Heartmade Blog

7 Ways to Improve Your Product Photography without Buying New Equipment


To have a successful online creative business, you must have outstanding photos of your products.


Think about it. Your customers don’t get to pick up and hold the product, so you have to basically recreate that experience by taking great photos.


Many creative entrepreneurs complain that they can’t take good photos with the camera that they have, and that’s just bunch of bull. I used a simple point-and-shoot digital camera for years before recently upgrading, and I got compliments from multiple photographers on my pictures.


Before I had the money to spend on upgrading my camera equipment, I knew I had the option to take the best pictures possible with what I had. That meant I had to invest time in learning everything I could about my camera and different tips and techniques. You have that same option.


Now, before I go into the 7 ways you can improve your photography without buying new equipment, I just want to say that I’m not a professional photographer. So, I’m not going to give you any technical information—instead, I’m going to give you activities and tasks to do.


1. Read your camera manual.

It’s boring. I know. I just got a new camera, and it was painful to sit down and read through the manual. But, it’s vitally important that you know your camera. If you don’t know how to adjust the settings on your camera, you’re not utilizing your camera like you could be which means your pictures are probably suffering.


2. Spend the day playing with your camera.

An entire day taking pictures? Yep. That’s right. Photography is just like any other skill. The more you practice, the better you get. I suggest that you map out at least one day per month that you dedicate just to photography. If you set aside an entire day, then you’ll have more freedom to try different things and get creative.


3. Take the best photograph that you can for an item that starts with every letter of the alphabet.

For instance, you could take a picture of an apple for “A,” a button for “B” and a cat for “C.” This will increase your photography skills and get you away from photographing the same products over and over. And, it might help you think of new ideas on how you can photograph your products.


4. Get a photography book from your library and read one chapter each day before photographing your products.

This will give you new things to think about when you take your product photos, and it won’t cost you a thing.


5. Find new props for your photos.

A simple or complementary prop can make all the difference in creating lovely photos. Just remember that you don’t want to take away from your product or distract your customer with your props. You can find fun props at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Get creative.


6. Take 250 pictures of the same product.

Even professional photographers take tons of pictures to get just the right one.
Photograph the same product at different angles, with different backgrounds, and with different props. Adjust your camera settings as you go. You’ll definitely come away with some great photos—and you’ll be able to take what you learn and apply it to other products.


7. Read the free articles in the Etsy Seller Handbook on product photography.

As you read these free articles, jot down 10 things that you can implement to improve your photos and then do one each day for the next 10 days. Don’t just read these articles without practicing the stuff you learn, because you’ll be a lot more likely to remember it if you practice.


April Bowles-Olin


April Bowles-Olin helps creative entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality through her website, Blacksburg Belle, where she writes about marketing, blogging, and increasing business success. She uses her background in psychology to help creatives reach their goals, take charge of their inner critic, and build businesses around their dream lifestyles. April fell in love with art the day her mother handed her a box of brightly colored crayons, and believes that living your truth, creating daily, and loving fully leads to happiness. You can learn more about her at Blacksburg Belle or connect with her on twitter @blacksburgbelle.


Image Credit

via jasfitz

7 Responses to 7 Ways to Improve Your Product Photography without Buying New Equipment

  • karla diaz says:

    if you’re not photographer with a lot of skills, use sunlight. using the build-in flash on cameras usually never works for product photography… and depending on your lightbulbs, artificial lighting (unless its professional) will most likely give a weird tint to your pictures.

  • Victoria says:

    I love articles about product photography. Thank you for this April. Super info.

    I was a photo major and I still don’t feel the need to get technical. I use a point and shoot and I’m happy with my pics on etsy (reshooting my first pics is on my to-do list).

    2 more great tips that I always keep in mind are…light, light, light, & light. It effects everything in your photo color, contrast, and even focus. A little bit of artificial light to supplement your natural light can help fill in the shadows. You won’t know if you don’t try.

    Also, look, look, and look some more at other people’s photography and think about what you like and don’t like about it. What I pay particular attention to is point of view. What angle did he/she use to get that interesting pic? Then I practice.

    Thanks again April!

  • Meagan says:

    Great article! I think photos are one of those things that should constantly be on your to-do list to improve.

    Starting with great photos is key to online selling, but I think remembering that you can always tweek them with some sort of photo editing software takes the pressure off of taking perfect pictures in the first place. Not saying that you should strive to do your best, but having the option of cropping and adjusting the lighting is great.

    Picasa and Picnik are great photo editing programs…plus they’re free!

  • April says:

    Thanks to Karla, Victoria, and Meagan for adding their tips!

    I definitely agree that light makes or breaks the picture. I use always use natural light. And, I also love that I can make a good picture even better in Photoshop. That does take some of the pressure off.

    Thanks for sharing those free photo editing programs for people who don’t already have something, Meagan!

  • mayicarles says:

    I have a love + hate relationship with photography. I will never forget that C I got in my Photography 101 course in college (which for Mayi standards is like an F). Anyhoo, I love the letter of the alphabet exercise. So clever. I had never heard that tip before. Sometimes the least expected shots come out the best, so I’m all for experimentation + embracing craziness! Out to play with my camera!

  • Darlene says:

    Yes, for many we struggle, but this is all advice I can not hear enough. I got better at my pictures, now I want to get GOOD at my pictures. Thanks for the support and the love.

  • jenn says:

    i see a new camera in my near future and i will definitely be taking all your advice when it arrives. who doesn’t like playing with a new toy right?


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