DIY product photography for ecommerce

Lizzie Davey
minute read
Written By
Lizzie Davey
July 5, 2022

When you're trying to grow an ecommerce brand, the competition is fierce. Stand-out photos give you the edge you need. A whopping 90% of shoppers say photo quality is the most important factor in an online sale, while good product photos can increase your conversion rates by 30%.

In this day-and-age, there’s no excuse for a poorly shot product photo. Most of us (if not all) have access to those handy little devices in our pockets that can take photos on par with the professionals (just take a look at these photos that were all shot on an iPhone 😱).

That, and high-quality cameras are more affordable than ever.

However, it’s not just about getting your photos on point. The sheer volume of photos means you need to consider how you’ll store and deploy them, otherwise you risk losing them in the forgotten depths of your shared drives.

Time to say goodbye to dodgy lighting, weird angles, and the hours spent searching through your images. Time for some simple, fun, and effective DIY product photography.

Do you need to hire a professional photographer?

There’s certainly a time and place for professional photography - especially if you’ve got loads of new products or want to set up a photo shoot. In fact, we've got a photography brief template that'll give you an idea of what a professional photographer might need. ⬇️


But, if you’ve got a little less to spend, you don’t always need to go all out. A decent smartphone, good lighting, and a clean space can be more than enough.

6 tips for creating eye-catching DIY product photography

Let’s get snappy with these top tips.

1. Have a clear story and vision

First things first, what do you actually want to get from your product shots? Sure, you want customers to see your products and instantly buy (that’s the dream, right?), but having a clear vision will set you off on the right path and help align with the rest of your brand values. As Alice from RJ Living (one of our customers) advises:

“Having a clear story and vision for what you want your shots to look like is key to creating great product assets. We have a plan before every shoot about the theme and mood behind a shoot, which customers we are trying to engage with for each look and how the images are going to be used across print and digital. Not only does this making shooting a lot less stressful but it means we’ve covered all our bases for how we want to roll out our product assets.”

RL Living are all about promoting the Australian lifestyle which is laid back and relaxed. And their product photography reflects that.


2. Check your lighting

When it comes to the actual photoshoot, lighting is so important. Get it wrong, and you can seriously diminish the perceived value of your product.

There are two different types of lighting you can use in your shots:

  • Natural lighting: use the glorious sun to light up your photos, whether it’s streaming in through a window or outdoors

  • Artificial lighting: manipulate shadows and mood by using lamps, torches, and other forms of lighting to cast a glow on your products

Bloom and wild product lighting

Bloom & Wild uses a mixture of lighting and a sheet backdrop to create shadows over their products.

3. Bring your product to life

75% of online shoppers said product photos were influential in whether they decided to buy the product or not.

Makes sense, when you don’t get to touch, smell, or taste a product on the web. To do this, you can show your product in its natural habitat (like a blender being used in a kitchen or a real-life doggo wearing your latest puppy jumper).

As well as static photos, capture action shots that show how your product can be used and what it looks like in real life.

For Kelly Wynne (one of Dash's customers), these types of images are super-important.

Lifestyle images are important for ecommerce brands

Their brand is all about promoting empowerment in women through accessories. And, as an online-only brand, creating that digital experience to convey this message takes extra work. As Kaitlyn, the brand’s VP of Brand, Demand and Community says:

“The biggest thing for us is not just photography, but use-case photography. We can make it look like a really pretty bag, but if it's two-dimensional, and you can't see it in life, it's hard to picture.”

4. Consider your backdrop

The last thing you want is your beautiful product shown against a grotty backdrop of clutter. You could have the best-looking blender, ballet bump, or baseball bat in the world but if shoppers get distracted by what’s going on in the back, you could lose out on a few sales.

Here are some ideas to get your DIY product photography backdrop on point:

  • Use a white background - One of the most common product shots are ones that sit against a totally white background. Not only do white backgrounds make your products pop, but they make editing easier. Say you want to remove the background of your image and place it against a different background or image in Photoshop or Canva —a white background will ensure you can the cleanest edges. To create a white background, try using a lightbox or —if you’re trying to save budget —a white poster or sheet with minimal shadows.

  • Use a “sweep”: use a curved piece of paper or card that eliminates harsh horizon lines to give your background a smooth, cohesive feel

  • Blur it out: use a “bokeh” style or the portrait feature on your phone to blur the background and bring the focus to your product

  • Use an AI background tool: There are lots of online tools designed to help you create better product photography. For example, Kittl has a nifty background generator that lets you swap our your backgrounds using AI. 

  • Crop it tight: minimise the amount of background in a shot by cropping it tight to your product

Little Moons

Little Moons uses a plain, colourful background to make the products stand out.

5. Shoot a variety of angles

It’s tempting to snap your product from the front, but consider using a number of angles to show it in all its glory. Remember, shoppers can’t get their hands on it through a screen, so recreate the in-person experience by giving them multiple viewpoints from every angle.

Also think about showing your product close up, from a distance, and every which way in between. Most phones let you do a 360-degree photo too so that shoppers can explore it in its entirety.


Ruggable shows its products from a variety of angles, including from above, close up, and what it would look like in situ.

6. Don’t over-edit 👀

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “it’s fiiiine, I’ll fix it in edits”, stop right now. While edits can enhance a photo, you don’t want to rely on them to make your product photos pop.

If possible, get close to perfect pics from the start and simply tweak them a little in edits. Maybe tone up the contrast or increase the exposure slightly. Avoid using heavy filters if you can (shoppers can spot these a mile off and it can hamper their trust in you).

How to organise your photos?

It’s not just product photography for ecommerce that’s important (or even the editing). It’s also about how you store and organise your snaps when you don’t have a professional to do it for you. If you take a ton of amazing pics but they get lost in your shared drives, you’re just throwing away the money that was originally invested.

That’s where a trusty digital asset management (DAM) tool like Dash (that’s us) comes in handy.

If you’ve not heard of digital asset management before, take a look at Barney’s post which breaks down the ways DAM can help ecommerce brands get the most out of their images. You and your team can use Dash to store, organise and share all of your gorgeous product shots, all from a single location. It’ll eliminate the endless back-and-forth in email threads and the hours searching through Google Drive and/or DropBox.

If you’re interested to try it for yourself, sign up for a free 14-day trial below. ✨

Lizzie Davey

Lizzie Davey writes for ecommerce and marketing SaaS brands. She helps create B2B content strategies and is the Founder of Copy Revival and Freelance Magic.

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Lizzie Davey

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