3 Steps to Faking Great Product Photos


I’m going to be straight with you. I don’t like doing this. I feel like it’s dishonest to present the above image to my customers claiming “this is what you’re buying and it’s going to look like this.” Because that’s not really true. This image is a manipulation. The product could look completely different in physical print form. (It doesn’t. But it could.)

That being said, I still find this to be a useful tool to have in my arsenal. And you will too. This is for those times when it’s 3am and you’re just so pumped about the new 11×14 calligraphic Bible verse print you designed you have to share it with the world right freakin’ now. But you can’t take a good photo because…it’s 3am. So this is what you do.


Step 1: You need to already have a photo like this one. A blank template for all your future 3am excitement. I do a lot of greeting cards so that’s the example here. But if you’re into wall prints, you’d have a photo of a frame on the wall with just white paper inside. If you do coffee mugs, a blank white mug. You get the idea.


Step 2: Open your blank template photo in Photoshop along with your artwork file. Pull out the artwork file so it sits above the photo as you see here. (You just want to be able to see them both at the same time.) Now you can drag your artwork layer or group onto the blank template photo. If you have multiple layers put them in a group and then merge the group once it’s been copied to the blank template photo.


Step 3: Position and resize the artwork layer so that it fits the way it would in print over the blank area of your template photo. Change the blending mode for the artwork layer to “multiply.” (Blending mode is the drop down box at the top of the layers panels. It probably says “normal” at first.) “Multiply” allows some of what’s under that layer to effect it. This means I get all the tiny discrete nuances of the shadows from the photo and my artwork is blended right into them.

That’s it! Save it and you’re done. Remember, I don’t recommend using this for your main product photos all the time. I use it as a placeholder until I can take a good photo. Sometimes it’s raining when the goods come in from the printer and you just can’t wait for sunshine, ya know?

If you enjoyed this little tutorial you’ll probably loveΒ my 19 page digital guidebook! It’s loaded with tutorials and tricks of the trade just like this. I cover three essential imagery elements for your ebusiness:

  1. Product Photos
  2. Protective Watermarks
  3. Classy, Functional Banner Art

Whether you’re a blogger, a photographer, an artist with a portfolio or an Etsy seller you’ve got to know how to do these. I’ll show you how I do them. (On the cheap with a $50 camera.)

Purchase the guidebook here.


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