How to Plan Your Own Product Photo-Shoot

HOW TO How to plan a product photo shoot, product photography, taking your own product photos, product photography for handmade business, Creative business photography tips, PLAN A PRODUCT PHOTO SHOOT

If you take your own product photos, making a plan to hold you own product photo shoot-day will save you a ton of time.

As part of my monthly routine I have a day set aside each month to take all of the photos I need for that month for my website, blog, Instagram or Pinterest. Batching together all of the photos that I need to take for each month saves a ton of time and also helps me get ahead with my blog and social media content planning. Plus, it’s fun to make a day of it!

With product photography, it pays off even more to hold a photo shoot day or morning. If you make multiple versions of the same product, you can photograph them all in one set up which helps to make your online shop look consistent. Also, if you’re going to the effort of creating a lifestyle scene to photograph your products in, batching is the way forward.

Here are 5 ways to prep before taking your product photos

1) Scout out your location

Even if you’re shooting in your own home, have a scout round. Have a look at which rooms are brightest. Work out which ways the windows face, if you’re shooting on a bright day you’ll be better shooting product photos near a north facing window where the light isn't too harsh or directly hitting your scene. Find a space where the light is good and you've got plenty of room to take your photos.

2) Plan which products you’re going to shoot

If you have a set of products that can be photographed in the same set-up then group them together. You can then have 3 different set ups on the day that you can shoot one after the other for different product ranges. Just remember to be realistic about how much you can get done in a day, this is something I think i'll always struggle with so I'm speaking from experience!

Notebook and pencils on a rustic wooden table with a cup of tea - planning a photo shoot

3) Sketch out how you could shoot your products

In a notebook, draw out how you plan to compose your product shots. If you’re feeling a bit stuck, have a look on my product photography Pinterest board for ideas. Create your own board for inspiration so that you have some ideas to bounce off, you can always make is a private board if you want to keep it for your eyes only.

Try to get a mixture of lifestyle shots and as well as shots of your product on a plain background. For example, a necklace being worn and also flat on a wooden board where you can get a good close up. Or your cushion on an armchair with a blanket and a cup of tea in a living room as well as well as on it’s own on a white backdrop (you can use a big sheet of paper of foam board for this).

Lifestyle shots help your customers see how they could style your product themselves as well as give them an idea of scale where as the product shots on a plain background are useful for seeing the details with no distractions. If you can get good photos of your products on a white background these are also useful for any press coverage you want to pitch for.

4) Make a list of props

If you have a look around your house there are probably loads of things you could use as props. Depending on your product things like blankets, books, vases, flowers and glass bottles could make great props. Also, have a look around your house for things and surfaces you could use as backdrops. Get all of your props together the night before your shoot so that you’re not hunting around for props on the day.

Planning a product photography shoot for your creative business

4) Prep your kit

Get your photography kit ready. Pull together your tripod and any lenses you want to use. If you have reflectors dig them out as well. I use a couple of white foam boards as reflectors, I can lean them up against something and point them at whatever I’m photographing and it makes a massive difference, they’re great for reducing any shadows.

Charge your camera battery and clear your SD card – get some spares of both if you think you might need them, it’s better to have a back up than have to finish early and missing out on getting some of the product shots you wanted.

5) Prep your space

Prep the area where you’re going to take your product photos on the day. Clear lots of space because once you get your products and props out things are going to get untidy! Try to create as much light in the space as possible, you could hang white sheets up or hook up your curtains to let as much light in as possible.

This might feel a bit unnecessary but believe me, when you wake up in the morning knowing that you’ve got everything set up and ready to go it makes a massive difference. If you’re shooting during the short days of the winter months, by setting up the night before you can also make the most of the limited hours of daylight.


I hope these tips help you save some time with taking your product shots. Here's the short version as a reminder:

  1. Pick out a date and sketch out your shots 
  2. Scout out your location and gather your products and props
  3. Set up the night before and get your kit ready 
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