8 Product Photography Composition Tips To Make Sell Better

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A composition is an important element of product photography because it will help you draw the target audience towards it. There are some rules and guidelines you will have to follow to create the perfect composition.

These tips and rules include the power of negative space, the rule of thirds, composition planes, the rule of odds, patterns, light, and shadow, and much more. All of these composition tips will make the products look appealing, which means higher sales for you.

So, if you are looking to get product photography done for your business, you have come to the right place. Here are the top eight product photography composition tips to help you sell better.

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1. Use The Power Of Negative Space

social media photography photos

The first composition tip for product photography is that you must always use the power of negative space in a product photo. If you don’t know already, it is the space in your product photo that you don’t fill with anything. For example, the negative space is usually found with the background or a plain surface, as no other details will show up in this space.

Many people forget that the space you leave blank in a picture is just as important as the space that includes the product. That is because you can leverage the power of negative space to drive your attention to the product. The key is that you should not make the negative space look forced.

Instead, you can add text next to the image if you plan on uploading the photos to your social media platform. On the other hand, you can also leave it blank with the background or surface. It is crucial to conduct research and see what other people selling the same products as you are doing.

It will give you different ideas of how other competitor brands are using the power of negative space in their product photography. Once you have these ideas, you can be creative and implement them differently in your shoots.

2. Don’t Forget The Rule Of Thirds

photo of jewelry

The rule of thirds is perhaps the most important rule of composition that everyone, from product to other photographers, follows when taking pictures. Anyone that is also remotely interested in photography knows this rule. The rule is simple, and it states that you must divide the frame into nine equal parts.

You can do this by tracing two horizontal and two vertical lines across any frame. If you have an iPhone 12 or above, you will find these lines on your camera when you are taking pictures. Of course, the point of intersection is the most crucial point, and you can use that to position your product.

Doing this will guarantee that your composition is dynamic and balanced at the same time. Of course, if you want to add more items to your composition, we recommend that you place them along the rest of the grid lines.

In the long run, using the rule of thirds will help make your product photos more exciting in no time. The eyes will go directly to the product, and it will look more appealing to you. So, don’t forget to use this rule for your product photography and composition.  

3. Add Depth With Composition Planes

You don’t always have to leave your product pictures plain and simple. Instead, you will do well to boost sales if you add some depth to your product photos and their composition. The best way to do this is by working with the different planes in the picture.

For example, you have three planes to work with in any photo. These include the front, middle, and background. On the other hand, there are some instances where you might only have two planes, which include the foreground and background.

Keep in mind that no option is best or better than the other, and the one you will select will depend on what you want to convey to your audience. A great way to separate the different planes is to keep a shallow depth of field. You can do this by balancing the aperture, distance between the subject and camera, and focal length.

On the other hand, if you are doing product photography using your smartphone, then we recommend that you set it to Portrait mode. Such a setting will blur the background and offer you more or less the same effect.

4. Use The Rule Of Odds For Group Product Photography

Every art form has some rules, and so does photography. The rule of odds is an important rule if you are grouping the products and taking pictures. It states that the product will be more appealing when it is formed by elements of an odd number.

pet hair ball

Everyone from graphic designers to interior designers, artists, and photographers uses this rule. No one has reached a conclusion as to why this composition rule works so great. Some people say that it is because our brain is used to grouping things, making the picture look more appealing.

Some also say that odd numbers give us a chance to wander through the entire composition. Whatever the reason may be, you need to take this rule into account if you are taking pictures of products in groups. You can use this rule to distribute the products in your pictures in groups of three or five or any other odd number.

However, we recommend that if you want to satisfy this rule in the best way possible, then you stick to the three-product rule. You can also opt for seven, but five tends to be the least favored odd number when it comes to photo composition. So, be sure to compose using this rule and see what appeals to your eye the most.

5. Explore Patterns To Add Movement

There are brands that stick to solid colors or plain backgrounds and other elements in the product picture. However, if you want to take your product photography composition to another level, you can always add patterns. These include different textures, colors, shapes, and much more.

