Make Your Footwear Product Photography Shine: The Do’s and Don’ts of Photographing Shoes for eCommerce

September 22, 2017 - Becky Hayesleather fashion shoes displaying excellent footwear product photography

Footwear is fun!

And not just for those of you with a closet full of designer shoes, but for any photographer who enjoys shooting a varied and interesting subject matter. Whether it’s smart office shoes or colorful fashion stilettos, shoes come in all shapes and sizes and genres, from high heels to platforms, tango shoes, kitten heels, ballet pumps through to loafers and running shoes. This means you have a wide scope for your imagination when it comes to art direction and your creative vision, which is good news.

The even better news is that in addition to being able to feed your creativity, there are still some hard and fast rules to footwear photography. These will make your life that little bit easier when creating a framework for your shoot and getting the best results possible. Here’s our set of do’s and don’ts to help you formulate a plan and shoot amazing shoe photography.


The Do’s of  Footwear Product Photography

Use a model where possible

If budget and timescale permits, footwear photography really benefits from the use of models. The ability to shoot the shoe on someone’s foot as opposed to empty and lifeless will enhance your offering and add context (more on this later).

If you can do both, a combination of white background and shoes on a model will do wonders for your eCommerce store.

Model in white dress and white kiss heels modeling footwear product photography

Source: Offbeat Bride


Shoot as many angles as possible

The more angles the better when it comes to shoes. Shoes are all about detail, and the buyer will want to be able to explore every detail there is – from the color and the size of the heel down to the tread and the sole.


yellow and black footwear product photography shot from different angles

Source: Iconasys Blog


Try shooting 360

Shoes are the perfect subject matter for 360 photography. A relatively recent advancement in photography that enables the viewer to interact with the image, 360 photography allows viewing from each and every angle.

If you are regularly shooting shoes, it is worth seriously considering investing in 360 equipment to enhance your customer experience and increase conversions.


Red high heel pump on 360 turntable for footwear product photography

Source: X-cart


Focus on details

It’s all about the detail when it comes to shoes. Make sure you capture that detail in your photographs, whether it be the type of leather or fabric used to the laces and color options. You can communicate the shoe’s features either

  • by shooting specific detail shots to go alongside the general white background shots or
  • by shooting in high resolution and optimizing for zoom, so viewers can zoom in on the detail manually.


Crop carefully

Make sure your cropping is consistent across all the shoe images you shoot. This means keeping the border of white space or background around the shoe the same in all the images.

This consistency will keep your eCommerce site neat and tidy – pleasing to the customer’s eye – and ensure their attention is on the product itself, not the inconsistencies in your images.


Avoid shadows

As with all product photography, ensure that you get the lighting right and avoid distracting shadows to give the photos a nice clean finish. Although shadows can be removed in post-production, it’s better (and easier) to avoid them during the shoot by using the correct lighting.


Consider adding context

Footwear is classified as fashion, and, as with all fashion photography, the subject can definitely benefit from being shot in context. Whether that be on the foot of a model or shot against a suitable backdrop, context can help create a story around the item and communicate the essence of the shoe.


footwear product photography showing many shoes haphazardly thrown on stools

Source: Pinterest


Get creative

As much as it’s important to shoot traditional white background product shots, don’t be afraid to get creative. Try shooting the footwear at different angles, using a variety of props and backgrounds. Just make sure you stick to the creative vision to ensure consistency!


White boots with yellow heel shot creatively on blue and yellow backgrounds with lemons

Source: London College of Fashion News


Creative Instagram shot by Fluevog for their green and black heels shaped into a heartSource: Instagram


The Don’ts of Footwear Product Photography

Shoot with blur

Although shooting on a wide aperture to generate depth of field can provide a creative touch to some photography, you should avoid it when shooting footwear. Why? Because customers want to view the product in all its glory, as crisply and cleanly as possible. Blur adds distraction and will make part of the shoe less visible.


footwear product photography should not show blur and have proper shadows like these black and white trainers

Source: Skill Patron


Let the background take the limelight

The shoe should be the star of the show. The best way to ensure this is the case is to shoot the footwear against a white background and avoid any additional clutter within the frame.


Let the footwear go shapeless

There’s nothing less attractive than a shapeless shoe. Whether you’re shooting strappy sandals or knee-high boots, make sure they are supported, either with a real life foot or using tissue paper or a shoehorn to ensure the full shape of the shoe is presented as it would be when worn.


Use harsh direct lighting

Avoid using direct lighting where possible as it will cast ugly shadows (see above) and can result in unsightly, distracting glare. The great thing about shoes is that they are small and portable, so using natural light by shooting close to a window(or photographing them in a lightbox) is more feasible than when shooting larger objects.


Bad footwear product photography shot with harsh lighting on this golden tan lace pump

Source: Picsera


So there you go, shoes can be a lot of fun to shoot, and their size gives you the flexibility to test out angles and lighting setups as well as get creative with colors and backdrops. Just make sure you tick off traditional white background product shots as a priority.


4 pairs of heels hanging from a white coat rack displays creative footwear product photography

Source: Junebug Weddings


Do you have any creative ideas for shooting shoe photography? We’d love to hear them!

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