How to Take Product Photos with an iPhone or Handheld Device

As a maker, your revenue is dependent on selling your handmade goods. Your booth at shows, your website, your Etsy site, your instagram site: they are all working toward that one goal. But, there is one thing many makers don't take seriously: their product photos! Photos of your products are one of the most important parts of marketing.

You don't need a fancy, thousand dollar camera to take excellent product photos. You have the tool in the palm of your hand: literally! Your iPhone or other smart device can take some excellent product photos with a little help from natural or artificial lighting, white paper or a solid background and your products!


 What you will need:


Use a light or dark grey backdrop. It will give your photos a tidy and consistent look without a lot of noise in the background.

You can make your own backdrop by using a jumbo roll of white paper


Using natural light is the most affordable (it's FREE!) and easiest source to use when taking product photos. Make sure you set your product near a large window or light source. If you do not have natural light, use a large lamp you may have at your home or purchase a soft box lighting kit.

You can also make a Lightbox or purchase an inexpensive one. Lightboxes eliminate shadows and uneven light to create great photo results.


Use a table so your items are up at eye level and closer to your light source. You can also use a handy cell phone tripod  which will double as a stand when you are doing social media stories or time lapse videos (we'll get to that later!).


Once you have gathered your set up, get ready to take some pics!

Make sure your lighting is good. Rules of thumb:

  • is my product well lit?
  • are there any shadows? you don't want shadows.
  • are there any reflections? you don't want reflections.
  • does the light show off the design and colors used and or does it disguise them?

Get your background or Lightbox set up.

Stabilize your smartphone with your tripod. It should be a foot or closer to your product.

Make sure your product is clean with no price tags on it. If you need to prop your product up on something, make sure your stand isn't too distracting. If you need to make your product look full, if it's a hat or bag/purse, stuff it with newspaper or a t-shirt.

Get multiple photos of each product, making sure to have one of the entire product, then some showing close ups and other angles. These are useful in shop listings so potential buyers can see the details of your product.

Play around! You can always edit them on your phone to brighten or lighten them afterwards. The best part is: you're the photographer so you can take as many photos as you please.

We like to have the Grid function ON in our camera app in the smartphone so we can use the rule-of-thirds. This article by  talks about Rule-of-Thirds and has some other great tips.

Instead of taking a shot looking directly down on your product, you can get creative and shoot from different angles.

You can download different apps and filter your photos to make them perfect or you can use the settings in your smart phone to change the white balance, contract, brightness, color saturation... the possibilities are endless!

See the difference between the first photo on a dark background that is not well lit compared to the white, well-lit background? The product stands out and is much more impressive!

Photo from

We hope this helped you on your journey as a maker! Product images are so important because they are what the shopper sees first, they boost your brand, they increase the likeliness of social media sharing and increase sales (woohoo!).


Make sure you've joined our page, Craft Show Success on Facebook and are following us on Instagramfor more great tips and conversations.

Because, #makersgonnamakemoney




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