When I was first getting into leather craft, I never considered that product photography would be such an important part of it. Learning how to take product photos for Instagram and all your social media accounts as well as on your website is vital to selling your products online. If you aren’t putting much effort into your photography, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
What Camera Should I Use?
When talking about photography with people, I often get asked about which camera is best for taking product pictures. Honestly, cell phone cameras have come a long way. If you don’t have access to a nice camera and can’t afford one, just use your phone.
Yes, a proper camera with a sharp lens is going to improve your photography (once you learn to use it), but if it’s mainly for your social media accounts, a phone is sufficient.
If you are fortunate enough to have access to a camera, what you gain is the ability to use different lenses to get different effects and looks, a bit sharper of an image, and lots of customization not available to you in a phone app.
When I started learning how to take product photos for Instagram, I was just using my cell phone. I found a great deal on a used camera and upgraded. Then two years later I finally bought a nice new camera using profits from my business I had saved. Don’t be in a hurry to upgrade your camera setup. Spend the money on your leather tools first. Photography gear is expensive and has a steep learning curve all on its own.
Planning is the Key to Taking Better Product Photos
Set out with a goal in mind. Really think about what you want your picture to look like. Think about the product you want to highlight and then find a few items that would complement it. I love a lot of contrast of colours and textures so I often include my different EDC gear like knives, pens, coins, handkerchiefs, etc. But, you can really use anything. I also have a bag of coffee beans and old bear cans, mugs, and I’ve even been known to brew tea and put it in a whisky glass to imitate a glass of Scotch.
Photo props could be a video in itself. They’re so important to creating an interesting photo. I’ve actually talked about photo props before in this video.
This is simply the stuff you include in your frame when you’re taking your picture. How you compose your shot. Just like how you pick different textures and colours to make your shot interesting, you want to make your composition interesting by trying to arrange everything in an eye catching way. Try getting different angles and don’t be afraid to re-arrange stuff as you go.
Photo Editing is Your Secret Weapon
Ideally you want to nail your lighting and composition and have the perfect picture straight out of the camera. Unfortunately, this never happens. Posting those pictures straight to Instagram are likely going to yield poor results.
Instead, you should take a look at programs like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed to help edit your photos a bit. In either of these programs, you can make a lot of minor adjustments to tune your photo into something that will stop people from scrolling past.
There are a ton of great tutorials for photo editing on YouTube as well. I know it’s a bit daunting trying to learn it, but it is well worth your time.