Photographing your Handmade Work
Written By Sophie.
Making sure that you get high-quality, professional photos of your handmade work is perhaps the most important marketing technique for your creative business. Photographs of what you make are not only essential for advertising, but they are the first thing that your customers will see when flicking through your social media or looking up your products online. No matter how beautiful or innovative the items you make are, if the photographs don’t reflect this then you are doing your work a huge disservice.
The best part is, taking beautiful and Instagram ready photographs of your work can be easy and fuss free by sticking to a few basic rules.
High quality images
Using natural light
A complimentary background
Shooting from the right angle
Using the perfect extras or additions.
1. High Quality – First and foremost all images you take must be of a high-quality and nowadays this can easily be achieved with an iPhone camera. To avoid quality being reduced at the editing stages use programmes such as Photoshop to alter the the brightness/saturation etc of your images. If you must use Instagram to edit photos try not to over filter them (this can cause the quality of your photos to go down.
2. Natural Light – If possible take your photographs using natural light, ideally under a big window. This will avoid the colours of your items appearing different to what they are in real life.
3. A Complimentary Background – When shooting product photographs its best to do so on a plain white background – this works universally across the board for most products and won’t visually disrupt the colours or textures of your work. However, another option is to use a neutral, textured or patterned background that works with your overall brand image. Selecting a rustic wooden background looks great with handmade items! Just remember to not choose anything too fussy or distracting.
4. The right angle – Shooting product shots from the directly overhead work extremely well and keep the images looking crisp and professional. Alternatively, you can work with a backdrop and take the photo front on (perhaps using a tripod to steady and level your image).
5. Extras/additions – It is often nice to add small additional props to make your photos more visually stimulating. These can work in your favour as it makes the viewers eye bounce around the image, capturing their attention for longer. Only select props that compliment your handmade work and make sense within the context of the image. Don’t forget to keep your handmade items to star of the show and use props that won’t distract the viewer too much.
Single Product Photography
Below are some examples of single product shots that could be used to advertise handmade work during the festive/winter season. All photos are taken using an iPhone camera, shot directly from above and were later edited in photoshop.
Like what you see? – Why not discover the beautiful work of Amy Wilkinson based in Studio 1 here at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.
Like what you see? – Why not discover the beautiful work of Kaper based in Studio 9 here at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.
Like what you see? – Why not discover the beautiful work of Amy Wilkinson – based in Studio 1 here at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.
Like what you see? Why not check out the beautiful work of Wonderhaus UK based in Studio 9 here at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.
The Perfect Flat Lay
A great way to showcase several of your handmade products at once is a flat lay. Most often found on your favourite makers Instagram feed – flat lays almost allow you to incorporate a narrative into your photography and can work for each season, occasion or new product launch. To keep flat lays visually appealing to your customers, experiment with negative space (keep some areas free from clutter to balance out busier areas of the photo) and stick to 2 or 3 unifying colours. Flat lays work great with textured backgrounds and added extras such as tools you have used to create the work, off cuts, raw materials and complimentary additions.
Top Tip – Flat lays can be used to tell a story of how you make your work, a great way to share a little bit of your story and gift your handmade items with personality.
Another great source for product photography tips is Folksy.
Have you found this useful? Don’t forget to join our MCDC Network Facebook Community to connect with local makers and join the conversation.