Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Getting amazing images of your product

I was asked by the talented and amazing Rosa, of Gabry Road to post a guest blog on something I know a bit I have been a professional photographer for a little over 3 years now and have learned many, many things over the years. Lots of it was by teachers in classrooms, most of it was trial, error and experimenting.

If I could save you some time with trial and error and have you learn from a few of my mistakes, then let's get to work!

Photographing products is a lot different from photographing people. It is a little more forgiving, and the subjects are very patient, kind, and will wait as long as you need for the shot without complaining.

The key to all photography is ....light. In fact, Photography means "painting with light". The best kind of light, is natural light. Get close to the window with your products and use the natural light. If you are using a DSLR camera (one of those bigger cameras with removable lenses and manual controls) try playing with the manual controls. Even if you don't have a DSLR camera, your point and shoot may have manual controls to help you with lighting.

Now that you are near a light source, make sure that flash is OFF! On camera flashes are the most awful light there is, it leaves unwanted shadows and ruins the photo. Use the flash only for fill light when you are at a distance or it is dark indoors.

Using the camera's manual controls, try to turn UP the ISO and DOWN the APPERATURE. That will let in a lot more light to the picture. You can also try to turn DOWN the SHUTTER SPEED, since the product won't be moving you can turn down that shutter speed to as low as you want and as long as you are on a tripod, the photo will turn out amazing.

Another important thing to keep in mind is Composition. How you place the object and where it is in your screen is important, it can be the difference between interesting and BORING! Think about your screen with the rule of thirds. Try to include your product in one of the thirds.

Here are a few examples of product photography that I have done:

This photo of a photo album product I sell was taken in a "different" type of way. Rather than just a head on shot of it from the front (like the boring one photo on the right here above) where there is no detail and it just looks like any old black book. Instead, I decided to open it up and lay it down. I flipped the pages to show some depth and it was done! I used no flash, just natural light in the middle of the day. I did move the table closer to the window to get more light as well as turned my iso up a bit and the app. down to probably 5.0 or lower.

These cookie shots were done at a clients house. I did bring my speedlight (flash that attaches to your camera) as well as some white paper. I set up the scene and took these shots. I used an attachment on my flash to soften the light so the flash wasn't pointing straight on to the product. I have a bit of shadows here, but it adds to the detail as well as separates the product from the background to make it look like a real cookie (which is was and was soooooo delish).

This photo is of a card that I created with an image that I took. We created these cards as part of a marketing promo I was doing and I wanted to showcase the cards on my blog which you can read here:


I used my studio light for these shots, but the same idea could be done using a white sheet over a large window, or a light bouncer for your flash. You can also use a reflector to reflect the light on the side that needs it.

Feel free to email me any questions you may have about photography, how to photograph your product for the best sales.

You can find me at Silvia Photography or on Facebook.

And please don't forget Gabry Road is having a 'Like Party'!  Read here for all the details!



  1. Thanks so much Silvia for 'shedding light' on how to take great pics of our handmade goodness. So much appreciated!