An Introduction to (Budget) Product Photography

Published on August 19, 2022
Written by
Filed under Shipping Basics
Read time 4 Minutes

Did you know online shoppers are three times more likely to return a product than someone buying in-person? Or how about that, of those returns, anywhere from 5% – 25% are due to the product not being as described on your website? It might sound like we’re talking about two different problems but in fact, we’re looking at symptoms of a bigger issue: bad product photography.

If you have an online store, your customers can’t browse your shelves, hold a shirt up to a mirror, try items on, etc., etc.. Instead, they’re relying on your website and how you display your products. That presentation goes a long way towards whether or not the customer: A) buys your product, and B) winds up returning it.

But here’s the thing: not every online seller is an expert photography. Not every one is an amateur, a novice, or even a beginner. So how do you make sure your products look as great as possible to make sure you show your customers exactly what they’re getting? And how do you do that on a budget?

That’s where we come in. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to break down the hows, whats, and whys around product photography. A lot of this depends on the old punk rock DIY ethos and some craftiness on your part. But if you’re running your own online business, there’s a good chance you already have the right disposition.

To get specific, we’re going to tackle these areas:

With this information in-hand, you’ll know what it’s going to take, how much it’ll cost, and why it’s worthwhile to make sure your product photography has been given the same love and attention the rest of your online business has. You’ll have a practical guide at the ready for budget product photography that you can do yourself.

Check out part two, Choosing Your Product Photography Gear, by clicking here and learn which settings do what by clicking here.

Want some quick tips before we get rolling? Check out this infographic from

Product Photography Infographic

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Written by


I'm Joey, ShipStation's Content & Social Media Coordinator. I spent over a year on ShipStation's Support team which has given me great insight into our product and our customers. Outside of work, you'll find me writing, getting into one of Austin's great microbrews, or relaxing on a trail with my mutt.

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