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7 Product Photography Tips

7 Product Photography Tips

Written 5 years ago by Mark Evans

You probably see products in magazines and advertising everyday without even thinking about where these images actually came from; well someone in a studio probably shot them, and you can too. Shooting products can be a challenging and rewarding experience, whether it’s food to clothes or handbags to jewellery, each scenario requires a slightly different a approach, so how can you get similar results to the pros? Read on.

Gear

Depending on what you’re going to shoot, you’ll need the right gear. To start with, use a good lens, possibly a mid zoom, as these tend to be more flexible, allowing you to set up in one spot and zoom in, rather than moving all the time. A fast lens (around f/3.5 or less) will help throw your background out of focus more easily, and helps if your lighting isn’t up to scratch. Also a tripod can be handy for setting up and taking lots of shots, but sometimes, hand-held is the only way to go – I’ve found my image stabilized lens definitely helps in these situations.

Get some whiteness

The first thing you’re going to need is a white background to shoot the products against, you’ll notice that the majority of products are shot against white backgrounds as this takes any distractions away, so the only thing to look at is the product! Shooting against a white background also means the product is easier to ‘cut out’ in Photoshop if needed. Try using a white sheet, or pieces of white cardboard to create a mini studio, alternatively try a black background.

Lights

Lighting is pretty important in shooting products, the idea most of the time is to get the product fairly evenly lit, avoiding harsh shadows, so make sure you set up in a room with bright lights, or has bright ambient light coming through the windows. And when taking your shots use a flash as well to fill in the shadows.

Framing

Simple compositions tend to work better with products, so try to get on the same level, and zoom in to get as much in as possible. Avoid shooting from strange angles as well, for example if shooting clothes, then shoot from front-on to the item so that there’s no distortion due to perspective.

Product Position

When shooting against a background, you don’t actually want it to be in focus, so to start with, place the product a bit in front of the background, then set your camera to the widest aperture, (or 1 to 2 stops above widest) this way, if all goes well, you’ll have your product in sharp focus, with a white, out of focus background. You may have to experiment a bit to get it right.

Make it your own

When you’re done with all the technicalities, its time to put your own stamp on the images you take; play around with product placement and focus, and take as many images as you think is necessary; its always best to get a good selection and choose the one you want, rather than not getting the shot and having to re-shoot.

Post Process

Processing your images afterwards can be almost as important as taking the images; if the light wasn’t quite right, then it can be fixed to a certain extent at the end, so with most of my images there is always at least a small degree of processing, be it tweaking the white balance, boosting colours, or cropping. My work-flow usually goes something like this: Import images, erase dust spots, remove noise, increase exposure if necessary, tweak white balance, colour boost/change contrast if necessary/fill light (my most used function), and sharpen. You’ll probably find you may spend as much time processing as you do taking the pictures themselves. (At least I do – I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to photography!)

If you enjoy this sort of photography then there’s scope to sell these sorts of images for retail websites etc, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned if you want to sell your images, and that is know your market, and know how to market. Its all well and good having mastered taking these sort of photos, but selling them is definitely another story!

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Comments
Susan K  5 years ago

Awesome tips thanks!!!

Ben Goulding  5 years ago

Just stumbled across your site. Like the design very much. Good tips here. Thanks.

lester  4 years ago

Grate tips and I have done some of the shoots on gray back ground please let me know will it be a problem for me to cut to insert back going image.
I am a photographer in Lonon.

matt smith  4 years ago

another great backdrop idea is spandex. I use it for larger backdrops with a pvc frame. you can get it up to 60″ wide and it stretches to almost 8′

Sheri Slike  4 years ago

would like to use some of your tips in a PPT presentation for my class, May I?

Carlton Jones  3 years ago

Great advice, explain very well.

Barbette  3 years ago

Thank you for those helpful tips. I also really like your photography, it’s beautiful.

Tyler  2 years ago

Thanks for your helpful article. The one question I have been trying to figure out is the best way to add a completely different background to my images so they stand out next to all the other white ones from other sellers. Is there any tips or websites you recommend that will guide me on how to make possibly a grey gradient background that is soft and then you can see somewhat of a reflection on the bottom. Any tips or recommendations on website that can help me with that, I’d greatly appreciate it. Just a quick note, I sell high-end handbags and accessories which I saw that bag you used above… bought maybe you knew what the best colors are for handbags, asap. Thanks again!

Shoetopia  2 years ago

Any tips regarding product pictures that are ‘too warm’? Some of our product pictures aren’t coming out in the same color we shot them as… for example, dark brown comes out lightish brown. Still trying to figure it out since we’re trying to ‘professionalize’ our images and make our customer shopping experience more pleasant.

Thanks for these! They have helped :-).

Cross-cultural creations  2 years ago

Great tips! I am struggling with taking some pictures of my jewelry, I want a background that compliments the piece but doesnt mess up the lighting.
Thanks for your insight!

Naomi Madelin  2 years ago

If you have a flash for your SLR camera, a great piece of kit to give a nice soft light on your products, and no shadows, is the orbis ring flash. Invented right here in NZ and sells around the world! And it’s a great investment if you are taking a lot of product shots – or share one with a friend if you aren’t going to use it heaps.

http://www.orbisringflash.com

Upfront I confess that it was developed by my husband and I, but just have a wee look at the shadowless effect you get with it. I use it for photos for selling my kids used stuff on TradeMe etc – it makes everything look so much better! He’s the pro photographer, not me (I’m the business brains!), but I find it great.

Ürün Çekimi  2 years ago

thank you for sharing.

ürün çekimi  1 year ago

Thanks for these!

Carly  1 year ago

These are great tips, hope you can also write an article about tricks of the trade in product photography.

arifa  10 months ago

While taking a picture of a product say a.tranparent bottle .how to avoid the reflection of a environment….im editing some pict of company ,where they provide me snaps clicked by them…face a lot of problem….if I do ot of clone I loose the image charm….please do guide me in both the ways….what if I click those picture than how to avoid that reflection n in PhotoShop too…

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