4 Tips for Better Product Photos on Instagram

Tips for better product photos on Instagram - how to attract potential buyers with high quality images and elevate your visual marketing with simple photography tips.

If you sell your products online, having high quality product photos is incredibly important. It’s the only way to convey the quality of your products because customers can’t actually touch or feel them before they make their purchase. The quality of your product photos directly affects the perceived quality of your products… so if you have low quality images, chances are people think your products are low quality as well!

When it comes to marketing your products on Instagram, just because someone sees your product photos doesn’t mean they’ll take the action to click through and buy it. In fact the most of the time / most of the people won’t. Ever. #truth

That’s why it’s SO important to have visually compelling images on Instagram in order to attract potential buyers to STOP and take a look instead of scrolling by. DIYing your product photography? Here are a few tips will help you capture better product photos for Instagram.

Lighting is Everything

Whether you’re using your iPhone or a DSLR camera, lighting is the most important thing when it comes to your product photos. I generally prefer using natural light when possible, but natural light can be a bit tricky since it isn’t something you always have control over. Start by finding the best natural light in your space. When you’re at home or in an office, the best natural is usually by the window or door. If you don’t have natural light in your space, you might need to go outside.

Pay attention to how the light changes throughout the day. You might want to avoid direct sunlight because it can create harsh shadows. If you don’t have access to natural light, you can obviously use studio lighting. There are a range of lighting options from basic and cheap to super professional (this is a great set for less than $200).

Background Basics

For easy and affordable white backgrounds, you can buy foam boards at a craft store or Amazon. These are a great hack for flat lays when you don’t have a white table or desk (and they are super cheap)! If you need a seamless background for any sort of vertical product shots where you don’t want to see the wall in the background, seamless photo backdrop paper is the best option. You can find a range of sizes and color options to fit your brand but if you really want your products to stand out I recommend using a neutral white or gray background for basic product photos. Savage Paper is the seamless backdrop paper that I use (it’s nice and thick!) and it comes in a ton of different colors and sizes to fit your space.

Styled and Lifestyle Combinations

One thing that gets a little confusing for people is the difference between styled and lifestyle images. Styled photos are products photos that you plan with intentionally placed props in order to highlight or “accessorize” your main product. This is what you might think of when you see food photography or desktop photos where things look almost too perfect. Lifestyle photos are photos that look more like they are taken of things happening naturally in everyday life. These might show your product actually being used by a person the way it would on a daily basis.

Having a combination of the two types of photos can be ideal for product based businesses. Lifestyle photos can be more relatable for your audience because when people see other people using / wearing products, they can envision the product in their own lives. On the other hand, styled photos can be a more focused and clean way of showcasing a product so that the focus is really on the product’s features. You may notice that your audience responds better to certain types of photos in comparison to others so pay attention to which photos get higher engagement as well as which ones drive more sales!

Consistent Style

Having a set of photography tools you use on a regular basis will streamline your product photography. Using consistent lighting, consistent editing, and consistent colors, and consistent props will help you create a consistent style that makes your brand more memorable. Consistency breeds credibility.

You want all of your product photos to have a cohesive look, and using consistent colors and props is an easy way to visually tie things together. I recommend having a “prop box” on hand with small items you can use to style with your products. I have an overflowing closet full of props for my various clients and customers, but even if you start with a few items that you use on a consistent basis, that will help to create a more consistent look to your images!

Are you ready to up-level your own product photos?

If you need additional props to bring your photos to life, Shopbop (one of my go-to shops for Instagram props!) is currently having their event of the season sale and you can use the code EOTS17 to get up to 25% off! It’s a great time to stock up on chic office supplies, jewelry organizers / trays, coffee table books, mugs, candles, and other small home decor items to incorporate into your photos. Or just add to your fall wardrobe… I’ll be doing that as well :)

Shop some of my picks here:

8 Ways to Increase Your Revenue Now

8 ways to increase your revenue right now - short term strategies for small businesses to make more money now and avoid the summer slump!

With the ebbs and flows of business throughout the year, summer tends to be a slow time, but that doesn’t mean we can totally slack off until September! If you’re feeling the summer blues and wondering what you can do to keep bringing in the $$$, I’ve put together a list of 8 easy ways to make more money in your business right now without spending a ton or launching something completely new. With these short-term strategies, can avoid the summer slump, and increase your income – or even take a vacation of your own!

8 Ways to Increase Your Revenue Right Now

1. Run a Sale

A lot of people talk about discounting as a negative thing to do for your business, but I don’t think it’s necessarily bad if you’re trying to bring in new customers or clients. If you position your sale a limited time opportunity, you’ll get people to act now rather than later. This is a great way to get rid of excess inventory if you have a product-based business and encourage get your audience to purchase something before it’s gone for good! Earlier this summer I did this with a couple of courses that I was closing by offering them at a discount before they were closed for enrollment forever. 

