How to Take Pictures of Shoes for Your Online Store

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Task time:
1-3 hours

If you want to sell shoes online, your website needs to include product photos. Customers place their trust in you when shopping and the images you share on a product page help determine what they buy. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s not as simple as putting shoes down anywhere to snap some photos.

When you think about how to take pictures of shoes, imagine what you’ve seen online yourself — you want the shoes to be pristine, shot from different angles, and highlight any key features. In this article, we’ll share expert tips to help you master taking product photos of shoes.

The Importance of Good Product Photos

It’s incredibly important to have good product photos for an online store to succeed. You want your customers to know you’re selling high-quality products, and having a high standard of photos can help achieve this. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy something online if it looked bad!

Similarly, you don’t want your customers to be disappointed after ordering with you if the product doesn’t match up to the photos, which is why it’s critical to channel effort into producing good online product photos.

Madewell product page for tall boots
Stuff boots with items like paper or a bottle for a more structured appearance.

More Information

1: Prepare The Shoes

The first step to take in learning how to take pictures of shoes to sell online is to prepare the product for modeling. The shoes should be in the best condition possible before you put them in front of the camera, so keep tools on hand to clean them should they need sprucing up!

Remove any loose fibers, and consider stuffing the shoes with tissue, paper, or even items like chopsticks to increase the fullness of the structure, especially for shoes like flats or boots.

2: Set The Scene

When you think about pictures of shoes online, you imagine them against a white background. This keeps the focus on the shoes which is ideal, so we recommend having at least one photo in this style.

However, lifestyle and action shots of the shoes in use are also advantageous to have so the customer can see what they look like in motion or on a person. To effectively sell shoes online, we recommend having a range of photos in the gallery for customers to look through.

Product page on Vans for checkerboard shoes
Using a simple or plain background makes the shoes the star of the show.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: If you do take action shots of the shoes, make sure the setting ties in with the shoe. You wouldn’t photograph heels on a sandy beach or show someone running in flip-flops!

3: Lighting

You need to know how to take pictures of shoes effectively, and lighting is key if you want your products to shine in front of the lens.

Once you’ve prepped your shoes and set the scene, make sure the area is well lit to avoid unnecessary shadows. Natural light is best, but if it’s not readily available, make sure the area is bright and natural-looking! You only want to see a shadow where the shoe meets the floor, not over the shoe itself.

You’ll need to take extra measures to perfect the lighting if the shoes have any reflective material or shiny metals, so factor that in when preparing the set.

Product photo of Nike shoes against a white background
The shadow between the floor and the shoe gives a realistic finish to the product photo.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Make sure your lighting is consistent throughout your photography session. You don’t want your shoes to look different between photos. Keep it uniform!

4: Camera & Set Up

Once the area is ready, it’s time to think about taking the actual photos. You can put a lot of effort into setting the scene beforehand and making sure the shoes are photogenic, but it could prove useless if you don’t pick the right camera and lens.

We recommend using a camera instead of a phone and playing around with settings like shutter speed to find what works best for you. The shoe needs to look just as it does in reality, otherwise customers could be upset when the product arrives in person, so try to avoid any potential distortion or warping the look of the shoe with the camera set-up. Utilize automatic settings or the use of a tripod to produce clear photos in the end.

5: Pick Your Angles

So you want to know how to take pictures of shoes for your online store? It’s all about the angles.

There are a few signature shots, used universally, that work well when taking photos of shoes. It’s important to include multiple angles to show off the shoe successfully.

Let the customers view the product as if they were in a physical store. For example, there’s the classic single shoe profile shot for a clean view from the side. With the pair, you could maneuver the shoes slightly to the side, or even take a shot from the back to focus on the heel. The more angles, the better! Don’t forget to pay attention to details too.

Product page for Hoka trainers, showing a selection of four product photos
HOKA uses multiple angles to showcase its shoes, paying attention to every detail.

6: Photo Editing

The photos must remain true to the real product to avoid customer disappointment. Keep it simple and sharp. You don’t need to complicate things because you want the shoe color and design to remain clear in the photo.

However, a little editing can help make the product pop on the screen, or it might even allow you to tidy up any small errors or scuffs. Consider trying photo editing software like Photoshop, or a cheaper alternative online, to take your photos to the next level.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Make sure you consider what image type to use in case you want to do any further editing.

7: What to Avoid

Now that we’ve discussed how to take pictures of shoes, there are a few things you should try to avoid in the process!

You’ll want to remove any clutter or mess in the photos so that the focus remains on the shoe — as we’ve said already, a clean white background should do the trick.

Customers want to see the entire shoe, so while it’s okay to highlight any details for a few photos, you should also have enough clear shots of the shoes from focused angles.

Additionally, when taking the photos, make sure the lighting isn’t too harsh, and remember to adjust your camera set-up to ensure crisp results. Anything blurry will seem unprofessional.


Taking great photos of products is a must if you want them to seem appealing to customers. We’ve discussed the most important steps to take when figuring out how to take pictures of shoes to sell, but remember the key details.

Make sure the shoes are clean, prep the setting and lighting properly, and figure out the ideal camera set-up for good quality photos. Consider what you need to see when buying shoes for yourself online, and replicate that in your business.

You can read more tips on how to optimize your website’s images in our detailed article.


Firstly, clean and prep the shoes ahead of time so they’re in an excellent condition. Then set up a plain or simple backdrop and adjust the lighting accordingly. After that, it’s time to take photos and edit them for your online store — if possible, use a camera instead of a phone to get the best quality images. We recommend you take photos from lots of angles and capture every detail because customers like to know exactly what it is they’re buying.
It’s important to highlight the size of the heel in your photos, so make sure to take lots of pictures from different angles. If they have loose straps or ties, you can use dental floss, string, or wire to hold the structure in place as if it’s being worn on a foot. You can edit it out after!

It adds fullness and realism to the shoe in photos. For certain shoes, like flats or boots, stuffing the shoe with paper or another tool can help its appearance seem formed.
Make sure you show off the shoes from lots of different angles. There’s no “best” angle, but there are a few effective styles that you should always try to replicate. Take a side profile shot, a photo from the front and back, and a 3/4 angle of the pair. You should also try and highlight any unique details on the shoes.

Written by:
emma ryan author bio
Emma’s been a Senior Writer at Website Builder Expert since 2022, having first-hand experience with website builders, such as Wix and Shopify, through hands-on testing and research analysis. Her work and expertise have been featured in Digiday, TechRound, Industry Today, and Digital Information World. Specializing in writing about website builders, ecommerce platforms, and hosting providers, Emma stays in the loop of industry updates by attending conferences such as eCommerce Expo and managing Website Builder Expert’s news articles.

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