How To Take Professional Pictures of Your DIY Project

woman with long hair, scarf, and large camera

Snapping pro pics of your latest project shouldn’t be a hassle or a headache. With a few quick tips, you’ll be channeling your inner Leibovitz in no time. Great pictures don’t require fancy gear, and you can execute every step in this tutorial with a phone camera.

Photo Basics

In order to take a great picture, you need something to take pictures with. Whether it’s a DSLR camera, a point and shoot camera, or your cell phone, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how to use the device before you start. If you are shooting with an iPhone camera, start by turning on the grid overlay in the settings. This grid will appear on your phone screen only as you shoot and will help you line up your image. The grid will not appear on the picture.

Lighting is Key

The key to any great picture is great lighting. If you are shooting your project indoors, take your photograph next to a window. Stand close to the light source and make sure your page is evenly lit. When possible, shut off your overhead lights and let the sun coming through the windows light your picture. Pictures always look better in natural light. If you can’t move your project close to a window, make sure to fill the room with as much natural light as possible before taking the picture.

If you are shooting outside, it’s a good idea for beginners to shoot in full shade. The hardest part of the day to shoot outside is high noon, but even then you can find a shady spot to snap a shot.

photography backdrop with professional lights


When shooting product pictures of your latest craft for Etsy, pick a simple backdrop. Chaotic, overly colorful, or patterned backdrops can distract from the product and make the photo look less professional overall. If you want to shoot in a scene or on something other than a white background, consider the story you are trying to tell. Pick simple props that add interest to the photo, help tell the story, or simply look aesthetically pleasing. Remember, less is almost always more—don’t go overboard with the props.

Finding Inspiration

Sometimes dreaming up a cool, new picture idea is the hardest part of shooting your latest DIY project. Head to Instagram, Etsy, and Pinterest to find new ideas that help spark your creativity. Search for projects similar to yours, see how they were shot, and build your own idea from there.


Even when you’re deep into iPhone photography, it’s still important to frame the subject of your picture (your latest DIY project) in an interesting way. If you add the grid view to your phone in settings as previously discussed, look for the points of intersection. When putting a subject at the point of intersection, you automatically create an interesting image. Experiment with the same photo set up by moving the camera or phone around to see what the image looks like from different angles.

Another handy hack is to focus on the corners of your image. Is there a line in the subject matter that you can align with one of the corners either roughly or directly? The more you structurally connect your subject to your frame, the more your picture will pop.

man with camera and computers

The Edit

Editing is an important step in the photo process. While you don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard, you do need to know the basics of how to tweak a photo to make it look great. There are several phone apps that help you edit, one of the best being the free Lightroom Mobile app. Similar to its Adobe desktop counterpart, this app lets you make the basic tweaks that all photos need.

When editing a picture make sure it’s well lit, perfectly crisp and clear, and the colors look correct. If you use a mobile photo preset, now would be the time to apply. Be cautious with filters that come in apps that can discolor your image.

Sellers Beware

If you are photographing your latest DIY project to sell online, it’s important to remember that weird angles can create a deceptive picture of the product, and so can funky filters. If you are photographing your DIY project for business purposes, make sure that any shot you post is an accurate representation of the product.

Now that you’re all geared up and ready to go, you better start working on your next camera-worthy craft project.