How to Create Digital Product Images with Photoshop to Skyrocket Your Sales

15 min read

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A step by step tutorial to create product images with Photoshop for your digital and info products that'll skyrocket your sales! - The Side Blogger #makemoneyblogging #digitalproduct #infoproduct #photoshop #photoshoptutorial #design #graphicdesign #designtips
Do you like the cha-ching sound of passive income?

Us bloggers live for it, don’t we?!

I think it’s safe to say that the idea of making money while you sleep is something we’re all sold on.

Only, passive income isn’t quite as passive as people make it sound, had to learn it the hard way. There’s always some overhead, some initial work, and often, and this is the part that I like doing the least, continued maintenance.

However, in this blog post, I’ll be talking about the part that I actually find enjoyable! Well… second most enjoyable to be specific.

I’ve written previously about creating a passive income stream from your blog by way of selling digital products. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do! One of the things I had pointed out in that post is the importance of creating beautiful product images that hook the potential customers and sliiiiiiiide them down the not-too-slippery slope that leads to hitting the “buy now” button.

And in today’s post, that’s exactly what I’ll be showing you–the way to create product images to take the curious window-shoppers on a ride all the way to purchased-customerdom.

I made up quite a few words there, but oh well, you get the picture…

In this post:

Tools and Resources You’ll Need to Create Product Images

Here’s where you’ll need to make some of your initial investments.

Adobe Photoshop

I use Photoshop to create all of my product images. It’s the most versatile software out there for the job and also creates the most professional looking end result. An annual Photoshop subscription costs 20.99 per month. Alternately, you can sign up for the annual photography plan for 19.99 per month which includes both Photoshop and Lightroom. You save a buck and get full access to Lightroom, which is pretty cool if you’re also into photography.

Freepik (optional)

I love Freepik for a lot of things. It’s basically an all-inclusive platform for finding premium stock images, product mockups, patterns, and vectors, for a monthly subscription fee of 9.99 per month (or 7.50 per month if you pay for an annual plan). I use third-party mockups for my product images, so, a subscription to Freepik comes handy.

However, I’ll share links to some free mockups with you that you can use in case you’re in a budget when starting out. 

Creative Market (optional)

Creative Market is yet another great place to get product mockups. If you don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee for Freepik, you can use Creative Market to find things you need for a one-time cost of the product itself.

Create Product Images for The Gallery

These are the images people see on the product pages. This is your chance to showcase and show-off your products to potential buyers and convince them to hit the “buy now” button. The goal of a product page is simple: Make your audience fall in love with your product, and convincing them that these products will be useful to them.

The convincing part you typically do with your copy, a.k.a. product description. As for the “make-them-fall-in-love” part, that’s where your product images come in.

Here’s a question you must ask yourself before you start creating product images: how do you go about creating images for your product (planner inserts) in a way that best showcases how gorgeous, yet totally functional it is?

Start with this question, and try to come up with answers for images that will best demonstrate the above.

In the following sub-sections, I’ll show you 3 types of product images that showcase the best of your digital and info products.

Product Image # 1: The Cover Image

The very first image in your product image gallery is the cover image. This is the first image visitors see. It is also the image that is shown on the shop page (the page where all your products are shown to visitors). Based on how well you “wow” your visitors with this cover image, visitors will either click on this product or pass.

Your goal is, of course, to have them click on it.

To that end, a cover image should have the following characteristics:

  • This image should include photos of the product itself in a way that appeals to your ideal customers.
  • This image should have a concise description of what the product is.

Here are some examples to get you started in the right direction:

Product cover image from my blog shop for Media Kit Template – Montana
Product cover image for Rits Studio on Creative Market
Product cover page for GoaStudio on Creative Market
Product cover page for Guuver on Creative Market

As you can see, these products have a few things in common. They say, on the image itself, what these products are, and also, often what the format is (Canva, Photoshop or PSD, InDesign or INDD or IDML, Illustrator or AI, etc.)

Giving this information right on the cover photo itself helps the potential buyer know right away if this is something they’ll want to buy, need, want, etc.

Product Image Size

Typically all product images are the same size. Some platforms have specific size guides. For example, Creative Market requires that all product images be at least 1820px wide and 1214px long. If you’re on WordPress, you can create a custom size to suit your tastes. Personally, I prefer either rectangular (4:3 is a good size) or square images.

