections off the shiny metal.

  4. oh man..thank you very much...its like spoon feeding to Noobs like me...I have got this website i am working on..and i needed product photographs...i couldnt afford a professional btw .I think they are good enough for my website...Soon i will get DSLR ..right now i am using PNS