As a brand or a maker, we can often feel bogged down by all of the to-do's we have to do in addition to making the stuff we love.
The downfall is that in order to sell the stuff we love, we need photos.
I'm personally a fan of "better done than perfect" because 1) you can't sell what people can't see and 2) you don't know what you can't improve until you try (and you might surprise yourself at what you're good at along the way!)
Its easy to get tripped up and let imposter syndrome settle in ("I don't have a REAL camera!", "I'm not a photographer!", "I have no idea what I'm doing!), but that's why I am giving you this handy step by step so you can drop-kick those doubts like its gym class dodge ball (IE...fun!)
1) What is the purpose of this shoot? Are you launching a new product? Do you have a new look? New labels? Do you just need to update your catalog or have fresh images for social? Maybe you just want to just do a wild, crazy theme for fun....those are my absolute favorites! Get clear on the why here.
2) What is your brand's vibe? Are you clean, bright and modern? Are you whimsical, textured, and feminine? Maybe you lean moody, dark and mysterious? Pull together some adjectives to describe your brand and how you want people to feel when they see your products or content. Make a list!
3) With your adjectives in mind, what textures, colors, materials have a similar look and feel to them? If you're a whimsical, textured and feminine brand, colors like unwashed linen, blush, lemon yellow may feel at home among textures like lace, sequins, and a pop of fresh floral. On the flip side, colors like red, black or piercing cobalt blue may not be as appropriate, and textures like vinyl, glass, or worn leather could feel like a branding disconnect as well. The goal is to keep it cohesive yet interesting.
4) Put together a mood board. Be open to looking at photos that are not of actual products, but rather, photos that evoke the feeling you'd like people to experience with you, colors that feel on point, props that excite you and visual concepts that might be a little outside your box, but with a little tweaking, could fit your aesthetic and brand.
5) Plan your shoot. What props do you need? Are there ones you can make or ones that you have at home? TIP: Most props are "background actors" and don't need to be IN the shoot; a tea towel or wash cloth, for example, can add a textural, grounding element to the shot without competing with your product for visual space. What color background will you be working with? What sort of angles will you be shooting- flat lay, 45 degree, straight on, off centered that leaves space for text? Get it on your calendar, make space for it otherwise you may be tempted to just push it off and next thing you know, another month or two has gone by.
The goal is to get conceptual- have fun, day dream, be playful and a little wild. Conceptualizing is where the magic happens, so don't box yourself in by trying to be "realistic" or doing what you see other brands doing.
Conceptualization is the first step and the one where we shouldn't be limiting ourselves- editing comes later! You can always subtract from what you have, but start out with a goal of exploration and play.
The more often you practice the art of play, the more readily available new ideas will come to you and the more imaginative they become, its a really fun process to experience unfolding.
Now, go make some magic and sell some product!