Product Image # 2: Size Guide

This image shows the size of the product. I like this as it gives the potential buyer an idea as to what kind of product they can expect. Whether it’s a US Letter size document, an A4 size document, or a 4″ by 5″ business card, or an 800 px by 1200 px Pinterest graphic — the size guide helps the reader know that this is, in fact, the right product they’re looking for.

Here are some examples of product image with size guides:

Product image from my blog shop
Product image from my blog shop

Product Image # 3: Wow Factor

Aside from the cover photo and the size guide, the rest of the images should be dedicated to showcasing your product as best as you can. The goal is to WOW your to-be customers. Create scenes, or lay them out in a flattering way, the potentials are unlimited.

Here are some of my favorite images of product details:

Product image from my blog shop
Product image by Rits Studio from Creative Market
Product image by October November from Creative Market
Product image by Station Seven from Creative Market

Photoshop Tips and Techniques

Now that you’ve seen the kind of photos you should be creating for your digital/info products, in the following sub-sections, I’m going to show you how you can create these types of images using Photoshop.

Save Canva Templates (or any other info/digital product) as Images

No matter which program you use to create your digital products or templates, whether with an Adobe product or Canva, you should be able to save these products as images. You need to do this because Photoshop works with images.

In Canva, saving any design as an image is straight forward. On the design window, click on the download icon at the top (see image below). Choose File Type as JPG from the drop-down, and make sure “All Pages” are selected from the “Select Pages” drop-down (this will show if you have more than one page in your design).

Save Canva Designs as Images so You can Work with them on Photoshop

Create a Product Image Base in Photoshop

This is my way of saying that you need to create a new file in Photoshop. Use the following specifics:

  • Open Photoshop.
  • Go to File > New, and then create a new design. For this example, I’ll be using an image size of 1820px by 1214px. I’ll leave resolution and color mode to their default states, and choose “transparent” as the background content.
    Create a new file in Photoshop.

Create a Background

The background can really bring out the products. In this section, I’ll show you four different kinds of backgrounds that you can easily create on Photoshop.

Solid Background

Sometimes, a solid background is all you need. Simple. Straight-forward. Easy. Minimalist. What you do need to pay attention to is the solid background color you choose. Typically, a white or gray background is considered a safe bet. Black can also bring out the products and would be considered a bold choice. Done right, black is also very classy and elegant. All other colors should be used with caution and only when they compliment the product colors. See examples of solid backgrounds below:

Product images on Creative Market. Top left: by Obsessivo. Bottom right: By Ruben Stom

Here’s how you create a solid background on Photoshop:

  • Go to Layer (top menu) > New Fill Layer > Solid Color…
  • Click “OK” on the dialog box. This will create a fill layer linked to your transparent layer (layers are shown in the layer panel on the right.)
  • A new dialog box will open where you can pick the color of your choice. You can pick a color from the palette, or enter CMYK or Hex values. For this exercise, I’ll pick a light gray shade #f6fafa hex value. Click “OK” when done.
    Add a new, solid color fill layer.
    Choose the fill color.

Gradient Background

Gradient backgrounds can add sophistication to product images. They can be dramatic or subtle, depending on the shades you choose.

Here are some examples:

Product image with a gradient background. Left: by KMZVR.Lab on Creative Market. Right: by Rome Creation on Creative Market

Here’s how you get a gradient background:

  • Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient… Click “OK” on the dialog box.
  • When the gradient dialog box pops up, click on the gradient itself to open the gradient editor.
  • For this specific example, we’ll choose the first gradient option (as shown).
  • Click on the bottom sliders (shown below) to change the gradient colors. You can choose different shades (such as a lighter shade and a darker shade) of the same color or two totally different colors.
  • Play with the other handles to create different gradient backgrounds until you’ve found a pattern you like.
  • Click “OK” when you’ve created a background you like.
  • Choose a gradient background.
    Choose gradient colors.

Image/Textures as Background

Another easy way to create a stylish background is by using an image of some kind of texture or surface (like marble top, wooden planks, or grungy texture, etc.)


