How to Take Photos of Shoes for Instagram?

Scrolling through Instagram, have you ever stopped mid-swipe, captivated by a photograph of shoes? I certainly have. Just last week, I stopped upon an image of vintage Nike Air Jordans, their red and black colourway popping against a weathered brick wall. The lighting was perfect, the angle intriguing, and before I knew it, I was several clicks deep into the seller’s profile, wallet in hand. That’s the magnetic power of great shoe photography on Instagram.

But here’s a little secret: you don’t need a degree from a prestigious art school or a studio that costs more than your shoe collection to create these scroll-stopping images. Whether you’re showcasing the trusty Converse that has walked you through college, those sleek Louboutins you save for special nights out, or the latest Yeezys you queued up for, I’ve got the insider tips to make your followers hit that save button faster than you can say “new release.” So, grab your favourite kicks and your smartphone, and let’s get into this photographic adventure together.

How to Take Photos of Shoes for Instagram

Tips for Taking the Best Photos of Shoes for Your Instagram

Transforming your shoes from mere footwear to Instagram stars isn’t sorcery; it’s a mix of understanding a few key principles and injecting a hefty dose of creativity. Let’s delve into the essentials, sprinkled with real-life examples that’ll make these tips stick.

Maintain the Lighting

Inphotography, lighting isn’t just important; it’s the maestro conducting the entire visual orchestra. Remember that Nike Air Jordan photo I mentioned? It wasn’t just the shoes; it was the way the light sculpted every contour and made those colors sing.

Natural Light Magic: Forget about investing in expensive studio lights for now. Mother Nature provides the best lighting equipment, and it’s absolutely free. Find a large window, preferably on a day when the clouds have decided to play diffuser. Why cloudy days? Because clouds scatter sunlight, creating a soft, even glow that minimizes harsh shadows. 

Last summer, I was trying to capture my red Vans, the ones with the white stripe that’s practically part of pop culture. On a clear, sunny day, the photos were all contrast and no nuance. But on a cloudy afternoon, by that big window in my living room, those Vans looked vibrant without any unflattering shadows. The diffused light brought out the richness of the red and the crisp white of the stripe. It was effortless elegance.

DIY Light Tricks: No window with the perfect light? Create your own sun! During a gloomy winter when cabin fever was setting in, I decided to stage an impromptu photoshoot for my new leather boots. I grabbed two adjustable desk lamps (you know, the Pixar-like ones) and a white bedsheet from the linen closet. I draped the sheet over a couple of chairs to create a makeshift diffuser, then positioned the lamps to shine through it. The result? A soft, even glow that made my boots look like they were featured in a high-end fashion magazine. The leather grain, the stitching, even the subtle sheen – all perfectly illuminated without a single natural sunbeam.

Select Background Wisely

Your background isn’t just negative space; it’s the stage for your shoe’s performance. A thoughtful backdrop can mean the difference between a photo that gets a polite nod and one that stops thumbs in their scrolling tracks.

Keep It Simple: The golden rule of fashion shoots? Let the star shine. My friend Zoe, a vintage fashion blogger, recently posted a shot of her thrifted Gucci loafers that had me swooning. Her secret? A plain white poster board. That’s it. Those luxe loafers looked like they were floating on a cloud, with nothing to distract from their buttery leather and iconic horse bit detail. For your own shoot, consider:

  • White poster board (like Zoe’s genius move)
  • A clean, painted wall (that semi-gloss white in your hallway? Photoshoot gold.)

Colour Play: But let’s say you want to spice things up a bit. Enter colour theory, your new best friend. A few months back, I was struggling to make my new cobalt blue Adidas Ultra Boosts pop on camera. Then I remembered my college photography class (shout out to Professor Kim!). She taught us about complementary colours – hues opposite each other on the colour wheel that make each other sing. So, I dug out an old scarf in the softest shade of sunset orange. I laid it out as a backdrop, placed my Adidas on it, and bam! The photo was electric. The cool blue of the shoes looked even more vibrant against that warm orange. It was like they were in perfect color harmony, each making the other more beautiful.

Camera Angles and Composition

Now, let’s talk about making your shoes the star of their own little photographic film. It’s not just point-and-shoot; it’s about finding angles that tell a story.

Angles: Shoes are tiny sculptures. Each angle reveals something new:

  • Side view: This is great for showcasing a shoe’s profile. When I got my chunky Fila Disruptors (hello, 90s comeback!), I shot them from the side. It perfectly captured that iconic chunky sole that’s all the rage.
  • Front view: My Converse All-Stars have custom rainbow laces. A front-on shot puts those laces center stage, showing off my playful customization.
  • Top view: I use this for my patterned Vans. I have a pair with tiny cacti all over them. From above, you see the full pattern play, like a miniature desert landscape.
  • Detail shot: Remember my niece’s birthday last year? I got her those light-up Sketchers with glitter. A macro shot of just the glittery part with the lights on? Pure magic in a frame.

