Product photography can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Before taking on a product project, make sure you have the necessary camera equipment that the shoot will require. For instance:
- macro lens
- cable release
Use Simple Techniques For Product Photography
Once you have the appropriate gear, it’s time to think about lighting. But don’t think too hard because you can keep it simple and still achieve results. In this article you are going to see some of the simple things you can do for product photography.
Depending on the size of the product you are photographing, you can pick up an inexpensive tabletop light box that will do just fine. In fact, I have used one on multiple occasions for a Cakepop photographs.
The one I use happens to be made my Promaster, but you can pick one up, like this on Amazon, for $35. Many of these boxes come with lights, which can do ok. However, I much prefer using strobes when I shoot with lights.
My tabletop set usually consists of the following lights:
- Nikon SB-800 through a softbox sitting at the top of the box aimed down
- Nikon SB-800 through a diffuser on the left and right side of the box
- Nikon SB-900 through a small softbox or diffuser in front of the box
Having such expensive flashes are not required, but because I already have them for portrait work, I try to use them as often as possible. The key is to use a light that you can make the tabletop box glow. What I mean is, the want every side of the box illuminated so the product is clear, bright and colorful.
While you want the box to have light going through it, you don’t want to blow out the product, so make sure the light is at good levels and not overpowering. Use an f/stop around f/8, so the product does not appear to be flat.
If you only have access to one light, pick up an inexpensive softbox like the one from HonlPhoto. Put the light overtop of the product at an angle. Then use a white reflective material, like foam board, and put it at on the bottom at an angle to reflect bounced like up at the product.
Now that you have an understanding on a simple way of turning your coffee table into a tabletop studio, try something else. Take the product and put it into a lifestyle type scene. For example, I photographed a LED light that was being marketed as an eBook light. So I asked a girl to start reading a Kindle and captured an eBook light photograph while in action.
Another example is something I did for a digital spy camera that was coming out on the market. I did photograph tabletop images for the brochure, but also did lifestyle product shots to make it more enjoyable. I used a light stand to hang my suit up high enough to photograph. Then put the spy camera in the jacket pocket. I found the perfect angle to make it look as though the suit was being worn at the time, and got what I believe was the perfect product shot for the spy camera.
The Take Away
At this point in the article, I have thrown a lot at you. The goal was not to add confusion but to simply tell you not to over think product photography. Relax and be creative because product photography can be a lot of fun.
If you would like to learn more about tabletop photography and simple lighting techniques for it, I highly recommend checking out Don Giannatti’s course at CreativeLive.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,
Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a New Jersey Photographer sharing his passion for photography any way he can. Scott regularly hosts photowalks in New Jersey and loves educating other photographers on all aspects of the art. Scott is also the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati and the Photographers SEO Community, teaching other photographers on how to increase business with their website.