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4 Types of Compelling Photos to Take for Instagram

Last month, I talked about how to grow your e-commerce business using Instagram. Another thing to look at is, what kind of photos do you post so you can actually grow your Instagram account? It’s not enough to take a halfhearted product photo in bad lighting, with a shabby background and hope that a filter will make it look better. Your photos not only have to be visually appealing, they also have to be something that evokes an emotion from your target market that can be anything from a smirk to a chuckle. It should be a cross between inspirational, achievable, and aspirational.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

1. Still Life Photo

This is a photo based on real life objects that compliment your product in usage, and sometimes, in colour. A solid background ensures all the objects stand out. Sometimes, placing the objects haphazardly mimics real life the best, however, based on the product and branding – a clean edge or stacking method may work just as well. The easiest go to object(s) that are used in still life photos are any Apple products (laptops, iPad, iPhone, mouse, etc) this is because of Apple’s simple and clean design that the majority of consumers recognize and love.

The @FrankandOak example below can be interpreted as a creative professional’s busy morning. He may be at his light and airy office having breakfast at the shared kitchen space. He pulls out his sketch pad and Macbook Air for some last minute notes and prep before his big client meeting. All the products are fairly minimalist and complimentary to the main object: the leather bag.


Below, is a female version of a similar still life photo. This photo may depict a woman’s home work space which could be inside her bedroom or beside where she gets dressed in the morning. There are a few @KateSpadeNY objects shown which compliment each other while fitting into the clean lines and minimalism of the Apple products.



2. Product as a Person Photo

This type of photo is similar to the travelling gnome prank, but of course you don’t need to take your product around the world, just to places where your product would be used or taken, such as the gym, beach, or camping. In this case, the @swellbottle is escaping the NYC winter in favour of the Miami heat. What makes this picture even better is the colour combinations and the unfocused action scene behind the bottle.


3. Customer Photos

A type of photo that can be based on a still life or product photo, is your customer’s photos. Oftentimes, customers may tag you or use your name in a searchable hashtag. It’s important to keep an eye on this so that you can Repost them on your Instagram. This is highly compelling content you can easily share with your followers.

Below @sajewellness has shared a customer photo. The photo shows a perfectly curated work space down to the colour and complimentary objects. It’s message fits that of @sajewellness as its inspiring and positive.



Quotes are a great way to communicate your brand and messaging. Finding quotes by famous people is certainly an option, even better if you can show quotes related to your product, like @fitbit has done below. The beauty of this picture is the fact that a customer can easily say, yes, I’ve wondered that too! This is great for brand loyalty and customer engagement.


Similarly, @fabletics creates a brand message vs. just a generic quote. This speaks to their target market and matches their overall tone and brand voice.


We’ve looked at still life photos, product in action, customer photos, and quotes. There are many more categories, but these are the ones that should be focused on for maximum engagement.

What other types of photo styles do you use or have seen? We would like to know, tell us in the comments section.

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