top left: linen pincushion by namolio, top right: mugs in blueberry by skinnylaminx
Now that you have an idea of what props you'll be using, it's time to stage your photos. Again, this comes down to personal preference. Some people like to keep it really simple with little to no props, or just a background of some sort. Some people (myself included) like to create little scenes or vignettes around a particular product, in the way someone might display it in their home. Remember, this is your shop window! Try to choose props or backgrounds that don't overwhelm your product, so that whatever you're selling is still the focus of the shot. Also, think about what props go well with what you're selling and enhance people's understanding of what it is. For example, a bookmark might be sitting atop an old vintage novel, that delicious smelling vanilla soap would look great with some white blossoms and vanilla beans nearby, and the sweet little coin purse you've sewn may have a few coins, some lip balm or your keys peeking out. Your items don't necessarily have to be in use, think of it like a window display with a collection of things arranged together to tell a story (right about now I highly recommend taking a peek at the amazing Three Potato Four if you haven't already, I guarantee you will be inspired by their beautiful product photography and styling!).
3. Use it or lose it.
So, I know I just said that you don't have to photograph your products in use, doing so is not only an easy way to style your photos, but it also helps your potential customers fully understand what you're selling. This is especially so with clothing or anything where they might want to see how something fits. It also enables customers to imagine themselves wearing or using it, or how it could fit in their house, on their wall or couch. In terms of clothing having a model always helps, but it is definitely not a necessity. There are many online stores that don't do this and their clothes still look fantastic. Take a look at Dear Golden Vintage or Allen Company Inc. who use both dress forms and coat hangers to show off their vintage wares. Super simple, but they do the job well. You could even try something similar but also include a few props. Perhaps a picture or two on the wall, a little side table with books and trinkets on it, or a stack of suitcases.
4. White OutUp until now, I've worked from the assumption that you want to use backgrounds, props and sets. However there is some really beautiful and simple product photography out there using just a simple while background or lightbox. The good thing about this type of product shot is that your products really stand out and pop, but for me I find it just a little bit trickier. This is mostly because your photos need to both have great lighting, and be really crisp and clear as the product is the entire focus of the shot. It's most definitely not impossible though! A tripod and a bit of practice should be all you need!
Thigh High Lace Up Legwarmers by Sannica
I hope this post has been helpful for you all, if even just to give you the inspiration and confidence to work on your product photos. My final and most important tip is this, there are no rules. There is no right or wrong way to style your photos. I've had both praise and criticism for my product photography, and when it comes down to it, I can only go with photos that I love and am happy with. With all the great photography out there, there is a definite temptation to try and emulate other sellers, and while there is nothing wrong with this people want to see your point of view and will respond to the styling that you really love. Good luck friends, I'm sure you'll all be great!