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Have you just been approved as a Saffron Souk’ shopkeeper or have you been open for a while and keen to give your shop front a Spring clean or a fresh new look?

If that’s a yes then this is a product photography guide for you. It’s not intended to be a how-to guide for taking product photos. It’s more of a what-to, a guide to help you prepare your photos ready for uploading to your shop front.

A word of reassurance to get you started – most shopkeepers find the prospect of product photos a little daunting. But don’t get your knickers in a twist! Everyone gets there in the end, so follow these 3 simple steps to product photo success…

 You don’t have to use professionally taken photos or even special photography kit, and you’ll save a lot of time and money along the way if you can take and edit your own photos.

 Even though your photos don’t have to be taken by a professional, they do have to be good. Saffron Souk is a boutique shopping platform, not a jumble sale and you‘re a creative person so style your shots, inject a little personality to reflect your brand but keep it simple and ensure it’s clear what you’re actually selling. 

 Unless you’re an expert photographer, own a lightbox or are a photoshop wiz, don’t try to achieve a pure white background. A textured fabric, a natural surface or a rendered wall can made fantastic backgrounds for instance. Choose a background that you can re-create, that reflects your branding and that makes your product pop!

 Turn your flash off and use natural lighting. We recommend taking photos outdoors but in the shade where possible.

 Orient your camera for a horizontal / landscape shot. 

 Include plenty of background space around your product to allow for future cropping

 Take at least 5 photos per item, including a full frontal, shots from different angles and close-ups to clearly show the detail and quality of your items. If you have gorgeous packaging or colour options, include photos of them too. Think like a customer – what would you want to see?

 Even the best raw photo needs a bit of editing and boosting the lightness, brightness or exposure generally does the trick.

 There’s a multitude of apps, websites and programmes to help you give your raw photos a bit of oomph. Experiment and find out what works best for you. Many have automatic settings for you to choose from. 

 Make sure the colours of your products remain true to life.

 Saffron Souk’ browsing pages show products in a landscape rectangular format with 4:3 proportions. It’s essential that the first photo you upload for each of your listings to be sized correctly. 

 The first photo you upload for each listing is the image that appears on the browsing pages and so it MUST look fabulous. It needs to be a 4:3 proportion to avoid being automatically cropped down by the website.

 As well as being the correct proportion, make sure the file size isn’t to big. 800x600px at 72dpi is the smallest image size recommended. Smaller files will look fuzzy and large files will be slow to upload or time out and not load up at all. Your files should be somewhere around 200 – 300KB each.

 Most of the freebie photo editing software that comes with your computer or printer along with photo editing apps and websites can be used to resize your photos to suit Saffron Souk’ format. If you’re not sure where to start, try opening your photos in and chosing the 1024x768px option under the Crop tool. Have a read of our Make Great Photos blog for some other suggestions.

 The second, third, fourth and fifth photos you upload for each listing are seen on the item detail page and can be viewed in full when a customer scrolls through your images. Along with horizontal images, you can also upload vertical or square photos if you’d prefer. 

 Top tip! Before you crop and reduce the resolution of your photos, save a hi-res copy for print, promo and press use.

Do not use flashy graphics including photo montages or overlays including frames on your photos as they distract from your products and make using them for press purposes difficult.

You can use a watermark on your photos but be subtle. It should be visible only when you zoom right in, not when customers are browsing your shop front. Watermarks should be of your logo or brand name. URLs are unacceptable.

 Practice, practice practice! Invest some time into developing and perfecting your product photos. Like all skills, creating great product photos improves will practice. Keep in mind, you’re free to change your product photos anytime.

 The better your photos, the more clicks your items will attract from the browsing pages and the more likely they are to be used in Saffron Souk’ press releases, newsletters and blog social media posts. 

 Need more help? There are some fabulous photography courses on offer so keep your eye on Saffron Souk’ calendar of creative events for upcoming workshops.

 Post on Saffron Souk’ forum, support our community and send out your questions, share your experiences or offer a bit of creative advice to your fellow shopkeepers.