Left: GraphicList. Right: Moscovita

Here’s how you make these:

  • The first step is to source the image itself. A site like Freepik comes handy if you have a subscription to it. Freepik has a ton of stock images that you can choose from. Alternately, many free stock photo sites (such as Unsplash) also have a decent collection of textures and backdrop images. Just search for the terms “texture” or “background”, and you’ll have plenty to choose from. You can also type more specific terms such as “marble” or “wood” if you’re looking for those.
  • Once you have your background image, go to Photoshop, create a new file, and then go to File (top menu) > Place Embedded. Locate and choose the background image, and then click “Place”.
  • Right click on the image, and then click on “Place” to place the image.
  • You can extend the image to fill the entire background by clicking on the corners with the mousing, holding, and then dragging. Hold ‘shift’ and then drag the corner with your mouse to maintain aspect ratio.
    Place background image as embedded.
    Place the image. Use the mouse to drag the corners of the image to fill up the entire background.

Shapes as Background

The shapes feature in Photoshop can be used to create color-block backgrounds for product images.

Here are some examples:

Color-block backgrounds with shapes. Left: TSB blog shop. Right: Goashape (on Creative Market)

Here’s how you achieve color-blocking with Photoshop shapes:

  • First create a solid color background (or gradient, or image/texture) background just as shown in the preceding sub-sections.
  • Next, create a shape with the shape tool (shown below). For the purpose of this demonstration, let’s create a rectangle. Right click on the shape tool from the left toolbar to bring out all available options.
  • Choose the shape of choice. For this example, we’ll choose the rectangle shape tool.
  • Then, simply use your mouse to create a rectangle. To do so, click anywhere in the image, and then holding down, drag the mouse in any direction to create a rectangle.
  • Once you have the shape you want, you can click anywhere on the shape, hold, and drag to reposition it. You can also rotate a shape by clicking on any of the corners, holding, then moving left or right, depending on which direction you want to rotate the shape. To widen or shorten a side, simply click and hold any of the handles, and drag in the direction of change. To get a hang of this, play around with different shapes, changing colors, rotating, changing the size, etc.
    Click on the shape tool to create a shape.
    You can change the color of a shape.
    You can move a shape, enlarge it, shorten it, or rotate it.

Add Products Photos on Top of the Background

Now that you have created a background, it’s time to add products. This part is super simple. Remember when you were adding an image as your background? It’s exactly the same. As mentioned previously, your products must be saved as images (jpg or png format, jpg preferred to make the file size smaller). All you have to do now is go to File > Place Embedded, then locate the product image(s) and place them on top of your background layer.

You can resize the product images by clicking then dragging any of the corner handles. Remember to hold the “shift” key as you drag to maintain aspect ratio.

After placing the product images, move them around to reposition them as you wish until you have a final image to your liking.

Here’s a tip to make a digital/info product stand out: Add shadow!

Typically, just placing an image of a flat product is kind of boring. However, by adding some shadow, you can instantly add some oomph to your products as well as depth.

Here’s how you add shadow:

  • Start by placing a product photo.
  • When you add a photo, it appears as a new layer in the layer panel. (Make sure the product image is on top of your background layer in the layer panel. If not, you can simply click on a layer and drag it to reposition.)
  • Right-click on the product photo layer in the layer panel on the right, then click on “Blending Options…”
  • This will open up the Layer Style dialog box. In this box, click on “drop shadow” from the list on the left. And then set the shadow options on the right. You can do quite a bit here, and the best way to learn is by playing around with different values and options to see what you like best. For the purpose of this demonstration, set the values as shown:
    Set the opacity to 30%.
    Set distance to 10 px.
    Set the spread to 30 px.
    Set the size to 40 px.
    Leave the rest of the settings to their default state.
    Click “OK” when done.
    Repeat for all the photos.

    Right click on the photo layer and choose “Blending Options…”
    Clicking on Blending Options will open up the Layer Style dialog box.
    Click on “Drop Shadow” and then set the settings as shown.
    A finished product image.

Create Scene

Another great way to showcase your digital products is by creating a scene. This doesn’t have to be too complicated. Adding things like shadows, or small items (images) like plants or stationary, you can create something unique. Another great way to make your items pop is to add the product photo on a device. Like shown in one of the examples below where a media kit is shown on an iPad.

Now, you may ask, how does one create these scenes? Good news is that someone out there has already done the hard work for us! There are plenty of premium and free scene mockups out there that we can use to create something we like. For example, the iPad scene you see below isn’t something I made. I simply used a pre-made Photoshop mockup. The same with the shadows. I used pre-made shadow PSD files that someone had already made.

