Liven Up Your Tabletop Photoshoots

Tabletops are great for elbow leaning, finger drumming and they make pretty good photo backdrops too!

You can set anything down on ’em, from baked goods to the newest product in your Etsy store, and just snap away.

But if you’re sick of the same ol’, plain ol’ tabletop, we’ve thought of five fun ways to spice up your next tabletop shot.

Whether you’re selling something or just want to up your Instagram game, you’re gonna love these tabletop makeover tips.

Take Tabletop Photos That Pop 


Setting your item of choice on a creative surface makes for a fun and must-see photo.

Your customers will wanna buy whatever product you’re selling, and your friends on Instagram will be begging for the recipe of whatever yummy food you’ve just photographed!

#1: Tablecloths


If you’re a fan of the sturdy kitchen tabletop but need a quick and easy way to switch things up, a pretty tablecloth is the way to go.

But wait, there’s more!

Contrast is key. If the product you’re photographing is colorful, choose a tablecloth with simple tones of white or creme. And the opposite works, too. If your product isn’t really colorful, choose a bold tablecloth that is!

Extra Tip 

Look for a tablecloth with a subtle pattern laced into the fabric. Or create your own texture by rolling your tablecloth into a ball and getting it nice and wrinkled.

#2: Picnic Tables

beforeWooden picnic tables in your food photos will remind your audience of sunny, outdoor gatherings. Plus, the earthy wood tones will make the colors of your food more eye-catching.

But wait, there’s more! 

Get directly above the food and shoot downwards. An aerial view not only gives you a great perspective of the food, but you’ll capture all the details and textures of the surrounding wood as well.

Extra Tip 

If it’s a sunny day and you’re wary of shadows, have a friend hold an umbrella up over the food to cast it in the shade. This way you get even lighting throughout the whole shot.

#3: Books

beforeA lil’ stack of books is a quirky and cute surface to photograph your smaller, more statuesque products on. Just make sure the stack’s not wobbly, especially if your product is fragile.

But wait, there’s more! 

Turn the binding of your books away from the camera so titles and author names aren’t distracting. And keep the photo funky by stacking the books a little haphazardly.

Extra Tip 

Keep your stack of books intact, but open up the book on top. Photograph your item on the open pages! (This works best if you shoot from a higher angle.)

#4: Mirrors

beforeProducts like jewelry look especially pretty when they’re photographed on a reflective surface. All the shiny, sparkling bits will be two-fold!

But wait, there’s more! 

You can either use an actual mirror, or create a reflective surface by placing the glass or plastic from a picture frame on top of a black sheet. (We did it in our bokeh background article if you wanna see how.)

Use the light from a desk lamp or your phone to keep the jewelry brightly lit.

Extra Tip

If you photograph the jewelry from too high of an angle, you’ll lose some of your reflection. Get level with your product and you’ll see the reflection begin to expand.

#5: Amid Grass and Flowers

beforeSometimes the only surface you need is the ground beneath your feet. If you have earthy-colored jewelry or anything animal themed, then just setting ’em down in the grass can do the trick.

But wait, there’s more! 

You may need to give your product a little boost to keep it from being hidden by the blades of grass. Use something small and clear (a plastic hairspray cap, for example) to set your product on so that it stands up nice and tall.

Extra Tip 

If you’re worried about your product getting dirty, set it on a little coaster first. This will also help push the grass out of the way so it won’t swallow up your product.

Taking it further


  • Photographing products is even easier with a pop-up studio on the go. Don’t have one? You can! Just check out our Foldio.
  • You only need 5 items to make a little studio right in your home. Wanna know more? We’ve got an entire article on it.
  • School’s almost out. So what are ya gonna do with all those leftover supplies? How about turning them into a mini light studio! We’ll show you how.