Instagram Photo Ideas for Online Shops


Instagram Photo Ideas for Online Shops

Instagram photo ideas don’t always come as second nature. Often it’s more ‘feast or famine’ as you string together a brilliant three day run with amazing photos, only to feel like “oh sht” for the next 5.

Usually in that instance, you resort to one of three feelings:

  1. Panic – you take a shot as quickly as possible of whatever’s nearby. Dogs, sunsets, kids! You don’t care, just POST IT!
  2. Anxiety – you scroll through your old photos hoping to find something decent to share
  3. Avoidance – Instagram just doesn’t exist to you anymore and you avoid opening the app for a few days

Ha, a bit dramatic right? (please tell me I’m not alone)

So here’s a quick cheat sheet to break out of your Instagram rut. Try one of these photo prompts today!

Instagram Photo Ideas for Online Shop Owners - Instagram for Business

18 Instagram Photo Ideas for Online Shops


1. Try a creative angle

No, I don’t mean get weirdly up close and take a photo from an odd angle so your customer has no idea what they’re looking at. But re-imagine how your product can create something else like this adorable bow tree. Maybe you can arrange your candles to spell out “25%” for your next sale.

Another account with endless re-imagination is @runnerkimhall. I promise you won’t be able to leave with feeling a bit inspired.


2. View from Above

I love this shot for a lot of reasons (the colors!!), but mainly because as a customer I instantly feel part of the scene and can easily see myself holding her clutch. After all, the “view from above” is how we look at ourselves a majority of the day (assuming you’re not a narcissist with a traveling full length mirror 💁🏼).

3. Take with a different background

Find a new background that fits your branding and complements your products. Then weave it in every 5-6 images to give some cohesion to your feed.

4. Hold ’em up

This is one of my favorite “Instagram shots”, you know, that stereotypical IG image you never knew was a thing until Instagram’s tiny squares showed you it was AWESOME? Just me?

Anyways… it highlights product beautifully and provides some good white space to the image. And I think a little white space can benefit almost any feed as it gives a nice break to the eye and lets the product do the talking.

Don’t have a tripod and fancy camera? No worries! Grab these super inexpensive options to make your phone hands-free. This is what I use and it works great to show off work in progress.

Phone Tripod (for small / larger phones) / Bluetooth Remote (optional) / Long Arms Phone holder (seriously awesome)

Simply wrap the tripod legs around a chair, on your counter, etc or clamp the phone holder to a desk or table. Set the timer on your phone (for iPhones can set for 3 or 10 seconds), get into position, and snap!


I mean… how could I not include this “hold up” example:


5. In your face

In yo’ face fool! I also love this twist on “hold ’em up” because it incorporates a human element. And people LOVE buying from PEOPLE. (Plus you don’t necessarily have to do your whole face of make up if you don’t want to.)


6. Out in Front

Boom! Actually don’t even do your hair/make up at all – just throw on a clean shirt + try this one!

This shot is also easiest to take with a tripod or phone holder. If you don’t have a DSLR camera, you can try one of these inexpensive options to make your phone hands-free.

Phone Tripod (for small / larger phones) / Bluetooth Remote (optional) / Long Arm Phone Holder (so awesome)

Simply wrap the tripod legs around a chair, on your counter, etc or clamp the phone holder to a desk or table. Set the timer on your phone (for iPhones can set for 3 or 10 seconds), get into position, and snap!


7. Style a Flat Lay

THE Instagram image. The trick to pulling it off is picking one theme to workaround. It could be color, a product category, a lifestyle category, etc.

While it’d be amazing to have everything featured be part of your shop, don’t be afraid to pull some extra props to help round out the look/mood you’re going for.

And bonus points if the extras you include are from other brands you can tag! (That’s part of strategy #1 to increase your exposure to new audiences.)


8. Stack it up with the”Stacklay” … the flat lay’s cousin

This was a new find for me and I’m obsessed.

It’s either a cute stack up of assorted products like @west_stanton shows below. Or the same product stacked up high!



9. Include a Personal Feature (hands, feet, etc)

As mentioned earlier, including a little personal touch helps potential customers see it in their own hands and adds that human element.