Scenic product images. Left: TSB blog shop product. Right: product by Momogi on Creative Market.

In this section, I’ll walk you through creating a simple scene. I’ll add a product photo on a mockup and add some shadows.

The very first step to creating a scene is to procure the required mockups. As mentioned before, Freepik is a great place to get these mockups. A monthly membership will give you access to an unlimited number of premium mockups, icons, vector graphics, stock images, and more!

Creative Market also has mockups that you can purchase. This doesn’t require you to have a membership. You pay once, and the product is yours to use. This is a great way to get premium products if you don’t have continued need for mockups or vectors or stock photos.

There are also some free products that you can use. For example, Mockupworld has a huge collection of free mockups.

For this portion of the tutorial, I’ll be using the following products:

Free Mockup via MockupWorld

Painted Pastel-Pink Background Image via Freepik

Shadow PNG Files by OntheMoon from Creative Market

Here are the steps to creating the final product image:

  • The first thing I do is download all the products, unzip them (if they’re zipped).
  • Next, I open the mockup (the very first) in Photoshop.
  • Now, while I like this mockup in general, I don’t really care much for the burger or the pencil. They look animated and personally, I think they take away from the quality. I only want the three pages. So, I find the burger and pencil layers on the layer panel and hide them by clicking once on the “eye” next to the layers.
    Hide the unwanted layers.
  • See the red layers? These are the editable “papers” where you can add your digital product photo. Double-click on the first red layer thumbnail to open it in a new window, and then add your product photo. Then delete the placeholder photo (or hide it). Make sure that your product photo is the top-most layer on the smart object. If the product photo does not cover the entire area of the smart object, drag the corner(s) with your mouse until it does. Then save the smart object by clicking CTRL+S on a PC or CMD+S on a Mac.
    Edit the smart object. Click on the layer thumbnail to open the smart object in a new window.
    Place your own product image in the smart object, then save it.
  • Repeat this for the rest of the smart objects.
  • Now, we’ll add the pretty background picture we chose, instead of the dark pink one. To do this, hide the current background, and simply add the image we want by going to File > Place Embedded (like we’ve done before). Make sure that the background is BELOW all the smart object layers.
  • Now we’ll add the shadows. This is also very similar to adding an image. The shadows come in different formats. We’ll be using the transparent back PNG formats for this. Just like placing any other image, we’ll use File > Place Embedded to place a shadow image of our choice. This time, making sure to have the shadow layer on TOP of the smart object layers (the shadows should be on top of the product photos). Drag the corner of the shadow image to enlarge or shirk. You can also make the shadow lighter by using the opacity bar (as shown).
    Add shadow. You can move the shadow layer, and also change the opacity if you wish to lighten the layer.

And that’s it! Here’s the finished image:

The finished scene (product image)

So, what do you think? Doable?

If you’re new to Photoshop, this may seem like rocket science to you, but trust me, it’s really NOT! Once you know the steps, it becomes routine. The best way to learn is to follow along with this tutorial, and repeat a few times to know what you’re doing.

If you end up using this tutorial or any of the products I’ve mentioned here, I’d love to know (and see the products!). Feel free to share your product links in the comments. Also, feel free to ask any questions you may come across while working on this, or any concerns that are raised. I’ll be happy to clarify and answer your questions 🙂

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A step by step tutorial to create product images with Photoshop for your digital and info products that'll skyrocket your sales! - The Side Blogger #makemoneyblogging #digitalproduct #infoproduct #photoshop #photoshoptutorial #design #graphicdesign #designtips

A Photoshop tutorial for digital product sellers for creating breathtaking product mockup images that skyrocket product sales. - The Side BloggerA step-by-step tutorial to create product images with Photoshop for your digital and info products that'll skyrocket your sales! - The Side Blogger #makemoneyblogging #digitalproduct #infoproduct #photoshop #photoshoptutorial #design #graphicdesign #designtips #photoshop
33 thoughts on “How to Create Digital Product Images with Photoshop to Skyrocket Your Sales”
  1. Hello Maliha,
    Thank you for this great tutorial!
    I have a question…if I create a template on Canvas to sell, can I incorporate my own graphics (illustrations) and elements as well as Canva’s and create the sharable link and all for clients to open in their own accounts when purchased? I guess I’m trying to incorporate my unique design style with my own artwork but not sure if that would show once the template is completed? Can you even add your own .png or .jpeg to Canva? I’m new to Canva but interested in designing and selling templates.
    Once again, thank you for sharing valuable information!

