Product Photography for Ecommerce
Outstanding photos are essential to any handmade website and social media account…but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to implement into your online presence.
The key to getting sales for your skin care line is showing your audience exactly what they will be getting and how to use it.
This is easier than ever between taking well-lit studio shots for your ecommerce listings, sharing lifestyle photos on social media accounts, and filming tutorials and product demos for YouTube or other video-friendly platforms.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. This is at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Is buying a DSLR worth it for my ecommerce shop?
Depends on your long-term goals!
If having a shop like Etsy or Shopify is simply a hobby that you enjoy tinkering with, it may not be worth the price tag to buy a DSLR if funds are limited. There are countless phone photography courses that can teach you how to make the most of your phone’s camera.
If you are wanting to turn your skin care shop into a career, the control and details a DSLR can capture is worth the beautiful advertising visuals you’ll be able to create.
Best studio lighting setup:
Studio lighting helps create the best product pictures when placed at a 45° angle on either side of your photo subject. For best results, photograph in a completely dark room with lights turned to 5500K (pure white light).
For suggestions on how to use different types of lighting setups for natural skin care products, please visit our blog post at Natural Product Photography (without Natural Light).
How to choose a camera tripod:
Camera tripods are not one-size-fits all, and it is likely that during your ecommerce career that you’ll need to acquire a few different types.
If taking flat lay photos and images of your products being used (lifestyle photos), a 2-in-1 tripod (see below) is your best bet.
If the majority of your photos are portrait shots or similar short distances within a photo tent, a smaller desktop tripod would be a better investment.
Choose your tripod depending on the majority of the photo types you will take in the beginning and add to your camera accessory collection as your business grows.
Desktop Portable Tripod • Best Tripod for Studio Product Photos
Most product photography is within a close range and requires crisp, clear edges for professional quality. This look is achieved with the use of a small tripod that allows the camera to sit directly on the same surface as the light box.
Getting up close to your products with the help of a camera stand like this one allows for your products to be enlarged for advertisements or for customers to use the zoom feature on your e-commerce product listing online.
This compact design allows for eye-level studio shots (white background with lots of light), group shots (showing multiple products together), and packaging shots.
Flat Lay Tripod • Best Tripod for Flat Lay and Lifestyle Product Photos
Flat lay photography is a very popular composition choice for smaller personal care products and is ideal for keeping shots composed the same. This aesthetic requires that the camera be directly above the layout, which is not possible with standard tripods.
This Neewer model has a rotatable center column design to position your camera directly over surface and has a super heavy load capacity so that the tripod doesn’t tip over with the weight of a large camera.
A fantastic 2-in-1 camera tripod, as it is a standard height to help capture lifestyle photos that are highly recommended for greater conversions on your e-commerce website.
Photo Light Box • Best Studio Shot Accessory
A small light box like this one is all you need to create a vivid white background for your products (which is highly recommended for natural skin care product listings). Light box photography creates soft shadows or can eliminate shadows completely for easy background removal.
Adding a collapsible light tent to your toolkit allows you to have a portable photo studio if you need to shoot in various locations or to set up a mini photo studio in small space that can be put away after each session.
Tabletop Lighting Kit • Best Portable Photo Tent Lighting
How I wish these existed when I first started out – SO much easier to use than the big fluorescent light stands I had on each side of my photo box at the beginning of my own business journey.
These little lights offer three different colors (cool, warm, and natural light) and are perfect for tabletop product photography.
Incredibly easy to set up and store – these are actually small enough that you could leave a table set up in a garage or basement for a permanent photo studio station.
Softbox Lighting Kit • Best Flat Lay and Lifestyle Photo Equipment
Not all product photography compositions can fit inside a light box, and maintaining consistent and professional lighting is a must for a high-converting website and product line. Adding a softbox lighting kit to your studio will give you the flexibility you need to take lifestyle photos, larger flat lay spreads, and even to create a set to film videos of you making product for marketing purposes.
Photography lighting equipment can get a bit involved, so purchasing in a kit like this makes it easy to make sure you have all the required accessories. Though it looks complex, this is a fantastic option for any level of photographer, beginner to professional.
LED Ring Light • Best Tutorial and Selfie Equipment
Light rings are different than standard photography lights, as you put your camera (phone or DSLR) in the middle of the circle light so that the person/item is evenly lit. This reduces shadows for viewers to see detail more easily – ideal for close up demos and video.
Show your customers a tutorial on how to apply your DIY skin care or cosmetic products, record an unboxing example, or take a video of yourself making their products from scratch – all fantastic content that will generate the coveted like/know/trust factor!
Photo Shoot Accessories
Product Photo Backdrop • Double-sided, Wipe Clean
If you ever thought you needed a *real* farm table or marbletop counter to take beautiful product photos, you’re in for a treat!
These small, waterproof backdrops are perfectly sized for skin care products and props. They can easily fit in a photo tent or be used with softbox lighting and come in a wide variety of background choices.
Woodgrain, brick, and marble (many versions of each) that fit with most target markets and branding. SO much bang for your buck.
Herb Sampler • Reusable Photo Props
This little variety pack of common herbs and botanicals that are used in skin care formulations has been a part of my photo prop inventory for over a decade.
If you store them well, you will ALWAYS have props on hand without having to run to the store.
A fantastic investment for a wee little price tag. Highly recommend!!!
Mini Glass Bowls • Reusable Photo Props
Beautiful, simple bowls to use in your skin care product photos. Show the variety of carrier oils used to make your product, the clays and exfoliants, and the greasy butters that you don’t want to touch your fabric backdrop.
Click on the photo of the bowls themselves to see wonderful examples of how these can be used in your own product photography. They work equally well with flat lay shots, detail shots, and lifestyle photos.
A basic photo shoot must-have.
Pastry Brush Set • Photo Accessory
A strange thing to see on a product photography resource page, I’ll admit. But they’re key to a great little photo hack.
If you are using fruit in any of your photos (and I’m willing to bet you use citrus essential oils or dried rinds in some of your recipes!) – these little guys will come to your rescue.
Cut fruit tends to dry out during longer photo shoots and ends up looking dull. Use a pastry brush and apply corn syrup to the cut part of the fruit to make it look freshly cut and juicy again – as well as add a bit of shine to your composition. Badda bing badda boom.
Photo Editors and Graphic Design
PicMonkey • Photo Editor and Graphic Design Maker
I think I have the smallest list of monthly fees of any other maker/blogger I know. One that I don’t EVER see myself giving up is my PicMonkey subscription. This is where I create every product listing photo, every Instagram post, every Pinterest pin, every featured blog image, every banner for my various sites, every everything.
In your subscription, you get a background remover, stock photos you can’t find anywhere else, super awesome templates, cloud storage, tutorials, and an app so you can also edit from your phone. It is without a doubt the backbone for my skin care business in an industry that demands modern, attractive designs.
Kapwing • Content Editor for Images, Videos, and GIFs
Kapwing is a completely free online tool (it does have a paid option, but I don’t use it) that allows you to edit visual content and download it without any watermarks.
While there are TONS of features on this site, I personally love using it for my Instagram videos. You can upload a video from your phone and then resize it, add frames, captions, text overaly, and even cut out or trim certain parts that you don’t need/want.
I know there are several programs out there that do this, but I love the simplicity of this site, as well as the easy-to-follow tutorial posts they have available (with inspiring examples). Such a wonderful discovery for my business!
Get on the List!
Join our community of handmade skin care entrepreneurs and get business ideas, tips & resources to boost your online sales and presence.