Great product photography is harder to achieve than it looks. The good news is that it is not too difficult to get right as long as there is clarity about what you are trying to achieve.
Clarity about the point of the photograph. Think about where the photograph will be seen – social media? Print? Web Site? Each platform brings with it some requirements – print for example needs to be high definition. Web sites need smaller files for faster loading. Social media will crop your picture ruthlessly if the dimensions are wrong for the platform.
White backgrounds need to be pure white in almost every case. The point is not to let anything distract from the content, to look clean, clear and professional. A pure white background lends an elegance, punch and simplicity to the image. White backgrounds are excellent for catalogue shots and occasionally for banner photography. An off white or greyish background will make your products look shabby. Great product photography is worth going the extra mile for.
On a web site or in print, banner photography is the section header. Generally these shots will be still life set ups. This is the place to convey the values associated with the brand. People like Audi and Apple have this down to a fine art. Video is increasingly popular in this context too. Short micro video showing a little movement catches the eye very effectively.
We sell generic images for stock photography. Many web designers use stock because it is cheaper than commissioning a photographer. If you are a services provider then unless you have a unique visual identity I think stock photography is fine. If you are selling a product however, avoid it like the plague. Nothing undermines your brand better than seeing the same photograph pop up on somebody else web site.
Lighting & Focus
Great product photography is well lit, clear and sharp. Make sure that the lighting allows the logo to be seen on the product and make sure the logo is in focus. Sounds simple, but actually its quite hard to get the right balance between clarity and appropriate lighting. Here is an example – note that the logo is clear while we have also used shadow creatively to enhance the shape of the product.
We spend a lot of time on lighting – in product photography, the set up for the first item is generally the longest part of the job. Once that is in place, the same set up can be replicated with a few minor tweaks for a whole range of similar items.
A good tip for photographers is to record the lighting set up and camera settings. That way you can replicate a shot very quickly. We do this for all of our shoots and I’ve lost count of the number of times an client has come back and asked for a minor change in an image that can’t be done in photoshop. These notes have saved hours.
Great Product Photography
We pride ourselves on producing images and video that help to sell products. If you want us to make your products stand out from the crowd, give us a call on 07980 694 876 we’re happy to help!