Why Product Photos Are Critical For Your Catalog
Ok let's head into product photography and why it's a critical component to your catalog here's some basic tips for how to shoot this like what you want to look for when you're creating good products photography you want good lighting you want consistent background that example from simply created was a good one of how it's all white backgrounds like that looked really streamlined and pretty same for you know jen verses pictures too you want to add style photos for additional interest I'm a big fan of using a mix of photos and also vector images if you need teo and style photos like using a combination of those it can really add dimension to your catalog and it shows products and you so we'll run through some examples of style show style photos and also talk about professional photography do it yourself but you also want to be careful as I'm into not to oversell your photos sometimes people are doing styled photos with a bunch of props and it's hard to determine what your product is th...
at you're selling so you want to be careful you know if you put why she tape or if you put other things like are you selling that washi tape or not? You know you want to make it very clear what your products are if your jewelry's like next a candle or something like you don't want somebody to think you sell both items so it's it's a fine line and you need to figure out what works best for you, but the other thing is that product for product photography is so valuable because you can use it across all platforms you can use it in your catalog you can use it in your marketing materials your e blast your social media you really just need a handful of really good images you don't even have to shoot your whole line, but if you have a handful of really great images, you can really take those a long way and these photos not only tell the story of your product, but it shows the retailers how the products will look on their shelves. Tio so again, we're thinking about the buyer we're keeping the buyer in mind as we're building this what are they going to be interested in? How are they going toe? How these photos going to affect their purchasing decisions? So again, if you can invest in a professional photographer, do it hands down it's well worth the money he can use these photos, and even if we only do a handful of photos, you can use them and a lot of different ways and a lot of different places, so this is an example from farewell paper of the girls that had the list in there about a section this is their gift wrap this this is a really need style photo and includes a lot of their different products, which I love so it's a great example, these air, new gift bags that they're offering this is gift wrapped, this there's, they've got these matchboxes, which they also sell, they don't sell the cupcakes or the palm phones or whatever, but you can get a really good idea of what their products are, and in this one photo, they've captured several different products so they could use this on, you know, their gift wrap page of their catalog, they could use it on their gift bag, page, their catalog, they could crop it and used just the part with the catalog again. Think of this in a creative way of how you can leverage these photos for different purposes, you know they could crop it for ah, square image for instagram on this side or that side, so get creative, okay, this is from simply curated. We had looked at there images earlier it show I love these picture because it shows the candle and use our as it's going to be used on guy also like that, it has a bird's eye view so that you can see how the wick is, and the candle it shows the beautiful enclosure that the candles included in you can see this sitting in your home right? So this image also will work for retail sales you know cause you're uses consumer can see this in your home you can envision it there, but a retailer could also use this you know tim vision in their store and or you might be able to provide these photos to a retailer to use in their marketing on their website or their social media. So these product photography it's it's, huge it's a really important piece to your overall business but for your catalog and pretty taylor it's important. So great photos tell the story of your brand and really show retailers what the product looks like on their store shelves on, but really, did you ever question that's? Okay, um, you mentioned wanting to show retailers how your products will look on their shelves. I does that mean like showing the packaging as well, like how they will stack together maybe like a cluster of them how they could be merchandised or because right now my product photos air more of how they're going to be in use similar to that candles. I don't really show that packaging like how it will look, I think if you have, if you have extraordinary packaging that's outside of the norm for your industry, then I would absolutely include some pictures of your your products packaged if so that they can envision on the shelves when I when I showed this last one you know there are these probably have a top to them or box to them or something like that so maybe she actually it kind of showed it in the I don't want to put all the way back but you know how they had the sticker she showed the sticker at the top like that showed the kind of information that and customers going to want to know so the retailer conceit okay it's packaged in this way so the stickers on top it's even z for my customer to see how long it burns and all that stuff but if you have extraordinary packaging like if it was something or need or beautiful or like for the greeting cards if you're using something outside of the cell asleep or if you're doing box sets there are no more intricate box then I would take some photos of that and include just one I wouldn't go overboard include a lot of them but yeah I think if you have packaging that you know is above and beyond if you have a luxury item that has wonderful packaging that will help to explain the price too if you if they see how it's packaged and and in detail does I hope okay yeah from sonia be jewelry online she wants to know about photography in terms of