  2. Hi Maliha

    Great tutorial. I found your article as im researching selling printable wedding invitations and was wondering is it better for me to edit it and provide to the client or go the canva way and have the client be able to edit their own invitations. I sold wedding invitations that i designed and made for the clients for many years but looking at transitioning away from that into the digital format. Looking at selling other digital template products as well as im a travel photographer. Do you have any experience with which option may be better? Thanks!

    1. Just reading a couple other comments… i was thinking of doing the invitation design in illustrator and then uploading in canva and then adding the text in canva. That way the client cant edit the design, only the text. Thoughts on this?

      1. When I sell templates, I like to give my buyers as much independence as possible in terms of customizability. That’s also the kind of template business I teach to my students in the Side Income with Canva Templates course. But, as I responded to your other comment, everyone has their unique audience and business strategies. What you do depends on your unique angle, based on audience research from your part. That’s something you have to do as the business owner.

    2. There’s a market for both, and what you do depends on who you’re targeting—your audience. Only you can know what your audience would like.

  3. Parth Shekhar Pathak

    Very informative article, as usual. One question though: do we necessarily need to use Photoshop for the things you showed above? Can’t these or similar things be done in Canva itself (either with Canva free or Canva Pro)? I am just wary of the fact that we need to buy so many different subscriptions to achieve the end goal. When I found Canva, it seemed to be able to assist with all things design-related, but looking at the above post makes me think I still need Photoshop, I still need one site for mockups, I still need another site for stock images, and so on. So, just wanted to know from you whether it is possible to use Canva exclusively for designs and still come out with great images.

    1. Buyers do not see what they’re getting before they buy a digital product; they only see the product photos. These photos are probably the most important aspect of selling more Canva templates, so the additional subscription is worth it, in my opinion. You could try doing them on Canva of course; it’s your business so you’ll need to make those decisions. But I wouldn’t.

      1. Hi Maliha, can we just use the original form of our Canva template (the product itself) without needing to create product images as a way to promote the product? Or is this against the legal laws? Thank you so much, Maliha.

        1. Product images are for making your products more appealing, so I highly recommend them. What’s the alternative? If you just upload an image of the product itself (for example, a spread of your ebook template?) for one, you’re making it a little easier for others to steal off you, instead of purchasing from you, and second, it looks a bit lazy tbh. You can do what you want, but I don’t recommend it.

  4. Priyanka | That Fat Diary

    This was so great and elaborate. I am on my way to create my very first digital product and I’m scared. Your guideline helps a ton. Thanks dear

  5. Hey Maliha,

    This was so helpful and a great read thank you!

    I was just wondering can I design Canva templates on an Adobe program and somehow transfer to Canva? Or I need to create in Canva so it is edible for people who can’t use Adobe programs?

    Thanks so much

  6. Hi Maliha, great blog post. I’m thinking of creating my own templates but am concerned about one thing: when customers purchase and download your template(s), couldn’t they just share your download link/pdf with others? Wouldn’t that prevent you from making more sales if people can just share the link freely within their network?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Eliza. The problem you described is one all digital product sellers have to deal with; it comes with this business model. In my experience, my profit margins have been wide enough for me to not worry about some problem customers.

  7. Wow! This was so extremely helpful!
    I went from scared-of-photoshop to photoshop-empowered thanks to your article.
    You’re the best!

  8. Maliha,

    Hello there! I just want to say that my lucky day was the moment I found your blog! I was thinking of creating templates but don’t know where to start! Thank you so much!
    Keep up the good work!


  9. Hello Maliha,
    Your Information is so amazing! Do you recommend making a mockup on canva itself? What would be the ideal sizing? I am looking to sell on etsy and hopefully creativemarket. Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Sarah. Please refer to the product sizing section in the blog post above for more information on what you’ve asked.

  10. Maliha your blogs are always so informative and helpful and full of such good, clear advice. If only I had found you months ago, I may have overcome my paralysis by analysis and launched sooner. Thank you for your pearls of wisdom.

  11. Thank you so so much for this post! It helped me tremendously with learning photoshop!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!❤️

  12. Photoshop services

    Excellent article! This post is very informative and useful also help me a lot. Thanks for sharing.

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