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5 Common Product Photography Mistakes

20th Sep 2023

Product Photography is pretty important, and key to selling online. In Etsy’s customer research, shoppers have told them that product photos are critical to their purchase decision. In fact, it’s their most important factor in deciding to buy, even more important than the postage cost, customer reviews, or even the price of the item itself.


I like to think having quality product photographs of your products is critical to success in the world of online shopping (may be a tiny bit biased but still!) A bad photo could prevent you from making a sale, no matter how amazing your product is. Think about the last time you were shopping online and came across a bad product photo.

Maybe the image was dark or out of focus. (“What exactly is this item?” you wondered.) Maybe you couldn’t see the design or you weren’t sure if the colour was right. Maybe you couldn’t even tell what was for sale. Odds are, you didn’t press ‘Add to cart’ on that item.

Do you feel like your product photos aren’t competing well online? Do you feel the need to step up your photography game in order to attract your ideal customer? If so, keep reading!

Whether it’s a blurry close-up or an overexposed image, subpar product photography can have a negative impact on your online sales. Here are five of the most common photography mistakes online sellers make…


Product Photography for Nia Ski greetings cards and stationery  Product Photography for Nia Ski greetings cards and stationery



1. Low lighting

When you don’t have enough light, your camera often tries to compensate for this by lengthening the exposure, which can lead to out of focus photos. Shoppers want to be able to see what they’re buying so low lighting can put them off and make your gorgeous products hard to see.


2. Using flash

When you’re shooting your products indoors, it’s tempting to use your camera’s built-in flash to brighten things up. But using flash can create unflattering glares, cause shadows, and distort colours. Using manual camera settings can help play with lighting, or invest in some portable, affordable photography studio lighting.


3. Out of focus shots

Out-of-focus images come across as unprofessional and can leave the buyer uncertain about the quality of the item they’re considering. If shoppers can’t clearly see your item, they probably won’t buy it. Take your time to get that in focus shot!



Product Photography for Beach House Botanics Soy Candles Small Business Photoshoot


4. Too much clutter

Photographing your product as it would be used, and more in a lifestyle setting, can help your customers envision your product working for them. However, if you use too many unrelated props in your photo, it may confuse potential customers about what exactly you’re selling. Try to incorporate styling that fits your brand and what you’re trying to sell.


5. Not enough details

If you want to make the sale, customers need to be able to quickly gauge the size and condition of products they’re thinking about buying. When they can’t tell from your photos how big the item is, what colour it is, or other important details, it can lead to lost sales – or those pesky returns we never like! 

Unlike shopping in your local shop, or independent boutique, when you browse online, you can’t pick up the product. There’s no touch or feel, so your customer is basing buying off of your photos. So think detail close up shots, and make sure your products have key areas captured!



Product Photography for Riptide Trading Wedding Boxes Small Business Photography  Product Photography for Riptide Trading Wedding Boxes Small Business Photography



So, how do you fix all these common product photography mistakes? 

If capturing beautiful photos of your products is difficult for you, you’re not alone. Many creative entrepreneurs struggle with product photography, particularly when they’re first starting out. In surveys, 40% of new shop owners on Etsy have mentioned that product photography is very difficult for them. But if you want to sell online, it isn’t a skill you can afford to ignore. That’s where I come in!

Whether you need photos for Etsy, Not on the Highstreet, online marketplaces, your website or social media – I can help broaden engagement with beautiful product photos that show how blooming wonderful your products really are!

With previous valuable experience in a leading edge studio, whose clients included many Not On The High Street and Etsy makers and creators, I’ve gone on to create a photography studio with cutting edge styling and editing, offering core lifestyle and product photography packages. Let’s work together.

If you can’t quite afford a photoshoot right now but still want to up your product photography game, take a look at my step-by-step downloadable product photography guide on how to take quality product photos yourself from home. I’ve decided to share some of the skills, photography tips, and photoshoot advice creating this handy guide to support you with your own product photography so you can pitch in and take gorgeous product photos yourself before your shoot with me.

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