On the other hand, you can opt for more variety by adding different types of patterns to the product photos. These include irregular or regular patterns. You can also experiment and begin with a simple pattern and then break the pattern off to offer interest to the viewer.

You can add the pattern composition to flat-lay photography. That is because you have a complete surface to arrange the different products. Of course, you can use this surface to create a pattern composition, depending on what you prefer.

One pro tip to follow for this is to add patterns whenever you are doing photography of products that come in various colors or flavors. These include products such as skincare items, candies, lipstick, eye shadow palettes, and much more. It will make the composition pop and add more interest to the products in no time.

6. Play With Lights And Shadows

Light manipulation is perhaps one of the best ways to tell the story you want in product photography. Every professional product photographer will understand how to manipulate light to get the best effect. You can use the play of shadow and light to tell the story that you wish.

Many product photographers use this composition technique to drive interest in the product. For example, you can use high contrast to light your product and then let the surrounding space fall into a shadow. Doing this will help guide the audience as they will be intrigued by the play of light and shadow.

You might be tempted to light the product and then let the shadows fall wherever you want. However, we recommend that you avoid doing this. The key to having the best light and shadow play is to balance both of these elements for exciting compositions.

That is because lights and shadows also create the mood of the product photo. High-contrast lighting can be incredibly moody and dramatic, but it will not be appropriate for all sorts of products. You will have to think about the product you are selling and the kind of mood you want to set.

Besides that, you must set the temperature and the direction of the light to create perfect results. Once you take elements into account, you will have a brilliant product photo composition that will create the story you want to tell to your users.

7. Use Editing Tools To Improve Your Composition

You don’t have to do everything yourself to create the perfect composition for your product photos. Instead, you can also use editing tools to improve your composition even further. There are also different techniques you can use in the editing tools to boost the composition.

One of the top ways to improve composition is to use a crop tool and balance the products. You can also use different composition overlays to experiment with the product photos you want to create. Keep experimenting with different overlays and crops to see what works best for your product photos.

There are different tools that you can use to boost your composition. These include Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and many others. Not all of these tools are free, and they are an investment in the product photography of your business and brand.

8. Opt For Differential Focus

Differential focus is one of the top techniques you can use to decide what part of the image must remain out of focus and what part must remain sharp. For example, many photographers keep the background out of focus and ensure that the foreground of the photograph remains in focus.

Portfolio of The Amazon Photographer

You can use different elements to guarantee differential focus, which includes dressing, setting, product placement, and much more. All of these elements will enable you to offer an accurate story. It will also be much more interesting than plain product pictures with white backgrounds.

You can also experiment and see how you want to focus your items and which objects will look good out of focus. It will take a little bit of trial and error to help you reach a conclusive decision about what you need to do.

Types Of Different Composition Elements

Now that you are familiar with the top product photography composition guidelines, it is time you understand the different elements that make up the composition. You can experiment with these elements to create the perfect composition that will look great. Here are all the composition elements you need to add:

mood board photo

1. Color

Color can be one of the top composition tools to help draw and retain the attention of your target audience. You can also use color to draw attention where you require it. For example, if your product photo is plain, then even a small pop of color will add contrast to the entire image and enhance it.

It is a great element that will help you achieve many aims within the product picture. This includes creating a certain mood, telling a story about your business, and ensuring consistency throughout your product pictures. Every brand should create a style guide for their product photography.

The style guide should contain the colors you can use to ensure consistency throughout the different platforms and pictures. Such a guide will also help with composition, as you will know what to do each time you are trying to take product photos.

2. Lines

You can use different things to create lines in your product photography. For example, if you are shooting outdoors, you can use railings, planks, stone paths, and much more to create lines. These will affect the overall aesthetic and feel of the picture.

Adding lines to any composition is important because it will draw your eye in a certain direction, which is usually the product. That is why it is crucial that you see where the lines are leading you in a certain product photo. It must always point towards the product so that the audience knows where to look.

However, the primary aim of using lines during composition is not only to help lead you to the product. Instead, you can also create a certain mood in your product pictures using lines. You can experiment with different types of lines, such as diagonal, vertical, horizontal, and much more.

