Product Photography: For Beginners

Product Photography

The Shinn LIfe Shop on Etsy is officially one month old today! We’ve had an amazing outpouring of love and encouragement for our handmade business and I could not ask for a better opening month! To celebrate, I wanted to do a post on what I’ve learned by trial and error on product photography. I know some of you out there are thinking about opening up your own shop online, and I’m here to help. 

I had read several articles on how white background photos were the absolute best for photographing products. But I was skeptical. Surely the photos would look boring? Lackluster? BlasĂ©? 

I am here to say that I stand corrected.

Not only does the white give off an airy, bright, cheery perspective but it makes all of the colors pop. Add a white backdrop + natural lighting and you’ve got some dreamy photography at your fingertips with the most important thing: true to color photography. 

Don’t believe me? Take a look…

Product Photography 1

Even better, what if I told you this setup cost me less than $10?  Lean closer, because I’m about to tell you my secrets. 

Secret #1: 

1 White Foam Poster Board

You know, the ones you used to have to do school projects on every time you made a presentation? I think we spent a whopping $3. 

Secret #2:

1 $3.99 Mini Bouquet (1 Rose, 1 Sprig of Baby’s Breath).

I’m pretty sure you can find these anywhere – your local supermarket or the mini mart down the street. Go grab one. You can even pretend it’s for your significant other if need be. Killing two birds with one stone? That’s what I’m here for. 

 Secret #3:

Some awesome natural lighting. Make sure you’re by a large window and LET THAT SUNSHINE IN. 

Secret #4: 

A chair. Because well, if you’re short like me, you’re going to need a boost. 

Got all that? Good. Here’s a look at my snazzy setup: 

Set Up 1

Shooting with a Nikon D70 and 50mm lens. 

Okay, first off – notice the huge amount of natural light I have coming in? I’m winging this during my son’s nap time so it was probably about 10:30am. Second, notice that I don’t have my indoor lights on. They tend to cause reflections or blown out parts in my photos so I turned those suckers off. You can play with this in your own space since yours will be slightly different than mine. 

Set Up 2

Here’s a closer view so you can see my placement. Now notice that I’m not placing the the items straight on with the camera. For example, all of the jewelry boxes are slightly tiled at various angles. When you line everything up with the camera, it looks forced. Try playing with the layout a bit and see what you like. 

Layout 3

Now to get the shot from overhead I had to stand on a chair and point down at the table. Don’t be afraid to move your body when you’re shooting! Take a few shots at different angles and heights until you determine what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes I have to take a shot 100 times before I figure out the “sweet spot”. 

Also, please don’t fall off the chair. I may or may not have done that. More than once. 

A look at the final product… 

Final Product

Oh yeah. 

Product Photo 2

Product Photo 3

Now, are there fancier ways to do this? Absolutely. They usually involve some kind of softbox setup. I’m not quite there yet, talent wise, but I think the good ol’ poster board and natural light are doing pretty well for me. 

I’m so happy with the results that I’m going to be re-photographing my listing photos with the white backdrop. I just LOVE the way they came out! 

Speaking of which, if you haven’t checked out our shop yet I’d love for you to stop by: 

Etsy Shop

Also, you can find us on:


Our Facebook and Instagram pages will keep you up to date on what we’re up to, exclusive deals and sneak peeks at new color releases.



Product Photography

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