By Sarah Gilbert Here’s a little burst of inspiration if you’re in need of some new and interesting product photo ideas. I know the feeling well, so I’ve created a bitesize read to help you break out of your Instagram photography rut.
When working with clients on their social media, I always advise a professional photography shoot so they have a highly polished range of photos that showcase their product or service, as well as themselves and some behind-the-scenes shots.
But for those Insta posts where you need to capture an image yourself, I hope this read tickles your creative buds and gets you reaching for your camera (in whatever form that may be). I’ve put together 10 categories to help you on your way to a varied and attractive Instagram feed that aims to convert an interested follower into to a customer (so don’t forget to tag your products if you have an online shop). Here we go...
1) FLATLAY IT This carefully laid out spread continues to appear in Instagram feeds with increased creativity and styling. The trick to pulling it off is picking one theme to work around. It could be a colour, a product or a lifestyle category (e.g. travel, shopping, mornings etc.). Arrange objects on the floor or a table and photograph from above. Below, you can see two examples by photographer and stylist @minabarrio, ordered (left) and more relaxed (right).
Flatlays are a great way to tell a story visually and give more detail surrounding the featured product or the lifestyle being portrayed. It's not just products that can use flatlays, services can adopt this format to express a message. It's a great way to humanise what you're doing.
Bring in some extra props to enhance the mood you’re creating and don’t forget to tag any brands you include to help increase your exposure to new audiences.
2) STACKLAY IT
Not as popular as its sister, the Flatlay, I love this more relaxed stack-up of assorted products. Or the same product stacked up high! (tees, books etc.)
3) HOLD IT
There’s something appealing about a photo that includes a pair of hands holding it up for all to see. It showcases the product beautifully, especially if it’s against a white background, providing some often much-needed breathing space on your grid.
Including the personal touch of a hand, helps potential customers imagine it in their own hands and adds that all-important human element. 4) MAKE IT Illustrating the creative process behind making a product, planning an event or taking a business idea forward, highlights the time, passion and skill involved. It helps the customer feel part of the brand's overall story and understand why it's likely to be priced higher than a high street equivalent.
@emmabenzart @hannahcsceramics @freckledfennell The use of hands is a simple but effective way of saying "this product has been carefully made by hand by a human" and this can be powerful! 5) SHOWCASE IT This category is dedicated to beautiful lifestyle imagery. If you're lucky enough to have a magazine-worthy home, then fantastic, use it. Alternatively, like the majority of us, simply use an area within your home (or garden) that has lots of natural light and background space. Using your product as the centrepiece, create a scene that
illustrates how it fits into your home and lifestyle (include a cup of tea, light a candle in-situ etc).
Lifestyle shots really help the customer feel a part of the scene and visualise themselves wearing the dress, using the lamp or sipping from the mug. Pick your main focus, create a natural backdrop and add a few props that support the scene.
@emmaalington 6) VARY IT Get creative with the simple product shot and experiment with different angles. Don't be afraid to crop the image so you aren't showing the full product each time.
7) HUMANISE IT Incorporating a human element is so important on Instagram because people love buying from people, especially if they feel they know them (it goes back to the all important know, like, trust factor).
You can get quite creative with your photos here and not necessarily show your whole face every time. Surround yourself with your product (wear it) and show it off!
If you prefer not always being the centre of attention, you can also use relaxed shots of customers wearing or using your products that they've sent in (encourage your customers to tag you with their new purchase).
8) BACKDROP IT
Find a background that fits your branding and complements your products (think colours and texture). This could be a photoboard, coloured card, fabric, wrapping/wallpaper or a work surface, wall or flooring at home. Simply weave it in every 5-6 images on your feed to give some cohesion.
And don't forget to show negative space and let it breathe. You can also overlay copy to this space to share a key message (see next point ~ Write It).
9) WRITE IT
If you happen to be good at calligraphy, like Diana Schroder-Bode below, why not letter brush your own quote.
10) STAMP IT The final category I've included is all about finding and sharing a signature look. Do you have a particular background, or prop, or way you like to arrange your product that's unique to you? A pair of scissors, a pretty front door or an outside setting perhaps? Stamp your personal mark on it throughout your photos to help create a more cohesive feed and one your followers instantly recognise as yours.
Now you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention with a range of photos, don't forget to share your story with engaging captions that add value. And of course, be careful when selecting those hashtags to help you get discovered. If you've found this useful, you might enjoy my forthcoming online Instagram workshops: Part 1 - The Science behind Instagram Includes key marketing principles, content strategy, hashtags, Instagram stories and much more. (Tues 23 June - SOLD OUT, Thurs 25 June - SOLD OUT and Friday 3rd July 2020 12.30pm - 2.00pm) Part 2 - The Art of Instagram Includes smartphone photo and video tips and storytelling (Fri 10 & Tues 14 July) About the author, Sarah Gilbert:
Sarah completed a BA (Hons) degree in Marketing before working in London marketing agencies for nearly a decade. She then retrained to be a teacher and enjoyed 5 years in education before setting up her own small business, Box of Smiles, a personalised gift box service. Her need for a community to connect, learn and support was one of the drivers behind the concept of The Creative Duck, where Sarah is a co-founder, along with Nicola and Joey.
Sarah now combines her marketing and teaching expertise to provide social media and marketing workshops, as well as supporting brands with on-going and project-based assignments.