when is it better to use people are models and your photos as opposed to just putting them on a table top yeah why should you do both? Well she's jewelry line said okay I think that a mix of that is really great I think that if you were for the product images themselves in the catalog similar to what we had I'm going to flip back a couple oh you know I'm gonna have to go too far back I think like here we'll miss not jewelry so for here where it's just the product that you're laying out I think this is a spot where I would not have it on a body on a person but I think having a staged photo or having something where it is in use and people can see you know how long does that necklace hang or is it you know, higher up I think that would be best for one of these more style shoots that you want to use within your catalog and I'll show some examples of that too so mix his my answer to that sure sorry to jump around okay, so this is a professional photography stuff that we're seeing if you don't have a budget for a professional photographer don't be upset don't worry about it there are a lot of different options that you can you can do to still get the's you know it's it's you could barter you could offer some trade with another designer maybe you have a service or product that you couldn't exchange with them and you know for them to take your photos maybe you hire a photography student at a local art store at school or you know maybe you take an online class creative life has a lot of classes about photography maybe you take some about do it yourself photography and and really beef up your own skills of do it yourself photography I wanted to show you some images of people that took their own photos frick and these were all using catalogs so semisweet press is one of my alarms teo on dh she has these toe bags and he's really cute little zipper bags for like pencils and stuff she took these herself and they look pretty darn good if I have to say so they look great, they really reflect her brand and she saved money doing them herself so you know, she used a couple of simple props I don't think it's confusing that that's a poppin penner the notebooks somebody else's you know it's really this is the hero of the picture this is, you know her product and it's very clear that that's her product again in this one on the right you know the tote bag is hers it's really the main focus of the image you know it's her so you can do some creative things like this and still get great results back to matters of delay with the jewelry line jen did these photos herself. She laid them out, she has white foam core background. She puts everything on its really goes back to kind of like getting that great natural light on dh focusing on consistency and then to the other thing is he if you take these photos there, you can also get help with the editing process. I think that's where a lot of people get hung up of, like, how do we clean these up? How do I brighten them? So you know, there's a lot of different places out there, like fiver and some of these others where you can send images and there's retouch up dot com, which I've used for some like people, body photos, you know, people photos that have cleaned up so their services out there that are pretty inexpensive, that can help to kind of clean up your images, so if you could take it and style it the way you want it to, you might be ableto outsource that piece of it. Did you have some advice point out in this image that jen did a good job of using other props for scale, and that ties in to one of the last questions that lily mentioned that that's, why one of the great uses for using models is for scale as well even when you list the size, it doesn't always communicate as well as an image does yeah, I agree that's a really good point, especially in jewelry so I find that I've had a couple of different coaching clients where they said their customers had questions about the length of the necklace what is eighteen inches means you know doesn't hang eighteen from a neck or does it go around it? You know some customers just don't know and or have a hard time envisioning it so yes that's a great point did you have a question? Katie so this is little specific about product but forcing art prince yet obviously stylized look great in frames but when you're dealing with the product picture itself, you don't want to confuse the retailer to think they're getting the frame as well. Do you recommend just the flat artwork? I think it's ok to put them in the frame you just need a very, very clearly like along the bottom or something for him not included or even in your product description you mentioned, you know friends not included, but I would use this for the styled images versus the product images and when I say product images I mean it's the single product image, the catalog image just just reaching I would just teo the print for that and then have since styled images showing it news showing it hanging on a wall with frame or, you know, lean up against the desk or something yeah, thanks sure. Was there an online question there a few questions on I'm get bring it denise white ass do you have any recommendations on catalog materials size paper type, etcetera? Yes. So most catalogs run one of two sizes. It's a nine and a half by eleven is a common one, which is the side size minus the flags you know it's a full typical it so it does fall that two more, but the booklets size eight and a half by eleven on dh then this is another common size, which is five and a half by eating half so five and a half wide but you have tall aa lot of people start out with this size catalog because they can do it for a lower price point, but what they find is they end up doing more pages at this size because there's not as much space tio include your products and so you need to run the numbers because sometimes they don't have by eleven it gives you more space to work. He can use bigger images, bigger thumbnails of your product you might need fewer pages in the larger format and it might end up costing you less so those were the two typical you know I've seen other things I've seen squares I've seen longer more rectangular but we start to get into this custom sizes the