How to style and photograph a leather handbag on a tabletop

In this tutorial we will show you how to style and shoot a handbag from a variety of angles


Equipment used: StyleShoots Vertical. Click here to learn more

Leather handbags can pose a few tricky challenges to photograph professionally for your online store. So in this fashion product photography tutorial, we will be showing you some tips and tricks on how to style a handbag - and give you an overview of the different shots you'll be needing. 

Most of the difficulty from shooting a leather handbag comes from ensuring the finer details like straps and zips are styled properly. And, depending on the type of leather, setting the right lighting can become a little more complex due to the reflection of your incoming light source. 

First, let's have a run through of what you'll be needing in this tutorial:

  • Camera - Any camera will suffice but a Canon EOS 5D Mk III is recommended as a standard for professional product photography
  • Studio lighting - Continuous cool LED lamps are recommended to ensure exposure, shadows and contrast are kept consistent
  • Your handbag  
  • Tissue paper - Stuffing a handbag with tissue helps keep its shape and structure
  • Fishing line - Or any nylon string that is thin and translucent enough to not appear in shot
  • Compressed air - Spraying a can of air on your handbag is invaluable in getting rid of pesky dust particles without marking the leather
  • Double sided tape - Double sided tape is useful for keeping bits of the hardware on your bag in place
 

Taking a 3/4 perspective shot

1. Set the position of your handbag

 Tip: when photographing handbags from this angle, you need to keep it consistent across your whole website.

To do so, mark where the corners of the bag are on your tabletop or use overlays to ensure the perspective remains the same. 

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2. Hold the short straps in place with fishing line

Bags look good when the straps are held nicely in place.

Use fishing line or nylon string and attach them to the straps to hold them up as shown in the example on the right. 

 

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3. Spray with canned air to remove dust

Give the bag a few sprays with some canned air to make sure the leather isn't marked or blemished with any unwanted dust particles.

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4. Style the details

Handbags have lots of design elements that make them time consuming to style properly.

Spend time delicately moving tassels, zips and tags to create an appealing look. 

You can use double sided tape to stick the tag to the leather as shown on the right. 

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5. Style the long strap

You can style and neatly place the long strap in front or behind the bag.

In this example we're styling the strap behind. This is because there are a lot of features and details on this bag. Having the strap in front would be too 'busy' and detract attention from the hardware. 

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And shoot...

 
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Taking a front shot

 

1. Set the position of the bag

It's important when taking shots from the front that the bag is not tilted sideways - or leaning forward or backward.

Adjust the string holding the straps to align it properly.

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2. Level the straps

Bags can look much more professionally styled when the straps look level with each other. 

Spend some time styling the straps to align them evenly. 

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3. Style the details

Just like in the steps above, take care with the tags, zips and details on the bag. 

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4. Style the long strap

In this example, we've chosen to show a small part of the strap around the side. 

Use some double sided tape to hold it in place. 

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And shoot...

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Turn the handbag around and make sure the angles line up properly to get a back shot

Turn the handbag around and make sure the angles line up properly to get a back shot


What we'd really appreciate is...

Thanks for reading our tutorial on styling and photographing a leather handbag — part of our ongoing series of tutorials on product photography, styling and lighting. If you found it useful, why don’t you head on over to our Youtube channel and subscribe?

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flatStephen Warr