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14 product photography ideas to boost online sales

Alexis Damen
Alexis DamenMarch 20, 2024
14 product photography ideas to boost online sales

Your products are ready, your website is live, and you’re excited to start selling, except there’s one catch. Your product images don’t do justice to the quality of your offerings. 

But the challenge of showcasing products with high-quality visuals feels like a daunting task. The thought of investing in expensive cameras, lighting, and maybe even a studio space is overwhelming, and frankly, not always feasible when you’re running a small business.

What if you didn’t need any of that to create stunning, high-quality product images? With the right tools and practical product photography ideas, you don’t need professional camera gear, an elaborate lighting setup, a fancy studio, or the budget that comes along with this type of product photography setup. You don't even need prior photography and photo editing experience.

In this article, you’ll learn about a range of cost-friendly and easy-to-execute product photography ideas for clothing, jewelry, home accessories, and more. All you need is a smartphone, natural light, your kitchen table, and some creativity.  

Whether you're selling on social media, your website, or other sales channels, use these tips to spark ideas so you can capture images that not only showcase your product’s best features but also tell your brand's unique story, engaging shoppers and encouraging them to make a purchase. 

Ready to elevate your product images, effortlessly? Keep reading.

14 Product photography ideas you can execute in minutes

  1. Natural light

  2. Lifestyle shots

  3. 360-degree views

  4. Ghost mannequin

  5. Macro shots

  6. Props

  7. Minimalist backgrounds

  8. Creative flat lays

  9. Bokeh backgrounds

  10. Vintage or retro style

  11. Seasonal themes

  12. Color blocking

  13. Add text 

  14. User-generated content (UGC)

1. Natural light 

Shoot your products in natural light to highlight their true colors and textures. This usually works well for most products and if you’re not satisfied with the light, you can use Photoroom’s Light On tool to brighten product images. All of the examples of product photography ideas below were taken in natural light conditions in my living room.

To achieve success with natural light photography, make sure to turn off all the lamps or overhead lights in the room where you’re working. I shot all the photos in this article either on the floor, on the eating table, or on my body.

Here's my photography studio (aka my living room).  

Photograph of a DIY living room photo studio

“I can take Photoroom wherever I want—when I’m out and about with my mobile, back in the studio, while waiting in the queue. It’s easily accessible, every day.” says collage artist, Michelle Franchini

2. Lifestyle shots 

According to an ads improvement test we ran, ad C (lifestyle setting) performed best, confirming that potential customers prefer to see products in a contextual setting.  

Four images of a sofa with different backgroundsPlacing your product in a setting where it's typically used or enjoyed to help customers visualize it in their own lives works great for clothing, home decor, and lifestyle products. 

“Different template themes in Photoroom are great for lifestyle shots—they bring my product alive for customers and visualize it for them, says Ian from Switchup Signs. “When I sell, there’s an emotional connection with my customers.”

For example, let’s say you have a plant shop, you can use Photoroom’s AI Backgrounds tool to create life-like scenes with the following AI prompts

  • AI prompt 1. “On a side table in a garden with wicker furniture”

  • AI prompt 2. “On a side table in a living room that has beige and green furniture”

Two images of a plant in a garden and in a living room Image guidance 

You can also generate backgrounds for lifestyle photos using image guidance. This involves using an existing image as inspiration for an AI-generated background. You won’t get the exact same background as the image prompt, but it will generate options that have a similar feel and style. For this example, I sourced a living room stock photo from Unsplash. The results capture the style and colors from the original photo. You can also take a photo and use it for image guidance.

Example of image generated AI backgrounds

”Everyone in the furniture reselling community always has the same question: are there any tools to help me stage my furniture?,” says Ann, furniture painter and reseller at Mercantile East

“AI Backgrounds has solved this problem because it not only solves your background problem, but it also puts props in there too. The app fills a void for the community.”

PRO TIP: Watch this video to learn how to create new background images using Photoroom’s AI tools. 

3. 360-degree views

Capturing photos from multiple angles can help provide a comprehensive look at your products on marketplace listings or e-commerce product pages. This way, shoppers don’t have to guess what products look like, potentially helping to reduce returns and exchanges. Use this technique for items with various features or uses like electronics, furniture, fashion items, or the Stanley travel mug pictured below. 

For a 360 view of this product, I used our eBay template and played around with the shadow intensity—I set it at 50. I also used the Light On feature to make it easier to see the details of the mug. 

