How To Take Photos Of Shoes To Sell

This week I have a guest post from the lovely Susannah Davda, The Shoe Consultant. How many of us try to sell shoes on Ebay and other selling sites? The secret is to photograph your shoes in a way that would make your shoes stand out to a buyer. So, along with photographer Rhian Cox, Susannah has given us simple steps to try. Over to you Susannah…

Do you ever open your wardrobe and look sadly at all the shoes you haven’t worn in years? Particularly those heels you feel are just too high? You have three options for dealing with your shoe stash:

1. Leave them where they are, unworn and unloved, collecting more dust.

2. Give them all away to friends, relatives or the charity shop

3. Sell them 

If you have never sold shoes online, the third option may seem daunting. Luckily, sites like eBay, Depop and Vinted make the process easy. The only part of selling shoes that takes a little more thought is photographing them.

Taking good photos of shoes may not be as simple as pointing and clicking with your phone, but the bar is set low on resale sites. You will find thousands of badly shot photos of shoes when you browse eBay and the other apps and websites. Making your shoe photos better than average will help your listings stand out so you sell your shoes more quickly.

These are my three tips for photographing your preloved shoes:

1. Shoot shoes on a table

It is really difficult to get a good shot while trying to take a picture of shoes on the ground. It can be difficult to get your phone or camera low enough, even if you are lying on the floor. 

To improve your results, place your shoes on a table. You can easily use Canva Pro or another programme to take out the background from your shoe photo if you don’t like the way your table looks. This will leave the shoe on a clean, professional-looking white background.

The two situations in which the floor rule does not apply are when you are taking an overhead shot of a shoe’s top or when you are taking flat lay photos of various objects or props. 

2. Don’t use one light

If you have attempted to take pictures of shoes using only one light source, you may have noticed unwanted shadows in your shots. Additionally, you may have found that certain details of the shoe were clearly visible while others were not. Ring lights are suitable for capturing photos and videos of faces, but they are not ideal for photographing shoes.

To prevent the loss of detail and eliminate shadows, it is recommended to use two lights to illuminate the shoe. These lights should ideally have the same brightness. They can be professional photography lights or even two bedside lamps if that is what you have available.

Position the lights slightly in front of the shoe, one on each side, pointing diagonally towards the shoe. Ensure that the lights are equidistant from the shoe, and measure if necessary. You will be surprised by how each light cancels out the shadow created by the other.

3. Phone works fine

Phone cameras have significantly improved, making them suitable for shoe photography. Try the tips and guides in my complete How to Photograph Shoes to Sell online course before buying more advanced equipment. Later on when you want more control over your shoe images, consider investing in a digital camera like a DSLR for adjustable settings and lens options.


If instead of selling your own shoes, you would like to know what to look for when buying preloved shoes online, here are my three top tips:

1. Look closely at photos of the sole or bottom of the shoes. This will show the level of wear. Check to see whether one side of the soles and heels has been worn away more than the other. If this is the case, you will need to replace the soles which may not be possible or cost effective.

2. Avoid shoes with deep creases. These are usually across the front of the shoes where the base of the toes flex. Creasing may not look great, and it can also be uncomfortable, especially if your toes flex at a slightly different point than the original wearer’s.

3. Leather is better. Leather uppers of preloved shoes can often be cleaned and polished to look new or nearly new. This is far harder to achieve with textile or synthetic faux leather shoes. 

For pinning later

Who Are Susannah Davda and Rhian Cox?

Rhian Cox has been a professional photographer since 2006. The first shoe brand she photographed in 2015 was a luxury label requiring a high level of precision. Since then, she has photographed footwear for at least 10 other brands.

Susannah Davda has been working in the shoe industry since 1998, and helping people to start shoe brands since 2015.  Susannah believes that good shoe photography is the most important element of selling shoes online.                        

A big thank you to Susannah for some valuable tips! All photographs have been published with kind permission of Rhian Cox (apart from the Pinterest photo which was taken by me! )

Linda x

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