Product photography requires proper equipment and excellent styling skills. The faster you understand which camera gear and photography props to use to style your products, the easier it will be for you to get the job done in less time.
Besides camera gear, you need to understand how to style and shoot a product. For example, there's a different approach to taking photos of clothes and shooting products with shiny surfaces like wine bottles.
Also, the more you use lights, diffusers, and other professional equipment, the better you will understand how to direct light to create an image that is pleasing to the eye.
1. Use a Macro Lens to create Compression
The newest Macro Lenses in most brands are super sharp and produce incredibly detailed images. Either you own an APS-C or Full-Frame high megapixel camera, a macro lens will make the difference in your photography.
The average focal length of Macro Lenses is around 90 to 100mm. At this focal length, you create more compression between your subject and the background, making your image look more dynamic and the product more dominant.
2. Use a 50mm Lens with 1.2 Aperture to Blur the Background
The wide aperture of f/1.2 has two incredible characteristics. First, it creates a shallower depth of field, and second, it produces superb bokeh balls in the background. You can also use an 85mm f/1.4 or try a Vintage Lens with a manual focus like the Helios 44-2 58mm f2 for amazing swirly bokeh effects!
3. Setting up your Camera
The best way to set up your Camera for product photography is with a sturdy tripod. There are many different types of tripods in the market. Ensure you select a "photo studio tripod" that will allow you to shoot from different angles.
4. Use Direct Light on your Products
Lighting is the most crucial element in photography. The way we direct light to our products will determine the quality of our images. The best way to lit up your shooting space is with continuous lighting. Here some advantages of continuous lighting:
- You see exactly what you are going to get when you take a photo
- You can take pictures and record video at the same time
- You can modify a single light source and turn it into a lot of different lights
Constant light gives you a wonderful cinema kind of look if you learn how to use it correctly. You can shoot both stills and videos and modify your light source to your personal preferences.
5. Placing your Products on a Flat Surface
Use a chair to shoot small products. It is easy to set up and the fastest way to take product shots. The only thing you need to do is to place a white paper and fasten it using spring clamps.
The surface to place your products should be flat and clean. You don't necessarily need a huge area for your products, except if they are big and bulky. Besides using a chair or regular table, you can place your products on a counter or a snack tray table to quickly move and workaround.
6. Bouncing the Light with Reflectors
Either you use one or more lights on your product, you need a way to bounce some light back and lift the shadows. Moreover, it would help if you use a reflector which can be anything from a white foam board to collapsible multi-disc surfaces.
Reflectors come in different sizes and colors. The most common are silver, white, gold, and black reflectors.
Another way to bounce light is with foldable V-Flats. It is a practical and versatile technique to control the highlights and deepen the shadows with dark or white foldable V-Flat boards.
7. Enhancing the Background using Backdrops
Backdrops are the second most important element in product photography after lighting. The most common backdrops are white or black and come in different sizes. You can choose more colors between yellow, blue, pink, or anything else that makes your product look great!
Choosing the material (how the backdrop is made) can make a massive difference in your product shots' appearance, texture, and tone. Moreover, you can use silk fabric, gauze fabric, or plush to emphasize and group all the elements.
8. Use a Backdrop Stand Kit for Large Products
For significantly larger products, you will need to get a background stand kit. It is an essential piece of equipment for product photographers where you shoot in a photo studio or on location.
There are many options available in the market. The popup collapsible backdrop stand is a lightweight tripod with a clamp that allows you to mount a collapsible backdrop. Those backdrops can be up to 1.5 meters wide to 2 meters tall.
Full Backdrop Stands come at 4kg or 8kg depending on the size you need. You can mount full paper rolls up to 3 meters in length. These stands fit best in large photo studios with significant space, and they benefit those who shoot large projects.
9. Styling with Photography Props
Choosing the right photography props will make a massive difference in your product photography. Some of them can be acrylic props, mirrors, miniatures, plants, and everything else you can imagine depending on the type of products you're shooting.
10. Styling with Risers
Risers are also great for styling your products. You can choose between acrylic risers, rigid foam risers, stone risers for perfumes, and other wellness products. These risers are extremely helpful and add volume to your images. You may create a mix of risers and props to create a more aesthetic look for your products.