Images of your work make their way on to Pinterest boards from your website and online store, blogs discussing your products, the Instagram feeds of your devoted (and hopefully famous) customers, other Pinterest boards, and Google Image Searches to name just a few. To be honest, once the image has made a few hops you don’t have a lot of control over how it is going to be used. People have been known to use their phone to take a picture of another person’s phone instead of figuring out how to get the picture from one phone to another.
Since each image you post online is essentially a message in a bottle bobbing into uncharted seas, you need to find a way to make your products stand out so that anyone who sees it knows where it came from originally.
Using a Watermark to make your Products Stand Out
A lot of stock photo sites and professional photographers use a watermark to protect their images. To make them difficult to remove those watermarks are a semi-transparent logo or name that covers the entire image. That may not work for you, since a watermark like that makes it harder to see your product and seems a little heavy-handed anyway.
In your case, it’s the object you’re selling and not the photo of it so there’s not as much of a risk that people will cut off your watermark and pass the photo off as their own (though slimy sellers are everywhere). So a tasteful watermark along one side of all of your product photos might be enough to make your product photos jump out at people on Google Image Search and Pinterest.
Christopher Taylor Timberlake Fine Art Jewelry uses this technique. Their product photos are large, tack-sharp, and beautifully lit, with a subtle logo watermark that is large enough to be seen on the Google Image Search results page but doesn’t detract from the product:
Photo courtesy and copyright Christopher Taylor Timberlake Fine Art Jewelry.
Relying on Style
Watermarks aren’t foolproof, and they might seem too intrusive for your product image style. If that’s the case, why not use that style as your unique identifying feature?
If you look at your competition’s product photos you’ll probably notice a certain amount of sameness, either in the lighting or the backgrounds or the camera angles. Photographing all your products “in the field” as they’ll be used, or against a distinctive background using a unique lighting style will catch your potential customers’ eyes and prime them to notice your work in big collections of images.
The example below is from another handmade jewelry shop, Golden Prism Jewels. Their product images are first and foremost well lit, but instead of a typical neutral background they place their pieces on polished concrete along with raw gems and metals, often related to the product being shown:
Photo courtesy and copyright Golden Prism Jewels.
Header photo via Google Image Search for “sock monkey”. Photos included are the property of the respective copyright holders.