Rule of Thirds: This is a photographer’s secret weapon. Most phone cameras have a grid setting that divides your screen into nine equal parts with two horizontal and two vertical lines. The trick? Place your shoe where these lines intersect. I did this with my brown leather Oxfords. I placed the toe cap on one intersection and the heel on another. The result was a shot that looked straight out of a high-end men’s fashion catalog.

Styling and Presentation

It’s showtime for your shoes! This is where you move from just a product shot to creating a mini narrative.

  1. Give Them a Stage: Shoes on a flat surface? Boring! Give them some height, some drama. For my vintage cowboy boots (a lucky thrift store find!), I created levels using books. But not just any books – I stacked up some Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry novels. “Lonesome Dove” and “All the Pretty Horses” aren’t just great reads; they added a perfect thematic touch. Other great “stages” I’ve used:
    • A stack of architecture magazines for my sleek Italian loafers
    • A rolled-up yoga mat for my new trail runners
    • Even my grandma’s antique cake stand for a pair of retro heels
  2. Outfit Tease: Sometimes, a hint of an outfit can add a ton of context. Last spring, I posted a pic of my new strappy sandals. You could just see the hem of my flowy, floral sundress at the edge of the frame. It didn’t steal the show from the shoes, but it told a story – these weren’t just sandals, they were the finishing touch to a perfect summer day look.

Tell a Story

This is where your shoe photos go from “nice” to “I need to share this right now!”

  1. Shoes in Action: My most-liked shoe photo ever? My hiking boots, caked in mud, propped up by a log next to a campfire. The boots were the hero, but the setting told a story of adventure, of trails conquered and starry nights. Since then, I’ve played with this concept:
    • My neon running shoes on a misty morning trail, a water bottle peeking into the frame
    • Those strappy sandals from earlier, this time peeking out of a yellow taxi in the city
    • My chef’s clogs are surrounded by ingredients – tomatoes, basil, flour – telling a tale of a cosy night making homemade pizza
  2. Accessorize with Intention: Accessories can add depth to your story. My rose gold watch often makes cameos in my shoe pics. Or remember when I was promoting that true crime podcast? I took a shot of my comfy reading socks with my phone in the frame, the podcast visibly playing. Instantly relatable content for my fellow crime stories and cozy-sock enthusiasts!

Remember, you don’t need a DSLR for this. My iPhone has been my trusty sidekick for all these shots. It’s not about having the fanciest gear; it’s about training your eye to see the stories in the everyday. After all, as the great photographer Ansel Adams said, “The most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”

Questions You May Ask Also

1. Do I need a ring light for good shoe photos?

Honestly? I’ve never used one. Natural light by a window is my go-to. But if you’re in a dimly lit space, a desk lamp and a white pillowcase can work magic. It’s all about diffusing that light!

2. How do I make my shoes shine in photos?

For patent leather, a gentle wipe with a barely damp microfiber cloth does wonders. For other materials, use appropriate cleaners. My suede brush is a lifesaver for my desert boots. Clean shoes photograph so much better; it’s like giving them their stage makeup.

3. Can I use filters on my shoe photos?

Use them like seasoning – a little goes a long way. I occasionally use a subtle filter to enhance colors, like making the red in my Converse pop a bit more. But don’t go overboard. You want to showcase the shoe’s true colors and textures, not create a cartoon version.

4. Where can I find props for my shoe photos?

Everywhere! Your home is a prop treasure trove. I’ve used my grandma’s vintage teacups, flowers from my garden, even my cat’s toys (clean ones!). My rule? If it adds to the story without overshadowing the shoes, it’s fair game.

5. How often should I post shoe photos?

It depends on your Instagram vibe. I mix it up – shoes, outfits, food, my attempts at gardening (still a work in progress! ). But when I score a new pair or collaborate with a brand, I’ll do a mini-series. Like when I got those limited-edition sneakers? I posted a week-long story, from unboxing to their first city adventure.

Closing Thought 

great shoe photos aren’t just about the shoes. They’re about the moments, the adventures, the tiny details that make each pair uniquely yours. It’s about that scuff on your Chucks that reminds you of a fantastic concert, or the slight wear on your work shoes that speaks of dedication.

Every pair of shoes in your closet has a tale to tell. Maybe it’s your grandma’s vintage heels that danced at her wedding, or those sneakers you wore while chasing your dream job. Your job, with these newfound skills, is to capture those stories, one click at a time.

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