Shoe Photography Tips and Ideas for Beginning Photographers

A comfortable pair of shoes is one of the relaxing materials for daily use. It is vital to show clients that a particular seller’s shoes are excellent choices for them. It is necessary to convince them that those shoes will adorn their feet and provide them a classy vibe, a standard, or a gorgeous look.

If you are a photographer and your micro-niche is shoe photography, and you are one of those who are looking for having some shoe photography ideas along with-

  • How to arrange total setup?
  • What about lighting and background?
  • What lens should be used?
  • What would be the camera settings?

Then look no further. You are at the right place.

In this article, we are going to cover all those we mentioned along with some crucial tips.

Let us walk you through.

Preparation for Shoe Photography

Being a professional product photographer has some perks. He/she is well-aware of his/her field of expertise and already knows how to get the best shots.

Beginners do not have that privilege though. They are not sure which will work or how to make something work.

Preparation for Shoe Photography

If you are a beginner and wondering what to do, let me tell you first- those expert photographers were once beginners themselves. By virtue of their hard work and implementing different techniques, they are now professionals we can exemplify.

For professional reasons, I have to talk with photographers on a regular basis. I asked some of them, as a beginner, how to complete the job with perfection. They shared some tips for different phases of shoe photoshoot. I gathered all their tips and made a checklist.

By following these tips, you can make your images stunning like professionals do and make your clients happy. Make sure that your preparations as given below are okay.

Product Placement

You are shooting shoes. The reaction of your targeted prospective clients is going to depend on the image. And in that image, how you place your shoes before the camera is important.

Before the product placement, the setup comes first; the background also plays a crucial role because of the surrounding.


Using a plain background (white for most of the time) is always suggested. But if you don’t have any, you can take photos of the product on any backdrops and later remove the background in photoshop or take background removal services.

Avoid using props and accessories more than required. Keep your image as minimal as possible.

Photography Lighting

Shoe Photography Lighting

Light is a vital factor for product photography. You have to keep it at a level where it is neither too bright nor too dull.

You can choose to utilize natural lighting at such a time when the sun rays softly. Or you can use artificial light, light-box or light tent along with an umbrella, flash, a reflector to ensure even lighting.

Clean and new shoes

Clean and new shoes

Pick a clean and new product for your photoshoot. If you can’t arrange a new one, then make sure that your products are clean as much as possible.

Suppose there are dirt or other marks that cannot be cleansed. Moreover, you have no other options left but to use it. Don’t worry. The doors of post-production services are always open.

Camera Lens

These are the widely used product photography lens photographers prefer to use-

Prime lens

Prime Lens

The prime lens allows sharp images. With such a lens, you can have great quality images.

Wide-angle lens

Wide-angle lens

Wide-angle lenses are suitable for outdoor shooting. Such lenses have the highest aperture range. If you take any outdoor shoot for your shoes, like sneaker photography, a wide lens will help you have a great view blurring the background.

Macro lens

Macro Lens

This is another lens. It is an excellent choice for taking close shots.

Camera position & Setting

Keeping your product in its designated position, place the camera directly in front of it. In this way, your front camera will be facing the shoes. If the show has a shadow, place a mirror at the side of the shadow to alleviate it.

Camera Setting

Your camera settings should be like this.

Mode – Taking photos in manual mode is suggested.

ISO – ISO means the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. Higher ISO brings darkness to the image. Keep your ISO low. If you shoot in low light, then increase your ISO.

Aperture – The opening of the diaphragm of a lens is called the aperture. Through this diaphragm, light passes.

The lower the aperture number is, the smaller the aperture and vice versa. A lower aperture will have a blurry background, and a higher aperture will do the opposite. So, set your aperture high while shooting your product which is shoes.

Shutter Speed – Shutter speed is the time the shutter is required while exposing the light.

Being still objects, shoes do not need much shutter speed. However, if you are shooting in bare hands, increase your shutter speed. If you are using a tripod, you can decrease the speed.

Shots from Different Angles

Shots from Different Angles

All set! Talking about your background, camera and product. So, it’s time to nail it. There arises the question you wonder- ‘how can I put the shoes in front of the camera?’

