When it's time to create some new content or to post images of new products, it's important to first spend a couple minutes planning.
Planning ahead will make your shoot much more effective. Below, I've listed 8 important considerations to address before picking up your camera.
Some of these questions seem obvious and some of them are more challenging. Resist the urge to feel overwhelmed. Instead, think of your planning time as an opportunity, and allow that to spark creative energy. You don't have to conquer the world with each product shoot, just have fun and keep things simple.
Also! Don't forget to grab my FREE Shoot Guide at the bottom of this post.
1. Where will I use these photos? (online? print? what platforms? website? etc.)
Identify the top 2-3 platforms.
2. Do I need mostly horizontal, mostly vertical, square, or an even mix?
This is a great one for me because if I'm not intentional, I tend to shoot almost all vertical shots. If you need square images (like for ads or for Instagram) you can shoot vertical OR horizontal, just be sure to leave space on your long edges in anticipation of the eventual cropping.
3. Are there any other special considerations for the platforms listed in question #1?
In what other ways can you cater to the needs of the platform or preference of the audience? For example, do you need photos that are simple and straightforward, or would it be better to prioritize more creative and artistic images? Don't overthink this! You will likely take many different kinds of shots during your shoot, this question is just meant to help you decide what to prioritize.
4. Is there anything missing in my existing storefront/ feed/ online presence that I would like to include in this shoot?
If you've been thinking of incorporating any colors, textures, or trends... or showing off certain features of your product people may not be aware of... now is a great time to do that!
5. What color is this product(s) and what color backdrops/surfaces might work best with it?
Choosing a backdrop/surface in a similar color is easy on the eyes and artistic. But choosing a backdrop/surface in a contrasting color will allow it to jump off the page. You should definitely experiment to see what you like best! I would, however keep the colors of your backdrop/surfaces within your overall brand color scheme because it will take up so much real estate in your photos, even more so than your product in many of your images. In other words, choose colors that are one of your brand colors or a shade of one of your brand colors. If you're unsure, whites and light grays always looks nice if you want a light and bright look for your brand, and black always looks great if you like drama.
6. How many images of this product do I need?
If you know you will only use about 5 images per product, making a mental note of this will hopefully prevent you from taking a few hundred too many shots! It's easy to get carried away. The more you take the more you have to sift through! That said, it's fine to experiment and get creative... eventually you will settle into a routine and will get better at keeping the number of shots to a reasonable amount.
7. Is this item small/medium/large... how much space will I need to shoot?
If your item is the size of an apple or smaller (small), you will have an easy time finding a place to shoot because you will only need a few feet of space. If your item is between the size of an apple and a pumpkin (medium) and can still fit on your dining table, you will likely need about 8-10 feet of space. If your item is too large to put on the dining table... say an outfit or a piece of furniture (large), you will likely need more than 10x10 feet of space to get good shots. Of course, this is also dependent on what lens you're using (I use a 50mm) but this gives a general idea. You will need space for your backdrop, your product (leaving ample space between it and the backdrop to allow for bokeh), and yourself... without feeling cramped. For an illustration of what this might look like and where to place things in relation to your window, grab my FREE Shoot Setup Blueprint here.
8. What are the main selling points and how can I show this in the photos?
Again, just being extra thorough here and prodding you to come up with an idea you may have not thought of yet. Maybe you want to include an extra item or two in a few shots to give it context or to show scale. Added elements don't need to be elaborate! The more you add, the more challenging it becomes to get nice composition (in my opinion!)
I hope that helps you focus and put a game plan together! I love to keep these questions on hand... so I don't have to remember these little details myself when I'm getting ready to do a shoot. They're included in my Shoot Guide below, you can download it by clicking below.
Don't forget to grab my FREE Shoot Guide here
By the way... if this has been helpful, my mini course, Photos That Sell will be a great fit for you. You can find out more details below.