So you’ve made your fabulous handbag and now you want to show the world, right? Here at U-Handbag we LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing your beautiful creations and we are always blown away by what a talented lot you are! We really enjoy featuring your inspiring creations on Instagram and our Customer Gallery page so we thought we’d give you some simple tips on how to make your photos look as professional as your bag.
FOCUS & COMPOSITION
First up, you really don’t need a fancy-shmancy camera or equipment to take a great photo. A smartphone camera is absolutely fine, as is a basic point-and-shoot camera. It’s definitely what you do with it that counts!
It goes without saying that your bag should be the star of the show, so make sure that it is in focus (it sounds really obvious, but sometimes automatic cameras like to focus on other things in the frame). This is usually easiest to achieve by putting your bag at the centre of the image. Once you’ve lined up your shot, press the screen on the smartphone or squeeze the camera shutter very gently to get the focus square lined up on the bag so it’s nice and sharp before you go ahead and click.
Do you need to photograph the bag head-on? Play around with moving the camera to one side or up or down, as sometimes a photographing at a slight angle can really highlight important features of your bag such as the shape, straps, handles and other details. Can you show the bag in action or get a willing friend or family member to model it for you?
When you are composing your image, don’t just look at the bag, have a good look at the background as well. Is there something that makes the image look weird (think of the old tree-growing-out-of-the-head comedy photos!) or is the bag sitting halfway down the frame and looking cramped and sorry for itself? It’s really worth taking a few moments to ensure that your bag is indeed ready for its close-up!
If your background is too busy, it can make your bag really hard to see properly. Try and find a nice unfussy background that doesn’t compete with your bag and really makes it stand out. It can be either dark or light – it depends on the colour of your bag. White is very tricky to work with as, unless you have access to photo-editing software, it often turns out looking grey. A patterned background may work if your bag is very plain, but it’s probably best to err on the side of caution. Experiment with chairs, wooden tables, doors, painted walls, fabrics or even dense foliage as possible backgrounds.
If there’s one thing you should avoid at all costs, it’s using a flash. It creates odd lights and shadows and will honestly do your beautiful bag no favours at all. Use bright, natural light in a well-lit spot in your home, or even outside in the garden. Direct sunlight is also best avoided as it creates harsh shadows so, oddly, overcast days are quite good for taking photos.
PROFESSIONAL TIP: If you are photographing by a window where the light is coming from one side, create a more even light on your bag by holding or propping up a ‘reflector’ on the opposite side. This could be a sheet of white card or paper, a large piece of tin-foil (dull side up) or even a mirror covered in tracing paper if you don’t want to invest in a proper photographic one (although if you do, there are lots of great inexpensive options available online – try Amazon). The reflector will bounce light back onto the bag and help to get rid of those nasty dark shadows.
If you are photographing bags on a regular basis for an online shop such as Etsy, it’s super-important to get an evenly-lit shot all the time so all the details of your bag are clear and easy to see, so you may want to look at using a lightbox. We use a little Foldio portable studio https://orangemonkie.com/foldio2/ (which is also great for keeping whites white) or you can even make your own out of an old cardboard box! There are lots of tutorials online, like this one https://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Inexpensive-Photography-Lightbox
We really hope this has been helpful and we can’t wait to see all your gorgeous bag photos. We will be updating the look of our Customer Gallery soon and getting stuck in to Instagram again, so the better and brighter your shots, the more likely we are to feature them!