5 Product Photography Tips for a Serious Photographer Like You

By on June 11, 2012 — Updated on September 6, 2013

Have you ever tried dining in a restaurant where the menu is in full text? All things you saw were words and figures, no photo? If you did, I’m sure that you found it difficult to select your order, especially if you are not familiar with the food and beverages listed on the menu.

This is only one of the problems that product photography wanted to address.

The Role of Product Photography in Business

In 2011, eBay has US$ 11.651 billion revenue and US$ 3.229 billion net income while Amazon.com has US$ 48.07 billion revenue and US$ 631 million net income.  eBay.com is an online auction and shopping website while Amazon.com is the world’s largest online retailer.

On these two websites, there are multiple of product models available for one type of item. Say for example, you are trying to search for a ‘product photography lighting’ on eBay; there are about 20 items will come out on the search result.

Searching the same item ( product photography lighting) on Amazon.com, you can see 16 products on the first page out of 2,437 results. Imagine how that large figure affects your choice.

On the search result page, the first thing that captures the eye is the photo.

In this case, the best product photo has the highest chance to be clicked. If the it is supported with reasonable price and good description, the item will have the chance to be purchased.

This means that to have product photo is not enough. It should be GOOD photo that shouts, “Buy me!”

What else good product photography can offer? Let us put it in a list.

  • It captures attention.
  • It builds a good impression for the product.
  • It suggests better quality.
  • It overpowers the necessity of explanation.
  • It develops strong brand.
  • It delivers a lasting message.
  • It sells products.

Product photographs are being used online and offline sell products. No arguments on that. Come in different styles and presentation, they are found if different marketing materials like brochure, poster, flier, quotation, catalogue, banner, restaurant menu, website and more.

Walther-Glass-product-photography

Product Photography Tips

Since you now know the importance and usage of product photography, let me share with you some tips to produce good product photographs.

1. Minimize or eliminate distractions.

Identify and remove any distractions that may be found in the background.

Like for example when shooting a car in a street setting, identify any distractive elements like other cars and dogs then determine how these destructions will be removed from the final picture.

SEE ALSO: 7 Key Elements of Product Photography

Special attention however has to be given to other objects in the background that may form appropriate and add impact to the product.

2. Zoom in to frame the unique features of the product.

It is not in all cases that all parts of the vehicle are seen in the picture. Decide on a particular area of the vehicle that you would wish to focus on. Better yet, ask the person whom hired you or your client which part of the product does her or she need to have a close-up shot.

This is possibly  the product’s area of strength that makes it stand out from the rest.

This unique strength could be the patented part, an ergonomic knob, only one of its kind design and other innovation.

3. Use props and models to boost the USP – not to divert attention.

Props and models are great rivals of the product when it comes to getting the attention of the viewer. They can make or break the salability of the product.

One of your goals as product photographer is to know the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the product and use props and models to showcase this advantage into visual representation, the photo.

Some of the techniques being used to achieve this purpose are:

    • Putting the props out-of-focus,
    • Using less props (2 or 3 items),
    • Directing models’ eyes to the product,
    • Putting product at the eye-level of the model (for close-up shots),
    • Using subdued colors for costume in case of non-fashion products, and
    • Subdued make-up for fashion items.

Going back to our first example, the car, other elements like people, pets and other items can be included in the area of focus to ensure the subtle message is conveyed. A child sitting comfortably on one of the seats can be a great way to convey a message about the comfort and safety of the car.

4. Achieve a perfect white for a seamless white background shot.

This is very important for photos that will be used for websites and 360° rotational product images.

SEE ALSO: How to Shoot and Edit White Products on White Background

The white balance setting of your camera and the background play an important role on this part, but if you find it so difficult to achieve a perfect white, which is I think impossible to achieve using mere camera setting, you have touch the photo on an image editing application like Photoshop.

5. Do not start unless everything is ready.

I am sure that you that the first step in undertaking any photography session requires the presence of the principal object. Yes, because you cannot start a car photography session without the car itself.

SEE ALSO:  Three Things to Consider When Shooting Products for Brochure Design

Identifying the type of  product and acquiring it is a vital first step. If the item is mall then you can just shoot in on a tabletop, but if it is big like a car or a cabinet, you must find a location which is appropriate for it.

The appropriate equipment and accessories are also important to achieve better photos  – like macro lens for jewelry and tent for reflective products like stainless steel ware.

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13 Comments

  1. RonLeyba

    June 14, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Wow! Loving this resource now. Hope you can post more stuffs pertaining to photography. Time to read!
    I invite you to read: 8 Basic Camera Shots for Photography AmateursMy Profile

  2. tatess

    June 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I love to take photos but that is it, just point and shot. Yes,I am too lazy to learn more on how to improve it. i will check out the links. thabks
    I invite you to read: Basic Yet Overlooked Tweaks That Enable Social Shares To Reach It’s PeakMy Profile

    • carmel

      June 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      My style is also point and shoot eventhough my cam comes with manual settings. 🙂
      I invite you to read: Budget ski holidaysMy Profile

  3. metalpig design

    June 17, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Very informative links about Product Photography Tips and Techniques. Read couple of them, but I need more time just to read all the articles on the links… bookmarked! 🙂
    I invite you to read: Liquid Flowers High Speed Photography Series by Jack LongMy Profile

  4. carmel

    June 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    The photo reminds me of Czech glassware. 🙂

    Great list you have here for product photography articles. Really helpful.
    I invite you to read: Budget ski holidaysMy Profile

  5. Deepika

    October 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    1. Shoot outdoors in natural lighting, if you dont have the money to buy expensive equipment like lights and reflectors especially for cash-strapped startups.
    2. If you sell something quirky, try adding elements with your product. But make sure the background elements are not too loud, otherwise they take away focus from your product.
    3. Try keeping consistency in the background across all your product photos.

    You can read more at:
    http://stories.zepo.in/post/33227395461/product-photography-tips-for-your-online-stores

  6. Pingback: 77 Visual Merchandising Techniques, Tips and Ideas | Visual Merchandising Blog

  7. Mary Chen

    September 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Sometimes I am stuck on the same type of display setting and its good to find this idea here. It’s going to be end of my day, but before ending, I am reading this fantastic paragraph to improve my knowledge.

  8. Celsa Blake

    September 8, 2013 at 12:04 am

    These are good reminders for photographers. Sometimes we really need inspiration to fuel our creativity and one way to do that is read blogs like these.

  9. Aki

    December 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Good tips it’s nice to read it from a photographers point of view and what aspects they find crucial to product photos, these are the thing most users miss

  10. Calgary Wedding Photographers

    January 25, 2015 at 3:02 am

    These are great updates for photographic artists. Off and on again we truly require enthusiasm to fuel our imagination and one approach to do that is perused sites like these.

  11. Delores Lyon

    March 20, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips! My daughter wants to start taking photos for a living, but I think she could use some help. I’ll be sure to send this to her. She will be taking photos of some home decor soon, and I want her to do well!

  12. Singapore Wedding Photographers

    June 5, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I’d like to say thanks for your informative post. Really these are useful tips for good photography.

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