Photography is a key element within the world of design and vital to clearly communicating the final outcome, whether it be a product or an interior. After all, we all work with visual minds.

This week we caught up with renowned London photographer Yeshen Venema to ask him to share his Top 5 Tips To Creating Amazing Photography with our eporta Community. Yeshen has worked with a mix of designer/makers and shops and is known for his unique eye for natural light. Here’s what Yeshen had to say:

1. Prioritise and budget

Once you have created your products, the photography is the single most important element in getting sales. So do not leave it to the last minute; contact photographers well in advance and plan your shoot carefully. After all, a picture can be ‘worth a thousand sales’.

2. Scale and colour

Selling online means your customers cannot touch your products, so be truthful in how they are represented. Include props that are familiar and show relative scale. Books, pens, magazines, candles, tableware and of course models can all help show scale.

When it comes to colour, it’s not possible to control how your customers view the images (screens are all different in how they render colours, from PC to Mac to tablets and phones), however work with your photographer to get colours as good as possible at the shoot. Do not think ‘I’ll fix it in Photoshop’ and don’t use filters like Instagram for your products shots – very misleading! Bright colours (especially Neons) are especially tricky to get right.

(Please hover over images for caption & credits)

3. Focus and details

This sounds obvious but it’s easy to ‘over-prop’ your images or choose props/backgrounds/surfaces that are distracting. A customer should be able to tell at a glance what is for sale. Likewise, be careful with using blur (depth of field). Your whole product should be in crisp focus for a product shot. In lifestyle images you can be a bit creative.
A typical product listing will allow for 4-6 images. Make sure you use these so your customers can see different views and especially the details that make your product special. This may be the bespoke joins on your furniture or the special weave you are using in your textiles – show it off in your photos.

4. Context

Product shots on a plain background are essential, at the very least for your best selling products. However, your customers will also want to see a lifestyle image. This means placing your product in a complementary setting which your customers can identify with or aspire to. This could be your own home, if suitable, or a hired location, friend’s home, venue, restaurant – anywhere that has the right atmosphere. Working with a stylist can lead to great results, they will source props and build the scene in camera, but make sure they ‘get’ your brand.

If you are shooting furniture, the bigger the space the better. Imagine shooting a mug inside a cardboard box, that is what it’s like shooting a table in a small room – go big!

5. Consistency and story

This is one of the most important elements in product photography. Keep track of your props, lighting, surfaces/backgrounds and camera settings so your customer sees your products in a consistent way.

This is part of what makes up your brand, your product’s story. Where are they made? Who makes them? Why are the materials important? What makes them unique? Answer these questions through your photography.

Don’t forget to have fun though – the shoot is a chance to get away from the desk and see your products in a new light!

Yeshen is a product and lifestyle photographer specialising in working with designer/makers and small shops. He works from his own studio in Islington. His website showcases all the wonderful designers he is fortunate to work with:


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