Product photography is becoming increasingly popular with amateur photographers, eBayers and everyone who wants to make an object look good. There are a couple of things to look out for before you start shooting, so here are ten tips to help you get started with product photography.
The choice of lights varies from one photographer to another. You can even do it with natural light if you shoot next to a window and get good results. However this method is a limiting one and we only recommended it for learning with no budget or as a last resort measure. We recommend using the complete solutions from MyStudio. Tabletop kits like the MS20 have a great 5000k color corrected continuous light source that makes lighting your products easy.
2. Light tent and background
There are a lot of different approaches to product photography, but probably the most common one is shooting on a white, seamless background. You can use a light tent, however it might not be the most productive way of shooting, especially if you have to photograph large batches of products. Again, the MyStudio kits win with their easy to use white backgrounds and reflectors.
We recommend using a tripod for product photography. You want your images to be nice and sharp with no motion blur from camera shaking. You're also going to want big depth of field, and that requires closing down the aperture, which leads to longer exposures.
4. Exposure compensation
If you let your camera do the metering and exposure, it's going to get confused. Because most of the scene it will be pointed at will be white, using its default programming, it will try and turn all that white into grey because it will assume there's too much light in the frame and you don't want that. The way overcome that is to use the exposure compensation scale and set the camera to overexpose one or two stops.
5. Stay away from wide angle lenses
A wide angle lens will add more than you want to your frame. It's very likely it will capture the product as well as the lighting setup, something you obviously don't want. It will also distort your product making it look unrealistic. Try to stay above 50mm.
Be careful with the composition of your product shots. You want to make that object look as good as possible, and the right kind of framing plays a big part in that.
Don't settle for just one view of the product. Instead, try photographing it from various angles.
8. Small aperture
Using a small aperture will result in a number of things. First of all, you will take the sharpest pictures. Second, you'll get that great depth of field that allows the entire product to be in focus.
It's hard to believe some photographers are still shooting jpg in 2015, and I'm talking about mobile photography here. Anyway, RAW is the way to go, so make sure you set that correctly on your camera before your next shooting session.
The final step in the process is editing and retouching. You don't need to get crazy with it, just make some basic changes to improve your shots.
In conclusion, product photography, like everything else, is something you learn through practice. We don't believe in instant solutions, but we do believe in making your life easier, and for that we recommend the tabletop studio kits from MyStudio.
Here's a very useful video from smick.co.uk to help you understand these tips.