CC0 Licensed Image Courtesy of Pexels
You can get amazing product shots when you learn how to control light and use the camera you have at hand. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but you will learn as you go along by doing things like eliminating camera shake. But why take product shots?
Well, to sell them, of course. It can help to target specific companies in a particular niche when marketing. You can also make a name for yourself with an online portfolio via a personal blog or a stock service.
Mastering Product Photography
There is a great market for product photography, and it's a niche pretty much on its own. But it is competitive, and your images really need to stand out to gain attention. This is much harder if you are looking to market images later.
But it can also really help boost sales and traffic if you take excellent images for your own blog or eCommerce store. There are various tools at your disposal, such as camera phones and DSLRs, while DrDrone has more info on camera drones.
Choose Your Weapon
Finding your camera of choice is the most essential decision early on. You can, of course, branch out and begin to use different cameras as you learn more advanced methods. But at the beginner level, even a smartphone camera qualifies if it is good enough.
Google Pixel cameras are pretty much rated the best right now. You can also buy an entry-level DSLR like the Canon 4000D or experiment with drones and aerial photography for niche shots and videography.
Master Lighting For Amazing Product Shots
Lighting is the key element for high-quality images. Once you learn how to master lighting, your product images will be elevated and enhanced to an almost professional level. But, of course, this is also the most difficult thing to master when it comes to photography.
For products, though, you may only need to work with white light and blank scenes, but this isn't always the case. To control the light, you need LED lights or lightboxes and try not to use the sun for light.
Stabilize The Images
Image stabilization is vital for taking high-quality shots. Even with a steady hand, your natural movement will cause some degree of camera shake, and this ends up in the image. You can use lenses with built-in image stabilization, but these are extremely expensive, running into thousands of dollars.
The cheapest way is to use a tripod and a timer. But you can also use a remote shutter release if your camera supports it, so you don't have to touch the camera.
Set The Scene Well
You will use different backdrops and scenes depending on the products you are shooting. General product photography calls for simple blank white backdrops. But even these must be smooth and well-lit so you don't get sharp angles that alter the light and detract from the product.
However, some products, such as candles, benefit from a staged scene. For example, they will be placed on a table in a dimly lit room so customers can see the light of the flame.
BONUS: Essential Equipment
Photography isn't as simple as pointing and shooting. Sure, you can take pictures that way, but they generally won't be the best for products. Product photography requires a pretty good setup. Otherwise, you are simply wasting your time.
And as you know, time is money. So, before you go waiting either, here is some essential equipment to consider for your photo business:
- Flash attachments and light diffusers for taking the edge off hard lighting.
- A tripod for keeping your camera at a specific height and as steady as possible.
- Remote shutter release so you don't have to touch the camera's shutter button.
- LED lighting rigs for controlling the amount of light in a specific scene.
- Lightboxes and portable backdrops for getting the scene you need.
- Board reflectors if you really have to use sunlight to light the scene.
- A good quality camera backpack for lugging equipment around.
You may or may not need all of these depending on where you shoot and what you shoot. But having at least a tripod can make a world of difference when taking shots of stationary scenes. Image stabilization devices will also enhance your images, but you can use timers if necessary.
Marketing Your Product Shots
What are you taking all these great images for? Really, ask yourself. Photography is fun; that's a fact. But with all the costs and spending a lot of time, is it too much to ask yourself to look for ways to make some money from doing what you love?
Believe it or not, you can make money from product photography and really make a name for yourself. It is hard and can take a long time, but here are some ways you can market your shots and yourself as a photographer.
Master a Specific Niche
You may have heard this a thousand times, but mastering a niche is vital. General photography is fine; even general product photography is fine. But a football player doesn't become a general sportsman.
You need to focus on something and strive to be the best in that field. The aim is to get so good and popular that companies think of your name first when they want product images. Industrial products are a great example because it requires working in harsh conditions.
Find Companies That Need Amazing Product Shots
There are a lot of companies out there that need regular product images. You can begin by looking for local services related to your niche and reach out. It will definitely help to send some samples and direct them to any previous work you have done.
Trade magazines are also a great place to find potential customers. Look at the back issues of specific magazines and highlight companies that advertise a lot and reach out to known marketing agencies as well.
Create an Online Showcase of Your Work
You won't get work if you can't demonstrate that you know what you are doing. So you need something to show customers, clients, and employers. But how? Well, that's actually the easy part. All you need is a blog that can showcase your work.
You can create a photo gallery blog in WordPress or Wix in less than an hour. You should also supplement this with images on social media for easy access to your work and for creating an online buzz with likes and sharing tools.
Submit to Stock Photography Libraries
There are many online stock photography libraries to which you can submit your work. Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash pay royalties, but they are very small. These are great for starting out and can get you some exposure, but the competition is fierce, and you need to photograph like it's a full-time job.
However, when you do get better at it, you can submit to high-paying stock sites like Shutterstock, which pays better but requires a more professional-level of work.
You must decide early on what camera you will use when taking amazing product shots. You can then begin to learn about mastering lighting for various scenes and keeping the camera stable. From there, you can market your images in various ways. It helps to choose a niche where you can create specific shots.
You can then reach out to local businesses and ad agencies. It also helps to have an online space where they can see the great work that you do.