Basic Product Photography Tips From A Brand Photographer

As a brand photographer it’s hard to hear about businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 and quarantines around the country. As a small business owner myself I feel the impact and can relate to some degree. I don’t own a brick and mortar shop or studio, but the businesses I serve do. It’s also been interesting to watch how businesses are pivoting and offering services to still keep connected with their communities. A local pizza shop near me starting offering pizza kits so people can make their specific pizza at home. A local organic grocery store is taking online orders, which they never had before, and they pack and carry out the groceries to the customer’s car. Breweries in my area are also carrying out orders, made through a beer purchasing app, out to cars to minimize contact and continue serving their communities. I love the creativity and entrepreneurship shining through these dark times.

I too have a had to pivot since I cannot meet clients in-person at this time. Being creative is a part of my daily life. I need to create something, anything to feel in balance. This could be taking photos of my family, baking a sweet treat or making a craft with my son. That is why I have set up a home studio to continue supporting businesses with product photography. Product photography has always been a service I provided and typically wrapped up in a larger brand package. I have created a Product Photography section of my website to highlight my work.

My Love For Product Photography

I’ve always loved packaging and design for products, it can tell a story about a brand without having to dive deep into the who, what and why. Packaging and design provides a snapshot of what a brand stands for and provides their customers. I appreciate all the efforts a business puts into this part of their business. It’s such an easy segment to not invest in, but customers do appreciate it. If I receive a product I have purchased and I love the packaging, you can find me photographing the product just for my own documentation. Here is one example that stands out in my mind. I had ordered square prints from a new service. Typically prints will arrive in a cardboard envelope and maybe have the prints in a plastic sleeve. So when the below package arrived I was blown away. From the packing to the message, I was impressed by the level of detail.

Basic Product Photography You Can Do At Home

I wanted to provide some basic tips that small business owner could apply while at home if outsourcing this service is not doable at this time.  It requires minimal investment, equipment and set-up time. I have broken it down to Level 1 and Level 2 set-up. Both set-ups allow you to shoot from overhead and straight on. You can also utilize a table to elevate the product and help with straight on images.

Products Used (* Affiliate links to support another round of coffee)
Level 1
3-4 20″x30″ White Foam Boards

Level 2

2 – 20″x30″ White Foam Board
Westcott 6-1 Lighting Reflectors

Once your images are captured from your camera or even your iPhone. It’s time to edit. Most images need editing at some level.  I use the app Snapseed for all my iPhone image needs, but any app you are comfortable with should be able to handle basic editing.  So what do you edit. I typically play with the cropping, highlights, shadows and contrast. If you are shooting in harsh sunlight then your highlights will probably be too bright and need to lower the slider of the highlight. There might also be darker shadows then you want, so the shadow slider will brighten those areas up. Contrast will have the color becoming more saturated, which you might desire for your end product.  If your app has the feature to select a specific area of the image, this will be useful for the background. The desired white clean background is achieved by increasing your highlights of that specific area. Here is a quick video of me editing an image from my iPhone app.

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