1. Consider Your Background: You can use colorful paper, vintage fabric, or let your home be the backdrop. Be creative. My background is a sheet of fifty cent poster board, but the result looks professional!
2. Bright Natural Light & Tripod: I see a decline in photo quality when I don't shoot in bright natural light. Schedule picture-time accordingly. Always use a tripod to prevent blur caused by camera movement.
3. Try Many Angles: I forbid you from taking pictures from one angle! Get on your knees, lay on the floor with the subject. Turn the subject in all directions. Get intimate. It's photo-love-makin' time, baby.
4. Communicate the Use: Stage your item in use. Hell, create new uses for your merchandise! I "made" a planter (above) into a "pen cup" and sold it for twice as much as I would have before.
5. Play and Edit: It's up to you to make the photo tangible and appealing to the buyer. Brighten, straighten, and crop your photos to perfection. I will follow-up with photo editing tips next time.
6. Right In-Camera: I may edit every photo I put online, but I also get my pictures right in-camera. It cuts down on editing time and yields a better result. Using a tripod and natural light will help you get the proper exposure so your post-production is only for minor and/or artistic improvements.
7. Personalize: My first product photos were rushed and bland. Now I'm getting a feel for them and inserting my personality. The increase in traffic and favorites is substantial! Stage your photos, and add props. Your viewers know when you're having fun, and it makes them want to buy and share your work.
8. Don't be Afraid to Re-Take Photos: My first priority is getting the rest of my merchandise online, but when that's done I'll replace photos that don't fit my new standard.
9. Innovate and Practice, Practice, Practice: Strive to learn new techniques, master your camera, and practice your ass off.
10. Shoot Daily: Try new things EVERY DAY and you'll see improvements quickly.
Just Get Started! My first product photos were not my best work, but they were clear and technically correct. I got my merchandise online and in front of eyes quickly and made sales immediately. Don't agonize if your work isn't where you want it to be. Just keep shooting daily, you'll discover your style and make improvements along the way. The priority is getting images online and making those sales! Be dedicated to quality, but don't get so wrapped up in it that you're paralyzed and don't get started. That used to be me, but no longer!
Got any photography tips to share? Still got photography questions? Let's discuss in the comments. I will follow-up with more product photography tips next time.