Shoe Photography Tips for Beginners

Quality footwear photography is an important factor in driving shoes sales. Let’s find out how to take shoe photography for either a magazine ad or a catalog page professionally. This footwear means much to the client so we have to treat it like it is an exotic sports car or a fancy fashion shot.

Whether you are making your own website, presenting Instagram shoes for sale or shooting interesting and creative ads, these shoe photography tips will help you create quality and interesting pictures.

1. Set Up a Backdrop and Lighting

backdrop and lightning for shoe photography

Shoes on a white background look very neat and stylish. Choose such a background color if you want to learn how to photograph shoes for sale in online stores as Amazon or eBay. Keep in mind that these e-commerce platforms have specific photo requirements that you need to meet to ensure successful sales.

Make sure to purchase a product photography lightbox. It consists of a surface, backdrop and lighting setup, which will allow you to take professional photos. You can also make a DIY lightbox or use a roll of paper and window light to take photos of shoes without breaking your budget.


Stuff the shoe with tissue or crumpled paper or use dental floss to the shoe’s straps to hold them up in the frame. Make sure that footwear looks its best by creating the illusion that it is being worn by someone.

2. Get Your Gear Ready for Shooting

photo gear for shoe photography

You can take pictures with a professional camera for product photography or take product photos on iPhone. Your choice will depend on the desired quality of output photos and your post-processing needs. If your images have a high resolution, it will be easier to edit them. I used this photography gear:

Canon 6D Mark II is a professional camera for shoe photography, but you can use a more basic model.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is the cheapest lens that allows you to take photos without any sign of distortion.

Manfrotto Compact Light Tripod is great for taking long-exposure photos.

Besides, if you specialize in product photography, you need to use a tripod to get sharp images when taking photos with a closed aperture. It will allow you to take a picture of a whole object without making its details blurry. This is why it’s better to use a low shutter speed to ensure that your frame is well-lit.

3. The Importance of the Right Angle

different angles for shoe photos

Every client is willing to learn as many details about the product as possible. Lots of Instagram shoe pages present shoes photographed from different angles, so everybody can see the color, the sole, the height of a heel or a platform, different ornaments and decorations. Take as many photos as possible:

  • Photograph the side view
  • Photograph the view from the back
  • Photograph the top view
  • Photograph a view of the product turned slightly to the left / right

The main thing that you should remember is that you are shooting new pairs of shoes, which is why you need to use unique shooting angles and find the right position for the shoes. You can’t place sneakers in the frame in the same way you place a pair of high-heels. Search for reference photos on the Internet to see how photographers usually capture shoes to show them in the best light.


Take a “detail” shot closer to show texture, material, etc. Nowadays, people choose footwear as attentively as clothes, so you need to show every detail.

4. Start Shooting Without Fear

shoe shooting

If everything is ready, adjust your camera’s settings and press the shutter button. When working in a manual mode, I used the following settings:

ISO: 100
Shutter speed: 1/30
Aperture: f/11

However, keep in mind that these settings are suitable only for still pictures. If you need to take a photo of a dark pair of shoes and you don’t have enough light, try lowering the shutter speed. To take a photo of a moving object, you will need much more light. In this case, you will need to set the shutter speed to 1/500-1/1000. Set ISO up to 400 to avoid noise.

How to Edit Shoes

shoe photography tip white background

If you take photos for your e-commerce store on social networks, you might already know that it’s easy to edit Instagram photos since the platform doesn’t have any strict requirements. A regular color correction might suffice especially if you need to edit a creative product photo.

However, you want to make your images more professional and attention-grabbing, make sure to edit them. For instance, you can enhance them with the help of photo editing software.

However, if you have never used such programs before, it might take a long time to master them, which is why it might be better to contact professional photo editing services. To test my editing skills, I used an image taken without professional equipment and tried to enhance it in Adobe Photoshop.

1. Remove Shoes Background

remove shoes background in ps

Let’s start with the Pen Tool, which you’ll find on Tools Panel. This tool is used to select areas of the image with clear boundaries. You can left-click and draw anchor points, then you just click somewhere else to do straight lines or you can click, hold and then move the mouse to adjust the curve. So, you can cut out this shoe by drawing the lines around all the edges. It can take some time.

