My Product Photo Taking and Styling Process + Tips
In this casual post I want to share with you my process in taking product photos, and in this specific occasion, it's for food.
If you don't follow me on Instagram, umm...you should be! I post probably once or twice a week - not too often, but it's more behind the scenes type things that don't necessarily have a set place on this site. For awhile, I've been speaking of a project that I've been undergoing. In Episode #3 of my 10 Minute Tea Talk series where we chat about backwards planning, I also talk a teeny bit about this project.
Earlier in August, a passion project of mine that I started back in 2014 tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Times up! Let's get this thing moving!", and I then set out on a 3.5 week process of putting together the remaining bits of this bakery business I had been wanting to do years ago. There were a lot of little things to take care of (and let's be honest, I'm still working on bits and bops here and there, because: launch before you are ready), but my favorite, and possibly most important part, was the photography.
Sure, getting the recipes just right was important too, but it doesn't matter how good they taste if people can't see how good they look to want to buy them! Remember that! Your photos are what gets people's eyes on your product, then it's your job to keep them there and then make a sale.
This process that I go through can be applied to many of your own products, it's not just for food.
Ok, so let's begin. I started out with just one pie. Nothing added or sprinkled or propped. Just starting with a clean slate. I like to do it this way then build as I go on.
A Clean Slate
I think every picture can have it's purpose, but this one was just a bit too plain for me. What this can be good for is using a lot of text around it. Perhaps I can share with you an example of that another time! Please remind me ;)
A Dash Here, A Sprinkle There
It's now time to add a bit of dimension into this otherwise boring picture from before. I simply incorporated some ingredients into the frame. Let's be real, baking is a messy business, so why not show the process. I have bits of the crumble topping and cinnamon strewn about, in what I aimed to be a somewhat balanced shot. What's a baking shot without a rolling pin?! That is tucked away in the upper left hand corner to frame the shot.
For you: Try to incorporate the different elements that make up your product to add more interest, to what can be a plain photo.
Angles and Dimension
As hot as flat lays are, I love a good angled shot. It was time to incorporate just a bit more dimension and tools used. You can recognize that familiar rolling pin, but what helps scaffold this photo are the silver mason jar rings the pie is carefully propped in. The pie isn't sitting flush in the lid but rather angled and hanging out from it. This photo tells us a couple of things. The rough size the pies are as well as focus in on a specific thing by literally elevating it.
For you: Play around with the angles. Can you incorporate any tools that you use to make your product?
Repeat, Build and Composition
As we confirmed earlier, baking is a messy business. I didn't care to be too sanitized and OCD about this. I really ended up liking the layers and textures it added to the pictures to build upon the ingredients and tools used.
Whether that was tools like this spatula, or the cut outs for the pie crust leaves...
to adding toppings and changing the composition to create more interest...
Or sprinkled powered sugar and a shot of a strawberry dipped in milk chocolate, for ideas on what you can do with these when you get them home.
For you: How can you add a bit more to your photos to tell a story, give ideas, or entice a potential customer?
Scale and Embrace the Chaos
I added in a fork for scale, because for things like this it's important to know how big the item is, so incorporating more elements to help with this is key. But this also demonstrates the flakey crust and the perfect bite sized portions. Show it in action!
A different angle, oh and a little glimpse of my hand because #human #handmade. Showing a bit of yourself or the maker is always a nice add.
And a whole hand shot for even more scale. Show the scale people!
When You've Added Enough - Take Away
I like to end my shoots by winding down. Winding down a bit of everything as my energy begins to wind down. After shot 312 (or some crazy number), when my energy dwindles, I like to simplify again. It's like in yoga when you have the cool down period. The chaos has minimized at this point, the essence - or mess - is still there, but the focus doesn't change.
For you: Keep photographing as you near what you may feel is the end of your shoot. Capture those lifestylesque moments.
I hope it helped you to see my process of taking and simple styling my product photos, and that my "For you" tips are actionable for you to consider on your next shoot.
Which shot or part is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. And, from your favorite how will you add this process in with your current one?
BONUS: If you live in Arizona, you can order these pies! Yeah! Pretty cool, huh? Check out the site here