How I Used $13.91 Props From The Dollar Store To Take Creative Digital Product Photography


As a digital product creator it can sometimes be hard to find cute ways to style my products for selling on Etsy, Shopify or even on my own site. I am going to show you how to use $13.91 worth of products from the dollar store to make creative, fun and colorful digital product pictures!

The Backstory

The other day I got fired up about doing some new pictures for my Etsy store, Paperly People, where I sell digital products and I thought, I really need to step up my game and get more sales.

Knowing that I needed to have a wide range of photography props I thought, huh, wonder what is available over there at that Dollar Store… DANG did I hit the mother lode!

Digital Product Photography For Sales

>> Before we go any further PLEASE read this first! <<

These kinds of photos (flat lay, white background) can be cute for Instagram if that is your style, but I use them for in my listings or on my sales pages rather than on my Instagram or for Pinterest. My photography style for social media is much more “lifestyle” so these stick out like a sore thumb! (oh the things I do wrong on my social media to help you all)

That is because this is meant to be a PRODUCT picture on an ecommerce site like Etsy, Shopify or my site, rather than social media picture.

This works better on a selling site because the person has already recognized that they have a problem and is now looking to your product to fix it. This kind of picture can snazzy up my product to tip them over to buy rather than trying to get the attention of someone who knows nothing about what I am selling on social media!

Digital Photography Props From The Dollar Store

This is my actual receipt from the local neighborhood Dollar Tree Store (had I know that I would be photographing it I would have taken more care!)

The photography props that I got would make a good solid foundation for taking a wide range of digital product pictures:

  • Wrap – white(ish) wrapping paper that I could use to make a seamless neutral background
  • Poster board – this is great as both a base for white flat lays, but can also serve to bounce light into your lifestyle pictures (these are PRICELESS!)
  • Tri fold display board – I love that this little trifold background can kind of corral my shot… great if you have a messy office or work area
  • Wood clipboard – while I didn’t use it in this picture, you could swap out the final colored paper for a clipboard as a “background” for the digital product
  • Table cover – this is much like the wrapping paper, never hurts to have a way to make a larger neutral background (it is VERY filmy so should not have as many creases as a paper one would)
  • Clothespins – perfect for clipping your papers up or paint and use in your shots
  • Markers – these may not be the highest quality for use but they make great, colorful photo props
  • Mechanical pencil – I got 6 vibrant colors for a buck… hard to complain
  • Colored pencil – I love super sharp colored pencils to use in a shot
  • Beads – I didn’t use these in the picture but colored beads are great for throwing around to add color and texture
  • Paperclip – if you are doing any kind of “office” or worksheet printable paperclips are a must have
  • Eraser topper – great shape and add a pop of dimensional color
  • Elastics – another one I didn’t use, but those cute kid hair ties with the balls on the end are fun for adding color (I cut the bead parts off the strings)

How To Take A Great Digital Product Shot

When you get ready to take a picture it can feel like you should be able to plop everything down and have a perfect picture right off the bat!

This is my first run at a layout… okay, looks better than just a piece of paper on a white board… yay!

And here is the overhead view…

Okay, if I cropped it right and brightened it up a little I could make it nice! But it still didn’t seem very snazzy (especially after I saw it on my Instagram!) It was okay but what could I do to punch up the “OMMPH” factor?

Got it! Colored paper… I LOVE colored paper!

YAY! Looks great (I brightened it up easily using the free, Photoshop-like program Gimp!) You could also brighten it up on your phone using the built in editing program.

FotoFuze For Getting Your Product Photography Bright White

And if you did just that then you would be ahead of 90% of sellers, but I am a little bit of perfectionist so I wanted to do one more step… to make it bright white all around. (this is a free service)

The one you get for free is a little small, but for as low as $5 a month you can get over 1,000 bright white pictures!

Low Cost Digital Product Photography Wrapup

Alrighty then, this turned out great… I have a good product photo that I can crop and use in my Etsy and Shopify product listings!

It is really amazing to me how many cute photography props I was able to get “on the cheap” at the dollar store!

While I used them in a plain picture this time, you can use these props when you are doing lifestyle shots too… they are all around great to have if you are selling digital products on Etsy, Shopify or anywhere else!

Behind The Scenes

I thought you might like to see a little behind the scenes of how I set up this shot!

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