7 Product Photography Tips Every Beginner Should Know

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Venturing into product photography can be a worthwhile hobby that could transition into a  highly profitable source of income. Although it’s not necessary to turn every hobby into a side  gig, there’s no harm in trying to hone your skills to be able to produce high-quality shots. After  all, the demand for more product photos is only increasing.  

If you’re a newbie wanting to enter the market, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled all the best tips  you need to know to level up your product photography game. We’ll cover all the basics plus a  few more extra tips to help you produce the most stunning product shots.  

Before we dive into it, you’ll need to understand first that product photography entails more  than just simply capturing a random item into frame. The point of each photo is to sell. It  sounds easy but you’ll need to consider the amount of competition you need to be up against  compared to the amount of attention span each consumer has the ability to give. There’s a  surplus of products being sold. Your job is to make each product shot stand out. And while  creativity is a huge factor, there are still several practical guidelines you must follow.  

Learn How to Experiment with Different Types of Lighting

natural lighting
Phone shot in natural lighting

The mood and feel of your imagery is greatly influenced by the quality and type of lighting you  use. It doesn’t matter if you use artificial or natural lighting as long as it suits the product’s  message and branding. However, make sure that the end result makes it possible for the buyer  to view details of the product as they would in person.

You might need to adjust lighting as you move from one product to another. This is because it  is unlikely for one lighting arrangement to work similarly for all types of colors and shapes. But  while you can adjust the intensity as well as the area where the light bounces off from your  subject, it is important to stick to only one type of lighting while shooting one collection.

artificial lighting
Leather satchel shot in artificial lighting

You can either go with natural or artificial lighting, but whatever you choose should be used  throughout the entire range of products you’re about to shoot. Artificial light, or also known as  “hard light”, can produce a more focused light surface. This is better used for items with tiny  details that you want to highlight.

warm lighting outdoor photography
Bag model shot in warm outdoor lighting

Natural light, on the other hand, is known as “soft light”. This type of lighting works best for  products that need to be shot with people, like clothes, shoes, and others. Shooting in this  type of lighting can also give your photos a warmer and more authentic appeal.  

Know Where to Direct Your Focus  

Lighting is important, but it’s just one of the few things you need to control. It’s also equally  important for you to know how to direct the focus on the product’s best features and keep it  there. You can use macro lenses or simply minimize distractions and noise by keeping a neutral  backdrop.  

Do play around with different perspectives too. This will help you discover how to emphasize  the best angles or details your subject has. Also, it helps to show buyers different angles of the  product.

To make it easier for you, you can use your camera’s portrait or sweep mode to keep the focus  on the product while blurring out the background a little bit. Sweep mode can help make white  backgrounds appear smoother while the portrait mode is best used when the background is

composed of other colors and elements. This can work well if you’re shooting outdoors or in  natural lighting.  

focus the object
A focused shot of a bottle of perfume

Make Tripods Your Best Friends  

Whatever you’re using to shoot, make sure the angles and the placement of your subjects are  consistent with the help of a tripod. If you’re using a smartphone, propping it up against anything sturdy just won’t do. It’s likely to slip and you can even risk damaging your phone.

Having your camera on a tripod also makes it faster for you to switch subjects to shoot as you  will only need to move one thing, which is the product you’re shooting. Shooting this way also  makes it easier to maintain a standardized product orientation in every frame or photo.  

When in Doubt, Keep it Simple  

simple eye level shot
An eye level shot of a bottle of perfume against a plain backdrop

Product photography is all about showcasing the product. Everything that goes in the frame  should complement the main subject and not steal attention away from it. Having a neutral  backdrop helps keep the focus on the product you’re shooting. However, if you feel the need to

use other props, you can. Just make sure the overall look is cohesive and doesn’t distract from  the main products itself.  

Bonus Tips  

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move forward to bolder tips that could help you shoot  more unique photos that could set you apart from hundreds of other photographers in the  industry.  

Thinking out of the box can be helpful if you’re wanting to add more shock value to every day  household products. It’s easy to shoot products that are already aesthetically pleasing on their  own such as a stylish pair of shoes, a colorful piece of garment, and so on. The challenge  comes when you’re asked to shoot something that’s incredibly familiar yet visually  unappealing. If you’re faced with that type of dilemma, here’s what you can do:

Feature the Product in An Unusual Setting

choose contrast color
A suede shoe propped on top of a box and peaches for color contrast

This is great for everyday items that most people don’t think about. When shot in an  unconventional way, it grabs more attention and is likely to be remembered.  

Put the Product in the Foreground

use foreground
VR glasses shot in a blurred out living room/office

Once you’ve mastered using the portrait and sweeping modes on your devices, you’ll be able  to play around with different interesting backgrounds while featuring the main item in the  foreground. You’ll be able to show the product being used without it blending completely into  the background.  

Shoot From Odd Angles  

This one might be tricky but it works for some types of products. Typically, the product is shot  at the same level as the camera but you can deviate from this norm to emphasize a certain  feature of a product. This trick can distort the actual product’s shape and size so thread this  one carefully.

shoot from odds angle
A full glass shot from a lower angle

More importantly, have fun and don’t overthink it. Once you’ve mastered using your device and  the basics of photography, you’ll be able to let your creativity take the reins. Shooting products  can be tricky but the only thing that can truly make it worthwhile is if you enjoy doing it.  

Lastly, make sure the photos you’ve taken are able to get a broad reach. No matter how  stunning your photos are, you won’t sell anything if nobody sees them. Maximize their visibility  by using an effective online platform designed specifically to fit various online-selling needs,  such as the Page 365. This order management system makes the e-commerce side of your  business a breeze, so you can focus more on what you love such as photography.

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