Home Photography Ideas How to Shoot Product Photography – Part 2

How to Shoot Product Photography – Part 2

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In Part 1 of our two part series on How to Shoot Product Photography, we explained how important photos are in helping to sell a product. Prospective customers viewing products online or in a magazine can’t see or touch the item in person, so a photo must showcase an item’s beauty and detailed qualities.

We also explained that there are two types of product photography you can shoot:

  1. An object on a white, black or colored background
  2. An object in its natural environment

In Part 2 of this article for Product Photography, we are going to teach you how to shoot objects in their natural environment.

Why Shoot Products In Their Natural Environment?

Shooting products in their natural environment can be a very persuasive tool to help generate sales for a store or shop. Showcasing products in this manner helps to bring a business as close to an in-person shopping experience as possible. The customer is able to envision the product as if they already own it. As a photographer your goals it to capture the most appealing product shots.

Our Most Important Tip

This may sound obvious but the best way to learn how to compose great product photography shots is to find other online merchants, magazines and blogs that represent your client’s product style and what the shop should reflect. A furniture store, for example, would display its products differently than a toy store. Take notes of how different merchants displays their products.

Below, is a list of attributes you should think about when studying other merchant photos and developing a style for your product photography shots.

Developing a Style of Product Photography

Choose A Depth of Field and Stick With It

When developing your style for a particular product photography shoot think about which type of depth of field you want to exhibit in your photos.

Its best to pick either a large depth of field or shallow depth of field and stick to it for every product shot. You want the viewer to have a similar experience while looking at each product and not feel like the photos where taken by different photographers. Choosing a depth of field style will help to strength the user experience and reinforce the product brand.

Depth of Field in Product Photography
Photos by Louisa_xo and Kelly Prizel Photo

Adding Background and Supporting Elements

background and supporting elements in product photographyWhen deciding on the types of background and supporting elements just use your common sense.

For example, if you’re taking a photo of a jewelry box it would make sense to place the box on a table and include some jewelry inside it. To add additional interest to the photo you could place some jewelry pieces on the table surround the box. This type of staging would resonate with a potential customer because its a scene they are familiar with – going through the  jewelry box to find the right one!

Another trick is to take other products that the merchant sells and use those to help support the main product. This will do two things for you: 1) make it easy to set up an appealing background and 2) encourage interest in other products the merchant sells.

A final way to stage a background for product photography is to remove any distracting elements from it. Take the photo below for example. The background only consists of a table and wall – drawing the focus to the product itself.

Using Color

Its best to use a consistent color scheme for each store’s products that you are photographing.

You can go in either two directions when developing a color style:

  1. Muted background and product color taking center stage. Think of a bright red pillow on a tan couch.
  2. Or, complimentary colors from the opposite end of the color wheel to the product’s dominant color. Think of a bright red pillow on a green or yellow couch.

Whichever color scheme you choose just make sure to follow it through for each image you take.

to shoot with a more neutral background and just small pops of color here and there. My taste, and many of the things in my shop, leans towards texture and detail, rather than color. But when I do feature color, I like it to take center stage. Using colors from the opposite ends of the color wheel, or color combinations that are slightly “off” is a great way to create a unique look. My current favorite pairings are lavender and red, and turquoise and chartreuse.

It is really important to depict the color of a product in its truest form. Buyers don’t want to be surprised when an item they receive is markedly different from what they saw in your shop. It can be tempting to over or under saturate to achieve a look, but here is the rare occasion when it’s more important to put your creativity aside, and let the product speak for itself.

Lighting

For most product photography its usually best to provide enough light so that the product and background are evenly lit with minimal shadows. This allows the viewer to see all of the details of the product.

To achieve a correctly lit scene we recommend that you use as many soft lights as needed for the size of your scene. Large scenes require more lights while smaller scenes require less. Its really just a matter of trial and error.

Lighting the Environment in Product Photography
Photo by Seepix

When you position your lights make sure to place them in a manner that floods the entire scene with light. Take the example above for example. The photographer used two umbrella lights to cast soft light onto the scene. The lights where positioned at the same angle from behind the the camera so that the whole scene was evenly lit. Both lights are have the same wattage of power too.

Finally, Keep It Consistent

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to keep the style of all of the photos consistent for a particular product photography shoot.  Paying close attention to this rule will provide the best experiences for potential customer and set your photographs apart from the work of other photographers!

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on How to Use Product Photography – Part 2. Visit this link to read Part 1 of How to Shoot Product Photography or use the social icons below to share this article with your friends.

2 Comments

  1. Amit

    December 22, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Very good tips and tutorial,really liked it, thanks
    Amit
    Photographer @ http://www.indianinstituteofphotography.com

  2. Jessica

    December 24, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Great blog series sharing tips and tricks about performing product photography.  This post is full of great information and is well worth the time to read.

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