Product Photography Tips
That Keep Clients
"Buying a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner."
Product photography tips can make or break a shoot and in today's economy paying jobs are too difficult to come by to not come up with the best, most creative ways to capture products for your customers.
Where and Why
Why are the photos needed? Advertising? Promotional fliers? Consider the viewer the client is targeting. A "product" can vary widely from a restaurant item where you want to capture the sizzle to a household item that saves time or money to yard equipment that is of better value.
Sometimes the "product" is a branded image such as a singer, or a breed of livestock or an idea that you can illustrate with a photograph. Know who the viewer will be - what strikes a trade person can be different than what draws a consumer.
Knowing what the product is and how it's being presented is among the most valued of product photography tips. It helps you succeed!
Consider where the photos will appear. For example, a presentation in a room may benefit from a dark background and lighting to make the image "pop" while that image may be too 'dark' for display enlargements at a festival or trade show booth.
One of the biggest product photography tips is getting an idea of what you want to capture with the photo. Consider how certain cars have an image of luxury while other products might stress value, or quality - what is the product seeking to capture? Be creative and capture that in a photo!
How to Shoot
Along with this consider "indirect" shots that make a statement. For example, if shooting a lawnmower just the mower may not be enough. Instead photograph the mower with a nearly finished yard which can silently say the mower works faster without need for wordy explanations.
A 'brand' for an entertainer isn't just the person but filling seats - showing a packed audience peaks a festival planner's interest as much or more than the list of credentials.
Use plenty of light but not direct light or a flash, both which causes problems in washing out color and detail as well as creating harsh shadows behind the item. Soft shadows and a subtle background are needed.
One way to do this is creating a box for items that will fit in a box. A clear plastic softens the light and if outside a white cloth can further do so.
Get a one piece poster board cut to fit which allows a seamless shot - no lines between the back and bottom to draw the eye away from the product.
Remember the goal of product photography tips is getting the product displayed well. If lights are needed use 'daylight' bulbs in clamp lights which can be placed on the side of the box.
Get Clear Shots
Use a tripod to eliminate any movement which can blur the image. Pay particular attention to the light settings on the camera and take your time shooting.
The longer the shutter speed setting the more light is let in, while the aperture numbers the higher numbers mean smaller openings and less light than the lower numbers.
If your products to be shot include small items learn to use the macro settings - the flower on the back of many digital cameras - for catching small items and details. These capture the folds of moss but also can blur a shot with the slightest movement. Experiment how close you get and sometimes with some cameras partly holding the shutter down automatically focuses for you.
Watch the light meter and learn to adjust it if needed such as when shooting a white object on a white background.
Tinker with the lighting available such as fluorescent, daylight or auto - and find the one that presents the best photo.
Take Your Time
Another thing to remember in product photography tips is take your time! Set up the shot at different angles and close as well as back further from the subject. The variety of angles and shots increases finding the really good shots that show the product best.
Photoshop or other software that edits photos is good to have. Even with a variety of photos and angles the software that allows photo editing further increases your chances of getting the outstanding shots that really make a product 'pop' off the page.
These basic product photography tips will get you started taking good photos of products that could open doors to selling online or for catalog shoots.
Develop your own system based on what works for you with your camera. Once you get a system down using these product photography tips you'll see things in a different way!
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