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Beginner's handbook

How to Create Epic Product Photos with Mockup Generators

By Reading Time: 6 minutes

When it comes to selling your products, your product photos do the heavy lifting.

Every day, online shoppers are bombarded with ads, posts, and promo images, so it’s not easy for brands to stand out. The brands that manage to catch people’s attention, sure don’t skimp on product photography.

But don’t worry if you’re bootstrapping and can’t splurge on extravagant photo shoots. There are some great resources out there that can help you create the look and feel you’re going for in your product catalog and social media.

Disclosure: some of the links to products or services in this article are affiliate links, meaning that Printful might earn a commission if you sign up or make a purchase through the link (at no extra cost to you). Read more here.

In this article, we’ll zoom in on two excellent tools that can help you create product photos without actually needing physical versions of your products—Printful’s Mockup Generator and Placeit’s Instant Mockup Generator.

What are product mockups?

A product mockup is a digital representation of how the final product will look with your design on it. Product mockups are created with the help of online design tools called mockup generators.

Quality mockups can achieve something quite remarkable—give shoppers a realistic product preview without a physical end-product being even close to the mockup.

Let’s quickly talk about the anatomy of a product mockup.

First, there’s a photo shoot involving blank products, models and photographers. Then the photos are edited and added to the mockup gallery like Printful’s or Placeit’s. When using a service like Printful or Placeit, you choose the product you want to sell, pick the mockup image you like, add your design using the mockup generator, and—ta-da!—your product photo is ready to be added to your store, website, ad, or social media post.

What’s the sign #1 of a high quality product mockup? You don’t even notice it’s a digitally created photo. So let’s explore why it’s worth embracing the future by using digitally created images to promote your business.

placeit mockup
Source: Placeit

Why use product mockups instead of real product photos

Mockups are perfect for sellers who use the print-on-demand drop shipping business model and offer many variants of the same product on their store. 

In an ideal scenario, you’d have all your product samples on hand and a professional photographer, models, and editing team readily available. After all, an actual photoshoot gives the most room for creativity. But taking a photo of each product you sell isn’t always feasible or practical. A product mockup can go a long way, and we’ll show you why.

Here are the main advantages of using product mockups:

Save time and money. If you want to add new products to your online store as often as you like and can’t or don’t want to wait for sample orders, product mockups make a great alternative because you can create a new product photo in a matter of seconds. And if your budget is limited, you’ll be able to cut back on the costs since you won’t have to hire photographers and models.

Build trust in your brand. Having high quality product photos will not only help you build and maintain your brand image, but can help build trust with new visitors. Low quality images will make people feel like you don’t care about your products—or your customers.

Increase your conversion rate. You’re selling a lifestyle along with your products, and choosing mockup images that resonate with your audience will assure them they’re in the right place and nudge them to click that Add to cart button.

How to create a mockup for your product?

Online generators aren’t necessarily the only way to create digital mockups. Depending on your skill level and the time on your hands, you can use dedicated software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to create your product mockups—there are plenty of PSD mockups to utilize. Alternatively, you can hire a designer to create the images for you, but this can become expensive, especially if you want to scale.

By far the easiest, quickest, and most affordable alternative is to use online tools that do much of the work for you. With Printful’s Mockup Generator, go to the Product Catolog, pick the product in colors you want to add to your store, add your design, click Generate Files, and then pick the mockups you want to download and use as product photos.

printful-mockup
Source: Printful

If you’re not 100% happy with the image you’ve downloaded, you can edit it further in any design tool you prefer. Here are some ideas:

  • Change the background (if you’ve chosen a mockup with a transparent background like the one in the example above)
  • Apply filters to achieve a cohesive look on your social media feed
  • Crop the image to show a close-up with product details

Customize your mockups in a way that’s similar to the images liked and shared by your audiences. The more work you put in and the more you do your targeting, the better the odds of you catching the eye of your potential customers. 

If you’re looking for more mockups than Printful’s library, Placeit is another great place for that as it too allows you to choose your product, upload your design, and access an entire library of mockups.

Choosing the right mockups for your brand

Once you start browsing product mockups, you’ll discover that there are thousands of amazing realistic mockups available. But before you get to experimenting, try to define the look and feel you’re going for and consider the preferences of your target audience.

First, keep in mind that the models in the mockup images you pick will become the face of your brand. Make sure to choose images with models that represent the persona you’re trying to attract with your designs and products.

Second, when editing the mockup images you’ve chosen, don’t forget about visual consistency. Pick your theme—color palette, filter, preset, cropping style—and stick with it across all your product promotion.

Here’s an example of how to think about product photos and your potential customers: let’s say you’re targeting a younger audience and you’re going for a fun, sunny, outdoorsy, and green feel for your brand image. So with your mockup images, look for young, smiling people in outdoor spaces, ideally with plenty of greenery and nature in the background.

printful-mockup-girl-anddog-playing-frisbee
Source: Placeit

Let’s look at the basic types of product mockups and see how they can be used for different products.

Lifestyle mockups

Lifestyle mockups display your product in a real-life context. They’re perfect for almost anything: apparel, wall art, blankets, throw pillows, and towels. Mockups with models are great because they’ll help your potential customers imagine themselves using or wearing your products.

Flat lays

A flat lay mockup shows objects arranged on a flat surface, captured from directly above. These mockups are great for:

  • smaller products 
  • showcasing your graphics in a close-up 
  • showing what other complementary items from your store your product goes with
  • painting a picture of how the product will go together with other objects the customer might have 

Product-only mockups

Product-only mockups are images where the focus is the product itself, usually with white or light background and no props used. These mockups are what you’ll usually see in marketplace product listings.

Video mockups

Video mockups are a great way to display your product designs in a dynamic way. If you’re interested in adding video mockups, check out Placeit’s collection.

Design tips for creating product mockups

Here are some practical tips to help you get the best results when promoting your products with the help of mockups.

Colors. Make sure the colors on your mockup images are as close as possible to what they’ll be in real life. To do this, pay attention to color codes: the Hex color code of your mockup image should match up with the actual product color. 

Read also: Color Matching Guide for Print-on-Demand Products 

Contrast. Make sure the mockup image background provides an obvious color contrast to make the product design stand out.

Typography. If typography is a big part of your print-on-demand design, make sure it’s easily legible in your mockup image.

Spacing. Opt for mockups with plenty of white space around them. Having this “breathing space” around the product will help it stand out better. White space is the areas of an image that are not taken up by other design elements such patterns, photos, and text.

Source: Placeit

Branding. If you want to protect your mockup images, you can always brand them. The simplest way to do this is to add your logo (watermark) to the corner of the mockup image once you’ve downloaded your mockup. If you don’t yet have a logo for your brand, you can create it using a Logo Maker and then add your logo to the mockup image using any photo editing tool you prefer.

Wrapping it up

Images on social media whiz by at the speed of sound. To make sure your products and promos get noticed by your target audience, steer clear of generic, stiff images and go for dynamic, lively product shots that do justice to the awesome designs you sell.

I hope this post inspired you to create stunning, mouth-watering product photos! Ready to up your product photo game?

Read next: 10 Things You Didn’t Know the Printful Mockup Generator Could Do

John is a content creator with a focus on marketing. He loves helping people learn online through simple and informative content.

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