How to photograph shoes for a website
Are you selling shoes via your own website? Whether you’re mixing wholesale and your own e-commerce channel, or just selling D2C; your website images need to be spot-on. Reading this article will help you photograph shoes in the most attractive way.
Badly photographed shoes on an e-commerce site are likely to sell 0 pairs, and footwear photography is a hard skill to master. If you’re getting a professional to photograph shoes for you, you’ll need to be able to brief them properly. If you’re planning to take some shots yourself, you’ll need guidance.
Kate Darkins is a professional photographer who took the photos for my web pages. She runs her business The Stock Stylist, which provides bespoke imagery and head shots for businesses. She also runs photography workshops, and gives great advice on both still life and lifestyle photography.
I asked Kate some burning questions I had about how to photograph shoes.
1. Do you think it’s best to take still life imagery of shoes for e-commerce against a white background?
No, not necessarily, I think that e-commerce shots can work just as well in a lifestyle setting or on a different coloured (complimentary) colour. There is much more of a trend to showcase products in lifestyle and within a ‘real’ environment. Images should of course be aspirational, however people are steering much more towards ‘real life’ imagery.
The traditional white background will always work, however shots can also work with a more modern twist, for example on a white surface, but with a wallpaper background or a solid colour background.
2. How can brands ensure that the true colour of shoes is captured for their e-commerce site?
This is always very tricky, as cameras differ, computer screen calibration differs from computer to computer so it’s never guaranteed to be entirely accurate.
White balance is critical on a product shoot to ensure the best colour match, which is why it is better to use a professional photographer to shoot your range. This way you can ensure as close a colour match as possible.
3. Do you have any tips for effectively capturing the detail on black shoes?
Simply getting the right angle, the correct lighting and getting some detail / macro shots to highlight this.
4. When brands are planning a lifestyle (on-foot) shoot, what should they consider?
It’s really important to get the right perspective on this kind of shoot so that everything looks in proportion. Shooting in line with the foot, rather than downwards or upwards would be the best option for shooting on-foot shoes.
5. When creating content for Instagram, how can brands maintain a consistent aesthetic whilst growing engagement?
Having a consistent colour scheme or filters is key to having a beautiful looking Instagram grid. Using the same setup for your lifestyle shots or your on-shoe shots would be ideal to keep a uniform look throughout your content – use the same lighting, the same (or similar) backgrounds and colours. Your Instagram grid is a work of art and your followers will learn to know your brand through your imagery. It is important that your images work together and then in turn, people will begin to recognise your brand almost instantly.
Ideally, if you had the budget to invest, getting some personalised photography produced in line with your brand would be great, and you can scatter this throughout your feed to maintain consistency.
Unfortunately generic stock photography doesn’t work for brands trying to get their brand or product across, which was my reason for launching ‘The Stock Stylist’ – to give brands an affordable option to build a stock library of bespoke ‘branded’ images using their own products. I work with brands on a one-off basis and others on a seasonal basis, to ensure they have enough imagery to use for their social campaigns and the changing seasons and festivals. I later launched the ‘Shoot for Social’ which is a workshop teaching businesses and brands how to take better photos themselves. After years of working with businesses, I came to realise that startups and smaller businesses simply didn’t have the budget to have regular shoots, so I wanted to provide a more attainable option and therefore help them to improve their own photography skills to shoot better images on their phone.
Thank you so much for your insights Kate!
If you’d like to find out how Kate could photograph shoes and more for your brand, find her here: