I’ve been making different product photography tutorials for awhile now and I still regularly go back to a previous posts because I am still using the same techniques. I wanted to make a single point of contact for functional tips on improving your product photography.
One of the single most important factors in product photography is lighting (if not the single most important) . How you light your product will make a big difference in your final output. Here are 3 tips on how you can light your product.
Small DIY Reflectors
One very useful ‘trick’ I use in almost any product shot is a collection of small DIY reflectors. They can be easily made from illustration board, silver gift wrapping paper or aluminum foil and some clamps. I use this to bounce and reflect light for fill, back and kickers. Here is one example of using a bunch of those reflectors with only one light.
Gradient Reflections On Products
Knowing how to get gradient reflections on products is a must if you want your photos to have a non-flat look that comes when using a light tent. The simplest way of achieving this is by putting another diffuser between the light and the subject. Your reflective surface acts like a mirror so you need get the right angle to get the reflection.
Light Painting For Product Photography
I’ve always been a fan of light painting, but trying different techniques of incorporating it into my workflow started with a tutorial on how to light paint using an iPad and an iPhone.
After that, I showed how it can be applied to photographing watches to create unique looking product shots.
After lighting another thing that can add more spunk to your product shots is using different backgrounds to compliment your product.
DIY Wood Planks
Ever since I made my first wood plank I have been using it extensively for product shots. I have also been using it as a base for many of my tutorials. I bought the used wood planks and just painted them to create a cool looking backgrounds for product and food photography.
Check out how this step by step tutorial on how I used the wood planks for food photography.
The ‘El Bokeh’ Wall
One of my favorite background tricks is the El bokeh Wall. It’s a really simple technique but it creates wonders in a photo. Get some aluminum foil or silver gift wrapping paper and crumble it into a ball. Place it in your background and point a gelled flash on it. Shoot using a wide opening to get your background looking like a wall of bokeh. You can check out this tutorial for perfume photography when this was used.
Everyday Household Items
You don’t have to make all your backgrounds, some backgrounds can be made from objects found around the house.
Lastly knowing how to do a composite product shot will make you create some interesting pictures (and may save both on time and accessories)
If you have limited gear you can also use this technique, like Shooting A Motorcycle With One Speedlight
Combine all of this techniques and you’ll have no more problems shooting product shots! But don’t forget the most important thing is Practice, Practice makes Perfect.