price of printing goes up the other thing is you need to think about if you're shipping these out to retailers have what fits easily in an envelope burb with you know standard postage and all that stuff did you have another only question yes I d'oh amanda sign not was wondering she says I offer a product line that features all the initials should a catalog show each individual letter or is that something that should be only in a line sheet because fonts and things here and what did she say? What kind of product it was just that it has customization of letters she didn't say exactly what kind of product and she's able to include the letters I would include them just because everything is so different wherever you know the way that the letters they're structured you know somebody might like the end but not like the k or whatever so I would and if she uses the same style of letters and everything maybe that just needs to be in one place in the catalog a za reference point and then you know it's hard to say without knowing her her product line but I would include that just simply because people want to see what each of the letters looks like great how many product and images should you include on one page frame half by eleven how many are too many that's a good question, eh? So let's take a look at a few pages we can just do this on the overhead. It depends on what kind of products you're offering, you know and what the size are if you have jewelry for example that's very intricate you're going to want to make sure that those thiss product images are larger so they can see the detail of them. You know, this is a greeting card catalog and she has sixteen on the page and it shows the different types of envelopes to in the background. She has some other types of products to in here like napkins on um let's see, she has nine napkins again. It really depends on the types of products you offer because the details what's the important thing you really want your thumbnails big enough. You want the the detail of your products to show if you're making ceramics and there's, you know intricate details on each side, maybe you do one side on, you know one image of on one side and the other but I again I go back, I go back to doing one image for product and then trying to include those other angles in more of your styled shots, so um that didn't really answer the question, but I would I would make the thumbnails large enough that you can see the detail if you start to get too small a gist it's less effective e o so daniel charge o says when you have items that compass singles and incense do you have them into areas of your catalog or just referenced the singles and sets under the same image that's a great question I would include it I'd give them each a different skew number and I would include that under each product description so you know if something came in a set maybe your skew includes an s at the end of it or something and then in the details at the top of your page you say each set comes with ex quantity whatever that quantity maybe so you'd have to skews listed under the same image and one would be you know, maybe an s for single and you know as for single and as for sets not going to work but you get to just pick a letter for one and pick a different letter for the other pick some way to differentiate this q ultimately that's q is going to be pretty much the same with the exception of the notation that determines whether it's individual piece or a set those lines are secret tree house had a question is a better to organize byproduct type or by line what did she say? What type of products these I think maybe in here um you know I can't find him I like to lump product categories together this maybe it's someone else I think at the same question I'm not sure if it's the same user but this other person said like if it's by each liner byproduct type in the product type she mentioned a magnet says buttons car in that case with you distinct product types I would lump it by product categories so put the magnets for the pencils put the bases whatever if you have a collection like betsy had mentioned earlier she had a collection of travel journals that were different you know that more of an art collection and the theme of grouping is more around the style of it is that correct? Okay the city so you know if something you know if you're a jeweler and you have a collection and that's really kind of based around the same design theme or materials you know I would lump it that way but I am a fan of lumping it by product category unless there's some other logical yeah I feel like that's a question we hear so often and there is no right answer but I will mention that especially digital catalogs I'm noticing something people are even doing both so if you have this face for your printed catalog maybe that's maybe you show by collection with a like a lifestyle image with your photography so utilizing your photography in that way and then if you're using vector images or however you're showing your product images, then that's going to be more by category so you can get kind of creative around how you break it up there's no right answer is the other thing to know around that you it's going to trial and error and you're also going to get feedback from the buyers that you're working with over time about it too and I think you start with personal preference what resonates with you the most you know, how do you view this this whole thing coming together? How would you organize this in the most logical sense and what created mentioned about putting in two different places? A lot of people are doing that and they're doing that more because it can be cost prohibitive to add those extra pages the digital side, your digital catalogs a really great place to do that it is ok to include multiple pieces in multiple places it just needs to make sense and where you put it so ok, anything else from the online audience? I do have one more question, but in answer to your question about the products are secret tree house says yes, she sells buttons, magnets, cards okay stone are her cartoon character lines and she usually puts she puts, she puts her characters on multiple different types of those