Being more technically inclined, even though most people view me as a creative, I find myself more drawn to products and commercial photography. I guess the creative side revels in being totally lost in creating the perfect image required with product photography. Product photography, as I say is an extremely technical discipline. More often than not, your client is going to require the images for their website, online store or a catalogue, which means you need to provide a direct representation of what the product looks like. There is very little room for artistic flair here though, in some cases like jewellery, artistic flair has its place.
That being said, product photography is also one of the most interesting fields in respect to the products that have come into the studio. We have seen everything from high end race car parts to HIV test kits come through the doors. The commercial side has always taken me to some very interesting sites.
The anchor of all my product photography equipment has to be my infinity curve table. This table was made by me a few years ago and, if I say so myself, it is a remarkably well designed feat of engineering. It is high enough to comfortably fit studio lights underneath and is able to fold up and fit onto roof-racks of a small car. It also has wheels welded to the bottom to make it more manageable in a studio environment. It takes a sheet of Acrylic UHI resist 65 opal that is 1m x 2m x 3mm. This is the correct translucency, strong enough to support reasonably heavy products such as turbos yet flexible enough to create the required curve under its own weight. It is also slightly more scratch resistant than perspex.
I always do my product photography tethered to a PC with a monitor that is calibrated regularly. This provides me with more accurate colours and exposure and it allows me to view the lighting in more detail. Another added bonus is it allows the client to approve the composition as we shoot if the client is present.
A few relevant points:
- I always make use of a lens with a focal length the same or longer than the “standard lens” for the sensor I am using. A full frame is 50mm and a cropped sensor is 30mm (approx figures based on the diagonal of the sensor). This will prevent distortion. I always use a 70-200mm F2.8 for product photography as it allows me to get further away from the product to increase the depth of field.
- I always make use of a grey card to ensure your colours are correct.
- I factor in extra time spent with you, client to familiarize myself with the products and the brief.
- When shooting “sensitive” products such as medical products, it is advisable for you or a representative of your company to be present as incorrect composition (e.g. in shooting medical test kits) may have dire consequences.
If you have any further queries regarding product or commercial photography, please do not hesitate to contact me.