Photo Staging: How To Take Product Photos that Get You Noticed

Photo staging can breathe life into your product shots, adding both movement and intimacy.  When you take product photos in real life settings, customers can better imagine using, wearing or showing off your product.  Establishing a relationship between buyer and product, and, more importantly, between buyer and you, can do wonders for your sales.  Keep them somewhat anonymous, not too personal, so they appeal to the largest audience.

Well-staged product shots can also get you noticed.  When I'm looking through Flickr or Etsy to find products to feature on my blog or photos to favorite, I ALWAYS notice when photo staging has been done well.  The photo has personality and catches my eye.  If you can take product photos that look like they could appear in magazines and on blogs, they will draw an audience and show you are serious about your art & business.

Here are some examples of products and different ways of photo staging:

Bags, Handbags, Totes:

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  • Take product photos of a purse or tote filled with some regular, everyday objects.
  • A purse placed next to the door demonstrates what it would look like if she just walked in and set her purse down.
  • Set a coin purse on a counter (that looks you're out at a shop) and have a few coins spilling out.
  • Use a friend to model carrying your tote down the street with some produce peeking out the top
  • Show the purse’s or bag’s utility: Is it a diaper bag?  Is it a beach bag?  A laptop bag?  All of these would call for certain props.

Photo Staging for Stationery, Cards, Journals:

  • Place one of your cards or piece of stationery on your desk, set a pen nearby.  Maybe a cup of tea?
  • You could take product photos of a friend sitting under a tree in the park or in a coffee shop, writing in one of your journals.
  • Place a journal on a night stand and put a pen and some reading glasses on top.
  • Jot a small note on a piece of your stationery, or, better yet, photograph someone writing at a desk (an over-the-shoulder shot).

Photo Staging for Napkins, Place mats, Tablecloths, Dishtowels:

  • Set an attractive table with any of these products.  Don’t forget to choose complementary dish colors, if you don't have anything that really complements, you can always use flowers.
  • For close-ups of napkins, it is best to use silverware.
  • Take product photos of dishtowels hanging from an oven door and looking well-loved.
  • Also, if  you can, get shots of someone drying your dishes, or having a dinner party with friends using your napkins and placements.

Photo Staging for Dishes and Ceramics:

  • Make a place setting with your dish(es) as the focal point. Pick complementary colors, but nothing that distracts.
  • Small dishes to be used as “catch-alls,” could be photographed with coins, rings and other tidbits.
  • Flowers in a vase you made makes you piece all the more appealing.
  • Take product photos showing a model friend sipping tea or coffee out of one of your mugs.
  • Have a dinner party and serve the food on your platter, or dish up something yummy out of a one of your bowls.
  • Soap dishes can be photographed with neutral, beautiful soap--even sudsy!

Photo Staging for Art and Decorations:

  • Photograph your artwork on the wall, no matter the content!
  • Vintage fabric bunting displayed over a doorway, shows how the piece can be used.
  • Hanging your baby mobile from the ceiling or (over a crib, if you have one) helps a buyer see how playful it is.
  • The beautiful piece of sculpture shows well on a your desk or bookshelf, show me where you would put it in your home
  • An embroidered throw pillow or quilt look lovely on a couch (one without pet hair that is).

These are just a few of the MANY ideas to get started with photo staging.  Mainly, you should just think about the function of your product.  If you were buying what you're selling, where would you put it in your home?  What would you do with it once you had it?  Think about these things when you're taking your pictures, and you will end up with some great product shots!

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