2. Offer a Limited Time Bonus

If you don’t want to discount your products or services, you can incentivize new purchases by offering a bonus or a bundle for people who are going to purchase from you. This is where handy ‘buy one get one’ offers come in. Or tell your clients if they book a consulting session, they get a free eBook or a gift card toward a future purchase. With this strategy, you’re not just selling products, you’re giving your customers something in addition to motivate them to act now.

3. Announce a Price Increase

If you’ve been in business for a while or you’re expanding your offerings, you can give your audience the opportunity to hire you or purchase something at your current rates before they go up. This definitely increases customer interaction because everyone wants to feel like they got a deal. I recently raised the prices for the Styled Stock Society and a week prior to raising the prices I let everyone know it was going to happen, so whoever wanted to join before the prices went up had the opportunity to do that!

4. Add a Tripwire to Your Sales Funnel

A tripwire is a low cost ‘easy yes’ offer that helps you turn a lead into a customer. It’s an item that solves a very specific problem in your target audience’s life. This could be something like a template, a sample, access to an archive, training, or content you’ve already created. It’s something that’s small and has a low price tag so someone would be excited to pay a small amount of money for something that has a lot of value. The idea is that once someone buys from you, they are more likely to purchase again. By getting them to buy the small offer you create an opportunity to upsell them a larger package or product. In the meantime, it’s an easy way to make money while you’re growing the know / like / trust factor with your customers!

Not a designer? (me neither!) – Bluchic’s landing page templates make it easy to set up your tripwire in minutes!

5. Offer a Popup Service

If you provide services, think about how your could take one specific part of your existing service offerings and create a mini version for a limited amount of time. You want this new offering to be smaller in scope and smaller in price. For example, photographers who offer portrait photography might do a smaller mini session with a specific theme. A health coach could offer a one week quick start meal plan instead of a 6-month program. A social media manager could create a limited time service like social media profile audits rather than their typical ongoing service. Popup services are a great way to introduce new customers to what you do without the pressure to invest in larger, more time consuming packages.

6. Run an Affiliate Campaign

If you have affiliates for your business, create a short series of emails to remind them how they can promote your business while earning money themselves. You might give them specific ideas on how they can promote your business with emails or social media updates. You could also provide graphics to help them promote your business and even swipe copy so you make it as simple possible for people to share how much they love your business! If you don’t have affiliates yet, you can still have brand ambassadors and even just business besties who share a word about your business you give them credit to your shop in return. Sometimes the easiest way to get new eyes on your business is by having other people promote it to their own audiences!

7. Update Your Evergreen Sales Sequences

First of all – if you don’t have evergreen sale sequences, you should definitely create them!  A lot of people will get their audience to subscribe to an email list and send them one thing and then… nothing. Research shows it typically takes at least 7+ touch points for a customer to feel comfortable with investing in your business. If you stop after one or two touch points then you’re missing the opportunity to reach people who want to potentially buy from you! Create or update your evergreen sale sequences and add additional automated emails. Think about what else you can add to them to help educate potential customers and also remind them of the products and services you offer. Remember – just because you sent one email three months ago doesn’t mean someone’s going to remember who you are today! 

If investing in costly landing page software like LeadPages is holding you back from creating sales funnels, check out Bluchic’s landing page templates for a more budget friendly alternative!

8. Ask for Referrals

Asking for referrals can be uncomfortable for some people, but if you’ve provided your clients with value, there’s no reason they wouldn’t want to refer you to other people who could also benefit from the same services. This is a simple strategy that most people don’t do! If you don’t have a system in place for following up with your previous clients, checking in to see how they’re doing, and seeing if they need anything else, you should put one in place – AND use this as an opportunity to get repeat business by asking them if they know anyone else who could benefit from the same service :)

So those are 8 easy ways to increase your revenue and avoid the summer slump! What other strategies are you using to make more money right now?

3 Ways Your Email List Can Outperform Your Blog

3 ways your email list can outperform your blog - why you need an email list for your online business.

You started a blog but you’re not getting the results you were promised.

Your audience is not engaged.

You never know when they take action on your blog posts or if they ever do.

You know you have little control over whether or not they ever come back to read your stuff.

What if I told you there is a better way to build your connection with your audience?

With email, you have a better measurement of how many people are engaged, opened your emails, and took action on the things you wished they did.

There are three reasons why having an email list is just as important as having a blog, if not more important.

Open and click through rates are more meaningful than pageviews.

This is how your  traffic acquisition goes: you either set up and prepare your website for free or paid traffic. SEO, Pinterest, Facebook ads, promoted pins, guest posting, etc. You get a few thousands visitors per day, some love your content and sign up for your emails. Others flee and never come back. For those who never come back, you don’t know if they just forgot to sign up your emails and freebie or your content got in the eyeballs of the wrong audience.

