Guest Post by Laura of The Badass BusinessMum
Taking product photographs for Pinterest is a little bit different from taking photographs for your shop. Your shop photography is all about showing your potential customers the details of your products, showing them all the things they’d be able to touch and smell and hear if they were looking at it in person.
Pinterest Product Photography is about bringing attention to your product in a way that fits with your buyers’ aspirations. Pinterest is used by people to plan things; it’s a visual to-do list and virtual inspiration board all rolled into one.
Make your Product Photographs tell an Enticing Story
Think about the lifestyle your buyers are aspiring to. Imagine these two scenarios for a second…
A jar of handmade bath scrub in a glass jar, beautiful label with a handwritten font, tied on with twine for that hand finished touch of luxury, sat on the side of a white bath. Nice picture hey, nicely shows off the product, it’s in a natural setting, technically everything is right.
Now, imagine the same jar of Bath scrub sat on the same bath, but this time in the background is a sea of candles, the light is dim, there’s a glass of champagne amongst the candles. The bath scrub is pin sharp, the background blurred enough to not overwhelm, but sharp enough to know what it is.
Which image tells the nicest story? Which one says, “Yes! I want that experience!”?
Use the photographs you take for Pinterest to sell the lifestyle, not the product.
And that’s the point of product photography for Pinterest. You want as many people as possible to re-pin your photographs. And every single time they do, that’s a link back to your shop.
So, I’ve put together a 4-step process to help you tell your Brand story with your product photography.
Step 1 // Get Inspired
If you’re not sure where to start, start on Pinterest! Create yourself a secret board and start collecting images that inspire you. Do a search for the type of products you sell, or start with popular brands in your industry to see what people are pinning.
Take note of what type of backgrounds are popular, common recurring props, textures, themes and styling and think about how you could use some of these elements in your photographs.
Use the words you associate with your brand when searching (eg; vintage, modern, luxury, minimalist etc) to see how other shop owners have chosen to represent their brands when photographing your type of products.
Step 2 // Choose your Props
You might have noticed that popular product photography on Pinterest is more than simply products on a plain white background. Popular pins tell a story; they inspire; they’re pinned because the person that pinned them wants to live in the World that your product is in.
They don’t want to live in a World of plain white backgrounds; they want to live in a World of beautiful Interiors, happy people, food that looks as gorgeous as it tastes, handmade Beauty products in luxurious bathrooms and stationary that’s used by people with flowing handwriting and posh fountain pens!
The moral of the story? Choose your props and backgrounds wisely. Your props and backgrounds need to:
Be on Brand
Choose props that work with your brand.
This includes things like the colours and patterns (or plainness) of your backgrounds, the amount of props you use and the atmosphere you invoke.
As an example, if you sell rustic style handmade wedding invitations, you might choose a faded wood background to photograph your invites on. But if you sell modern, minimalist invites you might choose a polished plain background.
Complement your Product
Your props need to compliment your product, not overwhelm it.
Use your props in the background, to put your products on or up against to display them at their best and to show your products ‘in use’ (eg; include a pen with stationary products, photograph art hanging on a wall, a canvas shopping bag with shopping in it)
Use other products in your range as props to create a cohesive, branded photograph.
If you sell clothing or jewellery, use a model to display it at its’ best. There is nothing that says ‘buy this gorgeous outfit’ like putting it on a gorgeous model whose life is obviously made so much better by her choice of clothing.
Are your products for the luxury or value market? Make sure your props match your product.
Step 3 // Take & Edit your Photographs
This section could be a whole blog post by itself (in fact, it could be a whole blog by itself), so I’m just going to touch on the most important points and if you need to delve deeper into the more technical aspects of photography, I’ve compiled a great Pinterest Board full of tips: Product Photography Tips & Inspiration.
My top tips for taking photographs
- Pay attention to lighting. Natural light is best, so if you can get next to a lovely, big window, that’s a bonus. If you can’t, use white lights to avoid colour casts and adjust the white balance on your camera to compensate for artificial light.
- Blurred backgrounds are brilliant for product photographs. To make a blurred background, you need to create a shallow depth of field (so your camera focuses only on a small area and blurs everything else). You need to be able to adjust the aperture on your camera to a low f-number (which is called a wide aperture – yep, confuses me too!) to create this effect.
- Use a tripod or the timer on your camera to avoid camera shake & make sure your photos are pin-sharp.
- Take lots of photos! Move your props around, change locations, take photos from different angles, experiment with different lighting. What looks great on your camera might not look so great at full size, and vice versa! So give yourself loads of options.
- Don’t let a ‘lack of equipment’ stop you! There are tonnes of resources on Pinterest that show you how to create backgrounds, DIY lights reflectors and diffusers, everyday item prop ideas and how to take photographs with your phone. You don’t need a DSLR & thousands of dollars of ‘stuff’ to take brilliant photographs!
My top tips for editing photographs
- Make your Pinterest images vertical, the recommended size is a ratio of between 1:3.5 – 2:3, with a lot of people saying the ‘best’ size is 736px x 1102px.
- Learn how to make simple edits such as removing colour casts and changing the brightness and contrast. Super simple changes can make a big difference to your final photographs.
- You don’t need to know how to use Photoshop to edit your photographs. There are several highly rated free options such as Pixlr and Pic Monkey.
- Create collages. Collages are a brilliant way of creating vertical pins from horizontal photographs, showing different angles of your product and showing some of the processes that went into creating it.
Step 4 // Create your Pins
The final step is to create your pins. You can create pins in two ways:
- By pinning direct from a site
- By uploading an image to Pinterest and adding the link manually
As I said, the aim with Pinterest is to get the maximum number of re-pins you can and to do that I’d recommend creating a selection of different pins for each product you want to promote. Select between 3-5 different photographs that highlight the different benefits of your product and might appeal to different buyers. As a starting point consider a selection of the following:
- A collage that shows the design / manufacturing procedure (especially if your products are handmade or individually designed)
- A styled flat lay
- Your product being used
- Your product in situ / on display
- A collage showing different views / different parts
- Seasonal variations
Include the different variations on your shop site or just use them on Pinterest, whichever best suits your site design.
The title and description on your pin are important for getting buyers to click, not just re-pin or like it. Use your keywords in both the title and description to greatly increase the chance of your pin being shown in a pinners’ Smart Feed and in Pinterest Search.
Use your description to continue to sell the lifestyle, or solution to a problem that your product provides. Mention your Ideal Customer, so they know you made this product just for them. And lastly add a call to action, show your customers know what you want them to do. (eg; Visit our shop to find out more about….)
Make getting Product Rich Pins part of your Pinterest marketing strategy too. Rich Pins are special types of pins that display more information, take up more space and are therefore more pinnable thnon-Richich Pins. A big benefit of Product Rich Pins is the inclusion of real time pricing and stock availability.
I really hope this post has given you some actionable ideas of how to tell your story with your product photographs. The best advice I can give you is to experiment and have fun. And use product photography as a great excuse to buy gorgeous props!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura is Head Twin Wrangler & Business Owner at The Badass BusinessMum, where she helps new Bloggers & Business Owners develop their Brands, master Pinterest, get organised & create compelling Content. Before she started The Badass BusinessMum, she ran an Etsy shop selling her Hand Drawn Prints & Cards, which helped develop her love of Product Photography.