What is Product Photography?

Product photography is a branch of commercial photography that deals with accurately capturing products in the most appealing way. This enables potential consumers to get a feel of what a product will look and feel like in real life. Product photography is especially important when it comes to e-commerce because unlike in a brick and mortar store, e-commerce shops do not allow its consumers to try on or even feel the products. So the more detailed and accurate the product photographs are, the more they can convey its realism to the potential consumers. Product photography, therefore, greatly influences the way a consumer views your product, and can even make or break a sale.

Traditional photography gives photographers creative freedom to express themselves, something that product photographers do not get to experience. For product photographers, their main challenge is portraying the products at their best while still remaining honest.

With strong product photography, you can:

  • Show how your product can solve its consumers’ problems
  • Demonstrate what it will potentially look like in a consumer’s home
  • Present the products qualities and unique features
  • Help build brand awareness and credibility

Common challenges that product photographers face include:

  • Representing the product accurately and without distortion
  • Representing the product in the best light, with soft shadows and without visible reflections
  • To maintain consistency with shadows and lighting across all products

Some of the more difficult products to photograph include:

  • Jewelry
  • Transparent products
  • Highly reflective products
  • Products that are black or white

Types of Product Photography

Individual Shots – This is the most common type of product photography wherein the product is the sole subject of the photo. This allows the product to be the focus of the photo and allows the photographer to highlight its unique features.

Group Shots – Group shots combine multiple products in a single photo, such as when a brand launches a line of products (i.e. a new range of lipstick shades). Group shots are also used for promotional shots such as buy on get one promos.

Detail Shots – These are close-up shots of the product that emphasize the details and unique features the product has to offer. This is especially useful for products with minute details such as jewelry. Detail shots are also done to emphasize what a product has that a competitor product does not.

360-Degree Shots – This is a relatively new type of product photo which allows the consumer to view the photo from all angles (hence 360-degree). This new technology gives the consumer the reigns to zoom in and out, rotate the image forwards, backwards, left and right to see every detail of the product. This type of product photo requires the product photographer to take multiple photos of the product from several angles and then seamlessly stitch them together to create one full image.

Lifestyle Shots – Lifestyle shots show the product as it is being used. For instance a tent pitched in a campsite or a pair of sneakers on a model as she runs on a trail. The whole idea of lifestyle shot is to help the consumer picture themselves using the product.

Product Photography Equipment

The common misconception about photography these days is that a camera phone is enough to take decent product photos. While the photos may look good on your mobile phones, the quality and resolution will not be high enough when viewed on a laptop or desktop or when printed. You’ll need professional equipment to capture the details of the products and give you stunning results.

  • Product Photography Camera – You’ll need a quality camera, typically a DSLR, to take high-resolution product photos. The newest smartphone or tablet just won’t be able to capture crisp enough photos to do the job. You can also switch the lenses of your DSLR, depending on your needs, such as for close-up shots, wider shots, etc.
  • Tripod – A common problem product photographers face is the dreaded “photo shake” which happens when the photographer does not remain completely still while taking the photo. The solution to this is quite simple: setting up the camera on a tripod. A tripod also helps keep the position of the camera and the images consistent throughout the shoot.
  • Reflectors – Reflectors are used to adjust the lighting source – directing it towards or away from your subject. You can either purchase reflectors or DIY them from household items such as aluminum foil or even mirrors.
  • Light – Light is the key component of any photoshoot. Generally, natural lighting is best. When not available, the next best thing is special photography lighting that doesn’t alter the products colors (e.g. fluorescent lights give off a greenish hue while incandescent lights give off an orange cast).
  • Photo Editing Software – Product photography doesn’t end with the photoshoot. You’ll want to edit your photos to adjust settings such as lighting, contrast, brightness, saturation, and so on. You might also need to clean up any imperfections such as scratches on the products, wrinkles, specks of dust or shadows. For this you’ll need a photo editing software. Some clients will even ask you for more heavy duty photo retouching that entails composing a photo using elements from different photos (in effect building a new photo from different photos).

Paper Boat Creative provides professional product photography services that help entice your consumers and convert them into repeat customers. We understand how to make your products look their best while matching your brand and purpose.

Contact us today for more details.

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