Many photographers know what it takes to capture good product photos- you need a tripod, use a wide aperture, have a white background, blur the background, etc. However, how do you get to shoot those unique product photographs, such as those you see on top online stores?
These product images don’t look like the normal photos you see on regular stores- they have a unique look.
While most of the basic rules apply, you need to think outside the box and break some rules whenever you see fit. Every top photographer started as a beginner, which is why we want you to improve your product photography shots with a few creative tips.
But before then, let’s briefly talk about product photography?
What Is Product Photography?
Nikon D200, f32, 1/160
Product photography involves showcasing products in an enticing and attractive way to make potential buyers purchase them.
There are two major types of product photography:
White-background, product-only images. This is the most common type of product photography and includes showcasing a product from different angles with a plain white background.
In-context photos. This shows a product being used in its intended environment and/or alongside complementing products.
Whether you are photographing product-only images with a plain-white background or in-context product photos, you need to think outside the box.
Here are several tips to help you capture unique product photography;
Creatively hang or suspend products
Hanging products is not a new practice in product photography. However, creative hanging is.
You can suspend it from tree branches or from wires. The aim is to come out with striking, thought-provoking product photos.
Do some macro shots
Macro shots in product photography can be a great way to add variety to a series of photos, say, those meant for a feature page in a product catalog or poster ad.
This means you will need to use photos taken using macro shots in conjunction with other full product photos.
When shooting macro shots, ensure the area has sufficient lighting so that even the tiniest of details become visible.
Shoot products from strange angles
Nikon D600, f7.1, 1/6
Most times, we are used to seeing product photos taken from the front, back, and sideways. This is done when a camera is placed at the same level as the product to make the shot come out at eye-level.
However, you can do the unordinary and shoot from an odd angle, but make sure not to distort the appearance of the product.
If you can take a product image from an odd angle and still not distort the image, go for it. For example, you can photograph a pair of sneakers with folded soles or a baking whisker looking like a launched rocket. It’s all about creativity.
Photography products in unusual use
If you are taking in-context product images, you can become creative and think of an unusual use of a product. You may need to start from the normal, everyday uses of the product and quickly come up with weird uses of the product.
Keep in mind that this may need some illustrations and setting different designs so that your idea can be fully interpreted in your shots.
For example, when you are photographing different paints, you can showcase one picture of how the paint looks on walls and another where a painter is dripping with paint. Another example is a watch wrapped around a stone.
The idea here is to come up with unique product photos that will provoke thoughts on potential buyers so that they can be interested in buying the product.
This is for people who have skills in using Illustrator and Photoshop. Think of a weird way you can showcase a product.
For example, you can do a photo manipulation showcasing bottles of fruit juices hanging from their flavored fruit tree. Again, don’t limit your creativity when it comes to photo manipulation.
Play with the background
Canon EOS70D, f16, 1/100
Many product photos are taken with a plain background so as to put all the focus on the product. However, you can break this rule and stage a unique background where you position the main product in the foreground to add interest.
For instance, you can showcase shoes on stairs, coffee cups with overflowing coffee on a table, etc.
When doing this, you can either keep the background in focus or blurred. It will depend on how you want your final image to look like. However, keep the product slightly in front for emphasis.
Again, use this method of photographing products alongside other normal product images.
Make use of reflection
A reflection adds some depth to your ‘normal’ product photos. When it comes to reflection, don’t get stuck with a mirror. You can use water as your point of reflection whereby you place a product in a pan with shallow water. Make sure to use lighting to enhance the reflection.
You can also add some personality to your product photography by creating a story around it. This may call for incorporating the product's unique proposition and your creativity- what makes it different from that of their competitors.
Now use product photography to portray this aspect of the product and what the brand is known for.
For example, if a client sells suits, you can showcase their suits in a wedding setting. If they sell camping boots, you can photograph someone wearing the boots in a water-logged area.
The point here is to add personality to the product images and showcase the selling points of the product.
Are these the only tips/ways to take product photos? Absolutely not. We just highlighted a few ways you can make products stand out in product photography without having to spend a lot of money on several gears.
Remember that post-processing in product photography is key, as this is when you make the images look polished and professional. Post-processing covers things such as background removal, color correction, shadow addition to make the products look more natural, and mannequin/hangers removal, among other things.
We hope that the above tips will help expand your scope in product photography.
Posted in: Photography for beginners