2. Use a Mask Layer

use a mask layer shoe photography

After you have pinned your product, you can cut out it from the background. To do this make a right-click on the selection and choose Make selection. After this click the Mask icon on Workspace Options Panel and choose Invert in Layer Tool. After this put the New Layer with white background under the shoe.

3. Adjust Colors

adjust colors in shoe photography

Our shoe is successfully cut out and placed on a white background. Some photographers are finishing the editing of the picture at this stage, but we will do some additional editing to make the photo look natural.

Create Curve Layer to adjust the color of the shoe to make it deeper. You can even create a New Layer and use Brush Tool with appropriate colors to make toning of the product clearer. Make the white parts of the shoe whiter by adjusting the Hue/Saturation.

4. Create Shadow

create shadow in shoe photography

Now it 'time to apply shadow, this will help you avoid the cartoonish look of the photo and make it more real. Create New Layer under the layer with the shoe and make a big smear with Brush Tool of black color. Transform the smear by using shortcut of Cmd (Ctrl) + T.

5. Done! Congratulations!

shoe photo editing before shoe photo editing after

Now, you can save an edited photo in any format you need. You will get an image that can be published on various e-commerce platforms.

Shoe Photography Types

There are several ways to present shoes in the right way and take cool shoots. Everything depends on the shoes themselves and your final goal. For instance, if you take photos for a fashion magazine, you won’t need to take pictures of shoes against the white background.

Shooting 360

360 shoe photography

Though it is a relatively new advancement, 360 product photography is very beneficial for shoe photography. With this method, there are no blank places in a photo. You see a product from each and every angle.

If your profession is connected straightly with this photography genre, take care of buying some specific equipment for 360 photography to easy and boost your job.

Flat Lay Shoe Photography

flat lay shoe photography

This way of footwear photography is popular among Instagram sellers and bloggers who put shoes close to other objects and take a photo from above. Here the main thing is color palette and natural lightning.

Speaking of colors, choose a neutral background, like a basic white, or, depending on your subject, a wood floor, desk, or table. Use a blank space to unite your image and make it more interesting. To take such images, you don’t need to use any special photography gear. You can buy a small camera for Instagram to take attention-grabbing photos.


Most of Instagram pages that sell shoes have a main gist, a kind of story that is shown by a pair of footwear. It can be achieved with the help of a proper background, pose of a model, lighting or other features. Context is really important if you want to make customers pay attention to your photos.

Floating Shoes Photography

floating shoes photography

Floating photography resembles something magical! Unusual, creative ads always draw attention and make people wonder what is hidden behind. So, the power of such kind of advertisement is tremendous.

Effects for Shoe Photography

how to shoot action figures photography

If you have already decided that you don’t need to edit each picture in detail and need to perform only color correction, you can use special effects for shoe photography for Lr. With them, you can fix exposure issues, adjust saturation and white balance as well as edit details in one click.

Creative Shoe Photography Advertisements

Unusual, creative ads always draw attention and make people wonder what is hidden behind. Here we have collected superb shoe advertisements to amuse and inspire you!

creative shoe photo new balance

New Balance: Heart

creative shoe photo folgers

Folgers: Shoes

creative shoe photo saint vacant

Saint Vacant Shoes: Hammer

creative shoe photo artengo

Artengo tennis shoes: Ming vase

creative shoe photo

Eqdom: Shoe

Shoe Photography in Instagram

Instagram is gaining incredible popularity in the modern world. This is an excellent service in order to become famous or sell goods. That is why it is possible to meet there stores or famous photographers who are actively engaged in shooting shoes.

