As the name indicates, 'Product Photography' involves photographing and showcasing different types of products , typically for e-commerce . It could be any product like a watch, handbag, showpiece, jewelry, books , toys or anything that you see on an e-commerce site .Product photography focuses on highlighting the best features of the product and is usually shot for commercial purposes.
Although it might seem quite straightforward to photograph a product for sale ,there are some tips and tricks involved in getting an exceptional looking photo that stands out .The photography should be so eye catchy ,that a customer is naturally inclined to click on it . Ultimately ,it might even results in a purchase or sale. So we see how important product photography is. It plays an important role in helping compete with rival products , to make a sale .Some of the factors to keep in mind for Product Photography are compiled in this post.
WHAT HARDWARE IS REQUIRED FOR PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY?
DSLR Camera - Firstly, product photographers usually invest in a good DSLR, and make use of it's powerful features which can take their photography to the next level .However , latest versions of mobiles like Iphone 7 , Samsung Galaxy 8 and some others have a good zoom and wide aperture capability .They are equally good and do a great job as well .
Tripod - One of the main requirements of product photography, is the clarity of products in the photograph.The product photo needs to be clear and crisp without any shakes or blurs .Tripod is a good solution to avoid handshakes, and can help achieve a clear image.It is good to invest in one if possible .However if you do not have one , no worries go ahead and use the camera hand held .Increase the shutter speed option when you shoot .This can avoid the blurs and handshakes to a great extent as well .
Diffuser or Reflector - Diffusers are used to create soft light and spread the light so that shadows are minimized and the product looks aesthetic. Reflectors are used to reflect light on the subject whenever the lighting is not sufficient.
HOW TO SHOOT THE PRODUCTS ?
There are many ways to shoot the products for product photography.Some of things to keep in mind are , the background where the product is shot ,the lighting natural or artificial, angle while shooting .All of these factors can enhance the products features and bring about the best in it.
White background Individual shots: Most of the products are shot with a white background or with a white 'sweep' background .The sweep effect is made possible using the white art cardboard paper fixed to the cardboard stand , which gives appearance of a seamless white background. It gives a floating effect to the product.You can create one at home with art cardboard paper or linen. This link has a very good article on it explained with photos.I highly recommend you visit the link and check it out .
Lifestyle Shots:Sometimes you may need to highlight how the products are used in the real world, for eg. a backpack. In this case , you may want to shoot outdoors with a bag lying on the ground or a person holding it .The product should be highlighted and the background blurred ( bokeh) using a wide aperture lens. Ensure the aperture is not wider than 2.8 or so , else the product can get blurred edges which does not look impressive. The background also should not be too busy as it could be a distraction from the main subject.
Macro shots : This kind of shots may be required to see the details of the product .For instance , the intricate design of jewelry , watch or any other similar products. The more the details , the more chances the customer will be satisfied and make a purchase.
Scaled , Group and Package shots : Some shots of products may required to be scaled , the size of the product will help the customers get a better idea of how the product looks .Group shots may be taken to show the similar looking products like colorful bowls of the same kind together. Package shots are the shots taken with the product in the package .
WHAT KIND OF LIGHT SHOULD BE USED FOR PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY?
Natural light : Most photos shot in natural light have true colors which looks honest , natural and impressive. For natural light, you can shoot outdoors or even indoors in a room that gets maximum daylight.The only problem to watch out while shooting outdoors, is the fluctuating sunlight .You may need to make adjustments to the camera settings accordingly as light intensity changes. A diffuser or reflector can be used to soften or reflect light as needed. If shooting indoors, it is also a good idea to set up a simple home studio by setting up a table next to a window which gets maximum light .You can also use a diffuser here if required, to soften the light and minimize shadows . A white sweep background can be easily made with two white art cardboard sheets clipped and another curved cardboard sheet clipped for the sweep effect as discussed above .
External light : For external lights, you can also use a torch or candle or artificial lights to light up your product .Sometimes artificial light might bring out the best in the product .Strobe lighting and continuous lighting works best in some cases. Keep experimenting to see what suits best for your product and enhances it's features.
There are also mini photo light studios like the one below which are about twenty bucks and reasonably priced .They are easy to carry and minimizes the effort to set up a studio every time you photograph.
WHAT ANGLE TO SHOOT THE PHOTOS?
Depending on the product one may choose to shoot from the front , side profile, three-fourth angle, back , bird's eye view or low angle .If one is not able to get a proper view , get creative and hang the bag or pair of shoes on a tree or a higher level view to get a good angle. Do not hesitate to take photos in many angles .The more details a product photo gives, the more chances of the customer being satisfied to make a purchase.
A good post processing software like Adobe Photoshop and Light room can also help fix any minor issues and enhance the photographs even more . As always, shooting in RAW will help recover any shortcomings of the final image .
Hope this post benefits folks who are new to product photography and want to explore .Please share any other tips that you would like to add in the comments below. Happy Clicking!
Photo Credits Unsplash, Amazon, Pexels.com . Featured Image modified using Adobe Photoshop CC