Product Photography is a branch of commercial photography which is about accurately but attractively representing a product. There are many online stores, small or large businessess who use product photography. Product photography helps them in many ways such as attracting the eyes of customers, selling their idea, etc.
Whether you want to create a product photography portfolio, start taking product photography or get better at it. This article is just for you, in this article, I will share “16 Product Photography Tips” which will help you get started and make your product photography look like a pro. So make sure you read it till the end.
Here is a quick look of the 16 tips I am going to share with you:
- Use Proper Lighting
- Pay Attention To The Shadows
- Choose Locations Or Backgrounds Wisely
- Select The Aperture Wisely
- Use A Standard Lens
- Invest In A Tripod
- Invest In A Portable Photo Studio
- Minimalism Is The Key
- Take Inspiration From Other Brands
- Take Multiple Shots From Different Angles
- Pay Attention To Details
- Get Creative
- Put Your Product In Context
- Understand The Concept Of Color Theory
- Always Color Correct In Post
- Don’t Be Afraid To Break The Rules
Now, I am going to explain what each one of it means? what it does? and how will it effect your product photography? So, let’s get started!
1. Use Proper Lighting
The first and the most important tip in this list to achieve a professional looking product photography is using a proper lighting setup. Not only product photography but also photography in general requires a proper lighting in order to get your desired look and a professional looking content. That is why, it is important to know the importance of lighting in photography.
Using a proper lighting setup will help you draw attention to your subject (product) which is the main goal of product photography. It will help you add depth and enhance the product. Lighting will also help you with colors for example: A white background without light doesn’t appear white in the photo, it appears grey. That is why it is very important to light your subject as well as the background properly. It will also help you in seperating the background and subject (product).
There are two options for product photography lighting: studio lighting and natural lighting. The product that you’re photographing, the purpose of the photo, and the platform on which you’re advertising it will help you decide which setup to go for. Natural lighting can work really well for product photographs featuring edible items, people, and clothing, and these natural looking photos can work well in social media contexts, like Instagram.
On the other hand, if your product is primarily used indoors (e.g., cookware), features small details (e.g., artwork), or is being sold on Amazon and Google Shopping, then artificial product photography lighting is preferable.
2. Pay Attention To The Shadows
Whether you use natural light or artificial light, you’ll need to lessen the shadows any potential hard light casts on the opposite end of a product. You’re always going to want to diffuse your studio lighting to ensure that the lighting spreads across and around your product evenly, rather than casting hot spots (overexposed spots in an image). Hot spots are unflattering and a pain to retouch. As well as that, diffused lighting works better for white balance than a spot light. You can also use a softbox, reflectors, fill lights, flash bulb bounce cards, standalone bounce cards, etc.
3. Choose Locations Or Backgrounds Wisely
Remember, the main goal of product photography is to adverstise the product. So, make sure you choose the locations and backgrounds which doesn’t take away the eyes from the product. While choosing a background, if nothing comes in mind start by plain background. In fact, there are many clients who will themself say you to use a plain background (plain black and plain white backgrounds are popular amongst product photographs).
4. Select The Aperture Wisely
It’s important to use the right aperture for the right kind of image. For product photography it is best to use one of these three for the two most common types of product photography: solid wall studio or lifestyle.
- For just the product lifestyle shots, the widest aperture / lowest f-stop is best to make sure that the product is the absolute centre of attention. Everything else should blend into a creamy bokeh. Do make sure that you are shooting far enough away from the product. This way, none of the product details get lost in the shallow depth of field.
- For lifestyle shots that feature a product and either a model or another object, keep the aperture at around 2.8 or so. This allows the product and the secondary subject to remain in focus without the background overpowering the image. The key is to make sure that what you want the audience to look at is the product you’re showcasing, not the additional elements in the image.
- For just product shots in a studio, or a product with a model, a much narrower aperture is great. Your lighting is what will separate the subject from the studio wall, so make sure your aperture is a large enough number to really capture all of the details as sharply as possible.
5. Use A Standard Lens
Wide angle lenses and effects lenses such as fish eye lenses changes the appearance of the subject. This is product photography and you want to make sure that your product isn’t distorted in any way. You want all of your photography to accurately represent the product at hand.
That is why you should use standard lenses also known as normal lenses. Standard lenses are closest in perspective to the human eye. They don’t cause any form of misrepresentation or alteration in the subject (product). The most common standard lens focal length is the 50mm, with any focal length between 40mm and 58mm also being considered normal.
