When shooting products, deciding whether or not to use props can be a confusing decision. What to do depends on the look and feel that you are trying to achieve. Let’s explore both options.

When Not to Prop

For ecommerce, Shooting products on a white seamless background is a great way to assure that the product is shown clearly with detail.

The majority of the time when photographers shoot a product without props, it is shot on a white seamless background. Depending upon your budget and size of your product, you can use anything from a piece of white poster board to seamless pro white vinyl photography backdrop. If your product is a little larger, you can use more than one piece of poster board. There are a plethora of tutorials online on how to shoot on a plain white ground.

This image is a simple shot straight from the camera with no editing. With some photoshop tweaks (for another blog post), this can be made to look great for an ecommerce site.

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When to Prop

Done properly, carefully placed props can not only enhance your image but they can also help the consumer to envision your product as their own. Although you are setting the stage with your props, make sure that your item is still the star in the image and the product is properly in focus. Here is a good example where props create the right environment for the product.

product photography with props

A few things to keep in mind:

  • having too many props will make your image look unprofessional
  • avoid props that are much brighter in color than your product as they will outshine your product
  • choose props that compliment your product. Consumers want to be able to see how your product will fit into their life.

The below image is an example of how not to prop – the glasses don’t stand out, there is a lot of clutter and some of the glasses are not in focus.

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So what should you do?

Most often, both. Post more than one picture of your product. Show a white background as the primary image that focuses just on the product so customers can see details. And as secondary images, you could show images with props or if you’re selling fashion products, then on a model so customers can visualize how the product looks when worn.

Have you seen sales increase when using props or no props? How do you decide when to use props v. not?