On the other hand, when you decide to send an email to your subscribers, you’re sending it to a warm audience. These people have read at least one of your blog posts and knows who you are. They have opted in and have given you permission to land in their inbox.

At the end of the day, the vanity metrics are meaningless if those aren’t the people who’s going to go out there and speak highly of your brand, services, and products. There are people who are just interested in the topic you speak about. Then there’s those people who are asking for more from you because of your perspective on the topic.

Not from someone else who talks about the same topic, but from you specifically.

Subscribers are more loyal because they have given you permission to email them.

Think about the last time you subscribed to a YouTube channel. The last time you subscribed to a fashion or beauty magazine. The last time you invited someone to your home for tea. Nope, I’m not kidding about the the tea one. And here’s why.

There’s a difference when someone invites you to send them content and when they visit your blog for content. When people visits your blog for content, they’re looking for information on a problem. Let’s say you have a blog posts that says, “5 Ways to Clean Out Your Closet in less than 30 minutes.”

People click on it. Some read it, love your ideas and then implement it. The others click away from your website and feel that your ideas won’t work for them. But for the people who love your ideas opt in, they are in for a ride with you.

For these people who opt-in, it’s proven that they like your ideas, believe you, and it’s the first step to deepening that trust with them via email.

So what does this have to do with inviting someone to your home for tea?

Well, when you invite someone to your home for tea, it means they’re your friends and generally someone whom you trust. The reality is, no one invites strangers to their homes. And if someone trusts you with their emails, then you are on their good side. They invite you to continue to send more content to their inbox.

And people value their inbox because it’s connected to everything they own online. They won’t risk inviting spam inside if they don’t at least connect with you on some level.

Email sequences helps you generate sales on autopilot.

You can’t possibly make sure your blog stays top of mind and that every person will come back to read more.

But you can follow up with people via email to remind them to check out your new blog posts, products, and services.

In email, there’s something called email autoresponders where you can pre-write a series of emails using your email service provider and have it automatically send out to your list when they subscribe. These autoresponders can be email courses or sales sequences. Write it once and have the same information send out to your new subscribers.

Here are two routes you can take…

Create a blog and hope that people will remember to come back and read it.

Or create an irresistible freebie (oh hey, it’s still free content!) and have people who are truly interested in having their problem solved flock to your sign-up page.

The truth is that whatever content you write on your blog, you can easily repurpose that through email. If you struggle with writing long-form blog content that’s over 1000 words, guess what?

You can write your message through email. With email, you don’t have to worry too much about the length of your content. You can get away with emails that are shorter — as that’s the industry norm.

With email you can see who are reading your emails and who are taking action. This can be clicking on the email that leads them to a worksheet.

Let’s say you decide to create your irresistible freebie to kick off your list building, here’s what you can do.

Do you need a blog to starting collecting subscribers?

Nope!
All you need is a landing page.

If your freebie is compelling enough to solve a real world problem (not one that you think people will need), you’ll have people rolling into your email list on autopilot.

In fact, landing pages convert at a much higher rate for me than any form of content upgrade or opt-in form on a blog.

I have some blog posts that gets a good number of page views, comments, shares, and engagement. People know it’s helpful as they have said so. But when you expect more subscribers, it doesn’t happen.

Why not?

They love the topic. There is interest. The blog post was helpful.

But they probably don’t have an immediate need to solve the problem so they don’t sign up for your freebie.

But for those people who do sign up for the freebie, they do want their problem solved. These are the people who have an immediate need to use your services, consulting packages, or products. These are the people you want to focus on.

Which comes back to my point. You don’t need to have a blog to collect subscribers. When I started, I felt obligated to give away free information before collecting subscribers, but as I dive into using paid advertising, I realized that if people have a need to solve their pains with the freebie I’m offering, they’ll opt-in regardless if there’s the blog post.

This suddenly made me realize that a blog is a nice-to-have, not a must-have sometimes. When you offer a free blog post, it attracts people who are interested in the topic, but doesn’t always necessarily need a problem solved. And your paid services and products should always target people who need it — hopefully asap. Does this means you should dump your blog?

Well no.

I love writing a blog and building trust through free content, but it doesn’t work as effectively and quickly as you’ll like it sometimes. When I realized that I can spend two hours creating one PDF (be it a workbook, swipe file, or toolkit) and it converts better than a blog post that I spent 5-6 hours on, it really makes me wonder how I should allocate my time.

Final Words

You may feel like if you start an email list, you need to offer many lead magnets at once to build your list. But that’s far from the truth. As long as you know what’s your paid offering and ideal client, all you need is one compelling lead magnet to kick off your list building efforts.

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