Why Product Photography Matters
If you sell your art and handmade items online or use online tools to promote offline sales of your work, photography is one of the most important elements of success. I'm not just saying that as a photographer; consider the perspective of a potential buyer. If they can't hold your work in their hand, they need images to make them feel like they've seen it in person, multiple angles and uses. Your job is to help them visualize how it would fit into their lives.
Staging & Composition
When staging product photos, pick a background that allows the piece to really stand out. In many cases, pure white is best, and that will allow the images to blend nicely into a website with the same color pages. Of course, pure black will offset some handmade items better, and creative colors or textures can be eye catching. The important thing is that your background doesn't distract from your work or make it hard to perceive important details.
Once you've determined your backdrop, you next need to pick any props or staging. Be sure you only add things that contribute to the message – which is making your handmade work desirable. It must be clear what you're selling, so don't use any staging that overpowers your products. How you arrange these added elements can help; for example, your art should be the focus. As a photographer, I use props to create an impression, so they need to be secondary and often out of focus or partially cropped out of the frame so there is no question about the main subject. Props also need to tell a story, whether that's how you made your work or how it should be used, that's up to you and the medium. Bath and beauty goods are commonly staged with their ingredients so you know how it's made. 2D artwork can be depicted hanging in a home to show how it looks with furniture. Jewelry and clothing should be shown on a model so you can imagine wearing it, but remember that it's a good idea to keep the people anonymous. You want buyers to be able to imagine themselves in that person's place. The options are endless, and you're welcome to be creative, but be purposeful.
To help your buyers feel like they really know the product without seeing it in person, you should include a variety of shots, and make sure they are consistent. Show your shoppers the front, back, side, top, with props, without props, compared to other sizes or colors. Product listings on the same page should go together. It may seem like a lot of repetition to photograph all of your work on the same backdrop and with similar props, but that's the best way to represent yourself professionally. While you may not shoot all of your items at the same time, plan to use a consistent setup or at least break things out by series or category with their own look and feel.