The small, yet subtle difference is not only in the eye of the beholder: You should always stick to the basics when it comes to still life photography. But to perfectly feature a product, you need more: A predefined concept, an ounce (or more) of creativity, proper equipment, and a great feel for the right moment. We will reveal to you now, how you can master still life photography!
Still Life Photography at First Glance
From the top of your head, can you remember an awesome ad campaign, where the product was highlighted just immaculately? Yes? Then you realize that these visuals are important for the consumer, because the perfect shot of a product can evoke just as many emotions as a smiling baby or an adorable puppy.
When still life photography triggers the right feelings in the viewer, a huge part of the marketing strategy has already been fulfilled. His/her mind will remember the product and his/her wish to buy it will be enhanced. Therefore, as a photographer, it is your great responsibility to land that perfect shot of your client’s products.
But before you can even get down to the nitty gritty of the photo, you have to develop a plan. Without a concept, which includes a definition of the target market, details of the marketing concept and advertising message as well as a strategy for long-term reuse of the product photos, a completely new photo shoot would be inevitable.
Only once you know every single detail of the product, you can develop a presentation of creative still life photography. So don’t be afraid to ask your client for all the important information you need in case something is not clear to you.
“Stick With What You Know:” in This Case: The Basics of Still Life Photography
You probably knew this already: When it comes to still life photography, you will succeed using expert equipment. A full-frame camera and especially professional lenses are recommended, because the standard 18-55 mm lense doesn’t always meet expectations.
If you’re working with relatively small products, we recommend a macro lense with a 1:1 magnification ratio. But even all the expert equipment in the world won’t guarantee a great product shot.
The perfect interplay of light and shadow also has to be considered – we need perfect lighting. Location is an important factor to consider: Choose wisely whether you shoot your product outside or in a studio. Always use various light modifiers to achieve perfect lighting. Depending on the product, a lamp and a reflector can already be enough. Also, take hues and reflections into account, because they can affect your end shot positively or negatively.
By the way, a product shot in a studio doesn’t have to be “boring” – by adding suitable props to create a great atmosphere, your shot will look professional and super catchy.
However, don’t forget your focus: the product! Thus, keep the background simple and lowkey.
A small tip: Use a portable mini-studio! You can always take this whitebox solution to your client and also release the images with your editing software later.
So that you don’t coincidentally, but intentionally nail your product image and are able to recreate it multiple times from the same perspective, you should generally use a tripod. Only if you do, you’re guaranteed razor-sharp images.
A classic three-legged tripod will ensure stability and can be used universally for indoor and outdoor shoots. The so-called “gorillapod,” a mountable tripod, allows you to attach it wherever, i.e. on your photo table. If you’re taking still life photos outside, grab a bean bag – it lets you shoot steadily.
You’ve probably noticed that in online shops, products are photographed from every side and angle, so that the potential buyer can view them all around. Simple rotating table systems will lead to amazing results in 360° degrees still life photography. When purchasing a rotating table, make sure that the system breaks and speeds up smoothly, especially when you plan on photographing unstable or movable products.
Editing your images in Photoshop or Lightroom after a shoot is helpful; however, no great product photo comes about if you solely focus on your camera display during your shoot rather than also looking at the photo directly on your computer. Thanks to the latter, you can skip changing memory cards and directly give your photos the initial editing touch. When buying your camera, make sure that it supports “tethered shooting,” because then you can connect your camera directly with your PC or Mac through a cable.
Still Life Photography With a Feel for the Right Moment
To photograph a product can seem super easy at first glance. No movements, no facial expressions, and – depending on the location choice – no outside interfering sources. But to make a product look as realistic as possible and feature all its facets, you need more than the basics and a good camera.
You need to rely on your intuition, experience and curiosity.
Let yourself be guided by a predetermined concept for the photo shoot; however, also seize the moment and explore trying new things. How about hanging the product, turning it upside down, or shooting it from an unusual angle?
This is where still life photography starts! And so that your professional still life photos only fall into the hands of your clients, you can preserve your image rights with LAPIXA. Discover potential copyright infringements for free and enforce your right legally.
Find more information here.