Don’t have an Instagram boyfriend to take these shots? Ha! Cheat with one of these options to make your phone hands-free. Phone Tripod (for small / larger phones) / Bluetooth Remote(optional)

Simply wrap the tripod legs around a chair, on your counter, etc. Set the timer on your phone (for iPhones can set for 3 or 10 seconds), get into position, and snap!

10. Monochrome shot

We’re crazy people that just find this stuff really pleasing to look at.


11. Quotes / Lettering

If you’re super talented like Julie, try your hand (ha..ha..haaa) at lettering a quote.

If you’re not talented in that department (hi there!), try a fun letter board, scrabble pieces, or create your own quote using Canva (like I do for mine).


12. What You Wore

Dress up and show off! Show your audience how you style your goods.

13. Lifestyle Shot

This can be interpreted two ways.

The first is all out styled in a room, lots of background, and a sense of where it fits in your home/lifestyle.

The second is easier to pull off (if like me, your whole house isn’t gorgeously styled to the nines), as you just need to create a sense of a lifestyle. I always think of these images as catalog shots. They’re what you expect to see as you flip through an Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel or “insert your fav brand here” big thick catalog. It’s magazine lifestyle imagery and it works perfectly for Instagram.

Pick your main focus, create a natural background it may exist within, and pull a couple props that support the main product.

14. Develop a Signature Photo

Is there a particular background, or prop, or way you like to arrange your product?

Try making it a recurring image throughout your feed! It again helps create a more cohesive feed as it gives a feeling of similarity, yet it won’t be boring as you can feature new product each time.

Often we’re so concerned with coming up with 100 new ways to show our product, when really you’d be better served to create a signature look your customer can come to recognize.

15. Behind the Scenes

This isn’t an excuse to show every gross corner of your home (#realtalk), but rather give your customers a VIP viewing of what happens behind the curtain. It’s like letting them in on the little secrets and giving them the secret tour, which helps bring them into your brand story.


In Process


16. Introduce Yourself (aka the profesh selfie)

Grab your friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, mom, dad, dog for 20 minutes and snap a few well-lit, natural pretty shots of you.

17. Grab a friend (or your pup!)

You can show off different ways to style an item with your friend. Or hell, sometimes it just feels weird to always be the main star of your show. So grab a friend or your best friend (hi dogs! we also allow cats) and introduce your product in a whole new way.


18. Party of 5… or more! Show multiples or stacks

An easy way to add interest to your product without having to pull out all the stops with styling.


19. Looking Forward

A simple way to add a new angle to your product. I’m admittedly a bit obsessed with this image below.

Once you have some new photo ideas, make sure you put them to good use by grabbing your audience’s attention with good engaging captions and using the best hashtags to get found.

AND LASTLY, this almost feels like I’m revealing a huge secret, but this book by Aimee Song (ya know, the woman behind @songofstyle with over 4.6 MILLLION followers) is more than worth the read. You’ll walk away with much more than just Instagram photo ideas…

What do you think? Did you find some new inspiration from these accounts?  I created a new Pinterest board dedicated to Instagram Photo Ideas, have a look!

What are your biggest challenges when creating images for Instagram?

Want help defining your feed’s aesthetic on Instagram?

Join the Find Your Feed Instagram Challenge below!


Feature photo image by Marlena Pearl Photography


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Thank you so much for offering so many great resources! I just completed the Find Your Feed yesterday, and it revealed so much about myself and my new brand. (By the way, I love the conversation style of your emails and posts. It's like I'm getting texts from a close friend!) - Becky, @zelliecreative Powered by ConvertKit




  • I want to thank you for this post. I honestly have this issue, where I can’t seem to find what to post on Instagram and I end up avoiding it. I like these ideas and I will definitely give it a try. Thanks! 😊

  • Thanks so much for this awesome post! I used to be a photographer, and back then I feel like I knew what to post on instagram. As a business coach and blogger I can sometimes feel a little lost about what to share.
    Thanks for these ideas!

  • These are genius! I was trying to figure out how to incorporate myself into my posts a little bit more in a stylish way (that didn’t always require me to put on makeup).

    I have so many great ideas now!

  • So glad I came across this post! The three feelings you described in the beginning of the post is me 90% of the time! I want to change that and feel that I can with this post. Love how you broken it down each tip with pictures. Im a visual person so that helps me understand the concept better. I have also signed up for your Guide for Instagram captions. Cant wait to receive it. Thank you so much!

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