6. Invest In A Tripod
Tripods make a huge difference in the clarity and quality of your product photography and they are not necessarily expensive or difficult to use. Using a tripod will ensure a reduction of blur, which is critical if you want your product photographs to look professional and high-quality. Whether you are using a fancier DSLR, Mirrorless Camera or a simple iPhone, there are many tripods on the market in varying price ranges for every type of camera out there. Go on Amazon and get one for your camera. It is 100% worth taking the extra minute to set up a tripod for better looking product photographs.
7. Invest In A Portable Photo Studio
This is more of a personal preference rather than a tip. Portable photo studios are easy to carry around and also it is easy to setup a portable photo studio for small product photography such as jewellery. I will recommend this especially if you are a beginner product photographer, it will save your time to decide lighting setup but don’t get me wrong it is very important to learn lighting techniques. It’s just that a portable photo studio will atleast help you understand the basics. Again, this is not a very important tip if you want you can just ignore this tip.
8. Minimalism Is The Key
As mentioned several times in this article, the main goal of product photography is to draw the viewers attention to the subject (product). Minimalism is a process where you remove unnecessary things from the frame of your photograph. Make sure there is nothing in the product photo that distracts the viewer from the product itself. Use the right composition techniques to achieve a good quality professional looking photos. Avoid making your photos too busy by including any unnecessary elements because your goal is still to sell the product, not make the viewer focus on everything besides the product.
9. Take Inspiration From Other Brands
It is always helpful to look to others for inspiration. You likely already have some brands in mind that you love. Take a look at their product photography and ask yourself how a similar shot or technique could work for your products.
For instance, your client has it’s own watch brand and they want you to take photos of their watches, go online and search for your favourite watch brand and reflect on what you love about their product photos and think that the techniques they use for their product photography will work for you or not? If yes recreate it in your own style.
10. Take Multiple Shots From Different Angles
If you have a fairly large line of products you need to shoot, it might be tempting to just take one or two of each product, then move along. Taking multiple shots from a variety of angles will show your customers exactly what your product looks like. Plus, it will help give you options when it is time to edit, and you won’t be left thinking, “Should we re-do this one completely?”
For instance, take a low angle wide shot then take a low angle close-up, try taking the photo from above, try it from the right side. The bottom line is, it is better to try and fail insted of not trying it and regretting it later by thinking that if I would have done this or that?
11. Pay Attention To Details
This is one of the most important tips every product photographer must follow. Whenever you take a product photograph always pay attention to each and everything so that you won’t miss any anomalies in the photos.
For instance, if you are shooting a watch product, as soon as you click your first image make sure you check it thoroughly as watches have glass and sometimes your lighting may produce unnecessary glare or if you are shooting sunglasses maybe there is your reflection in it. Bottom line is, always pay attention to details as it will help you avoid any kind of anomalies in your product photography.
12. Get Creative
Just because you’re photographing something inanimate doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play around with your photography. If anything, this is the moment to play around with styling because your subject won’t talk back to you! You never know what might look cool.
13. Put Your Product In Context
Most marketers will tell you that they key to selling a product is selling the idea of the product. Whether it be tying a product to an appealing lifestyle, showcasing how much more convenient life can be with a product, or how significant the product is to a specific interest, the story of the product will sell it better than anything.
It’s important that your prospective customers are able to envision themselves using your product. After all, if someone sees photos of your product online and can’t easily picture themself using it, why would they buy it?
For instance, if someone is looking to buy a couch to furnish their new apartment likely can’t see themself using one that’s advertised simply sitting against a blank background. On the other hand, they can very easily envision themself using a couch that’s advertised in the context of a home, as seen here:
14. Understand The Concept Of Color Theory
For lifestyle product shots, color theory is key to attracting the right customers. This is the study of how colors affect human psychology. In basic terms, this means that certain colors or color combinations bring out a specific idea, emotion, or characteristic in a person. Studying color theory and understanding it can lead to a great photography career. You’ll be able to take advantage of this to influence the way your viewers react to a photo.
15. Always Color Correct In Post
Much the same way that using a standard lens avoids distorting the product, keeping the colors true is just as important. This is fundamental for product photography that centres on color, such as clothing. If your photograph alters the colors in any way, that can cause a big issue for both the logistics side of a selling business and the customer side. For instance, imagine ordering light blue denim jeans because you liked the color online, but what you received was a totally different colour. That is why it is important to color correct in post-processing.
16. Don’t Be Afraid To Break The Rules
Everything you find in this article or learn from any other platform are not rules they are just guidelines for you to get better. So, don’t be afraid to break any of the rules, get creative if your job calls for it.
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