products, okay, in that case I was a kind of duplicating it like putting on the magnets together and on one page so they can see but then using a style photo kind of like karina mentioned tio show that there's multiple care where there's multiple products with the same character on it that's where like really leveraging the styled shots comes in handy, yeah, way have one more question my line, emily sellers asks, do you have any recommendations for software or programs to use to create a catalog? I do? In fact, in the bonus materials well, a couple of different things aa lot of designers will use in designed to layout adobe inn designed to leave these kinds of things out because it's more of ah ah booklet for months you can create master templates and things that make it very easy to drop in images and details and really streamline that whole process but there's a actually there's some information in the bonus materials that, well, a couple things there's a couple of names of designers that can help me out catalogs for you if you're looking to outsource it on dh there's also jia from betsy white stationary who are you showing her catalogs? She recently launched a new project where she's providing templates two makers where then and it's in design file and then you can just go in and drop it and it's a really reasonable cost for that initial template and she'll help customize it at the beginning for you but then ultimately it's your job to drop everything in or to hire somebody else to do it but that's ah that's a lower barrier to entry to getting this done you can do it yourself to cattle over there really really intense piece to put together anyone that's built one knows that there's just a lot of detail I mean we've gone over the essentials of a catalog and what you need to include but even just making sure that all the skewed numbers are correct and lined up with the same product that's a major major project so you know again when we talk about skimping and splurging I'm going to talk about doing it yourself versus outsourcing but there are solutions out there but most people do use it will be in designed for cattle ugly out so kind of wrapping up this essentials area of what you absolutely need to be including in your catalog I just wantto go through a few reminders these photos can go a long way you wantto prioritize your photos of best sellers and new releases so a lot of times people will put that they'll have a whole section in the beginning of their catalog for new releases or and or they'll duplicate them throughout the rest of your catalog to so they may have a section of the front that's just like everything new and then have them dead throughout the correct product categories and then the other thing I wanted to say start small with the product photography don't feel like you have to take photos of everything in your line you might get overwhelmed by that so you know pick a couple of things that you know where your best sellers or that you know you khun style well on dh focus on getting a few of those great shots and and build from there so and when I talk about starting small and that respect I'm talking more on the styled side of things the styled images so I want to hear from all of you guys what are of these essentials that you need to include in your catalog which of these pieces feels the most like intimidating or overwhelming to put together katie what about you have for me it's definitely photography yeah and I think I kind of have always known this but I think it might be a good one to outsource and like just spend the money on it yeah um because I could definitely notice a difference I have been working on the d I y sign of it but I think especially getting those like really great stylized photos yeah, I can usually tell when a professional has done it right and two there's a difference between and I'm not an expert in this area but just having my own line and gone through going through this process of creating my own photos you know there are product photography photographers rather that are fantastic styling too and so they'll take the photos and will style them and then you have some photographers that will just take the photos and so you or you need to hire a stylist or so I mean that's like top budget line of highly hiring a stylist and then hiring the photography and I think it's really important with the product photography to keep in mind there's different tiers there's different levels you know, again you could do yourself with the photos and outsource the editing you could, you know, higher photographer but not hire a stylist and do that yourself. So I think it's important to remember that you can't that in your budget in different ways and so I know it sounds and feels and looks overwhelming but try toe try to take apart like, what are your needs there on what? What do you need the most help with sounds actually less overwhelming toe here someone teo and a lot of cases that's so learned kind of the hard way yeah so it's good to know good lord you have, um kind of along the same lines with photography, but I've done both I've had someone else as a favour actually two photos to this bartering amazing but then I you know I'm trying to recreate it myself I have a professional camera have everything set up, but I'm like learning how to be a photographer and an editor and photo shop and all these things, which is great issues so time consuming so I think I need to like ask for some help when needed but getting the photo like totally perfect is what drives me nuts really, you know, just in terms of selling or the lighting this um like jewelry is just so tricky yeah, and I think it takes a long time to become like, really good at it. Yeah, so I think for me like, just recognizing that I need to outsource certain things yeah and get some help and I can't I can't be everything you know that's a really great point in business itself, right? Like we can't or life it's way can't do everything and so we really need to determine what we're best at on dh do those things and then get help with the other things that's kudos to you for figuring that out now yeah, anyone else want to share things that I think are helpful to hear their kind of unrelated