Fresh, creative product photography is a highly lucrative genre with many up- coming photographers making a name for themselves in this ﬁeld. What makes this modernized medium of still life so popular is its easy adaptation in advertising and marketing campaigns. However, it is a technically demanding art form, where the set up, shooting and clever postproduction all feed into the perfect end product. But fear not, we’ve put together some useful tips to help you on your way!
Setting the mood
The best start is to see what has been done before; to avoid clichés and gain inspiration, take a look at today’s successful product photographers. Every aspect needs to be considered, the composition, the light, the shadow, the texture, the highlights, the colour, the humor, and the element of surprise. This is an art form that has really come into its own, so mimicking the masters can be the best approach to ﬁguring out their skill, and then put your own twist on it.
Potential objects for your still life are all around you so if something catches your eye try to photograph it in a controlled composed setting. It’s not necessary to invest in expensive equipment to take amazing still life pictures, but a minimum of at least one ﬂash with softbox, a reﬂector and a tripod are required. A DSLR camera with any standard optical will do the job, like a good 50/3,5 macro.
Let there be light
As ever with photography, the light and how you control it deﬁnes the look of your imagery. Shooting in, or recreating the soft daylight of classical still life paintings can give your setups a timeless, authentic appeal. A bolder ﬂatter daylight aesthetic (usually recreated in the studio) is trending now, especially in advertising as it makes all the colors pop. Play around with light; experimentation is part of the fun! Diffuse, reﬂect, create shadows, do whatever it takes to ﬁnd your signature lighting.
Finding the perfect angle
Try to ﬁnd the angles that will best present the speciﬁc features of your object. View it from different positions, playing with the perspective. Don’t be afraid to use the sides of your frame to crop your object, sometimes this tension makes the image more interesting. Shooting an object or scene directly from above or beneath, as
if through a glass ﬂoor, is also increasingly on trend. Experiment; you decide what story you want to project through your product.
Dare the scenery
Showing the product on a white background or in its natural environment is a safe choice. But, he who dares, wins! Sometimes the safe choice will just make you blend in. By displaying the object in a different context from where it is usually seen you can captivate your audience, and deﬁne your style.
Create an eye-catcher
Your image should fully immerse the viewer. Minimizing distractions in the background can emphasis the visual impact and help your object stand out. You have the power to direct your viewer’s eye. For example, product imagery used on social media tends to zoom in on very small details. For this, using a macro lens will help pull your viewer into a lesser seen world, directing their eyes to speciﬁc details.
The trend barometer goes crazy with the mention of this word. Flat lay aesthetic in still life photography is very on trend. It’s the perfect perspective for the modern version of the pack-shot. Here, keeping the background neutral helps the focus remain on the product, respecting the basic principles of framing and composition, especially the rule of thirds, ﬂat lay photography has the advantage to create order and harmony, allowing designers to play the text without excessively compromising the image.
Last but not least
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be creative. You will make a few mistakes on your way, but this way you will gain a deeper understanding of the process. Finally, when submitting your product images for stock please ensure to remove any brand names, logos or details of the object that would make it a recognizable branded product, and remember to disregard any brand names in your keywords.