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High quality product photography - 9 tips from the professional

It is not easy to stage a product in a targeted manner and to convey the brand message. Maybe you need Product photos for your own webshop and are you looking for a brilliant idea? Would you like to know what packshots are and how you can achieve optimal lighting? What equipment do other product photographers use?How do aesthetic product photos succeed?

We have worked out practical suggestions and have compiled the characteristics of this special category of photography for you! We also got involved with the Professional photographer Martin Diepold to chat. He is a trained advertising photographer, chairman of the Berlin photographers' guild and runs his own studio. You can find his best pro tips in our product photography tutorial here.

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The main categories of product photography

The product photography comes from the classic Advertising photography: A certain object is recorded visually in order to present it in different media. These recordings are mainly used for catalogs, web shops or in advertisements. A successful product photo is also suitable as a high-quality mural, for example to show photographic skills or to present a product in the manufacturer's office. Product photos should primarily depict the object aesthetically, but also realistically.

Not all product photos are the same. Depending on the goods, there are certain genres of product photography with the associated visual language.

Packshot

Packshot is the image of a product with packaging and labels, hence “pack”. Often the product is shown enlarged, shown on a neutral, if not purely white background or cut out. A packshot is suitable for objects with an edge length of up to 50 cm. It is similar with all sorts of cut-out product photos, which for certain shops may not contain any decorative decoration.

Classic packshot | Unsplash

Still life and mood recordings

An isolated product photo is useful, but not particularly exciting. If a product is to be presented in a context, you can arrange a small scene. When it comes to dishes, the teapot can also be filled with steaming tea, for example. Or think of elaborate accessory shoots for fashion magazines.

A still life with an espresso pot | Unsplash

Food photography

Styling and photographing food is a whole discipline in itself! There are countless methods and clever tricks to present food and dishes in an appetizing and sensual way. Where most products are patient models, food has a limited shelf life. Did you know, for example, that ice cream scoops are often formed from mashed potatoes? The puree does not melt under hot studio lamps.

The fine art of food photography | © Unsplash

Product in action or with a model

It can make sense to present product photos in such a way that customers can imagine how a product works, looks dressed or what size it is “in real life”. Think of hands with a digital tablet or full body photos of models on bikes.

Product photography and staging on the model | © Unsplash

Product photos of clothing and textiles

Clothes can either be laid flat, dressed as so-called laid-out clothing or dolls and models. Sometimes photographers retouch the "hollowman" (transparent doll), sometimes you can see the model.

Lay-out without "Hollowman" | © Pexels

Do you know what type of shoot you have in mind, whether you want to shoot in the studio or outdoors? Then get to work with our tips from the product photographer!

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Professional tip 1: create a concept beforehand

Whether it's a pack shot, cut-out or an outdoor shoot, a well-developed concept should always be in place before the shoot. What message should the products communicate and what media environment are the photos intended for? Make a composition sketch too! Only when the concept is in place and it is clear how you want to present your product can you plan the appropriate equipment. A photo shoot in daylight brings with it completely different challenges than in a controlled studio environment, for example.

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Pro tip 2: use the right camera for product photography

If you want to create professional product images, you should definitely use a full-frame camera. There are some cameras that are particularly well suited: “I almost exclusively take photos with cameras from Sony Alpha 7 series and the associated professional lenses, ”says Martin Diepold. The Sony Alpha 7RII has a resolution of 42 MP. Another model that is suitable for high quality product photography is the Canon 5D Mark IVthat has 30 MP.

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Pro tip 3: keep the background simple

It is best to keep the background calm, this does not distract from the essentials and make sure that it does not outshine. This means that there are no disturbing edges of light on the objects. A coving can be useful as it can be used to create a seamless space - ideal for cut-out shots. Important: always make a white balance to avoid fluctuations in the color temperature!


© Martin Diepold | grandvisions.de

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Professional tip 4: Always use a tripod for product photography

To keep the same perspective, you should work with a tripod so that you can then perfectly illuminate the object. A remote release can also be helpful so that nothing wobbles with long exposures. In Diepold's studio, the photographers use a pillar tripod; this is extremely stable and allows the axes to be set very precisely. When the photographer is out and about with his tripod, he uses a lightweight carbon tripod from Sirui.

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Professional tip 5: keep the bezel closed

Martin Diepold advises a relatively closed aperture in product photography in order to create the greatest possible depth of field. “But if you want to take pictures with a shallow depth of field, then you should use a long focal length and an open aperture and use a continuous light with a daylight character,” he says. You are not bound to flash sync times and can simply shorten the shutter speed if necessary.

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Professional tip 6: Use different light shapers in product photography

You get the optimal illumination through the targeted use of lights with different light shapers. In some cases, however, a lamp and a brightener can be sufficient. Diffusers or reflectors can be used, depending on the lighting conditions. If you want to photograph very reflective objects such as glasses, a light tent can be useful, as this results in extremely even and shadow-free lighting. It may be desirable that few or no shadows are visible on the product. A softbox is a possibility to create a soft light, with several boxes to avoid shadows entirely.

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Professional tip 7: Look at the screen during the shoot

Martin Diepold recommends connecting the camera to a computer when taking pictures of products and always taking photos directly on the computer: "The camera display is much too small for precise assessment, and you can also make initial image processing settings on the computer." This is extremely important because a good product photo consists of 50% photography and 50% post-processing. During post-processing, you can iron out unwanted shadows and reflections, make colors more saturated, crop objects and make your product shine!


© Martin Diepold | grandvisions.de

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Professional tip 8: Take it step-by-step during the shoot

  1. Use a tripod to place the right perspective firmly. You will receive this, for example, if you combine the product in one Two-thirds profile place. To do this, turn the product sideways by about 45 °. This creates a direct spatial understanding, as part of the front view and the side of the object can be seen in the photos at the same time. You should focus on the “chocolate side” of the product.
  2. Organize and arrange the items to be photographed. It is best to lay out everything beforehand with the help of a Composition sketch firmly.
  3. Align one lamp at a time and pay close attention to which lamp produces which light. Use your light shapers until you get the desired result. Work your way up step by step.

Anyone interested in high-quality product shots and professional photography will find inspiration at grandvisions.de.

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Professional tip 9: Present high quality product photography

Regardless of whether you are a passionate photographer or as an entrepreneur you want to present your laid-out goods in a high-quality way: Have your detailed product photos concealed as acrylic glass. WhiteWall's razor-sharp ultraHD print has twice the resolution of conventional photographs. Every finest detail becomes visible! If you have several favorite photographs, you can also present the works in a high-quality photo book or create a professional photo calendar.

Product photography with object character as a photo acrylic block

Acrylic photo block

Product photography as an exclusive photo book

CREATE PHOTOBOOK

Product photography as a premium photo calendar

CREATE PHOTO CALENDAR

Product photography as a high-quality photo behind acrylic glass

Photo behind acrylic glass

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