Take products pictures that pop

Ms Athirah Azlan (above right) showing how to style and photograph products in a workshop conducted by Lookeesan Creatives.
Ms Athirah Azlan (above right) showing how to style and photograph products in a workshop conducted by Lookeesan Creatives. PHOTO: LOOKEESAN CREATIVES

In an Instagram-ready world, an attractive photo can make all the difference as to whether online shoppers click on or scroll past a product.

That is why Ms Liyana Ahmad, 29, founder of graphic design studio Lookeesan Creatives, launched a product styling and photography workshop for social media last month.

The workshop targets home business owners, such as stay-at-home mothers who sell items like baked goods, children's clothes and essential oils.

Ms Athirah Azlan, 29, a freelance digital specialist who assists Ms Liyana in styling workshops, says: "Home business owners may have a good product but don't know how to make it look nice in a photo. We want to help them market their products better."

Ms Liyana, who started the company in 2017 running workshops for design programs Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Canva, held the first product styling workshop as part of a public event for the Lifelong Learning Institute in November last year.

Participants, including housewives and grandmothers, asked questions, took photographs of the slides and were keen to try styling a flatlay of their own.

"I realised there were a lot of people who wanted to learn this skill," says Ms Liyana, who operates Lookeesan Creatives out of a shophouse near Arab Street, which she shares with her husband's branding agency.

Lookeesan is a play on lukisan, the Malay word for drawing.

One does not need fancy props or equipment to take good product photos. Mahjong paper tacked to a wall offers a plain backdrop, and everyday items such as glass bottles and patterned tea towels can be upcycled as decor.

Daylight, supplemented with a simple desk light from discount store Miniso, is sufficient for good lighting. And a smartphone, loaded with photo-editing apps, is the only camera you need.

"It is the perfect time for small business owners to learn a new skill and practise it at home, so they will be ready to market their products when the economy picks up," she says.

A four-hour product styling and photography workshop, for up to six participants, costs $188 a person.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 29, 2020, with the headline Take products pictures that pop. Subscribe