If you plan to shoot shoes for ecommerce sites, take photos keeping the shoe at a 45-degree angle as shown below. Such a pose will make the design and key details more visible to the viewers.

Ecommerce sites have specific sets of rules which are regulated for all sellers to follow. So, if you target customers from sites like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba; you better check their specific product image requirements before listing your product.

You can use acrylic shoe stands. It will create a more prominent view of the shoes like this-

While you are at it, take some close shots as well. Show details as much as possible. You can show the design, sole and any other thing.

Apart from shooting for those sites, there are many other ways you can photograph your footwear products. You can add some ideas of your own for the shoes if you find it looks good in your camera.

Include Real Activities

People like products that are relatable to their daily life use. Hence, adding a model for your shoes will serve the purpose like a real review. Right?

When you are showing your shoe that is worn by a model, your clients will relate that with them. It will psychologically impact your prospective buyers’ mind. They will wonder in their subconscious mind how it will look when they wear.

While having a model for your photoshoot, it is not necessary to take an image of full body. If you must, then ensure the costume or outfit the model is going to wear matches the footwear.

Add a Reflection

Add Reflection Shadow

Mirror or reflection is a unique style of taking photos. This photography style really goes well with ladies shoes. This is an appealing and creative style for some shoe photographers. According to them, such images create an ambient elegance in photos.

Take a 360-degree shot

Include a 360-degree image. Many shoe businesses nowadays add such an image and allow the online shoppers to take a real look at the shoes from every angle.

Floating shoes shot

Floating shoes shot

Floating shoe photography is another unique idea to showcase your product. You can use a thread to hang your shoes and take pictures of it. Thus, you get a great view of your product as given.

Those are some of the popular shots you can get. You can add some variation of your own as well.

Also Read: How to Get More Photography Clients

Shoe Photography Ideas and Tips 

A lot can be assumed by the shoes people wear, and researchers from the University of Kansas revealed that some of those assumptions are accurate. Information like income, traits like age, choice etc. can be understood well. So, it is kind of true that you can tell a lot from the shoes people wear.

Shoppers are well aware of this. That is why they prioritize a lot of things while buying shoes. So, if the shoes do not match their choice, they won’t go further. How do you present your product that tells a lot about whether your customers will be attracted or not.

Ensure to fight fair and square with all you get when you are selling online. One of the approaches is having high-quality photos of your product. There are some shoe photography ideas and tips that I need you to follow for having attractive shoe photos.

Here those are-

1. Have professionals to get the job done

Professional Shoe Photographer

Make no compromise while you are at it.

If you are not a professional photographer, I would like you to assign a professional shoe photographer for this job. He/she knows the best way to photograph your shoes. He/she is called professional for a good reason and knows how to take pictures of shoes very well.

Your product can be shoes, sneakers, ladies’ shoes, sandals, or other types of footwear. So, only a professional knows what would work best for your footwear photography.

2. Pay heed to details

Make sure your images are showing key details of the shoes. Take high-quality images. And when you are taking close shots, ensure that those do not leave anything.

Images should showcase the shoe as a whole. As online shoppers can neither touch them nor check them, your images are the only option for them to rely on.

3. Include movements

When your product is a shoe, it is not something that limits you to take still photos. You can take photos of movement and activities as well. So, take different images, including running, walking, etc. The more lively the images are, the more urgent to act your prospective clients will feel.

4. Use Tripod or c-stand

Camera Tripod

Avoid getting shaky images from minor tremors; use a tripod or c-stand. This will help you to get the same images from a similar distance. Place that in a way that will help your camera get a proper view of the show, and there is no shadow cast.

5. Shiny shoes setup

Some shoes are way more shiny and dazzling. While shooting those types of shoes, you need to be extra careful of your reflection or shadow. If you find any unwanted shadow, use a mirror or bounce card to illuminate that particular area evenly. And if the shoes are way shinier, then use light that helps the shoes glow.

6. Use stuffing materials

If you have boot-type shoes or shoes made of any other fabric that needs a lift, then use a tissue, bottle, cloth as stuffing materials. These will help the shoe stand and create a bit of volume. And your shoes will get a more active look.