Various photos of a travel mug 📌 PRO TIP: Watch this video to learn how to save time and create awesome photos with templates in Photoroom.

4. Ghost mannequin

The ghost mannequin product photography technique is particularly popular in the fashion industry for selling apparel online. This method involves photographing clothes on a mannequin, which is then digitally removed during the post-production process, leaving behind an image of the garment that maintains its shape as if an invisible model were wearing it. This creates a 3D effect that makes the clothing item look more lifelike and appealing, helping potential customers visualize how the garment might look on them.

Adidas top photographed at different anglesYou can do this with Photoroom by photographing the clothes on your body (or someone else) and then using the Erase tool to quickly remove your body so you’re left with a realistic look at how the garment drapes. You can find the Erase tool by tapping on the image after you upload it. You’ll see the screen below, then rub your finger over the parts you want to remove. 

📌 PRO TIP: Use the Assisted option to automatically detect objects and make your life easier! 

Example of Photoroom's Erase toolHow I created ghost mannequin images using Photoroom

  1. I uploaded the image of the top on my body. 

  2. I removed my body with the Erase tool.

  3. I used the Professional Product Imagery background template. 

  4. I set the shadow to 90 degrees. 

  5. I used the Light On feature to brighten the garment and show more details. 

Further reading: Mastering the art of ghost mannequin photography: a comprehensive guide

5. Macro shots 

Close-up shots to showcase the fine details and textures of your product are ideal for jewelry, handmade crafts, and gourmet foods. 

Here’s an example of detailed product shots of beaded earrings I made. I took all the photos with my iPhone without changing the zoom. I simply moved my phone closer or further away from the product. Then I loaded them into Photoroom, used the Professional Product Imagery background template, and increased shadow intensity to 50. I like the darker background for these macro shots because it makes the colors pop and highlights the details of the earrings, but you can play around with various background colors until you find one you like.  

Beaded earrings on a green background

📚 Further reading: Jewelry product photography: Tips, tools, and techniques

6. Props

You can integrate relevant props to add context and tell a story, but be careful not to overshadow the product itself. This method can be effective for books, kitchenware, and beauty products.

Here’s an example of how I did this using Photoroom for a beautifully hand-painted ceramic bowl that my friend made (her brand is called Muse Ceramics). I used the AI Backgrounds tool and tested two different prompts. 

AI prompt 1. This version only includes AI-generated props. I set the shadow intensity to 50 and used the Light On feature. 

AI prompt example and ceramic bowl resultAI prompt 2. This version includes real and AI-generated props. Can you guess what’s real and what’s AI-generated? 

Image of a ceramic bowl with lemons in it on a marble backgroundThe AI prompt I used for this product photo was, “on a light grey-blue marble counter with wildflowers sprinkled around”— the lemons are real and the wildflowers are AI-generated. I used the Light On feature to brighten the bowl and lemons.  

📌 PRO TIP: Incorporating objects of known size as props in product photos can give shoppers a sense of the scale of products. If you don’t have props on hand, don’t worry. You can use Photoroom's AI Images tool to create props from scratch and insert them into the photo

"I don’t love my background at home,” says Christie, owner of Denise’s Botanicals. “I’m a stay-at-home mom with a disabled daughter. Photoroom helps with visuals for products without spending money. It instantly puts my lavender soap in a gorgeous lavender field without me having to buy and stage the flowers.”

📚 Further reading: Product photography tips with AI (2024)

7. Minimalist backgrounds

Using simple, uncluttered backgrounds makes it easier for shoppers to focus on your products and can be particularly useful for products that come in vibrant colors or unique designs. 

For this product photography idea, let’s pretend we have an online padel clothing and accessories shop. I created a flat lay by neatly folding and organizing the products on the floor and taking a photo from above with my iPhone. I used our Professional Product Imagery template to create a clean, minimalistic background and I added a 90-degree shadow to give it some depth.

Photo of padel clothing on a light grey background

“When shoppers see a good product shot that’s clean and that looks good, it makes them want to buy it even more,” says Humberto Leal Treviño, founder and CEO of Vintage Packs

Humberto adds, “Photoroom has allowed us to do more product, upload more, faster, without having a high skill level of editing or design.” 

📚 Further reading: 5 Tips for product photography backgrounds (2024)

8. Creative flat lays

This technique involves arranging your product with related items on a flat surface and photographing from above. This approach is trendy for social media and perfect for fashion accessories, stationery, and cosmetics. 

