Composition, How To's, Product Listings, Product Photography Tips

Make Your Handmade Products Look Good With These Photography Composition Tips

Something I hear from makers is, “I just want my products to look good in photos.”

While there’s a lot of factors that go into what makes a good product photo and one of the things is composition.

Composition is something that comes up often in the creative arts world. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, composition is the arrangement into specific proportion or relation and especially into artistic form.

But you might be saying, “But, I’m not trying to create an artsy product photo. I just want a good product photo that sells my products.”

It’s okay, I get it. I know you’re not trying to be a professional product photographer. But it’s still important to think about how you’re arranging your product and any other elements to create a photo that is visually appealing to customers

So let’s talk about a few different things to consider when it comes to how to arrange and photograph your products so you can create a good product photo.

A heads up! There are exceptions to the rules/guidelines below. There are plenty of product photos that do not follow these rules so remember, these are not set in stone. But they are helpful to think about when photographing your handmade products.

Keep your horizons straight

A common mistake I see in product photography is crooked horizons.

Granted there is an exception to this rule, but in many of the product photos, I see where there’s a product on a surface and it’s crooked, it looks bad. It tells your customer that you didn’t want to take the time to fix the photo before uploading it to your product listing which isn’t ideal.

Usually, things that are level in the real world, like tables, doorways, sidewalks, etc., should be straight in photos. When everything else looks weirdly lopsided and crooked, it looks bad. Because if you’re uploading product photos to sell a product that is crooked and lopsided, then where else are you cutting corners in your business? Right?

So before taking a product photo, make sure the horizon is level. Using a tripod will help a lot with this because it can stabilize your camera in place. Plus, many cameras and build in camera apps on phones have a grid or level option that can tell you if the camera is not level. 

But if you discover that your photo is crooked when you’re editing your photos (because I know you’re the type of seller who edits and makes sure you upload great product photos online), be sure to fix it! It can be easily fixed in almost any photo editing app. 

By making sure your product photos are straight, it shows that you care about how you present your products to your customers. So don’t be lazy! 

Rule of Odds

Rule of odds something that comes up often in photography that says if you have an odd number of subjects in a photo, it creates a more visually appealing and interesting photo than if you had an even number. So if you’re photographing a product and want to include props, just pick 2 props so you have an odd number of things in your photo. Then play around with the arrangement, but making sure your product still remains the star of your photo.

Rule of Thirds

This is one of the most talked-about “rules” in photography. It basically says that if you break up a photo into thirds vertically and horizontally, the 4 points where the lines intersect are ideal locations to place your subject. Placing your product in one of those intersections can create a more visually interesting photo. Plus, it can also be an ideal photo to use for marketing purposes since if you add text, it won’t be obscured by your product. 


When photographing your products, it’s important to make sure that your customer can see your product. 

First, make sure your product is in the frame. This may seem obvious, but I’ve come across product listings where the product is partially in the photo which looks weird and sloppy. So make sure before you take your photo that your product is in the viewfinder.

Once your product is in the frame, is your product easy to see? Or is there a lot of space around it? Can you read the label? It’s a delicate balance between having too much and not enough space around your product. Having too much space can make it hard to see your product and just look off. 

But having not enough space can make a product look tight in a photo. So be sure to find the right balance for your product in your photos.  

Keep it simple

I say this often when it comes to product photography. Keep it simple. Less is often better because the more things you try to do with your product photos, the messier or cluttered it can look. Try out some of these tips next time you’re photographing your products and of course, don’t be afraid to experiment. 

Have you downloaded my free PDF where I share with you how to create product photos that sell your handmade products online? If not, click here to download it!


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