Develop a photography style guide, and download a free PDF template, so you can create consistent product photos for your brand.
A product photography guide is a written set of rules or guidelines you follow each time you photograph your items.
Your guide can describe any number of elements you want to keep consistent throughout your brand imagery, such as:
As you experiment with craft photography, certain looks you love will emerge in your collection of product photos.
You'll want to be able to reproduce those looks.
A written style guide will tell you exactly how to set up your camera, lighting, products, backdrops, and props, so you can reliably and efficiently capture the look you want any time, over several photo sessions.
Images for each product don't have to be exactly the same. A photography style guide will help you create a set of images that have elements in common, so they form a cohesive set.
A consistent look for all of your product photos unifies your brand. It helps you communicate a clear story about your products that resonates with target customers.
Increased Perceived Value
When several product photos viewed together create a cohesive looking collection — in your Etsy shop, for example — you raise the perceived value of your products. Raising the perceived value of your products can enable you to increase your prices.
If you create a written guide detailing all of the elements that go into creating photos for your products, you'll be able to reproduce a consistent look whenever you need to photograph new products.
Clear guidelines describing your product photography setup will enable you to prepare for photo sessions faster, eliminate guesswork, and work more efficiently.
Communicate and Delegate
A written product photography style guide will make it easy to communicate what you need if, at some point, you want to switch from DIY product photography and hire a professional.
Of course, before you can create a style guide, you'll need to develop your style.
This process can take time and experimentation. However, you can speed things up by systematically analyzing many product photography ideas to find styles that will work for your brand.
Think about how you will use your product photos. This information will help you determine the number and types of images you'll need.
Ask yourself questions such as:
As you think through your image needs, write it all down.
As you experiment with product photography, take notes to document different setups you use.
Information about the lens and camera settings you used (such as aperture value, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance) for each photo are stored in the image file. If you need to go back and check the settings you used for a particular photo, you can see all of that when you view your images on your computer.
You'll need additional information to recreate a particular look such as:
That information is not recorded by your camera, so you'll need to take notes. You can download a product photography style guide PDF template at the bottom of this page to help you keep track of things.
Your photography style guide should include all of the information you need to create a consistent look for all of your product images.
It will tell you exactly how to set up for your photo sessions, allowing you to work more efficiently and helping beginner photographers take great photos more reliably.
Here are some of the details you can document in your brand imagery guide.
List some words and phrases that describe the personality or image you want to create for your brand. This character should be reflected in your product photos.
If you haven't thought about your brand's personality, take a look at my guidelines for writing a business naming brief. The guidelines focus on naming your business, but they will help you think through the process of defining your brand in a way that will appeal to target customers.
Consider using a tripod in your product photography.
A tripod will allow you to maintain consistent camera positions and angles far better than you could if you photograph your products using a handheld camera.
If you use artificial light:
If you use natural light:
If you use diffusers:
If you use reflectors:
Set up a template that you use each time you edit product photos. A template, along with a set of rules directing how you edit product photos will help you work more efficiently and maintain consistency with factors such as:
Include some sample photos of your products that represent the look you want to achieve across all of your brand images. Referring back to those samples will help you refocus on your desired look and remain consistent throughout photo sessions.
You can keep track of all of your brand photography guidelines with this printable PDF. Click the button below to download.