When it comes to product photography, it is vital to deliver crisp, well-lit and high resolution images that can be used as is or easily edited for advertising purposes. Product photography boils down to photographing a subject in such a way that it entices the viewer and peaks their interest. The most effective shots of this kind are the simplest – no one wants an overcrowded image that loses focus on the subject at hand when trying to showcase a product. With that in mind, we are going to outline some basic product photography techniques that will take your shots from forgettable to fantastic.
- Lighting is the most important aspect when it comes to product photography. No matter how expensive your camera is, if your lighting is not on point, your photos will be dull and lifeless, or even noisy as the ISO is forced to compensate for it. Always make sure you have reflectors, a basic understanding of three point lighting and an understanding of how your camera responds to different lighting conditions. Products are ideally lighted from above to minimize shadows, and through a gradient reflection, creating a visually interesting image.
- Tripods will always trump freehand. Out of 1000 photos taken during a shoot, perhaps 10 will end up being used by a client. Therefore focus on producing a handful of carefully framed and lit images that are shot with a tripod. Although shooting freehand can produce amazing results, it can also result in motion blur which sacrifices the crisp high resolution that is a mark of good product photography technique.
- Backgrounds are the backbone of any good product photograph. A simple white background will always deliver crisp results that work well with a variety of lighting techniques. Therefore always keep a small portable light box on hand, allowing you to shoot any small product from a variety of angles. If different backgrounds are required, consider how contrast can make the product stand out. Textures can drown a product, however if you have something sleek like a phone or tablet, a textured background can be an eye catching juxtaposition.
- Lastly, and most importantly, when it comes to technique don’t forget framing. Often touted by professional, framing boils down to where in the photograph you place the subject. For product photography, a good techniques to place the subject off centre, or lower in the image in order to leave negative for designers to inset text should the image be used in advertising. Remember, framing can be changed by cropping an image in post-production, but if there is no space to play with, poor framing can make a product image unusable.
There you have it, four very important techniques to consider for product photography, which can be boiled down to one sentence: keep your photo lit, steady, framed and showcased by a good background.
MK Photography can assist with a photography studio, commercial photography, an event photographer and a product photographer.