One day I became interested in product photography after seeing my husband’s work. Ken has been photographing products for various companies with Internet stores as a hobby (he is a lawyer). I didn’t dare to touch my husband’s equipments costing thousands of dollars :), but instead got my own little camera, Canon – PowerShot S95, 10.0-Megapixel, and a tripod.
Next task was creating a photography box – light cube. For this purpose I used white fabric storage box from IKEA, as it provided the same affect at a much lower cost :). After attaching an appropriate background to my box, I was in business!
My first photos weren’t the best 🙂 but I did not give up. First time I only used artificial lighting. For photography lights I used regular desktop lamps in which I replaced bulbs for special daylight bulbs (with color temperature of 5,000 Kelvins), creating soft white light identical to the daylight.
After that, I started experimenting with natural lighting. Light changes its color, as it travels throughout the day, I was observing this process and writing down results of my observations. For instance, early in the morning (5-9 AM) light has reddish-blue hue. From 9 to 12 AM this hue changes to light blue. From 12 AM to 2 PM – yellowish-white. From 2 to 5 PM – perfect beautiful white light, in which I love to photograph! 🙂 From 5 to 7 PM – light to deep blue, and then the night comes :D. These colors of course vary depending on the region and season.
Different surfaces and materials require different lighting as well. Metal jewelry is going to look horrible if photographed under direct sunlight, it requires softer light. Non-glazed ceramics, in opposite, often gain from bright light and are going to look completely flat if light is softened a lot. On this topic many books have been written, which you, of course, can all read. However, no book will be able to substitute your own observations and experiments.
One more important detail which I have noticed is correct photo cropping (framing). Photo can be as beautiful as it’s physically possible, but if it’s cluttered (too many details in the view), then it will create a feeling of untidiness and mess. Usually you don’t want to look at such photos for too long :). For example, compare the two photos – non-cropped and cropped.
I have also been experimenting a lot with creating gradients (gradient effects) using solely light. Lamps placed under a certain angle at a certain distance from the object transform light into color, creating gradients. One of my photographs in this area has even won a photography award “Great Shot”, even though I have initially only created it for simply selling this pendant necklace in an online store :).
By the way, about awards. I often participate in design contests (and even manage to win some of them ). In the contests, a beautiful appropriate presentation of your work is a half of winning. Judges always first look at the pictures and only then choose works which need to be sent in for final evaluation and judging. This picture is from the latest design contest in which my company took the second place, Mejuri Enchanted Emerald. Although it is not just a photo but a combination of photo and computer design.
You can also create posters for presenting few of your works at once, I lately became interested in this, too :).
Beautiful packaging attracts buyers as well and can be photographed from the top or at an angle.
To conclude, I can say that creation of good quality product photos is an important part of work on their selling for owners of Internet stores. Anyone can learn how to do it. However, you will need perseverance, persistence, creativity, and everyday practice. You can’t learn product photography by taking a couple shots a month, you have to do it every day. Product photography is like learning a foreign language – you need to practice every day. When I came to the United States, I have basically never studied English, and now I can speak and write it at an academic level and have a certificate from a U.S. university. I am not an Einstein, I have just worked on it a lot :).
Be daring, experiment, write down results of your experiments – and create beautiful product photos of your lovely work!