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My 5 top tips for embracing hygge in your product photography

Isn’t Autumn (or Fall for those on the other side of the Atlantic) just the best time of year!

I think so. It is still kinda warm, but not sweltering and sweaty like summer, and you get such amazing light but it isn’t unending darkness like in the depths of winter. To me it is the perfect balance of summer and winter.

It is also a great time for inspiring “hygge” shots of your products. If you have been living under a rock and don't know what hygge is, it is the Danish concept of cosiness, comfort and togetherness. It is both a feeling and lifestyle.

Hygge is “an art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word or simple definition to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, ‘contentness’, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

So how do you bring this hygge feeling to your product shots? I am so glad you asked.

My 5 tips for embracing the hygge!

  1. Use warm tone colours! Think red, oranges, yellows and browns.

  2. Consider which textures to use! Embrace wool and wood props, avoid silver and cold metals.

  3. Coffee!!! Or you know any warm drink I guess would do.

  4. Fairy lights or candles always make things cosy!

  5. Close crops- getting close enhances the feeling of hygge, closeness and cosiness.

Embrace the wooly blanket!

How to put these tips into practice:

Let me show you how I would approach a cosy shot for my pretend product - my new pen range! NB: not my actual product and unfortunately not sponsered but these tombow pens are amazing and I love them for lettering!

Step one - I get my product-the pens and I think about the narrative I want to tell. I know I want to embrace the theme of hygge, so I am thinking of autumn colours, soft clothes, and warm lighting. I will often just jot down on paper words I connect to the theme. I also can use pinterest for concepts if it is something I am less comfortable with. But I love this theme and my life is this theme. Do not ask me how many blankets I own!

Step two - So once I have my concepts and some jumping off ideas, I open my prop box and pull out anything that fits the concept. I often will go around my apartment too and gather anything I think that will work for the shoot. I am focusing on warm tones, wood and wool as these all add that warm cosy feel and add visual interest. One example is I have a lot of notebooks but I choose the brown faux leather one since that is warm toned and adds more texture and visual interest that a bright colourful cardboard type cover.

Step three - So then I will add props, move them around and remove props. This is often the slowest bit for me. I will be taking a lot of shots during this process. It helps me visualise the composition and how it will appear in the final shot. I am not so worried about exposure and such at this point so I will often just shoot in auto mode for now.

Some test shots, playing around with layouts. Note that some are blurry, the exposure varies and that is ok at this point. Also note, I choose a yellow mug and emphasied the yellow, red and orange pens to add to this warm autumnal hygge vibe I was aiming for.

Step four - Once I am happy with the composition, I then turn my attention to the settings. For product shots, I will often use aperture as I love being able to control the level of focus in the shot. Once I have my settings and layout ready, I brew the coffee for the shot so the foam looks its best. I turn on the candles and take the final shot. I will usually take a shot straight down, straight on and at a few different angles.

My desperate attempt at latte art!

Step five - Once I feel I have the shot, I pop the photos into lightroom, do some light edits and reviews. If I feel like I missed the shot I will go back and take some more shots. Once I have the shot, it is edited and ready to be shared with the world, I sit back, and I admire the cosy picture I just created!

Some of the final shots

And the best image

It certainly gives me all the hygge autumnal vibes! What do you think? I would love to hear in the comments. I feel like I am about to sit down and do some calligraphy practice when I see this.

If you want to know more about to approach product photography feel free to leave a question in the comments. If you are ready to up your business visuals and photographs sign up to the waiting list for my upcoming course - Photography for small businesses! It is a photography course designed and focused on what you need to know to turn the product photos into sales.

Right, time for a coffee and to go wrap myself in a blanket.

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