The 2 Big Product Photography Mistakes You're Making and How to Fix Them

May 10, 2021
handmade product photography canada

Guest post by Imelda Jimenez-LaMar

Imelda said goodbye to her corporate office manager job to create a business in teaching photography. As a product photography coach, she’s on a mission to teach handmade sellers the tips and tricks they need to create product photos that sell their products online.


The 2 Big Product Photography Mistakes You're Making and How to Fix Them

by Imelda Jimenez-LaMar


Did you know that according to an Etsy survey 90% of shoppers say the image quality of a product influences their decision to buy?

Yep, your product photos are SUPER important to buyers which makes sense when you’re selling a product online. 

Your photos are the first thing customers see before they even read anything about what you’re selling and if you’re not putting in the time and effort to make sure you’re showing your product in the best light, you could be losing customers and sales.

If you’re new to selling online or you’re looking to update your photos, it’s never too late to improve your product photos. 

So let’s go over two areas that can turn amateur product photos into professional-looking product photos.


1. Backgrounds

Two mistakes I often see handmade sellers make when it comes to selecting their backgrounds for their product photos are using a distracting background and using a background that blends in with the actual product.


When you photograph your products, you want your product to be the star of the photo which means your background needs to be in the background and not take away from what you’re selling. If your customer looks at your product photo and instead of focusing on your product starts wondering what’s on your sofa or what brand of coffee machine you own, then you need to change your background. 



If you’re using a background that has similar colors to your actual product that is making it hard to see your product, you need to pick a background that will make your product pop more. Having a little contrast between the colors of your product and the background can really help.

Some great options for product backgrounds are neutral color backgrounds like light gray tones or light browns. I like them a lot because they’re warm and can feel more inviting than the standard white background. But of course, white is always a great go-to option because it’s clean, not distracting and almost every product out there looks great against a white background.


Photo courtesy: Sunset Shutterbug


If you’re interested in some other background options, wood, marble, and tile are also popular, but make sure you’re selecting ones that aren’t too busy against your products. 


2. Lighting

Lighting is hands down probably the most challenging aspect of product photography for handmade sellers. It’s an area I struggled with A LOT when I was an Etsy seller.

Natural lighting is a great option because it’s free, it’s easily accessible, and can create really beautiful photos.

When using natural light, here are some tips to keep in mind:


Overcast days are great

Don’t like dealing with harsh shadows in your product photos? Wait until it’s an overcast day! Overcast days are ideal for those times you want even lighting on your product and you want soft shadows. Can’t wait for an overcast day to take your photos? Then find a shady spot to take your product photos. Whether it’s a patio, an umbrella, or a shady tree. If photographing indoors, a north-facing window is perfect for even, indirect lighting.

Photograph your products in the same lighting conditions

When you photograph your product under different lighting conditions (sunny day, overcast day, etc.), it can alter the look of your product, especially the colors. One type of lighting may make your product look pink and in another, appear brown. Seeing this may leave a customer wondering, “What’s the actual color of the product?? Which color is correct?” and potentially lose a sale. So make sure that you stick with the same lighting for your product photos to create consistency and accurately represent the color of your products to customers.

Don’t use flash

I usually recommend never to use flash when it comes to your product photos. Why? Flash is generally not flattering and can create hard shadows and bright highlights that don't look good. If your camera is saying to use flash, it means you need to move to a space that has more light. Find a bright spot to photograph your products instead and say no to flash!


When it comes to product photography, it can be overwhelming to figure what to do to improve your photos. I know because I struggled with it too when I was an Etsy seller. But when I improved my background and lighting, it completely changed the look of my product photos. So don’t give up and keep practicing. The payoff will be worth it for your business!



You can learn more about Imelda and work with her at Or, grab her free PDF download How to create product photos that sell your handmade products online here:


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