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Learn All the Answers about Product Photography

Everything about Product Photography

Learn everything there is to know about becoming a product photographer.

Find Inspiration

The Best Product Photography Portfolio Examples of 2022

Whether you already have a product photography website or are building one from scratch, it’s always worthwhile to look at other inspiring portfolios and get ideas for your own. As a best practice, we recommend reviewing your site at least 1-2 times each year to see what content or design might need to be refreshed. We’ve found a professional and organized product photography portfolio example that you can click through for inspiration; you’re sure to find some fresh ideas for how you can design your own.

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The Best Product Photography Ideas

Product photography is all about displaying and highlighting specific features of a product. Great product photographs are evocative and powerful, pulsing with creativity and meaning.  Generally used as eye-catching visuals for promoting and marketing products, these photos are commonly seen on e-commerce websites and social media accounts, and in digital and print advertisements. 

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Beauty product photography ideas.

Zoom in: Beauty products are small, but potential customers would want to know what the product looks like in real life. Capture the textures, details, and exact color shades of the product up close. 

Display the product in action: With the help of a model, product photos that show us how these beauty products are used and what effect they can offer, make for powerful commercial and artistic images. 

Craft a simple product arrangement: Instead of taking pictures of individual products, why not group similar or related products and strengthen the brand message with a single creative shot of multiple offerings?

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Skincare product photography ideas.

Model close-ups: Show viewers the glowing skin a person gets after using the product. 

Splash some water: Water isn’t that easy to photograph just right—but as a symbol of health, freshness, and cleanliness, the presence of water or water drops in your skincare product photo can be powerful. Use glycerin instead of water to create the effect of water droplets on a product.

Put the product in context: For sunscreen, a shot with the product at the beach on a sunny day sends a provocative and meaningful message to the viewer. Consider the environment you’re shooting the product in, and use details to your advantage.

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Cosmetic product photography ideas.

Use product ingredients as props: Is the cosmetic product lemon-infused, or does it contain mint essential oil? Consider adding lemon slices or fresh mint leaves to add color and interest to the final image.

Elevate the product: Shooting from slightly below the product makes it look more impressive, imposing, and interesting. Place cosmetic items on a block or lower your camera for this effect.

Create the perfect smear: A smear or dab of the cosmetic product against a neutral or complimentary background demonstrates the color and texture of the product all at once.

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Candle product photography ideas.

Use a textured platform: Candle “coasters” like a naturally textured stone, a wood round, or a crocheted doily bring elegance to a candle photo when placed against a neutral background.

Add a human element: Have a model hold a candle with both hands, or catch them about to blow out the candle. Bringing a person into the picture in a small way directly connects the viewer to the product. 

Capture the moment the candle is being lit: For this, you may need an assistant or remote shutter release. A picture of a candle being lit builds a strong association that makes the viewer want to do the same. 

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Food product photography ideas.

Make sure ingredients are fresh: If you’re trying to find an angle that would hide that bruise on the tomato, or if you find yourself arranging and rearranging the lettuce to make sure you don’t capture any wilted parts, throw out the products and use the freshest subjects instead. 

Take advantage of negative space: Leave a blank space within the frame of your food photograph to add interest and balance to the image, and to also provide a spot for your client’s logo or advertising copy. 

Add a story to the dish: A plain loaf of bread by itself is boring. But cut a few slices, add a dab of softened butter, and a plate and butter knife (and maybe a cup of coffee?), and you’ve got yourself a delicious breakfast scene. This helps the viewer place themselves in that moment.

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Product photography: Clothes photography ideas.

Prepare the clothes: Don’t forget to check the clothes for lint, stains, unwanted creases and wrinkles, and other imperfections before taking the shot. Be prepared! Bring along a lint roller and a portable garment steamer so you can fix issues without any headaches on shoot day. 

Hire a model: This is the best way to showcase the outfit by bringing it to life and putting it into context. Stuffing the shirts and pants with tissue paper is your second-best choice for filling out clothes.

Photograph clothes “in the air”: With a bit of fishing line and artistic vision, clothes can be made to seem hanging weightlessly in mid-air, waiting for the viewer to come along and slip into them.

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Bag product photography ideas.

Use context: Keeping the bag as the focus of the image, show us how the bag is best used, what outfits it pairs well with, and where we could take it. 

Bring out the texture: Is this particular handbag made of recycled denim or genuine leather? With the proper lighting and camera settings, you can highlight what makes this bag stand out from the rest.

