Design Tips & Tricks


Petra Penlau


How you can easily create your own mockups, and why you should



As a designer, you're in the know. You've got the top mockup websites bookmarked, and you've scrawled the internet in search of that perfect, editable, customisable mockup where even the lid colour of the bottle can be changed. 

You're familiar with sites like Bendito and Maison mockups, and chances are you've used their mockups several times (because let's face it, they're so cool – a big shoutout to those creators!).

But here's the thing: while scrolling through Instagram or looking at someone's portfolio website, you'll notice it. Different content, same container. Sure, it looks real, but you recognise it. You've seen it countless times, and it's lost its spark. The popular mockups have become overused.

Now, don't get me wrong: mockups are a lifesaver. They're perfect when you want to breathe life into a project you've worked on but don't have the time or resources to print, produce, and photograph professionally. Often, that just doesn’t make sense to do. So, mockups step in as a great tool for most designers. In just 30 seconds, you can have your design on anything from a poster to a bottle, a tee to a pencil, or even wrapping paper or a van. I once stumbled upon a mockup for a CBD set – talk about versatility! In short, whatever you're designing for, there's a mockup out there for it. In a split second, you get a glimpse of how your design would look in ‘the real world’. And let's be real: there's a huge difference between seeing your design flat in an InDesign file and seeing it wrapped around a product, in perfect lighting, and surrounded by a professional setting.

Blog_Mockup-Image – 8-min

So, you're all about mockups, but you've also seen all the good ones a million times over. You don't want to be just another one in the crowd of sameness. Moreover the mockups might not always match your situation. A billboard in the middle of New York doesn’t quite convince when you’re promoting something in Denmark… Creating your own mockups allows you to adjust everything to match your brand, using specific accessories that are relevant to the design so that all the surrounding elements feel ‘on brand’.

In other ways, making your own mockups is a way of getting ahead: you’ll create a unique mockup in a setting that matches your situation and aligns perfectly with your brand. Win-win-win!


Reasons why it's worth considering making your own mockups:
  • You get it just the way you want it! Customisation is key - and you’ll have full control over the design elements.
  • You pick up new skills and sharpen your Photoshop knowledge.
  • They're reusable! When presenting to clients, for instance, using your own mockups sets you apart and makes a lasting impression.
  • You can even try selling them! (Well yes, you’ll might be part of the mockup loop, but at least you were the original creator this time)
  • Brand consistency! If you create your own mockups, you’ll ensure that they visually aligns with your brand identity. You can incorporate your unique aesthetic, humour, brand colours, or signature elements to make the mockups truly yours.
  • Enhance your portfolio! Custom mockups showcase your photography, photoshop and creativity skills - a great way to promote yourself to potential clients when they look at your projects.

Overall, it's easy to create your own mockups and it empowers you as a designer, so if you got the time, why not give it a shot?…. But how?

Blog_Mockup-Image – 1-min
Here's what you'll need:
  • A camera (your phone will do for instagram use, but use a professional one if you can)
  • A setting + maybe a model or an assistant
  • Your mockup-product! A poster/bottle/tee/computer…
  • Photoshop
  • This tutorial:


1. Research your idea:

Start by researching your concept. Do you have a finished design you'd like to photograph and turn into a mockup? Alternatively, do you want to create a clean mockup, such as a poster, by photographing a blank sheet of paper? This can be easier for editing in Photoshop, though sometimes it makes more sense to photograph a final product and later convert it into a mockup—both approaches are possible! Next, consider the types of projects you often work on, such as posters, websites or books. Brainstorm and review past and future projects to decide which mockups it makes sense for you to create.

2. Choose the setting:

Think about the setting for your mockups. Do you need accessories or elements to include? Should it be a clean shoot or more detailed? Consider the vibes—industrial, elegant, humorous? Reflect on your brand and projects, write down key words that match it. For instance, if you’ve designed a label for a summery drink, think about what setting would improve its appeal. Where would the ideal consumer enjoy this drink? How can you visually convey warmth, sun, joy, and carefreeness?

Blog_Mockup-Image – 2-min
3. Gather Visual Inspiration:

If you need visual inspiration, check Instagram, Pinterest, or your preferred sources. However, be careful not to get too influenced. Remember, the goal is to create your own mockups to showcase your unique style by adding your personal touch. If you just replicate what others have done, you might as well use pre-existing mockups

4. Scout Locations:

Look around your office, home, street, garden, and outdoor areas. Find locations that match the vibe you’re aiming for. If you want to show a specific place or city, consider using recognisable elements that signify the place—like a bike in Copenhagen or an urban, sticker-covered wall in Hamburg.



Blog_Mockup-Image – 5-min
5. Plan the Shoot, some tips to keep in mind:
  • Ensure your product/mockup is the focal point, with the best lighting and clarity.
  • Position it realistically within the scene, while allowing your design to shine.
  • Take photos from various angles and distances, including close-ups.
  • Take more pictures than you think you'll need; it’s better to have extra options.
6. Use Natural Light:

If shooting indoors or in a studio, try to use natural light and avoid mixing it with indoor lighting to prevent odd colour casts. For clean mockups, consider using backdrops or large sheets of paper. Photoshop now offers great options to extend backgrounds, so close-up shots can easily be adjusted!

Blog_Mockup-Image – 4-min
7. Edit Your Mockup, consider these tips to improve the final result:
  • Add textures: Incorporate textures to give your mockup a more realistic appearance. This could be to include fabric textures, paper grain or surface reflections.
  • Experimenting with layers and opacity: Play with different layers and adjust their opacity to blend elements seamlessly and create the best effect.
  • Use smart objects: Concert your design elements into Smart Objects, this allows for non-destructive editing and easy updates!
  • Name your layers: Talking about easy updates, name your layers from the beginning!
  • Adjust colour balance and tone: Fine-tune the colour balance and tones to ensure consistency with your brand and make the mockups visually appealing.
  • Include subtle imperfections: Don’t hold back with adding the small details like minor imperfections like creases, fold or slight distortions to make the mockup more authentic.
  • Remove unnecessary elements: On the other hand, you should remove any elements from the photo that don’t belong or distract from the focal point. This could include spots on the paper, confusing shadows, and other distractions.
Blog_Mockup-Image – 7-min

To give you some inspiration (and maybe even motivation), we’ve a few examples of our own custom mockups. Our designer Rebecca took pictures with her camera during her travels across Europe. For every city she visited, she captured signs, billboards and outdoor posters - all for us to transform into our own mockups afterwards. This means that we now have our very own Chukster mockups to use from Geneva, Graz, Zürich, Hamburg, Milan, Munich and Vienna! How cool is that? It’s also such a great idea to do this when you’re out travelling anyways. It might make you see a city in a different way - suddenly you’ll notice things you wouldn’t as a regular tourist!

To sum it up, it is probably quite clear that we at Chukster have a strong appreciation for mockups - both existing ones and those we create ourselves. We’re committed to continuing doing so in the future, so stay tuned on our website and instagram @chukster_studio for updates. Perhaps we will even make them available on our site eventually! If this post has inspired you to create your own mockups, please let us know and share a picture of your creation - we’d love to see!

Blog_Mockup-Image – 6-min

To sum it up, it is probably quite clear that we at Chukster have a strong appreciation for mockups - both existing ones and the mockups that we create ourselves. We’re committed to continuing doing so in the future, so stay tuned on our website and instagram @chukster_studio for updates. If this post has inspired you to create your own mockups, please let us know and share a picture of your creation - we’d love to see!



Blog_Mockup-Image – 3-min