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.

Pho­to: pixnio.com


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.

The frame is “tied” to its orig­i­nal for­mat, so, for exam­ple, cropped on Insta­gram, it will not look as organ­ic. Pho­to: pixnio.com

Post-processing planning

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.

The flower and the book cre­ate a back­ground, but do not detract from the clock. Pho­to: pixnio.com

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 col­or wheel is a work­ing tool for the artist, pho­tog­ra­ph­er and design­er. Pho­to: www.sutterstock.com

Technical advice

Subject illumination

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.
If you don’t have a ded­i­cat­ed soft­box for your sub­ject, use dif­fusers to soft­en the light on your sub­ject. Pho­to: flickr.com

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.

Standard Lens

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.

Cap­tured move­ment will add unique­ness to the shot. Pho­to: gbphotography19.wordpress.com

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.