Brands use product photography to introduce, promote and sell goods. Capture products in the best possible way, using gorgeous lighting to enhance their features, props to tell a story, and good composition to engage with the viewer.
This type of photography requires attention to detail, patience, and styling skills.
Separate and make a product stand out from the background by using a wide aperture (low f-stop). As a result, you will get your product in sharp focus, and the background will have a nice bokeh (blurry background) - leading your eyes to go straight to the product!
A tripod is an essential tool that every creator should have. It will provide stability for your camera, and as a result, you will get sharp and in-focus images.
When shooting products, avoid using wide-angle lenses. They can cause distortion and change the proportions of the products you are shooting.
Normal lenses or long lenses are always the best options as they don't cause much distortion and are closer to what your eyes see.
Lighting will help enhance and make the products pop. Try using at least two light sources to create shape and separation.
Use softboxes, umbrellas, or any other modifier to create even lighting - without distracting hotspots. Use bounce cards to soften dark shadows and reflect light to specific areas.
Some products have highly reflective surfaces or shiny features, so be mindful of unwanted glare and reflections. Bounce cards are very helpful to minimize these issues.
It can make or break your shoot. Before starting, check the creative spec for information regarding styling and props. Be sure to source the right type of props, background colors, or any other item(s) required for the shoot.
Check the products and props for blemishes, marks, or dents and use the best-looking options possible to avoid retouching in post.
Always place the products so their branding and logos are legible and are facing the camera. Avoid showing the back or areas where they are not recognizable.
Some product-only briefs might require the use of human elements.
- If hands are needed, be mindful of nails, dry skin, and nail polish.
- Check the creative spec for information regarding tattoos. Some clients are okay with having talent with tattoos, but be mindful that they could be a possible copyright infringement. To be safe, make sure they are not the main focus in any of your shots.
- Watch out for wardrobe colors as well, as they should match the color scheme of the shoot.
When composing your frames, make sure the main product is the hero in the image.
Use the Rule Of Thirds as a guide to creating interesting and dynamic compositions -take advantage of props to create shapes and leading lines.
There is a lot of trial and error in product photography as some props might work better than others, colors might clash, etc. The only way to find out is by testing it! Try shooting tethered to help you compose the shot better, check for focus and exposure.
Products with shiny or reflective surfaces can be problematic. Try to reduce these issues on set while you are shooting. If this does not work, take several shots targeting these problems and later compose a final image in Photoshop.
Another important aspect when editing is to make sure that the colors, textures, and shapes of the products remain accurate. Always take a shot with a grey card to make sure you capture the exact colors in post-production.
Retouching should only enhance the products subtly and naturally while avoiding changing the original features.