Why Photographing Your Product Packaging Can Make You Stand Out As An Online Seller

When shopping in person for items, for the most part, products are packaged up and ready to go. Products have labels with instructions, ingredients, and so on. Plus, chances are you’re responsible for transporting the product home. 

But that doesn’t happen when you buy online. As you know, unless you’re selling in person at a pop-up event or craft show, customers can’t pick up and handle your products or always see how you package your product when they buy from you online.

It’s hard to know how a product will be packaged up and put in the mail and shipped off to you. And we all know that when buying online, you never know what state something will be in when it arrives at your home. Something could be broken, squished, ripped or even wet! 

The thing with purchasing handmade products is when something is made from scratch, you may not know things like how to properly take care of your newly purchased item, how to wash it, how to store it, and what it’s made out of. And you might not know how it will be packaged before it shipped too.

So why not show this to your customer before they buy? 

But you might be saying, “I don’t need to photograph the packaging or ingredients. They know I’ll package their item carefully and send the info they need to use my product.”

And I’ll respond and say, “Think again!”

Look, you never know if your customer is a regular shopper of handmade products online or if your customer is buying a handmade product for the first time ever online. Customers might be wary of how their product may show up because while you make amazing things, they don’t know how you package and ship your items unless you show them.

And you might say, “I put in the description how the item is packaged and shipped!”

And I’ll say, “People don’t read.” It’s true. So help your customers out and photograph it!

I’m sure we’ve either experienced personally or heard of a shipping disaster where the first thought is, “Who the heck packaged THIS? How did they think it was okay to package this up like this??” 

Assume all your customers are newbies to the online handmade world and show them you’ve thought about their needs and questions about how your item will arrive on their end.

Here are some things to consider when photographing your products.


Do you print instructions or directions for your product? Photographing it will communicate to your customer that you won’t leave them confused about how to care or use your product when they receive it. Whether it’s not to leave your product out in the sun or to wash it on the hot cycle, never assume your customer will know how to care or use your product. 

Ingredients and materials

I don’t know about you, but I like to read through the ingredients of products before I buy especially if they’re products I haven’t purchased before. Recently, I bought a handmade product and it wasn’t until a while later did I realize it contained an ingredient my body has a reaction to. If the seller hadn’t printed out the list of ingredients, I would have assumed the product was ok for me when in reality it wasn’t. Making sure you list ingredients or materials is really important, especially because today so many people have multiple allergies and sensitivities. 

Special details of your packaging

Do you do something special or fun with your packaging? Show it off! 

Product ready to ship

When you’re shipping out products to a customer, feel free to take a few shots of how it looks in the shipping box. If you put your items in an envelope, show the items before they go in the envelope. You can add these photos to the shipping FAQ area if you sell directly from your website or add them to your listings if you sell on Etsy or a similar website. This way, they are aware of how your products are wrapped and shipped and feel more comfortable buying from you. I strongly suggest this for those of you who ship items that can break in shipping like pottery or glass products. 

Remember, photographing the packaging of your product not only reflects your brand and story of your business but also provides the full customer experience. It’s important to share as much information as you can with your customer through not only your descriptions but your photographs. It helps build your reputation and trust as a seller because customers will know what to expect when they buy from you and hopefully turn them into happy customers who keep coming back.

Do you photograph the packaging of your products? 

About the author

Imelda Jimenez-LaMar is a product photography coach and former Etsy seller, who said goodbye to her corporate job to create a business teaching photography. She is on a mission to demystify product photography for makers who want to create product photos that sell their handmade products online and grow their handmade business.

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