Product photography is usually thought of as something less creative than let’s say a portrait. But I believe that with the right execution, it can be very interesting. It’s also a very technical kind of photography, one that has little tolerance for flaws, but don’t get scared too soon.
One of the cool things about product photography is that you can do it to make money in various ways, one of the most popular being stock photography.
But let’s move on to why you’re here. Here are 5 hacks that I’ve learned over the years.
Diffuse the light
Lighting is crucial in product photography. You could be photographing the most beautiful watch in the world or the coolest car ever. If it’s not in the right light, it will lose half its visual appeal.
You need to highlight the product’s design and good looks, and the best way to do that is with soft light. It’s flattering and the shadows are far less disturbing. If you’re using strobes, the best modifiers are octoboxes and softboxes. Umbrellas are not the best option, but they’re still better than nothing. If you’re shooting with a small flash and you don’t have a softbox, you can diffuse the light by putting the flashgun in a white plastic bag.
Use the infinity curve
A white clean background is one of the safest bets in product photography. There are few situations where you can go wrong with it. The infinity curve, or cyclorama, allows you to photograph the object against and endless white background giving a professional look. Just remember that since everything around the object is white, you will need to be careful with the power settings on your lights. Here is how to make a large scale cyclorama.
Shoot the product in its natural environment
One of the most effective ways to give life to a product is to photograph it in its natural environment. For example you’re not going to want to shoot a fishing rod in the studio. It’s made to be used out in nature so that’s where you’re going to photograph it: in action.
It’s just a basic example, but it should give you an idea on how to bring out the best in an item.
Find an unusual angle
Perspective is also very important in product photography. Of course, you still need to make it look good, so try not to use a crazy angle that doesn’t look nice just because it’s crazy. There is no sure way to do this so it’s best to experiment with different angles instead of settling for just one.
Use color variety
If you’re shooting an item that comes in various colors, like a piece of clothing or an accessory, use this to your advantage. Place all of them in the frame. It will look good and also highlight the idea of various colors for the same model.