This is not surprising, because after seeing in the feed some specific model of the shoes, the potential buyer will think about buying it. In addition, Instagram is an excellent pioneer of modern fashion. Here are some absolutely unique pages with photos of shoes in Instagram.

coveteur shoe photography

@сoveteur - 1.1m followers

This page is one of the most popular Instagram pages that sell shoes for women, which tells about beauty, health and wellness, illuminates the topics of travel and cosmetics. One of the features of this online magazine is the creation of lookbooks with a detailed analysis of the components, including shoes.

sandrasemburg shoe photography

@sandrasemburg - 90.8k followers

Sandra Semburg is a fashion photographer with many years of experience. She was born in France, Paris, which greatly influenced her worldview in terms of the development of fashion photography. Her main hobby is photography of street style. Now Sandra works for Vogue in Sydney, Australia.

mansurgavriel shoe photography

@mansurgavriel - 561k followers

This Instagram-page of the famous Italian fashion house and one of the best Instagram shoe boutiques, which is engaged in the design of shoes and bags. Here you can find unusual solutions about the shooting of shoes.

aquazzura shoe photography

@stuartweitzman - 899k followers

This Instagram is dedicated to the New York shoe brand. Minimalistic images of exquisite shoes will not leave anyone indifferent.

shoe photography

@alltheprettybirdsofficial - 33.1k followers

This page belongs to a girl from New York, who now lives in Milan and is engaged in street-style photography. In addition to quality photos of shoes, you can find a huge number of interesting fashionable solutions here.

shoe photography

@evachen212 - 913k followers

There's nothing easier than running your own fashion blog in Instagram now. The owner of this page Eva proves that for unusual photos of shoes or clothes there is no need to be a professional photographer.

shoe photography

@Modaoperandi - 1.1m followers

This Instagram shoes shop has launched a page in the Instagram to attract additional customers. Here you can find very interesting solutions for shooting collections of shoes.

Famous Shoe Photographers

Yes, there are photographers who specialize in footwear photography. Some create full-fledged art projects that can stay on par with works of art.

Edward Steichen

edward steichen shoe photography

In his youth, Steichen drew paintings inspired by the Impressionist Claude Monet and the symbolist George Frederick. The camera was bought for fun, but the hobby quickly developed into a profession.

He accepted an offer from the publishing house Conde Nast in 1922, which printed Vogue and Vanity Fair and began to work in the fashion industry. So he exchanged service to the muses and chose the shooting of dresses, shoes and hats.

Steichen invented a fashion photo, as we know it today. It was he who pointed the way to all the fashionable photographers of the twentieth century, from Horst P. Horst to Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino.

Bela Borsodi

bela borsodi shoe photography

Austrian photographer Bela Borsodi is a meter of fashion photography, whose creative approach is different from the usual fashion photography. Instead of just shooting and presenting products for the most famous magazines, he plays with the viewer's perception and the subject of photography, endowing him with human qualities.

Ruven Afanador

ruven afanador shoe photography

Ruven Afanador was born in 1959 in Peru, Colombia. He began his career in the magazine "New Yorker", where he took photographs of celebrities. In the 90s, Afanador was constantly in recognized magazines as Vogue and Vanity Fair. He is a favorite photographer of Christian Dior. He is known for beautiful and high-quality fashion photos, while his favorite hobby is interesting staging of photos with shoes.

How to Photograph Shoes for Sale?

used shoe photography on ebay

It often happens that the shoes don’t suit you more, but they are in very good condition and you don’t want to throw it out. If you are just like us taking care of the environment and our own money, here are some tips for photographing shoes to sell them online.

1. Gathering the Information

To sell shoes on Ebay you will definitely need additional information about them. Brand name, model name, material, year of manufacture, etc.

2. Determination of the Condition of the Shoes

Carefully inspect the shoes for any imperfections. It can be small spots, scratches or loss. Inspect the sole of the shoes. Depending on how worn the shoes are and how it looks, the price of the product will depend. In addition, for the used footwear on many sites it is supposed to fill in the column "Condition". For example, shoes that were worn only once can be labeled as like-new one.

3. Repair and Cleaning

Immediately after you have thoroughly inspected the shoes, be sure to clean it or make repairs, if necessary. And only after this, proceed to other stages.

4. Measurements

In addition to specifying the exact size of shoes, indicate other parameters in order for a potential customer to be sure that the shoes will fit exactly. You can measure the height of the heel, the length of the sole, the height of the boot in inches.

5. Photographing

It is proved that the better the picture of the product, the faster it can be sold. Please note that this is a second-hand shoe, so you need to do as many close angles as possible, in order to show the sock, shoe lacing, etc. For photography, you can use a dummy or simply put shoes on a white background.