How to Photograph Shoes? 9 Pro Tips

Sep 06, 2019 - Chetan Menaria

How to Photograph Shoes? 9 Pro Tips

Wondering how to pose shoes for sale? Well, creative shoe photography is one of the essential factors to drive your sales. As a consumer, if anyone asks you what would you buy an unattractive shoe?

The answer will always be a BIG NO.

People don’t like buying unappealing and ugly looking products. Unlike the retail market, customers do not get an opportunity to touch and inspect the shoe. They only have product images as a decisive factor.

To win over the customer’s heart and mind, learn how to photograph shoes so that it becomes perfect as per standards.

Here is a brief look at shoe photography tips

To get the perfect images, it is important to know how to click a picture worth selling. Capturing a shoe in a frame is not.  The professional photographers have to take care of a lot of factors. Other than the camera and high-definition lenses, there are a lot of factors which will contribute to the final image.

Keep into account the below-mentioned dos and don't of shoe product photography

1. Research & Planning

Shoe photography research and planning

Ok, this is something you already know and maybe everyone else. Most of the time we just take our camera and start experimenting to set the camera settings at it best and I have done the same until I read about it.

You don’t need to sit for hours and to make a plan. It's simple just takes your notebook and starts with the simple questions, like how many different pairs of shoe you’re going to shoot? What are the main colors? How many angles do you need to shoot? How much time you’ll spend shooting?

These will surely help you save and track time. You’ll know what to research and where of course maybe you are good professional shoe photography but you can’t remember everything so by researching, I mean to go through the book, a guide for how to take photos of shoes or an article which you think suits best for the shoot you’re about to start.

2. Pay attention to details

shoe photography pay attention to details

Detailing in the product is ignored most of the times but they do matter a lot. Keep an eye on every single detail of the product.

For photographing a shoe, photographers focus only on common aspects such as placement and adjusting the frame. Make sure the surface on which the shoe is placed is clean and free from any grime and dirt, this will not only look bad in product image but also ruin all your efforts put in shoe photography.

Check whether the laces are tied properly or not. In the case of heels, wedges and other footwear, make sure the straps are well-adjusted.

3. Avoid busy backgrounds

shoe photography avoid busy background

Background plays an important role in any image. Especially, when it comes to taking shoe photographs. It is important to select a well-matched background.

The white background is most suited for product photography. Busy backgrounds can steal the attention and hide the actual product which needs to stand out.

Try to choose a neutral background which will let your product come into the limelight. The white background will not overpower the color of the shoes and will create a great contrast.

Avoid background which can hamper the view of the product.

4. The indoor shoe product photography can be complicated

shoe photography indoor shoot can be complicated

Selection of the location for footwear photography can be confusing. For the same, outdoor photography is the finest option.

The outdoor location is the best way to get natural lighting which is the greatest advantage for product photography.

Shoes need proper lighting which can be a little complicated while shooting indoors. Maintain proper light balance while clicking images. Also, it is necessary to keep a check on the light distribution.

While shooting indoors, do not place the shoe on over shiny surface, as this will create a reflection shadow creating a disturbance for product image.

5. Shape and size matters

shoe photography shape and size

Product shape and size really matters. Showcase the shoe in the best possible way. If you are taking an off-foot shot, you must stuff the shoes so that they can retain the actual shape.

To present the real shape of the shoe, it is important to fill old clothes or cotton in the shoes. One must also let the shoe stand in its place. A shoe simply lying on the floor looks unpleasant.

For photographing the shoes, it is very important to place a shoe in the standing position. You can use threads, or dental floss to give additional support to the strap of shoes. Such threads and floss used for support can be easily removed with simple product image editing.

6. Avoid harsh lighting

shoe photography avoid harsh lighting

Lighting plays a major role in photography, whether it is for a shoe or any other product. A high-quality camera needs an adequate amount of lighting to get a crisp and clear image.

Natural light is always best for taking images whether you have a professional camera or not. In case, natural light is not available and have to opt for artificial lighting, make sure you do not create harsh lighting as it can degrade the quality of the shoe images to an extreme level. Use soft light for best results.

7. Focus

Shoe photography focus

A focus is a major factor of shoe product photography.  If you are putting a focus on the wrong side of the shoe, it can create visual tension which can distract and confuse your target audience.

Try to keep the focus on the whole shoe or the shot will be ruined because your audience always wants to see the full shoe with details, not the blurry parts.

The photographer likes to use soft focus so much but does not try this until it’s a well-planned theme. A soft focus will kill the composition which is an important factor.

Use high aperture, this will help you create focus and use tripod get a still shot.

8. Experiment with angles

shoe photography experiment with angles

A single shot from one angle is never sufficient. Even a professional photographer can not take perfect shoes shot in a single click.

Instead of taking a shot from one angle, it is advisable to click multiple shots from different angles. Flaunt your creativity by taking shots from all possible angles. Along with some standard shots, capture the shoe images from strange and varied angles.

9. Post-Processing

shoe photography post-processing

Once you are finished with clicking shoe images, it’s now time to edit and bring new life to them.

Eliminate all the flaws in your images in order to get the perfect shoe images. Ensure that you do not erase the natural shadow formed adjacent to the shoe while image editing. Shadows give a realistic and practical feel.

For post-processing, you can always DIY, hire an in-house graphic designer or professional photo editing service.


Observing and applying these essential shoe photography tips will definitely lead improve the quality appeal of your online product portfolio.

Moreover, it will provide your customers with optimal shopping experiences.

Thus here you go, shoe photography has a lot of fun in it to shoot. Various size gives you the flexibility to test out the angles and lighting setups as well as get creative with colors and backdrops.

The recommendations are welcomed as what are your views about it. 

What more can be suggested to that? Mention your thoughts below in the comment section.

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