Product Photography that Pops!

In this article, we are going to dive into the importance of taking product photos and give you some inspiration on how to make your products stand out.

First, we’ll discuss why taking photographs and videos of your products is becoming more and more important.

Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of social media platforms: Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube. Without question, these platforms do one thing best: they enable people to share lots and lots of beautiful visuals quickly and easily.

The power of beautiful visuals is that people will just share your product for you; if your images are a real hit they will populate throughout channels of the internet and drive traffic to your page effortlessly. Just Look at GoPro – the success of GoPro comes partially from the product, but mostly their success stems from the beautiful videos that were uploaded and shared all over Youtube.

Pinterest, one of the most successful media platforms, is also one of the top driving social media sites that convert traffic to sales. Pinterest has a vast number of categories, but all of those top-trending categories share the same thing in common: beautiful, aspirational photos. (Bonus: Pinterest will let you tag your photo with the URL leading straight to your shop, so consumers can buy right when they see your photograph!)

Photographing your 3D print is to breath life into your idea once again; and to give your design an opportunity to flourish on the internet.

Now, time to brainstorm.

If you’re a highly visual person, simply asking one of these questions may be enough inspiration to get you the visual you’ve been seeking. If that’s the case – then go recreate the photograph in your imagination!

For everyone else, let’s get started with our brainstorming session!

  • What is the product?
  • What are its obvious aesthetic qualities? Function, color, size etc.
  • What are some hidden functions or attributes that you find interesting? These are things that may be obvious to you, but not so obvious to the customers.
  • What inspired you?

It’s very helpful to consider these questions when setting the scene for your photography. Understanding the answers to the question and being able to communicate them clearly to your customers visually can really improve your sales this holiday season. As an example, take a look at the product photography of this Bike Planter, designed by community member Colleen Jordan.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.17.03 PM

Above, we have the static 3D render created by Shapeways Digital Preview. While 3D renders are good way to get an idea of your product in it’s initial phases, it’s ultimately not the best image to share to your potential buyers. The stark image gives no context to the functionality or of the product, and leaves me with more questions than anything else. This is where the point about hidden attributes comes into play.

In order for the customer to understand the full value of your design, it is helpful to be illustrative in the way you set your scene and tell the story. This particular product holds two separate functions: to hold plants and attaches to your bike.

With one single photo – all of my questions are answered! It’s like magic. Not only does this shot perfectly highlight the product, the consumer now understands the functionality, scale, and intention of the product they are considering purchasing.

Bonus points: Natural lighting and aspirational undertones makes me WANT to share this pic!

Well.. perhaps you don’t feel that your product has some hidden attribute or functionality that you want to show the world. That doesn’t mean you don’t have room to have some fun and spunk up your images!

Background textures (and colors!) are a great way to make your product pop. When considering background texture, or a surface for your product, try to imagine what would appeal to your customer base. If your products have a modern edge to them, you may want to look for a more sterile environment, perhaps all white or a clear acrylic type surface for your image. If you imagine your product in a rustic environment, seek out a piece of wood with some prominent grain texture to snap a pic of your design on.

Human element is a great way to bring your product to life and give the viewers a relatable presentation of your items scale. Using a model to photograph jewelry or wearables is a great way to get your customer to start day-dreaming about your pieces on themselves.  However, be careful when choosing a model that you are being inclusive not exclusive in how you want your product seen.  It is also ok just to show a hand or neckline so that the product is the focus and not the model.  If you want the photo to be a story about the relationship then focus on how the models are relating to one another and then have a secondary photo of your product as a close up.  This is when collages can be great!

Props are another exciting way to build visual balance in your photos, as well as make them more interesting and visually appealing. In this example, the product is the elusive eggcup, photographed with the tip of a fork and plate within the frame. Are we being sold a fork? No, definitely not. Does the prop make the visual more interesting? Yes, most definitely.  The key is for the prop to have a reason for being in the “story” of your visual.

Got some awesome 3D Printed Product shots you want to show off? Hashtag us with #ShapewaysHoliday for a chance to be featured in our holiday gift guide!

Want feedback on your Holiday product shots? Hit us up on our FORUMS and join the conversation to give and get direct feedback from our community members on how to improve your holiday shots!


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