Stuff the bag first: To keep the empty purse or duffle bag from looking floppy and shapeless, fill it with some tissue paper or cotton before shooting.

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Jewelry product photography ideas.

Create a romantic mood: As mentioned, the use of bokeh and other soft lighting techniques can add a dreamy, wistful feel to jewelry images. 

Bring out the sparkle: With creative lighting for focused highlights, you can bring out the luminosity of the gold, silver, and/or precious stones.

Be creative with props: Don’t stop at using jewelry boxes or a model. Try hanging earrings on a beautiful plant, or capture a pair of rings splashing into water together! 

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Baby product photography ideas.

Capture entire outfits in a flat lay: When there’s no cute baby to dress up for the product photo, consider laying out an entire outfit against a single-color background, and photographing it from above.

Make toys come alive: Add movement, color, and exciting lighting to bring life to stuffed animals, colorful teethers, and more. 

Take the picture in a nursery: The power of a real-life backdrop for baby items cannot be overestimated. Place the baby product in its natural environment, and let the composition of the product photograph reveal itself.

 

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Shoe product photography ideas.

Use a model: Photographing shoes on someone’s feet adds life and context to the final image, compared to a shot of shoes by themselves. 

Shoot a 360: A recent advancement in photography, 360 photos allow viewers to engage with the image, viewing the product from all angles. 

Focus on specific details: What’s the standout feature of the shoe — the innovative sole tread, the steel-reinforced toe, the particular type of fabric, or the unique color theme?

 

Website Templates for Product Photographers

Our easy-to-use templates can be personalized into thousands of different design iterations uniquely suited for your business.

Our new District template features bold fonts and a neutral palette designed to perfectly complement your photos. This template provides an ideal background for any photographer.

A unique carousel with character to showcase your work in minimalist frames that perfectly present your session types and specialized genres.

A striking gallery designed for universal, modern, well-arranged photography images.

After you perfectly capture life in the camera, show its many angles in this grid view design.

Let your images make a big statement in the space of a gorgeous single page site design.

Romantically tell the story of engagements, weddings, and maternity.

A striking template to capture powerful product photography.

A soft color palette and elegant script font are the perfect way to display romantic engagement and wedding photos.

Southwest

The black canvas background sets the stage for high contrast photos while evoking a moody style.

Check Out Website Templates for Product Photographers

Make A Living

Professional Product Photography

Product photography is a type of commercial photography that involves taking professional photos to be used on eCommerce websites, social media platforms, and stores to help drive sales of the featured product. 

In this article, you will learn how to start a professional product photography business and the best product photography equipment to add to your photography tool kit.

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Learn It All

Product Photography Tips

When you’re just getting your start in product photography, there are a number of product photography tips for beginners to keep in mind for the best results.

For many e-commerce businesses, images play an extremely important role in getting people to click on their products and buy them. If your product photos aren’t eye-catching and make the viewer interested enough to click on them, you’re going to have a harder time getting sales and making money through your business.

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Artificial lighting.

This is more of an ongoing trend and involves using artificial lighting equipment when taking product photos. This might seem like overkill if you’re just starting with product photography, but if you plan on doing it professionally (or semi-professionally), it’s best to start off right from day one.

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Minimalism.

One noticeable trend is toward minimalism when it comes to backgrounds and product displays; simple white spaces tend to be favored over busy, colorful backdrops (though there are always exceptions). Many products are shot on white backgrounds these days, and it’s understandable because these backgrounds help products stand out more.

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Drones.

More and more product photographers are using drones to capture their photos. This is a bold, yet smart move because drones give you full control of what angle to take your photo at. While it may require a bit more setup to get the right shot, it’s very useful.

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Using shadows.

Another common trend in product photography is how people are using shadows on their products to give them depth and realism. You can achieve this effect by placing your subject against a darker background or even by placing them against a white wall or piece of furniture where they’ll be easy to see against the backdrop.

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Lifestyle elements.

Many consumers want brands that appeal to them personally, so don’t forget about engagement with your audience. To do this, consider adding lifestyle elements like food styling or location photos in your shots to show off how much thought goes into creating these images. Customers who can see themselves reflected in the product images they’re seeing will be more likely to turn into paying customers.

Professional Product Photography Guide

Product photography is a branch of photography that covers the photographing of products for commercial purposes, also called commercial product photography. This type of photography can include products for use in advertisements, packaging, or online sales, to name a few.

