Product photography is something necessary in my world. I own an eco-friendly vintage/retro shop, ELEVEN26, and I literally wear all the hats- including product photographer. As a designer, I taught myself photography because it’s sort of a requirement, as are many skills you’re not often taught as a designer, but for me product photography became a mission. So, here are few tips I’ve learned along the way, and I hope they’ll help anyone needing/wanting to dive into product photography.
I love natural light. If I had my preference it’d be natural light all the way. Unfortunately, we live in a world of many lights, and sometimes the natural light doesn’t work well. When there’s a perfectly sunny day, and all the elements come together correctly, I’d much prefer natural light when shooting any type of product. For those times when the clouds impede the use of natural light, I do have some great recommendations that help me along the way.
Table Top Photo Box
This is a lifesaver for those smaller objects that need a crisp background and some height. I often use my TTPB when shooting jewelry, kitchen items, and other various smalls. Instead of having to bring out the big guns (backdrops), I just easily set up my TTPB and I’m ready to go. I love the ease of this box, and that it just folds up simply into a neat little portfolio. It also comes with various backdrops (white, black, blue, and red) which for editing are amazing. I often usually only use the white backdrop, but the others have come in handy for editing.
I ♥ my light ring. Do you hear me world!? I LOVE MY LIGHT RING! OK, that might be a bit dramatic, but I really do find my light ring to be very helpful. It’s especially helpful when I’m doing some sort of unconventional shoot where I need a lot of light focused on a particular item. It helps deliver a nice amount of light (and you can adjust the amount of light, the direction of light, etc) directly to an item. I often use this when I’m doing a staged shoot where the lighting might not be ideal. Basically with this you just have to make the call on whether it will deliver good light or not for a specific shoot. Give it a try, experiment, and be ready to fall (sometimes) in love with the light ring!
Another lifesaver for me is the umbrella. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using an umbrella. They can help soften and diffuse the light when nothing else seems to work. I often use my umbrella attached to my light stand, but sometimes I play around with direction (and even holding the umbrella in just the right area). I can’t imagine not having this bad boy on my side, so I would suggest adding it to your photography arsenal.
Well, I hope this helps all the budding product photographers out there, and gives you some basic direction on what items will help you in your pursuit of product photography. These items are all great staples for any photography, but I just know for product photography they’ve all save my booty on more than one occassion. Photography is about playing with the elements, adjusting and fine tuning those elements, and getting the best outcome you desire.