Fresh, creative product photography is a highly lucrative genre and many upcoming photographers are making a name for themselves in this field. What makes this modern 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!
#1 Set the mood
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 color, 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.
#2 Get equipped
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 a softbox, a reflector and a tripod are required. A DSLR camera with any standard optical will do the job, like a good 50/1,4 or 105 /1,4 macro.
#3 Know your light source
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.
#4 Try out angles
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.
#5 Experiment with setting
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.
#6 Direct focus
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.
#7 Less is more
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.
#8 Try, try, and try again.
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 any brand names, logos or details of the object that would make it a recognizable branded product are not visible, and remember to disregard any brand names in your keywords.