Product photography for beginners

Posted on Posted in Photography

Product photography can be intimidating.

The angle, the lighting, the type of lens, and the field of view are just part of what makes great product photography. In this guide, I will show you how to take great product pictures worthy of not just your instagram, but in all your marketing materials!


You'll need:

  • A camera, preferably a DSLR
  • A source of light such as a window or desk lamp (make sure you use daylight bulbs)
  • A photo editing program  or app (I use lightroom and/or photoshop, but there are plenty of free ones out there)
  • A piece of white foam core
  • An exacto knife or box cutter
  • [Optional] A background or lightbox (you can just use white posterboard)
  • [Optional] A Tripod (they make it a lot easier, but not super neccesary
  • Your product (duh)


Get your space and equipment ready

First, figure out where you are going to be taking your pictures. Some products look great with context; for example, a fancy chef knife might look best with a wooden cutting board and some expertly-sliced vegetables. Other products, like jewelry, might be best on a plain white background. Whatever you choose, just make sure everything is clean.*

*If you are planning on selling products on Amazon, they MUST be on a white background.

If you are using a DSLR, pick a lens that suits what you're shooting. My personal favorite is the Canon 50mm 1:8. Also known as the nifty fifty, this lens creates a wonderful, shallow depth of field, and lets in a ton of light. It's also relatively inexpensive as far as lenses go; it's only $125 brand new.

Again, make sure which ever lighting you use is daylight balanced. If you don't have a light available, try to get as close to a window as you possibly can without the product being in direct sunlight.

If you are using white poster board, set it on your space and slide it up the wall. Make sure there is enough room to set your product on, as well as white space above your product.

Next, slice your foam core down the middle, then bend it so it makes a corner. Set the foam core on the side of your product, opposite your main light source. This will create a nice fill light to make your photos look professional.


Taking the Picture

Now the fun part! Since we set up the scene already, this should be easy. Most of the time you can just use your camera on auto, but if it's giving you trouble, use the manual focus.

Generally speaking, most product photography is taken straight on, but feel free to experiment with different angles. Just make sure not to go to extreme - it's not a horror movie! (hopefully :O)

Make sure to take several pictures. Check in between each shot to make sure it is in focus.


Editing your photos

Upload your pictures to your computer. If you don't have a photo editing program, the built in windows / mac will be good enough to do basic editing. Your photos probably look pretty good already, so you won't need to do too much. Play with the adjustments like brightness / contrast, saturation, & sharpness. Use a very light touch!

If you are using a white background, your goal is to "blow out" the background so no more shadows exist. You can do this by boosting the white values. until the background disappears.


Tah-da! Beautiful product photography.

That's it! Now just upload your awesome pictures to your website or social media. All that's left is too recieve compliments and feel good about yourself.


Of course, if this all feels like too much work, you can always hire Athena Content Creation to do it for you 😉

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