Get your product photographs magazine ready

how to take product shots magazines can use

Every week at Folksy we receive press requests from journalists and editors, but the products don’t always make it into the magazines. So what is it they are looking for, and how can you get your product shots magazine-worthy? We asked Amanda Robinson, editor of Handmade Weddings magazine, to tell us what she needs from a product shot… 

Your images are your shop window so you need to make sure they show off your creations to the best of their ability. Not everyone can afford professional photography or has the expertise, but there are a few simple steps you can take to make your images the ones editors will pick for their features…

Cut outs
If a magazine asks you for a ‘cut out’ that means they want a photograph of the product against a pure white background, so it can be placed easily on to a white page. Normally this means digitally cutting out the product from the original photo background. 

Flatshots
Flatshot images – product shots photographed on a white background and directly overhead – are a simple and practical option. The white will reflect light back on to your product, making it is easier for the art editor to cut out around the outline. And check for shadows!

Lifestyle shots
Don’t worry about sending editors lifestyle shots of your products unless you are confident about what you are doing, or you have professional product shots, or the editor asks for them. A badly styled, cluttered shot where you have to play ‘find the product’ is not the best advert for your product.

Keep it simple!
You want your product to give the ‘wow’ factor for the reader/viewer/potential purchaser. So you want to send the clearest, most direct message possible, with the biggest immediate impact.

Have a choice of shots ready
Shoot items both singly and as a group, and from different angles. The more picture choices you can send through to an editor, the better.

Shoot in daylight
Natural light is always best. Artificial light can make your products look yellow.

Resolution
Your images have to be high resolution – 300dpi (dots per inch) – to be able to be reproduced in print. Low resolution works for website use, but even if an image looks clear on a webpage, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily suitable for print. Set your camera to best or top quality shots every time and save the images as the highest possible resolution.

Finally, make sure your photos are:

  • at least 1000 x 1000 pixels
  • 300 dpi
  • no larger than 8MB
  • measure at least 10cm x 10cm

cut-out shot, photography tips, handmade
A cut-out shot: typically a photograph which has been edited so the product sits against a pure white background (Pictured: Glitter Heart Cake Toppers by Pelemele) 

flatshot, product shot tips, magazines, handmade
A flatshot: a product photographed from overhead on a plain background (Pictured: You Are My Cup Of Tea card by The Little Bird Press)

lifestyle shot, product photography tips, A lifestyle shot: the product is photographed in a styled setting (Pictured: Paper Rose by Pink & Green)

 

(Featured image: Piccadilly Necklace by Kate Hasted)

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Amanda Robinson is a freelance editor, craft, travel and lifestyle writer, and editor of Handmade Weddings magazine 

 

 

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5 Comments

  • March 12, 2014

    Julie

    Always great to get tips about photography but I do get confused! A previous blog said not to shoot against a white background so I’ve been trying to work out what sort of backgrounds would work well with my products, but then this one says white backgrounds are best!

    • March 12, 2014

      Camilla

      Hi Julie. You’re right, in the post about getting featured on Folksy we said that it’s hard for us to use photographs taken against a pure white background (cut-out shots), and we’ve found good lifestyle shots appeal to Folksy buyers. But as we said in that post too, magazines often prefer and cut-outs or flatshots so they can easily edit them. So it’s good to have a mix of lifestyle shots and flatshots/cut-outs in your repertoire!

  • March 12, 2014

    Katie Robbins

    Thanks for all these tips. I make mainly white porcelain items which don’t show up very well against white. Any suggestions? Would any neutral background do for a cut-out shot?

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