Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Single Most Important Styling Tip For Effective Product Or Blog Photos

Tell A Story

If you have an on or off line business and sell 'things', or a blog where you share things be it food, DIY, or fashion, you've probably been overwhelmed at some point by styling your photos or products just so. How do I get it just right?

There are so many things to remember when either setting up displays in a store, or photographing product for online selling, or creating a blog post that is well received: lighting, staging, placement, perspective. The list goes on.

 In the end though, it all comes down to the one basic thing: the story.

It's how us humans connect to things.  When something tells a story that we can relate to, we immediately have a connection.  That's the crux of why we buy a certain product online, or read a specific blog, or shop at a favorite store.  It's the story it tells which creates a connection we can't ignore. Whether it's a sense of belonging, or of likeness and similar tastes, or a mood that speaks to us, creating a story is the one sure way to engage buyers and readers.

Here's some of my favorite product styling from etsy.  Keep in mind, these are small shop owners, most with limited resources and budgets, yet who found a way to tell a story and create that  connection.

Row 4: ColdGold

These are all product shots, but the basis for the success of their styling can be applied to blog photography as well.

They tell a story and create a connection.  Do you love flowers? Then take a look at these flower brooches.  Are you a gypsy vagabond at heart? This floral top is perfect for you.  Does color make you happy? Are you a whimsical person? Do you love nature and all that is inspired by it? When you get home at the end of the day, do you turn the lights down low and light the candles to set a more relaxed mood for yourself to enjoy? 

Story and connection. It's the basis for so much that we do. It's what drives the branding I design for my clients, creating a story about their businesses that resonate with their target market.  The same can be said for styling. 

So the next time you have to take product shots, or photographs of a recipe you created for your blog, think about how you can tell a story and how that story will connect with your customers.

It's the place to start.

What are you thoughts on styling to create a story that people can connect to?

The sun is still shining here which makes for a much nicer day even though it is still very cold. 
I hope yours is sunny too. 

Ciao for now,


  1. This is very good tell a story with one photo.. I'll try that for sure!!! :))

    1. Еми , definitely give it a try. You have to experiment and see what works best for you. So glad you stopped by and thanks for the comment!

  2. Another excellent post!! I have avoided selling on Etsy because I know the photos have to be "just right"! I don't want to do something "half-baked", so I am a bit of a perfectionist when it goes to putting my products out there. So, this is timely advice...telling a story with photos. I will know adjust my focus on styling and not so much the technical aspects of photography. Although I know the technical has to be there, I think if I start with the story, it will all fall into place.
    Thanks so much! Keep up the good advice, it is exactly what I need :>)

    1. Hi Mary Lynn, I'm so glad it was helpful. It's not that you should ignore all the technical stuff, but I just don't think all the technical stuff is worth much if you don't tell a story your customers/readers can connect I say, story first, tech stuff second to improve the story.

  3. Great piece, Pam! Thanks so much for including my bow tie photo! And I completely agree that it's about having a point of view, telling a story, and engaging with your online audience, whether they be customers in your shop or readers of your blog. It's easy to get bogged down with the technical aspects of shooting products--I frequently have people ask me what kind of camera I use or which settings are best, for example--but I actually think all of that stuff is secondary to engaging with people, setting a mood, and telling a story. I started out with a simple point-and-shoot camera, but I still managed to be included in treasuries and blog posts fairly often because I think my aesthetic still came through. I suggest playing around and experimenting till you find something that feels right. And don't be afraid to change things up!

    Also, Pam, I have to say I love the way you've told THIS story! Great advice and beautiful photos! :)

    1. Hey Mary, I just love your handdrawn backgrounds. It absolutely compliments your products and plays of their whimsical nature. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I started with simple point and shoot as well. You can make 'anything' work. You just have to be creative and find a way. Thanks for the lovely comment my blogging friend. Much appreciated.

  4. Great post Pam! It's such an important part of selling, the way you photograph your products. I am kind of embarassed about my first listings... I still think mine need improvement, but slowly it's getting to look more like the way I want it to look. And food photography, such a challenge....

    1. I think we're all embarassed by our first listings. We're so excited to have a shop and want to get product in it, and that sometimes scews our vision. Oh this is good enough, when it all reality - mine stunk. What's important though is that we keep growing and learning and LEARNING. read, try, try again. The people who we respect in any industry, didn't get to be really good at what they do overnight or by giving up. They worked at their craft. Styling and photography are the same. I think you shop looks great by the way.


You comments make my day. Thanks for taking the time to visit Mercantile Muse and for commenting. I really appreciate it. ~Pam

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