How to take professional product photos
Whether in print publications or somewhere online, the quality of your photographs affects a viewer’s impression of your work. Ideally we could all have a professional photograph our work, but sometimes that just isn’t a possibility. So, here are some tips to keep in mind next time your creations are in a photo shoot that will give a true depiction of their quality and detail.
Too much light destroys information, and too little light doesn’t give you enough detail. Experiment with different settings to see how it changes the overall quality of information within your photograph. Modify the angle at which your light is positioned in order to help drive focus to the segments of a piece you’d want detailed.
Color can be difficult. What your camera picks up may not always be as reflective of your piece as you’d want. Your cherry wood, for example, might show up far more yellow than it actually is. One solution is to use color filters that cancel out the intrusive hue before it reaches your product. Post-shoot programs like Photoshop exist to help digitally modify and increase the accuracy of your photos. Just remember to never distort your piece’s color or texture beyond what your buyer would expect!
Depth of Field
Let’s say you have a particularly stylish inlay with a rough texture that you would like to highlight. The placement of your camera is now more important than ever. Instinct may be to place the camera directly over the object and take a shot straight on. This may be enough to give the viewer a general idea of the inlay, but there can be more effective ways to deliver the textural understanding to someone looking at your piece through a computer screen.
Depth of field is something you can see in the example photo above. The camera lens is much like the human eye: you can only focus on one thing at a time, and in this case, your eye halts on that detail you’ve decided the viewer should notice. Try adjusting your camera focus at different distances and at an angle of 45 degrees or below. If that doesn’t work, continue to experiment. No single angle and distance isn’t right for every piece!
Keep it Simple
The best thing you can ever do in your photographs is keep it simple. Placement of the object is important, and you should be sure that there’s nothing else in the photo that could potentially steal the viewer’s focus. If possible, the object should be in its intended space of use, but not overcrowded by other things that space might normally have. If you keep it simple and clear, the viewer will always know what piece and features they should be looking at in your photograph.