but katie had mentioned about the proof reading and it's so essential to not just have your best friend or your husband or wife look at your catalog but actually potentially hire someone or barter with someone to do proof reading and specifically again talking about product codes because if you have a product code wrong and a buyer places an order with that wrong product code, you're going to ship them the wrong item and it's happened to many, many established designers esso know that you're not alone and just try and figure out a way to prevent that on my other tip. That is something that a lot of people don't think about is make sure to change up your cover on the catalog, I see something people recycle their covers and I think it's a squandered opportunity for a couple of reasons. One the cover is the first introduction to your lines, so make sure you're you know you're using it well and two if you're not changing the cover, then sometimes buyers aren't prompted to think it's even a new catalog, so oh yeah, we don't know anything there's nothing new so they might pass on it or they might order from the old one exactly it there, it creates confusion as well, so so are my two random tips you know, there's a really great tips did the online audience have anything they wanted to share with regards to what's feeling the most you know overwhelming yes there's a couple and we have a couple questions okay? Amanda s a stylized photos are hard for me because I do a lot of engraved stones your large items that are meant to be displayed outside and creating that environment is difficult and jade court candles as I think the most daunting is writing and captivating about me yeah absolutely I think that about me is an area that a lot of people worry about because it's hard to write about yourself right? I mean again this is something you're going to use on your website you're going to use it in your catalog s so that when we get to the skin don't splurge area again that's another area consider maybe talking to somebody that's a professional writer I I was surprised I recently looked into this for a totally different project but you know a copyrighting service or somebody a writer they're not that much and basically they'll interview you about yourself and what you want to include and what the highlights are and now you have a really good sense of what kind of emotions you want to evoke in this and what you want what your story needs to be so you know you can sit down and verbally tell them that and then they'll write it out for you but again, it's it's like anything, you have to kind of weigh your pros and cons and weigh your budget and see what you can you you had two need to get a question just about copyrighting I try to do everything myself also, and it just gets so older whelming that I put out this email to all my friends about does anyone know a copywriter? Because I have a new pottery project we're working on and my neighbor couple of doors down said, denise, I did this for a living, so I went over there last week we spent the whole day and I just said if I did this, so I just put little bullets and she came up with the whole story and yeah, I can't compete with and it was it was really good and yeah, great can't do it all no, no, your strengths and really play the strength, right? One thing I've done to in the past, working with other designers because I've done some writing and for myself is I just kind of our look, I'll take some time to look it books that I really like the book jackets um and just, you know, read the back cover where it says about the about the author, yeah, and just kind of the key points about an author like one of your favorite authors you know and I'll look it also magazines and where there's like a little bit of about the editor or the people on staff that are writing an article that you like and that's a great tip yeah I just kind of you know it's d I y but if you find somebody that you align with I think that can be really helpful and that also kind of goes back to that whole idea we talked about earlier of looking outside your own industry and seeing how other people are doing things because you are going to pick up different ideas and concepts in that's that's certainly always just go to my favorite things yeah just reflect on that because that is great thanks kelly we have a couple questions about the last questions one viewer says it's hard to have thumbnail photos of long necklaces to show the entire necklace usually makes the thumbnail smaller great to have any solutions to this can we crop into the main pendant or charm or have them on models yeah I think it is more of a pendant or a charm definitely hone in and focus just on the pennant and char and or charm and show the detail of that piece I think though you definitely need to make it clear that like how long the teen is and and I would include a styled photo somewhere in the catalog to show how it drapes and how it you know where it falls when somebody's typically wearing it, but yeah, for the actual product shots in the catalog layout, where you're just having, you know, you're thumbnails, zoom in on that don't worry about detain, you can describe what materials you're using for the chain in the just, you know, in the product descriptions, yeah, I just focus on the more ornate portion of that. Yeah, you could also do size guidelines with things at the front or the back of your catalogues, so, you know, maybe you're just you're showing those zoomed out images that are really more for reference about the scale on dh, then everything else is detailed mixed with those styled shots is another good solution. The other thing along that same exact line that's, really great solution I've seen at the front of ah jewelry catalog, where they had different lengths of the chains, where they put them, like, right next to each other, so and it wasn't like in scale on somebody wearing it, but it just showed it on the page, and it was interesting, it looked interesting, and it also just kind of showed the differential inside ng e think that's a smart idea, yeah, so we have last question jim still asks, how about for one of a kind items I make jewelry and have a couple of collections but