Product photography typically requires specialized equipment and techniques and an understanding of commercial product styling. It’s all about making the product look its best. This means choosing the right location, lighting, and angle to make the product stand out.

Product photography can be a challenging but rewarding field. And if you’re interested in making a career in product photography, we recommend you start here to familiarize yourself with the basics first.

 

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Product Photography FAQ’s

How do you get into product photography?

You need a portfolio to showcase product photographs to potential clients. Get some products and take different shots. You can even use products you have lying around the house. Many new product photographers start freelance gigs with minimum compensation to build their product photography portfolios. 

How much to charge for product photography?

Experienced product photographers charge product photos based on production costs, creative fees, and commercial usage. A rule of thumb for the amount to charge for product photography is to know your value and not be under-charging for your work. Do some in-depth market research to gain insights on the profitability of your client’s products, and take photos that’d be hard for others to duplicate. Pricing for your photography will vary depending on how you set up your business, but generally speaking, make sure all of your expenses are being met, take into account what you want your salary to be, and charge licensing and usage fees. 

How to get product photography clients?

Word of mouth is the main source of how product photographers get new clients, followed by portfolio websites (like Zenfolio) and social media (Instagram). You can also try other methods to find new clients via Facebook, Google search, agencies, LinkedIn, or other social media sites with an emphasis on images.

How to find product photography jobs?

Many product photography jobs were marketed and found on social media sites such as Facebook groups/pages, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can also find product photography jobs on freelance sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. Instagram and portfolio websites like Zenfolio are among the most popular to get future referrals.

How do I sell my product photos?

You can sell your product photos by creating courses and workshops, selling prints online, and selling digital downloads. You can also sell your product photos by making in-person sales or self-publish photo books. Most product photographers sell their photos by doing photoshoots for their clients, while others focus on stock photography.

Does product photography pay well?

Product photography pays well in the industry compared to other shoot types. According to the 2022 State of the Photography Industry Report, roughly 80% of part-time, self-employed product photographers made more than $10,000 a year with average revenue of $20,000-25,000. 10% of part-time product photographers made around $60,000-80,000.

How to shoot product photography?

First, you need to define how you want to make the viewers feel about the product before shooting photographs. This will often be defined by the client brief, but there is also space for you as the photographer to inject a feeling or narrative into the images. Use lighting and styling to invoke that feeling and reinforce the branding in the photo. Utilize depth and composition to create visual interest and make the products stand out.

How to set up lighting for product photography?

Try setting up two lighting sources to give products optimum light exposure in product photography. Set one light to one side and a large soft box on the other to widely disperse the light over the scene. Feel free to adjust the direction of these two light sources and play with the shadow effects on the product. 

How to eliminate shadows in product photography?

Using a piece of white card to reflect the light towards the side is an easy way to control unwanted shadows in product photography. You can also use a softbox to create a soft light to wrap around the product.

How to get a perfect white background in product photography?

You can use the light itself as the backdrop to get a perfect white background in product photography. Be mindful of the distance between the light and the product in this setup. Ensure the background lighting is slightly below pure white to avoid flare on the product. You can also set up your product on a seamless white background and light the background evenly with 2 lights, and light the product independently of the background lighting.

How to use umbrella lights for product photography?

You can use umbrella lights to create a soft glow on the products for product photography. You need to mount the umbrella to the light source on a light stand and ensure the distance between the light source and the umbrella is creating the desired effect. Shine the umbrella lights directly at the product for the best results. Keep in mind umbrellas will create a more contrasty light compared to softboxes.

How to use light box for product photography?

Try using light boxes for product photography. The lights, reflectors, and backdrops are inside one convenient space. All you need is to put the product inside the box and snap photos from the opening of the box. You can move the lighting to different positions of the box to get the desired glow on the product.

How to show scale in product photography?

Showing scale in product photography gives the viewers a sense of the product size in real life. You need to compare the product with an item that your viewers are familiar with. Placing items such as a ruler, coin, or dollar bill next to the product is a great way to show scale.

How to build a product photography portfolio?

You need to figure out your niche in product photography and build a portfolio that will bring you continued clientele in that niche. A good portfolio will reflect who you are as a photographer, what types of products you specialize in, and whom you work for. A portfolio should have at least 10 – 15 images that you’re proud of. As you get more work your portfolio will grow too. Make sure you’re constantly updating your online portfolio website with your newest and best images so you can pulling in the most relevant clients.

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