7. Keep your frame clean

When you are setting your camera, make sure your frame is not surrounded by distracting elements. The more you include those, the more your customers will be confused. And that is not welcome at all.

It is better to use no props at all. This way, only the shoes will be focused on the image. Then again, if you must, keep your decoration as minimal as possible. Ensure not to distract the viewers from your primary product.

8. Take different shots

For still images, take different shots of shoes. Aside from taking close shots for showing details, shoot your shoe product like these-

  • A pair of shoes shot
  • Front view
  • Back view
  • Bird-eye view
  • 90-degree views
  • Outdoor shooting

And your creativity is always appreciated.

9. Have a model

Shoe photography With Model

Having a model is way better than plain shoe photography. Nowadays, many shoe companies endorse celebrities like singers, actors, athletes for their shoe product photography.

For example, Adidas endorsed David Beckham; Puma endorsed Usain Bolt for photographing their footwear product. You can understand the later impact among the followers.

10. Take post-production services

Don’t depreciate the power of photography post production. After editing your shoe photos, you may find the best one you were searching for Photo Editing services help improve the images and bring the best lookout, which you will hardly find in pristine photos.

You can do this part by yourself if you can manage time and know-how to do it. On the other hand, you can take professional photo clipping services for your photos, saving your time, cost, and hassle.

The Don’ts of Shoe as Product Photography

Shoes are not just a material to use. Shoes are also the epitome of fashion. Your fashion will be incomplete if your shoes do not match your attire.

If you are showing your product as a remarkable item for complementing someones’ fashion, I believe the best way is to show them without telling. An image is the best way to do that. Make sure the images capture the viewers’ eye and convey the message you are going to deliver.

I find some people shoot their shoes in the wrong way. Take a look at some of those-

Don’t lay flat

Shoes look good when those are put upfront. To put it bluntly, laying those is not a good way to showcase in front of your customers. It will look lifeless, and customers won’t get any vivid idea of how the shoe looks, let alone being attractive.

Instead of laying those, make them stand or hang. That will look much better, and you will have some good views while taking photos.

Don’t jumble the stage

Some images are taken in a jumbling stage. Such images are a no-no for your marketing. You have to let your online shoppers have a clear look at your shoes. As they cannot directly check the product, the only option left for them is to visualize.

Consider yourself in their shoes. If you get a cluttered picture where a brand is promoting their product, where would you focus?

So, focus fully on your product. Have your customers’ undivided attention to your product only. Nowhere else.

Avoid props for e-commerce

When you are an e-commerce seller, do not use any props for your hero image. It is not acceptable.

Don’t blur too much

Do not blur your background at the point where your product is affected as well and make you disappointed.

Take a note about over-processing as well. Do not over-process, unnecessarily crop images; it will ruin the purpose of your shoot.

Hope following these will help you find your own style.

FAQs for Shoe Photography

Q: Which background is best for footwear photography?

Normally, white is preferable. However, you are allowed to use other plain backgrounds as well.

Q: What will be a good lens for shoe photography?

Not only for footwear photography, but also for any product photography- prime lens is highly suggested for having sharp images.

Q: Is it necessary to edit shoe photos after photography?

Yes. You can have your flaws removed; your images can get a more professional look. Even if you don’t need any, you can get an overall enhanced look for your shoe photos.

Q: How to outsource photo editing services for shoes?

Many agencies provide professional product photo editing services. Generally, those agencies have a team of experienced experts who are ready to fulfill clients’ expectations. Search for the one that can help you have the best services.

Shoe Photography Ideas and Tips – Final Word

Now what do you think?

Did you miss any part while implementing your footwear photography ideas?

We have included some important topics which you should follow while photographing your product, but this is not the limit.
As mentioned earlier, your creative ideas are always welcome.

Do whatever you think work. Hope you find the best images for your product.

Outsource Photo Editing, Easily.


About the Author

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Amy Grace


Commercial Photographer, Writer

Amy Grace has been engaged in commercial photography for a long time. She has enough proficiency and skill set in photography and has nailed the task up to the mark and has helped a lot of entrepreneurs create a brand. Aside from photography, Amy has passion for travelling.

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