We have been taking photos of products for a long time and, as sneakerheads, we wanted to give some tips on how to make your sneaker photography look better. Even the most desirable shoes cannot fix a bad photograph - so we are sharing our knowledge and experience to help you get the best results. Here are some tricks that will help you show off your sneakers in style!
1 - Camera Settings
Try to avoid shooting too wide and too close as this may distort the shoe, works well in instances for on-foot shots, not so much for off-foot.
If you’re shooting shooting on your phone, if it allows you to change the settings, then it would be a great opportunity to do so, but if not, make sure you at least focus in on the shoe and expose so that the shoe is nicely presented and lit well.
2 - Background and Location
Try shooting in a location that compliments the sneaker or aid with the overall visuals whether it be through colour, texture, shape or setting. We'd suggest choosing to shoot with rather plain backgrounds that aren’t too ‘busy’ but also have texture and some visual element to make them not too flat. Try bring emphasis on the colour, either by making it the predominate or only colour.
Regarding texture and shape, usually looking for lines or little points of interest, whether it be a crack line, architectural infrastructure, graffiti, something to slightly break the visuals but not become too big of a distraction. If you choose to shoot with a setting in mind, shooting a shoe where a shoe would be found or in use makes a lot of sense, like a basketball shoe on a court, a sneaker on someone’s foot on the streets, a shoe rack or shelf.
City and urban environments work really well for sneaker shots, so explore your local, never know what you might find. You might also find shooting in your own home a nice choice, as this is an obvious setting where shoes are found.
3 - Shooting Angel and Composition
Thinking about your framing, what sits in it and the final image. For the instagram will it be square, landscape or portrait? Is there something visually distracting in the way, a shrub, a cigarette, a dirt mark, a car. Simply by moving a few inches and shifting frame can drastically change the look of the image. If the background still doesn’t look right, simply move frame or move away.
Do not too high of an angle unless it is an overhead/flat lay style of shot. Try shooting either parallel or slightly elevated/lower depending on the mood you’re trying to set.
4 - Lighting
If you do not understand the concepts of light, generally you want to shoot either on overcast days or in the shadows underneath a shelter or indoors as this will give you soft and flat lighting across your subject. Shooting under the sun in the middle of the day will give you some really strong unflattering shadows. HOWEVER, this is all subject to what kind of mood you’re trying to project in the image.
Using different things to affect the incoming light can also help with your image. Shooting indoors next to a large window is a great example of this. This can give you nice soft light with a nice fall-off into the shadows during the day. During sunrise/sunset if the windows faces the sun, it can create some really nice moody settings, shapes and lines.
5 - Presentation
Even if the shoe has been worn, it should still be presented in a nice way. Fix up the laces, clean up any dirt marks or light scuffs. For on-foot shots, these doesn’t have to be followed so strictly but nice to think about nevertheless.
Fill the shoe and prop up the tongue using things like shoe trees or tissue paper or plastic bags, even socks. This is to help provide shape and solid structure to the shoe, giving an overall better aesthetic. Make sure logos or any details are focused on and facing the correct way.
6 - Editing
Editing is the cherry on top when it comes to presenting an image. Editing will help bring out the colour of the shoe, correct any over or underexposed areas and provide a more overall consistent look across your photos. Even if you don’t plan on doing excessive editing, even just playing around with basic tools like exposure, contrast, hue/saturation and sharpness can make a good image great.
7 - Have Fun
Most of all have fun with it and experiment. Your only limitation is your own creativity, so you can truly make whatever you set your mind to. Don’t be scared to try new things and fail in doing so, as this is a great way to learn and perfect your craft. So get out there and get shooting!