It is a process of trial and error, and you will have to keep experimenting till you find what works best for your product pictures. Once you do, you will know how to navigate and find the best composition for your product photos.

3. Shapes

Yes, this element might not be too obvious at first, but you can reflect different shapes in the composition. For example, you can use arrangement, props, and many other such things to enhance shapes in a product photo. Keep in mind that shapes are usually split into two categories, which include organic shapes and geometric shapes.

You can create the shape you like when you are arranging the different products and elements in your product photographs. Your arrangement and shapes will affect how your photographs will make your audience feel. For example, if you want to add a natural and loose feeling to your products, then you can opt for organic shapes.

On the other hand, if you want to create order and structure in your product photographs, then you can opt for geometric shapes. The one you select will depend on your preferences and the composition you want to create. You can experiment with different shapes to see which one you think will suit you best.

4. Texture

If you want to add more depth and richness to your product images, then using texture is one of the best things you can do for the composition. It will ensure that the product picture elicits an emotional response that will make them visualize using the product.

For example, if you sell silverware and you use a wooden table in your product picture, then it can elicit an emotional response of sitting with the family for dinner. You can also add items with different textures, such as a knit blanket, to add elements of comfort and help the viewer visualize even better.

They can think about having dinner at Thanksgiving or Christmas with their family. In the same way, you can opt for different textures throughout the composition to elicit various emotional responses in the viewer. The key is to offer a few sensory inputs to the audience through the help of such elements.

Once you do, the audience will visualize the product with ease, and you will end up telling a great story about your product. So, don’t forget to leverage the power of storytelling through composition and all its different elements.

Other Techniques To Boost Your Sales Through Product Pictures

Now that you are familiar with all the useful tips for product photo composition, there are some other techniques you can implement to boost your sales through the best product pictures. These include:

1. White Background Images

shoes photo

As a product photographer, you need to understand what platform your client will use to upload their pictures. If they are uploading pictures on Amazon, Shopify, and other such platforms, then we recommend that you stick to the technique of white background images. You will also see such pictures on product catalogs and pages.

Keep in mind that even if the background is white, you still need to ensure the perfect composition to get the best results. The key is to focus on the product, leave negative spaces, and take pictures from different distances and angles. It will enable you to have a clean and sleek product picture with white background.

It is not as easy as it sounds to create a composition for white background product photos. Even for this, you will have to keep practicing and see what works for you in the best way possible. Once you do, you will get used to composing some excellent product photos in no time.

2. Lifestyle Photographs

While white background photos are ideal for some products, they might not be right for all products. That is because you will need to create a composition for some products that will bring them to life and help envision the viewer how to use them. You can use props, complementary products, models, and much more to bring the composition to life.

The key is to use these pictures to help the audience create a personal connection with your brand. You can use all the rules of composition when shooting your products in this context. Be sure to leave a lot of negative space, even in lifestyle photos, so that other elements of the picture don’t clutter your product too much.

Lifestyle photos are not easy to create, and it will take you a little while to get the hang of taking product pictures in this context. Another thing you must remember is that not all products are ideal for lifestyle photography. You have to first figure out whether your product will suit this type of photography and composition before you begin shooting.

Products such as shoes, outdoor gear, and other such items will do the best with lifestyle photography as your audience will understand how to use them in no time. So, be sure to understand the needs of your products to create perfect photographs.

Final Words

That was your complete guide to the product photography composition tips you need to follow to boost your sales. It is not easy to get the composition right in one go, as you will have to keep trying to see what works best for your products. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of learning composition and other product photography elements, you can always hire a professional.

The professional photographer will understand what needs to be done and how they can create the perfect composition, depending on your products. So, be sure to select the right one to take the best product photos for your website and other platforms.

Joey Lou
Joey Lou
Hi, I'm the author of this post and I've been in the e-commerce marketplace since 2012, so I understands the visual presentation needed to attract buyers. If you want to take product photos or videos, please feel free to ask me any questions.
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