they are all one of a kind so once they're sold they cannot be replicated how do I organize a catalog for those types of items? I wouldn't necessarily have a catalog for those types of items because I view that as custom work I think you could have other sales tools for that because you're you're not really going to be selling those is she selling this wholesale dish you mentioned because I had that seems like a very difficult producto wholesale to me but if she were creating them for the retail market I would put together a look book that's more showing different pieces that she's made over time so that people could see the style and aesthetic and it's more of ah it's more like a like a magazine than it is a sales catalogue because a custom piece is going to be custom quoted your you know the materials they're going to differ based on what the clients looking for so I think having you know in that in that case I just worry about having a digital look book on guy include a lot of images of people wearing the jewelry it was jewelry right? It was confusing my products no it's definitely joy I think another person had this had a similar question I'm not sure that's the same person I don't think so but they said if they had a catalogue and so on but you know, one, two, three, four of those and then someone else wanted them could they make the offer to make similar items? You're not the wholesale products we're talking about our non customizable okay products so really the things that you'd be putting in a catalogue and then think the products that we're talking about here today are things that are all going to be the same and are sold therese till stores and they're all it's all gonna look the same so that something that you know this certain skew when it ships out to a store in new york is gonna look the same exact way is it's going to ship to a store in washington or something when you start to get into these customers pieces that in my opinion is a totally different market strategy that's where you're selling you know, truly custom made pieces for a particular client and every retailer wants to partner with you on that and, you know, work with you to create some collaborative pieces that they sell through their store you know, do that but I wouldn't spend the time putting together a catalog for this custom made pieces I would instead focus on really great problems product photography of of the materials and use and then put that into, you know, a pdf that somebody could flip through to see is there any kind of formula used when the sign me deciding like how many product shots tohave and then which pays page to have the product shots and then the style shots like how to break that up? Well, what I do first to start their, I'd try to figure out how many pages you need for the actual, like thumbnails of your products and then and see how much space that's going to take up and then I would really try to work in the products the styled shots in different ways. So let's see, like there's, not really a specific rule of thumb of, you know, have a third of your catalog, be styled shots is more of how can it fit and fit within the parameters you need to keep your budget down, tio so but let me show on the overhead you know this this was a layout that I really liked. I do a lot of pattern work with my with my stationery, and actually this photo on the left is something I took myself, I just laid it out and but I wanted I like this one photo included lots of the different patterns so people could see them in person and see what the colors were, but this you know, this full page, it really kind of captures the attention, and it gives the scale I'm trying to explain this year like the thumbnails air a little bit small I probably should have gotten bigger on them s o the photo kind of creates that scale so that they can see what they look like a little bit up close is that makes sense yeah, totally do you which I'm not sure if this a place to laura's much for jewelry but what I love about this layout in particular is that it's showing that your palate is matching so the photography is true to the vector image which is often a concern for myers is saying what does this actually look like in real life so keeping that in mind too that that really illustrates that oath there's not a big gap between the two right and teo you know, so I just real quickly appeared the top is where I have my product details that's what minds mine just talk about like the size and the made in u s a and recycled materials and all that stuff. So that applies to everything on this page, eh? So what you were talking about earlier with your materials that's a great kind of place that have one spot on the page where it kind of details that stuff again I probably should have gone a little bit larger with my thumbnail because it's hard to read that this is thank you but you know, that's where playing with it and actually when you do design these things like print out print amounts, you could look and see because it looks so different on the screen than it does you can large things on your screen eso print that out to sea, but in this case I did use vector images and that I know that's more possible for certain types of products, and it is for, you know, jewelry or ceramics or things like that candles, but, you know, I didn't take thumbnail photos of each of these products, so I saved a lot of money there instead, I spent the money well, I did this one myself, but I spend the money on other style of photos that I used in other things, so again, it's it's doing what still looks nice but it's functional and again, driving it all back to what makes it easier for the easiest for the buyers to buy. And then you'll see underneath the thumbnail that's, where I included the like product number and the name of the product tio, but this catalog has two items that were incorrect. The item numbers didn't get changed when I change because I use template so like the same layout is here, but instead of having that last row of cards sector images, I dropped in this image so, again, the attention to detail and looking at what the product numbers aren't having multiple sets of fresh eyes. Looking at this stuff is critical.