Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part III

By phydeaux • Updated on 01/19/2011

Hi everyone! Im Brenda from Phydeaux Designs, with another Craft Venture post about product photography! Last week, we talked about photography equipment. This week, let’s talk about things to avoid with your product photos.

You’ve made the most wonderful, fantastic widget on Planet Earth. Perhaps even the known Universe. Not only are your socks knocked off by your widget, but your mom thinks it’s stunning! You lovingly photograph your widget and list it for sale in your online shop, then proceed to refresh your screen for the next few hours, knowing that you will retire early with your sales from this glorious widget.

And then … less than a handful of views.

So you take another look at your fantastic photos. What can possibly be the problem? After all, your first photo is incredible! Your widget is lovingly nestled on your shag carpeting, which you vacuumed just last month!

Rule #1:  unless you’re selling a floor cushion or vacuum cleaner, avoid photographing your products on the floor.

You really like Seller Susie’s widget photos, so you made your photos look exactly like hers. Well … she sells diamond widgets, photographed on someone’s beautifully manicured hands. You’re morally opposed to both diamonds and manicures. Anyway, your widgets are so beautiful, who’s going to notice your torn cuticles and broken fingernails!

Rules #2 & 3:  develop your own individual photo style and include only clean and well groomed body parts in your photos.

And your lighting was so perfect! Your camera’s flash makes your widget so pretty!

Rule #4:  please … no flash.

Maybe you should just pull out your sure fire trick and photograph your beloved kitty wearing your widget. Who can resist his sweet face? With the right angle, no one will notice the stitches from his surgery!

Rule #5:  unless your product is for pets, avoid using your pets as your models. And if your product is for animals, be sure to include a disclaimer that the product in the photograph is not the product that your customers will receive!

I’m exaggerating! However, I have seen all of the above in product photos (not the kitty stitches, thankfully!). On nearly every venue offering handmade and vintage goods and supplies, you will find photos that range from merely mediocre to truly unfortunate. Luckily, you will also find many photos from good to truly outstanding.

Of course, there are exceptions to any rule. However, if you’re not seeing the traffic you want for your shop, take a closer look at your photos. Look at every size of your photos that your customers are able to see, from thumbnail to highest level of zoom. Since color values vary between monitors, check your photos on multiple computers, including your mobile phone browser. Ask photographers for feedback. Moreover, act on that feedback!

Next week, we’ll focus on rules to live by:  best practices and styling ideas.

What other avoidance “rules” do you recommend? Which do you wish you’d known about when you first started as a seller/small business owner? Do you disagree with any of these? Changing your perspective to that of a customer, does your mind change about any of these?

Images:  Echeveria Succulent by Monkeys Always Look; Fresh Floral Ring by Oh Hello FriendCustom Tea Dress by sohomode

8 comments | Click here to reply

Detail! Nothing worse than a photo that you can’t at least enlarge to see details. Even better if there are several close-up photos showing detail. Also, I am trying to figure out a classy scale object to show the size of the product. Pennies work because everyone knows exactly how big they are, but I wish there was something prettier. (came over by way of One Pretty Thing)

Katy David

[…] from Phydeaux Designs, with another post about product photography!  Last week, we talked about what to avoid with your photos.  Today, we’re talking about some styling ideas to make your photos come to life. […]

paper n stitch – Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part IV - A daily dose of handmade, design, and style inspiration

Hi Sarah! Thank you so much – I’m really glad you’re enjoying this series! I hear pretty evenly that folks prefer live models and then that folks prefer not to see handmade items on live items (particularly if one of a kind). I use a dress form myself, but really love hand knits on a real life model, if photographed well!

Fancythatcookies, I love ememem’s bear brooches too! Adorable! Be sure to read the descriptions that they write – a magical little story with each. 🙂


I love the bear! so cute!


Hi there,
I really enjoyed this post! All 5 rules rang true with me. And I’m excited for the next post in the series too, because I find that I struggle with styling ideas for my items. Do you think that buyers like seeing products on models, or do you think buyers prefer seeing items on mannequins?

In the end, I styled my knitwear on a person ( if you are curious). But I know that many people use mannequins instead. I’m so curious to hear your opinion on this. I’ll stay tuned! 🙂


Lauren, sohomade’s dresses are so beautiful! I apologize for the temptation!

Jeanelle, that’s a great tip – textured neutrals are a great way to create a cohesive look for your shop!


I think it also always help to get a nice neutral background for your products, I use a burlap fabric because the neutral beige color makes my cards pop-out, plus I like the nice texture behind it.


Umm, yeah, that floral dress is amazing! Why did you have to post such an amazing picture?!? Must subdue temptation to buy custom floral dress before springtime . . . .

Lauren Davis
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