How to Create Awesome Product Photos for Less Than $20

The first thing people look at when visiting your store is the photos. If your product photos create a good first impression, they’ll stick around to browse and read more about your products. But if your photos suck, visitors are out.

The images on your site are a representation of your product. If they’re low quality, you’ll be giving the impression that your products are low quality. So it’s vital to create polished, professional images.

product photography

But you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create great photos. Here’s how to do it for less than $20.

Consider the Light

Photography literally means “writing with light.” Well lit product photos always perform better than dark, poorly exposed photos.

But you don’t need a bunch of fancy lights. You just need diffused sunlight AKA shade.

If you’re shooting inside, set up near a bright window. You can pin a white sheet or paper over the window if the light is too harsh.

product photography

To even out the light coming from the window side, set up a piece of white posterboard opposite the window. That will reflect the light back onto your product, softening and balancing it.

If you’re shooting outside, do it in the shade. You can use the same reflector trick to eliminate shadows.

Consider the Camera

So many people think you have to have a big, fancy, expensive camera to take good product photos. Nope. Not true.

Your phone will work just fine. And if you have a newer phone, it might even work better than a professional camera!

product photography

I tell you this as someone who owns several professional cameras. Some of the phones that have been released in the last couple of years have extremely advanced photo software. That means the photos that come out of my phone look better than the photos that come out of my $1,500 DSLR.

Professional cameras have their place. But they really aren’t necessary for most product photos.

Set up a Background

The focus of your product photos is the products, duh. So you need to get rid of all distracting elements to create a clean background. Think about how Amazon does it – well lit products against a plain, white background.

product photography

You can use a white sheet or a roll of white kraft paper to get the same effect. Pin it to a wall, then push a table up to it. Drape the background over the table, creating a seamless transition between the vertical wall and horizontal table.

Shoot All Angles

Customers can’t pick up and examine your products, so you want to replicate that experience through your images. Make sure to take a variety of shots showing your product from different angles.

Pro tips:

+ If you need better light, make your own light tent out of a plastic storage container with white paper taped to it.

+ Use tape to hold your products in place.

+ For clothing, use a mannequin, hanger or an artistic flatlay.

+ For necklaces, cut two notches in the top of a piece of cardboard and use it as a bust.

+ For earrings, string up a piece of fishing line to hang them from.

Get Some Lifestyle Shots

People buy based on emotion. And it’s way easier to make someone feel an emotion when you have photos of people emoting.

lifestyle photography

Plus, humans are naturally drawn to faces. Showing shiny, happy people using your products is a great way to grab attention and make people feel good about your products.

So grab some friends, give them your products and take a bunch of photos of them actively engaging with the products.

Pro tips:

+ Do your photo shoot in the hour before sunset for the best light (photographers call it the golden hour).

+ Use friends or models that match your buyer persona.

+ Get lots of angles – close-ups, distant shots, high and low vantage points, etc.

Don’t Forget Post-Processing

If you get your lighting right, the photos that come straight out of your camera will look okay. But editing them will make them look excellent.

The Snapseed app is great for editing right on your phone. If you’d rather edit on your computer, check out Canva.

The main things to focus on are brightness and contrast. You may also need to do some color correction by adjusting the image tint or color balance.


Images are the first thing visitors notice on your store, and high quality images translate to high quality products.

Since you can create great photos so inexpensively, why wouldn’t you?

About the Author

Gennifer is the Marketing Manager at ByteStand, where she lives and breathes customer service education while sipping coffee in her pajamas.

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