Product photography is all about letting a product put its best foot forward and capturing that for all the world to see. Here at Stellar Studios, we believe in the idea that every brand has a story to tell. The best way for any brand to tell their story is through the goods they offer. Whether you are a small brand developing their vision for the catalogue you want, or you’re a long-time brand that wants to refresh its image, we put together this in-depth crash course-slash-guide on product photography to help you get started!
What is Product Photography?
We stand by our belief that every business owner wants the world to believe in their product—think of product photography as a vehicle to do exactly that. Take all the best and unique things that you feel set your product apart and highlight those points in the best way that you can. Product photography is a process that lets you put a method to the madness of your ideas and passion for your goods. Translate those ideas into a form that your target market can appreciate and see your products through your eyes with your product photography ideas!
HELP! I Don’t Have Product Photography Equipment nor Experience!
Don’t worry! In this course, we will discuss some product photography techniques and equipment that can get you started and put you on the right track. We designed this short product photography guide to be both beginner-friendly and relatively low-cost, so you have nothing to worry about. Take high-quality product photos in no time with these top tips and tricks that you can add to your arsenal.
Allow us to walk you through a quick crash course that will have you ready for a simple product photography session. With our team at Stellar Studios guiding you, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Let’s dive in and get you ready for your big shoot!
Product Photography Equipment: Get Back to Basics
As a profession or hobby, product photography equipment can run pretty expensive. At Stellar Studios, we pride ourselves in investing in our product photography service by getting only the best gear for top-notch service and consistent quality for our clients every time. But for a one-off shoot that you can use to get your brand off the ground, these will do nicely. You will need the following for your photoshoot:
This one’s a no brainer! A good quality camera, preferably a DLSR or even a high-powered phone camera can suffice. Ideally, your camera should provide you some flexibility with ISO adjustment, color correction, and environmental brightness in order to minimize the necessary adjustments needed when editing in post and so you can score the perfect shot of your products.
A Light Source
Studio lights and soft boxes are expensive investments, and even the cheapest ones can burn a hole in the pockets of the uninitiated. While studio lights are preferable, even experienced and equipped photographers love the look of natural lighting for their shots. In the absence of natural light, use a powerful desk or room lamp to add some lighting and mood to your product photography ideas.
Light Diffusers and Reflectors
Meant to help you diffuse, reflect, or redirect light, diffusers and reflectors help to create impressive lighting. While these items are by no means a requirement for product photography beginners, in the absence of reflectors and soft boxes, you can use some budget-friendly alternatives or easy DIYs to get the job done. It might not deliver the same quality that professional soft boxes and reflectors can, but these substitutes will do in a pinch for some beginner product photography equipment.
Some household alternatives you probably have lying around are the white side of illustration boards, white bed sheets, a small, hand-held or wall mirror, and even kitchen foil! Use these common objects to tweak and bend the light to your preference to execute the perfect shot.
If you are worried about your product photos having a messy background full of the daily household clutter, don’t fret! Mimic the polished, clean look of studio photography with some board paper, plain fabric, or cartolina of your choice. Pick out a color that best suits your products or go with the classic white to really let your products shine.
Photo Editing Software
If you haven’t already, try installing programs or apps that can help you with some basic post editing. Play around with the brightness and contrast levels, and work on color adjustments by way of software to bring out the very best in your product photography shots. If you’re not feeling all that confident in your editing skills, hire a professional photo retouching or product photo editing service to put the finishing touches on the shots you want to showcase.
Now that you know what equipment you need, it’s time to double down on execution.
Product Photography Tips: Shoot Like the Pros
…Or at least as close to them as you can. While professional photographers have a trained eye and a honed ability to capture their subjects in stunning compositions, you do have the natural edge of knowing your products best. Here are three product photography techniques and tips that we can recommend for your shoot.
1. Tripods are 100% Worth It
Whether you are using a DSLR or your smartphone, a tripod can do wonders for photo consistency. This also makes it easier for you to shoot your products from angles that showcase consistent dimensions—a necessary consideration especially for your customers. Even a small, tabletop tripod can be a big help, and you can be sure that you can take photos from a consistent height and distance all throughout.
2. Always Err on the Side of Brightness
Dimly lit scenes may add drama and flair to your product photography, but it’s never a good idea to leave room for doubt and misunderstanding in the eyes of a customer. Whether you use natural or artificial lighting, always err on the side of brightness so customers truly see the products in all their glory and detail and see them for what they are.
3. Go For a Sweep!
Remember what we said about a backdrop? Here’s where those items really shine. Besides giving you a blank backdrop, you can further emphasize the product by going for a visual sweep. While it can come in many forms and materials, the standard iteration of a sweep is a soft, flexible piece of blank white paper that you can secure beneath the product and allow to gently curve behind it Instead of taping the backdrop down. This creates a softer, seamless appearance that really makes your product the focal point of the composition.
We hope that this short guide can help you showcase your products in your own product photography session! Product photography is both a skill and an investment, so the process takes plenty of time and effort. If you feel that you can’t commit both to the project, know that it doesn’t make you any less of a good business owner or content creator. Take advantage of our in-house product photography service and contact us so we can hear out your product photography ideas and tell your brand story the best way possible. We look forward to hearing from you soon, and until then keep creating!