Shooting irresistible honey photos
Online customers judge by looking
I’d like to share some photo tips for making your honey and other bee products look irresistible on the web. By creating photos that stand out, you gain a couple of things: you make your honey and other bee products seem more desirable, and you also make your website itself appear more trustworthy.
The actual photography itself is something that may take some time and experimentation to get right. But you can do a pretty good job if you set up your product shots correctly. Or you can use these ideas and hire a photographer, directing their shots accordingly.
The white background technique
The first method I like is taking product photos against a completely white background. The benefit of this style of product photography is that it’ll give your website a really clean, modern look, especially if your website background is also white. It’s a little tricky to do if you’re not using photo-editing software, but there are some tricks to help.
One such trick is simply to wait for a cloudy day (clouds act as natural light diffusers). Take a large sheet of white construction-type paper, and curve it gently up at the back. You will need to find something against which to secure the top of the paper so that it holds the curve. The advantage of this method is creating soft shadows that will blend into your website background. Here’s how this setup looks with a jar of honey:
The other approach is to invest in some lighting equipment (which may be worthwhile if you have a number of different honeys or other bee products). For around $50 (as I write this), you can buy a softbox lighting kit like this one, which will let you create quite good shots indoors when paired with full spectrum light bulbs. Like the DIY method above, this technique avoids harsh shadows that detract from your photos.
Using one of these two techniques will give you a good basic shot, but it’ll still help to use just a tiny bit of editing software to remove the background completely. If you take these photos on your phone (and smartphones do have excellent cameras these days), then I’d recommend a very simple app: Adobe Photoshop Mix for iOS (iPhone/iPad) or Android devices. Cutting out the background with an app like this is surprisingly easy, now that you have a white background with soft shadows. Update: try out this web-based tool remove.bg that uses artificial intelligence in your web browser to remove unwanted backgrounds.
The natural background technique
A different approach to bee product photography is to shoot your products outdoors against a natural background (an overcast day is still best for this sort of photography). For example, a jar of honey nestled amidst wildflowers or clover may look very appealing and striking.
Or try placing a jar on some weathered wood, perhaps with some flowers or honeycomb on the side. This look is very trendy at the moment, especially with the interest in local, handcrafted, and sustainable products. Here’s a professional example of apiary products showcased in such a way:
Displaying photos to best effect
Whichever of these techniques you use, one other thing to keep in mind is the angle at which you take your product photo. For the photo to look as natural as possible, you want to avoid odd-looking perspectives. So if you’re taking a photo of a honey jar, hold your camera parallel (or with just a slight angle from above). This way, the sides of the honey jar will appear straight, and no parts of the photo will look out of proportion.
I'm Elise Fog, and I help beekeepers sell more honey to more people, by leveling up their online marketing.