Social Media Photography

Product Photography Basics for Social Media

Here at The AD Leaf, we serve a variety of businesses, and because so much of what we do is online, creating quality visuals to market products and services is critical! Suppose you are a business that regularly features your items online. In that case, the goal is to serve your consumers by helping them imagine owning, using, and interacting with your products. The importance of proper product photography cannot be understated, which is why we’ve compiled some basics for you.

Our small business clients often send us photos of products that we feature on their social media platforms. We often discuss how to communicate clearly through those photos, what colors to use, incorporate props, and even stylize the images a bit. One critical takeaway – you don’t have to be a professional photographer to produce decent-quality product photos. You can even use your phone camera if you keep it simple!

The Basics:


As you go through each of the topics below, first and foremost, consider your audience. Your taste may not be the same as theirs.

Ask: What is the persona of your ideal buyer? Meaning; how will they be interacting and using your products? Or what questions and concerns do they have?


  1. Get to know your current ideal customers.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they have enjoyed having or using your products.
  3. Take notes! 


The goal is for your viewer to see your items’ accurate color and texture.

Natural Light is your best friend when it comes to product photography. Natural light refers to sunlight — simple as that. Avoiding shadows as much as possible, early morning or late afternoon light can be helpful. Photographers call this the ‘golden hour.’ It tends to bring out rich, warm tones that are naturally soft and inviting.

Indoor lighting. If you must use indoor lighting, try to achieve as much light to fill the space as possible while again avoiding too many dark or harsh shadows. LED and most energy-saving bulbs have a whiter and brighter light that doesn’t cast a yellow haze.

 Flash! Caution, this can be a challenge even if you distance the camera from your item. If you are unsure, try to find better lighting.

Neutral Backdrops:

Remember your product is the focus. Avoid too many items that may produce “visual clutter” Visual clutter happens when personal items or other possible distractions attempt to photobomb your product from the background.

When in doubt – keep it simple and neutral.

Small items:
Place them on top of white or light-colored poster boards or foam boards. The light will reflect that color onto your item. So if you are trying to stick with the basics – white and neutral is best.

Larger items:
Plain contemporary spaces and rooms. If the background is busy and you cannot avoid it, try to blur it. If using a phone, try ‘portrait mode.’


Ad Leaf Blog post

Styling Photos:

Again, back to our topic of audience. Styling photos goes beyond just what is in the background. Trying to place yourself in the consumer’s mind, pairing your items with what the consumer will have them with, remembering your preferences may not be theirs. These items should complement the products they are paired with, not compete. The goal is to help your audience’s imagination, not hinder it. A good question to ask with each product from season to season is ‘what story am I trying to tell when I share photos of this item with the world.’

If you are selling jewelry, what will the person wear with it? A dress or a t-shirt? If you are selling furniture, what other furniture items will that item be with? Place art or décor in a plain contemporary room or a French-modern-country-bohemian-eclectic. Just keep it simple.    


Creating a Human Element:  

People connect with people, especially through Social Media! This is definitely a note to your small businesses. YOU are not a big box retailer – you are the small business – family next door they are supporting. Remind your audience of YOUR value through the visuals too!

Ways to showcase you:

  • Show your face: You are the face of your company! The artist at the easel. The carpenter in their workshop. The baker at their decorating table.
  • Show your team: How many people does it take to keep your business running. This gives your audience an idea of what and who they are supporting.
  • Show your hands: We know you are not a machine. Especially if you do not feel comfortable with the first two, this also shows the size, scale, and context. 


Types of Photos and Number of Photos:

Primary photos/videos 

Multiple images straightforward to answer questions – Front, Back, Side, Inside, Outside, etc. — These answer your consumers’ questions.

Secondary photos/videos 

These are images that express angles and details of your item, often in a stylized or artistic way.
These are great for adjacent content – These help them imagine interacting with your items in their hands and home.

Take at least one photo of each item separately. This shows your audience exactly what they are buying.

Take multiple photos of pairings or bundled items – together.
These are items that you can encourage your buyers to imagine together. Be sure to note things that are sold separately.

Take multiple photos of the details of your item. This is an opportunity to show depth, quality, scale, or even smaller moving parts of an object.
As we shared, these are just the basics. Maybe you are a wine seller with a high-end audience. You may want to feature your winery in your photos. Perhaps you are a specialized boat parts dealer. Of course, emphasizing quality and safety is essential. There are ways to feature those elements in your images to build knowledge about your brand’s products too!

So, there you have it. These product photography basics will help you serve your audience better across those Social Media platforms. So go ahead. Start using them right now! If you would like,  our team here at the Ad Leaf can help you and your business to improve showcasing your products by implementing these -and many more- tips! Let us help you tell the world your story. Visually!

Call (321) 255-0900

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