In this post, I’m going to teach you how to create mockups in Photoshop and use them to present your products, brand or artwork. If you already heard about mockups, you can scroll down to watch the video tutorial and grab the 3 free mockups that come with this post.
But if you say “mock whaaat?!” then the next few paragraphs are equally important for you. So don’t rush, read this info first as it will help you bring the best out of your project.
This information will also give you inspiration and show you the endless possibilities in using mockups.
At the very early days of my graphic designer career, I looked at more seasoned designers’ portfolio with envy.
How could they present their work so neatly? How did they have the energy to stage and photograph every little details of their projects and make them look crisp, and bright – even worthy to be on Apple’s website.
Little did I know then, that not many of these designers had the time and energy to take real photos of their work when a project ended. Instead, they used digital mockups.
Digital mockups are image files that let you embed your design onto an object and make it look realistic.
You can put your pattern on a roll of fabric like here:
Or you can put your logo on a shopping bag, like here:
You can even get mockups of the latest smart phones or tablets and present your ebooks on them:
Digital mockups became widespread when Photoshop introduced its “smart object layer” functionality – a tool that makes these mockups easier to be used and reused again and again without too much Photoshop savviness.
Since then, marketplaces like Creative Market, designated a separate category for mockups. There’s a huge selection of these products and they help you recreate almost anything from kids’ room interiors to chocolate packaging.
HOW CAN A MOCKUP HELP YOUR WORK?
Even if you are not a designer who has to update her portfolio with newer and newer projects, you can still benefit from mockups. It’s the quickest and easiest way to present many of the content and products you create.
The below list shows you that even if your job doesn’t include any design work, mockups will help you look professional and stand out.
Present your freebies: use smart phone, computer, laptop, tablet, notepad or book cover mockups to show your freebies as something tangible and worth downloading
Present your products: use packaging, interior scene, apparel, smart phone, computer, laptop, tablet, notepad or book cover mockups to show your product in real life
Present your weekly free content: use smart phone, computer, laptop, tablet mockups to showcase your latest blog, vlog or podcast content
WHY DOES IT WORTH TO CREATE YOUR OWN MOCKUPS?
With so many options available on design marketplaces, you rightfully ask: “why should I create my own mockups?”
There are 3 reasons:
STAY ON BRAND
If you take your own photographs for your brand, or regularly purchase stock photos from the same photographers (like I do), you noticed that this helps you stay true to your brand style.
When you start purchasing from all over the web, you’ll spend a lot of time filtering the styles. This is true to mockups too. If you create your own mockups, you’ll stay in the same style easier.
Many of the big mockups packages have complicated, heavy files with so many Photoshop layers and color modification options that just buy opening them, your computer will slow down. This is no issue with a powerful machine, but many laptops will have issues.
Download time can also be a problem. The mockups bundles I used to buy often reached 5 GB size.
When you create your own mockups you can create lightweight files that are easier to open on your computer.
YOU’LL HAVE WHAT YOU NEED – AND YOU’LL FIND IT EASIER
Many mockup packages have one or two mockups that you really need and the rest will just sit as a digital dustcollector on your computer.
When you create your mockups you can make them on demand. Create one that you need when you need it instead of storing hundreds of files.
HOW TO CREATE MOCKUPS IN PHOTOSHOP
#1 CREATE YOUR BASE
The first step is always to have a base photo. This can be something that you take, or a stock photo or even a 3D rendered scene. I often go with the second option and use stock photos as my base because I don’t have the time and equipment to take my own photos – at least not for these types of projects.
I either use my Social Squares subscription (awesome, modern stock photos from Shay Cochrane) or my Styled Stock Society subscription (super feminine and versatile stock photos from Elle Drouine).
As a third option, I use Unsplash which has amazing free stock photos. If you go with free options, always check the license.
The Creative Commons 0 license that goes with Unsplash downloads let you modify their photos and use them for commercial purposes.
For safer – and beautiful – free or paid stock photo options, check out my earlier post:
The best 15 paid and free stock photos for feminine brands
When you create your base or look for a photo as your base, it’s important to have a surface for your mockup. Make this surface as simple as possible for easy editing. So for example if you want to create a picture frame mockup, take a photo of a picture frame that’s filled with solid colored paper, not something complex. It will be easier to mask out the solid color.
The other think to be careful about is objects leaning over your mockup area. If these objects are very blurry, masking out them from the mockup area will be very difficult. So if possible don’t put fluffy flowers, intricate objects in there – unless you want to spend hours masking them out perfectly.
#2 ADDING AN EDITING THE MOCKUP SMART OBJECT LAYER IN PHOTOSHOP
A note about the size of your mockup area:
When it comes to device screens or standardized paper, try to keep the proportion for your mockup area, this will help you create better, more realistic mockups.
So for example, if you are creating an iPhone XS mockup like me in the video, use the XXX px * XXX px resolution to create your mockup rectangle. Then turn it into a smart object and scale / transform it to fit your image.
#3 APPLY YOUR DESIGN
Now that your mockup is done, you can start using it. Keep it in an easily locatable place on your computer so you can return to it easily and use it again and again.
GET 3 FREE MOCKUPS
Are you in a hurry and want free mockups asap? Or you’d like to see how exactly I built up the mockups from the above video.
You’re in luck, I made these 3 mockups free to download to all of my subscribers – along with other awesome goodies in the free Brand Builder Library. Opt-in to get instant access.