Product Photography in-depth Guide Four

Taking Photos – Step One

Tips for when you’re taking pictures

With the high quality of modern cameras and free image editing software available nowadays it is now entirely practical to do photography yourself in house. While a professional photographer will always produce high-quality results they will charge a premium for doing so. With a bit of practice you’ll find you can produce similar results for a fraction of the cost.

Once you’ve set-up your background, arranged your lighting and learned your camera’s settings you’re ready to start shooting. But there are a couple of common pitfalls that people fall into when actually taking pictures that can be easily avoided.

Framing

Firstly, framing, this may sound obvious but at least some of your photos need to have the whole product in shot. As we’ve explained in more detail in a previous post this is a common mistake that is really simple to fix by either standing further away or zooming out.

Positioning

Indeed, standing further away also fixes another incredibly common problem – glare. Glare is when part of your product reflects the flash back and you get a bright white spots on the image that obscure parts of the product. This is a very common problem with products that have reflective surfaces. By standing further away from the product than would usually feel normal the flash will be less strong and you’re less likely to get glare. If you keep getting glare just keep standing further away and if necessary zoom in slightly.

Zooming

It is important not to zoom in too far as most cameras use a digital zoom which will reduce the quality of your pictures at maximum magnification. This is not an issue if you’re only slightly zoomed in or your camera as a optical zoom which uses lenses (the part that extends out of the front of your camera). Most digital cameras use a combination of optical and digital zoom – with the first part of the zoom being optical before switching to digital when it reaches the limit of the optical zoom.

Flash

If you’re struggling with an especially reflective product or you can’t get far enough away to diffuse the flash and remove the glare from the picture then another option is to turn your flash off completely. Working without a flash means you’ll have to keep your camera very stable to ensure the pictures are in focus. A tripod can be extremely helpful in this as can partially holding down the button on your camera before you take the picture. On most cameras this activates the auto-focus which should focus in and out until the product looks sharp and not blurry.

Focus


Working without a flash you’ll also have to pay special attention to the lighting else your product photos will be really dark and lose detail. Some dark photographs can be fixed using image editing software but as a rule you shouldn’t lean on post-production too much because it is often a lot quicker to take the photographs differently in the first place. You’ll have to pay especial attention to focus as auto-focus can struggle in low light. If you give auto-focus a little extra time to find its target and keep your camera as still as possible you should still be able to get great results.

Learn more about product photography


All of our guides to product photography can be found here.

Now you’re nearly ready to start shooting our next guide is aboutwhat different pictures you should be taking of each of your products.