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photo by TCShutter via iStock
If you’ve ever looked into product photography then you know it can be a pretty complex world. While most product photography professionals are in huge, worldwide business hubs, like New York City or Los Angeles, many can make a good living for themselves in even smaller cities working with smaller businesses.
However, if you’ve looked into product photography, then you know there are a lot of product photography mistakes that beginners tend to make, and unfortunately, everyone in this community talks. This means that if you make a mistake with one client at the beginning of your career, it could be your last.
Thankfully, Peter McKinnon laid out some of the worst product photography mistakes you can make, so that you can avoid them.
Make Sure You Are Only Illuminating the Product
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When you’re learning how to take product photos, you may accidentally light the background your product is laying on instead of lighting the product itself.
This makes your image really busy and takes all of the focus off of the product (which is exactly where you want the focus to be).
For instance, if you’re trying to take a photo of a stack of cookies, you may accidentally end up lighting the table that the stack of cookies is on. Then, your viewer will be looking at the table and not the cookies.
Give the Product Some Room to Breathe
photo by glegorly via iStock
Out of all the product photography mistakes you can make, I personally believe this one is the most deadly. A lot of times photographers who are new to the industry may try and fill their entire frame with the product, completely foregoing composition while doing so.
This is dangerous for a few reasons. Firstly, when the product fills the entire frame, it doesn’t give the viewer any ideas about how large the product is. Sometimes, you will need to include some background details in product photography to showcase a product’s size.
It also just doesn’t look good. People don’t know where to look if you don’t include at least a little bit of negative space to direct their eye.
Lastly, if that product is going to be used for any marketing in the future, you aren’t leaving the company any room to put their logo or any other text.
So, one of the best product photography tips is to give your product some room to breathe.
Modify the Light
photo by Alexan2008 via iStock
As Peter McKinnon’s product photography tutorial points out, there are going to be some days where natural lighting isn’t your friend. Maybe it’s too sunny or maybe you’re trying to shoot during the wrong time of day, but when the natural lighting is bad, you need to modify it.
You can do so by using reflectors, diffusers, or softboxes.
Importantly, your future self is going to thank you because you won’t have to fix terrible lighting when you start editing your images.
Pay Attention to Your Lens Choice
photo by WDnet via iStock
One of the biggest product photography mistakes you could make is settling for whatever lens you have available.
Different types of product photos need different lenses.
You can use a telephoto lens when you’re taking product photos, but only if you’re not interested in showcasing the background of your image at all.
Likewise, you can use a 15mm lens when you’re taking product photos, but only if you’re not interested in showcasing the viewer any details of the product.
Keep the Product Front and Center
photo by Travel_Motion via iStock
A lot of people who are new to product photography don’t understand that you can clutter your images really quickly.
For example, if you’re trying to take an image of a lipstick, you are right in thinking that you could highlight that lipstick by adding in some makeup brushes and some loose powder on the table. However, when you start adding other lipsticks, blush, mascara, and eyeliner in your image, the viewer is no longer going to know what you’re trying to sell.
That’s all for our list of product photography mistakes to avoid. We hope it helps!