10 Essential Product Photography Tips for Beginners

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Product Photography Tips

How do they make products look so good in expensive commercials? With these product photography tips and tricks, you can make products look great on a budget!

Check them out, and let us know which ones you think are most useful as you start out!

10 Essential Product Photography Tips

1. Start with a standard lens

The goal of product photography is to showcase a product. A standard lens offers the least amount of image distortion, so you can accurately capture your products.

2. Distinguish between lifestyle and studio shots

Lifestyle shots are the ones with external elements that make your product look desirable by association. Studio shots are meant to cleanly capture the product to showcase its attributes of the product. Lifestyle images don’t need to have perfectly legible labels, but studio shots should be focused on details.

photographer taking pictures of  products in a studio.

3. Light it Up

If you don’t have a kit for lighting product shoots, don’t worry, you can build your own setup pretty easily. You’ll need four lighting sources.

Two will be used to light the background (point them from either side of the product at the wall behind) and prevent the product from blending into the background.

The other two are pointed at the product: one from the front and one from above, pointing at the top of the product, toward the wall to eliminate shadows.

4. Watch Out for Hot Spots

If you’re using artificial lighting, make sure to diffuse the light so you don’t have to try and edit out hot spots in post-production. It’s well worth the additional setup!

5. Make it Seamless

Higher-end photography studios have curved walls where the wall morphs into the floor, so the photography doesn’t have a horizon line. With a large roll of white paper, you can fake this effect. Just tape one side of the paper to the wall and one to the floor to create a “ramp” and remove that horizon line!

chair with a white background.

6. Watch out for reflections

If the product you are shooting is at all reflective, be sure you’re aware of what will be reflected. Either re-position the item to remove the reflection or plan to remove it in post.

We don’t recommend trying to do too much editing in a post, though, because it may not work the way you hope. On the plus side, you also can use this to your advantage to include a clever ad to your image.

7. Be Conscious of the Background

The focus of the image may not be exactly on the product, but the product shouldn’t fade into the background. If the background or setting is interesting, you may want to shorten your depth of field to make sure you get the interest without the distraction.

photographing cosmetics featuring a beautiful model.

8. Consider Your Color Story

Is the product intended to be calming and soothing? What kind of props or setting would emphasize that? Think about what the product is intended to do and who it is intended for, and be sure your props, background, and color story all support that messaging.

9. Watch Out for Conflicting Colors

Once you’ve established your color story, be on the lookout for elements that might disrupt it. Think about this on two levels: the messages the colors send and also the harmony of the colors in the shot. Some colors just clash, even if they’re both technically in your color story.

10. It’s okay to go with your gut!

Start with these tips, and don’t be afraid to try new and different approaches. Once you know the rules, you can start breaking them. And sometimes, the best images are the ones that break the rules.

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