A Complete Product Photography Tutorial (8 Steps)

Take on the Right Techniques for Capturing Product Photos Competently

Several reasons led a product photographer for taking snapshots of small objects like for selling objects in an online auction, for insurance purposes or for exhibiting collections of objects on a personal website. In every case, lighting is important for taking a good picture. Flash, soft light and light tent are extremely significant to product photography. Continuous lighting is preferred for product photography. Most product photographers purchase studio strobes or build their own system by using incandescent 500-watt work lights.

Soft light helps to make a superior product photograph. Hard light usually produces many shadows. If you want to determine whether the light is hard or soft, just hold a finger of one hand a few inches above the other hand. If you are not able to see the shadow or it appears to be very faint, then the light is soft. You will get soft light by shooting outdoors on a cloudy day using a light tent or soft box diffuser around the strobe. While using a soft box, place the main light at a 45 degree angle to the subject and place the second flash unit above the top of the table pointing towards the ceiling.

product photograph of Nikon dslr -- product photography

It may seem to you that product photography is a simple task. However, in order to take the picture efficiently, you should take into considerations certain steps. The most significant factors are the distance and lighting. Wrong lighting may affect the color or the texture of the product negatively. As a result,the best solution for taking the photo of a product is to make use of macro setting. It is used for close-up photography and brings out the intricate details of the product.

Let’s have a look at the steps for taking pictures of a product:

Arrange the products in a proper way

Arrange the products before taking the photographs. Try to place them near natural light unless you are photographing outside. If you are taking the pictures inside, take the advantage of the windows and try to avoid artificial light. Using artificial light will provide you a warmer and interior feel but it may give rise to unreal colors.

Set up the lighting

Fix the lighting in the right way. Open the curtains wider or move around the lamps to get sufficient light. You should let in as much light as possible, depending on whether you want a feel of natural or artificial light.

Turn on the camera

After setting up the lighting, turn on the camera and change the setting to macro. If you make use of an SLR camera, try to change the lens to macro. The macro lens is ideal for small products. Macro photography is a close-up photography used for photographing small animals, plants and other objects. Keep the settings on ‘Auto’ if the product is bigger.  Most digital cameras including point-and-shoot and SLR cameras have the macro setting. The SLR cameras have Single-Lens Reflex system and they are professional ones with better lenses and zooms. In contrast, point-and-shoot are typical pocket-size cameras. Both the cameras work well for product photography though SLRs offer more options.

Fix up the detachable flash

Fix up the detachable flash. Attach it to the top of your camera and turn it on with the help of power button placed on the flash. It’s better not to use the integrated flash in your camera. Rather rely on the outside lighting. The integrated flash will either overexpose the image or will provide it unnecessary shadows. Try to focus your camera straight onto the object. The brackets that you will see on the camera screen should be focused in the mid of the product. Do not focus on the background or else the product will be blurred or moved out of focus.

Take a few snaps of the products

Take a few snaps of the products and preview those images in your camera in order to see whether they have attained your desired effect. Be sure to take more than one image and modify the angles to have some variations. If you do not like the images, make use of zoom or move the light or the object around in order that the light hits the images in a different way.

Make use of a tripod

Make use of a tripod or plant your camera firmly on a flat surface. A tripod will provide you lots of opportunities as you are able to move it around and make adjustment to its height. While making use of a timer, set up everything in a perfect way. Press on the button and the photographs will be taken in just a few seconds without any kind of movement.

Adjust the exposure

If you see that the photograph came out to be very dark against a light background, you should adjust the exposure. Try to do this by modifying the value of the exposure to +1.  Never try to set the exposure very high as this may cause your image to be washed out. Keep on changing the exposure till the product looks perfect when photographed.

Upload images on the PC

Upload the images you have taken on your PC by making use of a USB cable. Make use of photo editing software for fixing the images like Adobe Photoshop. Adjust the tint, saturation, exposure, sharpness, brightness and colors. Save the new modified image with a different name in order that you also have the original image with you.

Check out these techniques and undertake your product photography competently.

Tristan Taylor
Tristan Taylor, a proficient fashion photographer, is associated with various photography workshops, seminars and symposiums. He keeps himself updated with nitty-gritties of fashion photography industry. Tristan found Gulf Photo Plus extremely helpful to extract information regarding Fine art printing, Giclee print and other aspects related to photography.
Displaying 4 Comments
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  1. Andrew says:

    The most good thing about this tutorial is you have started from the very beginning tricks and explained every detail in all way.

  2. Paul Dorrell says:

    As a professional photographer, I can say that you have shared great tips on how we can make product photography effectively.

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