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Must Know Product Photography Tips

How to Improve your Product Photos

Product photography is a lucrative avenue for budding photography professionals. However getting started can be a bit intimidating, especially with all the gear that we frequently get to hear about.

To start off you need a few things…

  • a curved white background
  • two sources of light
  • a large window that has a lot of indirect sunshine (anywhere at the northern part of the building/room)
  • your camera and…
  • plenty of imagination!

Recommended Gear for Product Photography

LimoStudio Photography Table Top Photo Studio Seamless White Background, AGG1465
(1) x Table Top Photo Studio Seamless White Background; Easy to clean and set up,perfect for shooting small items,such as jewelry,watches objects.
Fovitec - 2-Light Table Top Fluorescent Lighting Kit for Photo & Video with 15"...
Contents: 2x lamp heads, 2x 15" light stands, 2x 30W lamps; Continuous lighting: Simple to learn & easy to master. Perfect for any skill level.
LimoStudio Table Top, 9.5 x 9.5 inch, Black & White Acrylic Reflective Display Table...
Black and White Acrylic Riser Display Table Combo; 9.5 x 9.5 Inches(Perfect for 16" x 20" x 24" Photo Tent)
Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Power Zoom...
Approx. 350 shots (viewfinder) / Approx. 400 shots (LCD screen) (CIPA standard)

1. Use Soft Light

product photography tips
Product Photography Tip #1: Use Soft Light | Photo: “Fruity Ice Cream” by M for Matthijs

Starting out in product photography you need to understand the difference between hard light and soft light.

  • Hard light is any light from a source that is smaller compared to the size of the subject being photographed.
  • Inversely, soft light is a light from a source that is larger than the size of the subject being photographed.

Hard light creates strong shadows behind and on the sides of the subject (depending on the direction of the light).

Related Post: Neewer Table Top Lighting Kit (Top Continuous Lighting Kit)

Soft light being more uniform the shadows are more subtle and toned down.

For product photography, soft (and thereby uniform) light is more suitable.

3. Use a White Background

product photography tips
Product Photography Tip #2: Use a White Background | Health Berries by Jaclyn Auletta – Want to take flat lay photos? Make sure to read our flat lay photography guide.

For product photography, the best background is a white one that gives the illusion of infinity in the photograph. Though for some products you will need a different background color.

For photographing small items, you will require a small background which can be easily made at home. You will need some white fabric a curved surface, paper clips and a table.

Related Post: Best Lenses for Product Photography

4. Invest in a Macro Lens

product photography tips
Product Photography Tip #4: Invest in a Macro Lens | Photo Credit: Andreas Photography

As one of my next product photography tips, I would recommend using a macro lens.

Macro is to Canon what Micro is to Nikon. They both mean the same thing, to photograph subjects from a very close distance.

Related Post: Canon 500D Close Up Lens

As an erstwhile point and shoot camera user, you may remember the small “flower” icon on your old camera. Pressing that enabled you to focus closer to the subject than you would normally do.

This is the macro mode. There are dedicated macro lenses manufactured by both Nikon and Canon and they offer excellent close-up perspectives suitable for creative product photography.

Recommended Marco Lenses for Product Photography

Read more about the best macro lenses for Canon and the best macro lenses for Nikon cameras in our macro lenses buying guides.

Few established lenses we can recommend right away:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
50 millimeter focal length and maximum aperture of f/1.8; Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet (0.35 meter) and a maximum magnification of 0.21x
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
F Mount Lens/DX Format. Picture Angle with Nikon DX Format 44 degree; 52.5 millimeter (35 millimeter Equivalent). Rear Focusing; Manual Focus Override
Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera
Bright f2.8 aperture for low-light shots; High-contrast, high-resolution image quality; Focus Range Limiter for faster auto focusing

Related Post: Best Product Photography Cameras

5. Shoot in Low ISO and Aperture Priority Mode

product photography tips
Product Photography Tip #5: Shoot in Aperture Priority & Low ISO | Photo Credit: Tolbxela

Next in this tutorial of product photography tips is the camera settings.

Select the smallest ISO you can get away with. You have the light in your control, at least if you are shooting in your studio arrangement, so you know what to expect. Using a smaller ISO number will eliminate the chance of noise completely.

Related Post: Examples Images of Big and Small Aperture

Your camera should be set to aperture priority which will let the camera decide on the shutter speed. Ideally, you would need a bigger f-number or a smaller aperture. Products are required to be tack sharp and thus using a smaller f-number will defeat the purpose.

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