I don’t care whatabout you wrote: a person always clings first to the picture. A beautiful and original picture of the product will immediately interest a potential buyer, and so he will be on your website or social network account. It sounds simple, but in order to make this very frame, you will have to get acquainted with the basics of product photography. We have collected several basic techniques that professionals use in advertising photography and not only.
The shoot place
You don’t have to go to the studio to shoot the perfect subject shot. You can arrange a place for photography at home — right on the table. Use fabric or paper to create the background you want. Make sure there are no visible borders or horizon lines anywhere. It is also convenient to use glass, with it you will get a transparent surface and a spectacular reflection in the frame.
The item can also be filmed in the “habitat”. This technique is especially common in advertising photos of household appliances, but it is suitable for any items. To make it easier for the viewer to imagine how they might use what you are promoting, place the item where it fits best. Film a person making espresso with a stylish coffee maker, or a vacuum cleaner gliding comfortably across carpet next to pets. Add life to subject frames.
Product photography always takes place from a tripod, even if you shoot with a smartphone. In addition, sometimes you have to work with one light source or deliberately shoot in a dark room, and a tripod will help keep the camera in one place. So you can try different shutter speeds and effects. The photo will not be blurry and will look more professional as a result.
Raylab Pro 70 is an inexpensive tripod that is suitable for studio and home product photography on a SLR or mirrorless camera, and for a smartphone, you can take the Raylab MTF-SC with a special holder.
For subject photography, processing in graphic editors is a completely common thing. Again, it doesn’t matter what you’re shooting with. Before and during the shooting process, you should always think about how exactly you can edit the resulting frame. If you’re shooting for Instagram or a marketplace, keep in mind what photo format is used there to properly compose all items.
Accessories and props
You have probably noticed that a shot of a pack of coffee is more catchy if there is a cup of steaming drink in the frame next to it. And books look great with a bookmark or flowers. It’s a great idea for a product photographer to use what is at hand to shoot, create backgrounds and environments, making the picture more organic. But do not forget that you should not litter the frame with an excessive amount of things either.
Change of angles
Regardless of what you are photographing, an important technique for still photography is to change angles. One shot from above is simple and boring. After all, you can post entire albums on social networks, and the more attractive the subject, the more we know about it, we see it. Shoot from the side, from above, from below, be sure to focus on one or more details. Viewers, and especially buyers, want to see everything and have a complete picture of the product you show them.
For a photographer, working with color is an urgent task. And for commercial shooting, it is completely fundamental. Colors affect the human psyche: their combination always creates a certain mood.
We will not be able to tell the whole theory of color in a nutshell, but we will note the most important thing you need to know for product photography.
- Complementary colors are opposite shades on the color wheel. They create momentum.
- Triad — a combination of three colors equidistant from each other in a circle. The result is the same as for complementary colors.
- The analog triad is from 2 to 5 colors that are next to each other on a circle. It gives a more delicate image with the primary color highlighted.
- The contrasting triad, just like the usual one, is built in a triangle with equal sides. This is a variant of a complementary combination of colors, but instead of one of them, the colors adjacent to it (left and right) are used. A bright color sets the foundation, and a pair of opposites support it. It turns out a softened (compared to a complementary combination or triad) dynamics.
The most important thing to consider when photographing subjects is lighting. Without it, neither the thing nor the background will look the way you would like in the photo. You have probably noticed that the white in the pictures becomes gray or yellowish. That is why light is important. You can use both natural and artificial. You don’t have to splurge on a professional studio, especially if you’re just starting out shooting or doing photography as an amateur.
Natural light is good for food or clothing shots. If you’re shooting indoors, it’s best to position your subject closer to a window and shoot early in the day to maximize light.
For shooting graphics or objects with a lot of fine detail, it is better to use lamps. There are several basic recommendations for the correct setting of the light.
- Take two lamps and point them at the background, on both sides of the subject. Make sure they highlight the background.
- Aim one lamp at the object and one on top of it. So you highlight it, and the top lamp will save you from the shadows.
Ideal aperture value
For product shooting, it is better to choose one of three aperture values, depending on the situation:
- If you want to make the subject stand out from the surroundings, use the lowest f‑value, i.e. the widest aperture possible. This will ensure bokeh and the subject will be the center of attention. However, you will have to move away from the object for the trick to work. Everything superfluous will remain blurry, and the details of the subject will be sharp.
- If you are shooting a subject with a model or surrounded by other things, use an aperture value of around 2.8. So the background will remain blurry, and the main subjects will be sharp. But in this case, try to bring the viewer’s eye to the main object.
- In the studio, you can limit yourself to a medium or closed aperture (indicated by a larger number), since the object against the background will be highlighted by light.
If you are photographing a product, it is important to make sure that its dimensions are not distorted in the frame. Wide-angle lenses will stretch or magnify different parts, which is something to avoid.
But the standard lens (in fact, as close as possible to what the human eye sees) is just perfect for subject photography. It doesn’t distort proportions. Standard lenses usually have a focal length of 40–58mm, the most common is 50mm.
Product photography ideas
- Shoot in nature. From the woods to the beaches, just about anything looks perfect with a natural backdrop.
- Shoot at home: coziness and comfort will set you in the right mood, and the environment will help the viewer imagine how the subject will fit into his interior.
- Don’t be afraid to use children or pets in the frame. They will not divert attention from the main subject, but the picture will become more interesting.
- Let the subject dictate the environment. Look at its colors or purpose — what does it remind you of?
- Use your imagination and don’t be afraid to break the rules.
Now you know how to make your shots memorable and show ordinary subjects from an unusual side. In the era of online trading, we cannot see the product live and rely on the picture with its image when choosing. Make it attractive and no one will resist buying it.