I used the same padel-themed flatlay and switched up the background to make it more creative and fun. This version is a better option for social media to catch potential customers’ attention and stop them from scrolling. This mint green background is one of the colors you can find in our Minimal Shop template. 

Photo of padel clothing on a mint green background

9. Bokeh backgrounds

Bokeh style in photography involves only focusing on the main subject of an image and making the area around it blurry. It’s also known as a shallow depth of field effect, which you can achieve by adjusting a camera’s aperture, distance, and focal length. But don’t worry, you don’t have to learn all these techniques with Photoroom by your side. 

We have pre-designed Bokeh background templates that you can use to make your products stand out sharply against a soft, pleasing backdrop, something that’s ideal for luxury items and gifts. 

Here’s an example of how I achieved a luxury, bokeh look for men’s cologne, using AI Backgrounds

  • AI prompt 1. “Amsterdam at night bokeh style” 

  • AI prompt 2. “Luxury bokeh marble countertop” 

Bottle of cologne photographed on bokeh style backgrounds PRO TIP: Place a piece of white paper behind transparent products while taking photos to avoid seeing the texture of the surface behind the item.

Two photos of a bottle of cologne

“Photoroom helps me with my six figure online business and also helped me launch my social media platforms,” says Amazon seller, Owen Lloyd. “Sales were absolutely awful before Photoroom. On a good day, I’d sell three bottles of perfume. Now, a normal day is at least 50 bottles, that’s around 16 times more sales than before. Photoroom can take credit for my increase in sales.”

Do you want to add bokeh style to another background template or to the one you generated? You can add a bokeh effect to any background in Photoroom by opening the design, clicking on the background, selecting the Blur feature, and choosing Bokeh

Example of blur feature in Photoroom

10. Vintage or retro style

Give your photos a vintage feel with retro-inspired props or editing effects. This works well for heritage brands, vintage goods, and classic product lines. 

Here’s an example of how I achieved a retro look using AI Backgrounds and one of our 70s Portraits templates. 

AI prompt

“Wildflowers scattered on a green background with a grainy vintage effect” 

Adidas top pictured on a wildflower background

70s Portraits template 

PRO TIP: Use your finger to move objects like the butterflies in this example so they’re not on top of your products. 

11. Seasonal themes

Incorporate seasonal elements or themes like holiday decorations, summer beach scenes, autumn leaves, or Cyber Monday promotions to make your products timely and relevant. 

Here are some examples I generated using manual prompts in AI Backgrounds

  • AI prompt 1. “Summer beach scene” 

  • AI prompt 2. “On log of wood with autumn leaves spread around” 

Bottles of cologned pictured on a beach and an autumn themed backgroundHere’s an example of a Cyber Monday sales promotion on padel gear, using one of our pre-made Cyber Monday templates. 

Padel clothing on a Cyber Monday promo background

12. Color blocking

Use vibrant and contrasting background colors to make your products pop and capture attention on social media.

Here’s an example using the same padel-themed flatlay, but this time switching up the background to a color-blocked style. 

  • AI prompt. “Solid color blocked blue and white background”

  • Shadow intensity. 50

Padel clothing on a color blocked background

13. Add text 

I don't recommend adding text to studio-style images on your e-commerce or marketplace product pages unless it’s to show dimensions or point out specific details. But for product photography that you post on social media or include in email campaigns, adding text to promote a sale is a great way to attract buyers and increase conversions. 

Here’s an example of one of Photoroom’s pre-made Sales templates. You can also use the Text feature to add text in various styles to your product photos. 

Beaded earrings on a sale promo background

14. User-generated content (UGC) 

Sharing UGC on social media and using it on your website and in email marketing campaigns is not only a great way to showcase your products being worn or used by various people in different settings, it’s also an opportunity to create a sense of community and collaboration, which is something that can lead to higher customer retention and loyalty. 

Here’s an example of UGC on Instagram from natural skincare brand, Comme Ça.

Comme Ca Skincare image from Instagram

Start testing these product photography ideas 

Coming up with unique product photography ideas can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re a solo-preneur or working with a small team. You can test out a few of these ideas using an AI product photography tool like Photoroom, and then reuse the techniques that work best for your business. Analyze social media engagement and sales results to determine what types of product photos attract and convert the most customers. 

📚 Additional reading: 

Alexis Damen
Alexis DamenI’m an amateur photographer curious about generative AI tools that boost productivity and creativity. Here at Photoroom, I write about visual GenAI and how it relates to growing your business.

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