It’s no secret that better product photography translates to better sales. Customers interpret photographs as representations of overall product quality and brand reputability. However, hiring product photographers is expensive. If you already own the gear, learning to shoot better product photography yourself saves money and improves your website. We’ll tell you what you need to know to achieve professional looking product photography without the professional price tag.

What You’ll Need

A camera, obviously – but you also need a tripod, white background, bounce cards, and a table at minimum. The white background helps give your products a clean, detailed look – as opposed to look book images, which incorporate products into a styled setting. The tripod, as always, steadies your shot. (There is no way around it! You need a tripod.) As for the camera, most DSLRs or mirrorless cameras will do. You only need around 20MP without expensive ISO abilities.  Whatever you have – it’s probably fine. You might consider a macro lens for shooting smaller products, but something like a regular portrait lens also works for regular sized items.

If you plan to use window light as opposed to flash, we also recommend foam board to make bounce cards (or buying them separately). Set them up across from the window to decrease the shadowy side. Without bounce cards, the shadow side will likely render one part of the image too dark to use. We know it sounds like an easy hack to skip it, but the bounce card really is necessary!

Plan Your Shots

Create a shot list. Yes, even for items! Many photographers are familiar with shots lists for say, weddings, but knowing which items to shoot in which order makes a big difference. Each item gets its own ‘call time’ to keep on schedule. Your call sheet should include which angles and features to hit for each product. (For example, any special patterns or accents are good attributes to feature.) At the very least, you should take a picture of the back and the front of every item.

How to Shoot

Start by setting up your white background (which, frankly, might as well be white background paper), and position it on your table with tape. Secure your tripod and DSLR or mirrorless, and set your bounce cards up on the opposite side of the product. Since you don’t want direct sunlight hitting your product, it’s a good idea to situate the table adjacent to the window. Larger windows produce softer light. Next, set your white balance with a grey card, and turn off your flash settings.  We recommend also photographing in RAW format to give you better versatility and control in post-production. From there, it’s all about the test shots. We recommend shooting with ISO 100 and positioning yourself as close as possible to the product – but it’s up to you.

Give yourself some credit. You’re learning a new skill! It’s likely to start out a little rough around the edges, but better product photography is really just a matter of patience, practice, and planning. Take a picture and assess. Move the bounce cards around to experiment with light. Heck, move the table around. Check your histogram! Switch out your lenses. You’ll find something you like.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here