The Secret to Product Photography Three Amateur Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Footwear product photographer

When you’re looking for a shirt, new shoes, or even roofing services online, what do you notice first, the words or the image? On Keystone Click, Lori Highby explains that the quality of the images you use are ultimately going to have a big impact on the return you see when competing in crowded online markets. She points out that, “It’s easy for consumers to recognize amateur and professional photography of products.”

You might think that, with digital cameras making photography more accessible than ever, that anyone can arrange a professional looking shoot. You might be surprised, though, at how often amateur efforts fall short. Use the best product photographers, and you won’t need to waste time or money on bad results. Here are three industry mistakes you might see sooner or later on one of your competitor’s websites.

1. Lack of Understanding Regarding Exposure

Even a Photoshop wiz can’t make up for bad exposure once it affects the quality of your print. Cameras, especially cheaper models, will often underexpose or overexpose photographs because their overall light reading doesn’t match up to the focus you desire on the product. Without understanding how to correctly adjust the exposure value like a professional product photographer does, many people using their cameras will cause products to appear too dark when they are placed against a white background. Adjust the EV too far, though, and the subject will appear washed out instead.

2. No Concept of Soft or Hard Light

You see this problem sometimes with wedding photography, when a less experienced photographer shifts from photographing objects to photographing people without changing their settings. Professional product photographers make use of “soft lighting.” Have you ever heard that “the camera adds ten pounds”? This illusion effect is partially the result of a difference between soft and hard lighting.

How can you tell the difference? Direct, or hard light, comes from a source such as the sun, or the flash of a camera. If you hold a finger in front of your hand, it will have a dark, clear-lined shadow. Soft light, on the other hand, will only leave a blurry, lighter shadow behind your finger. Soft light is achieved by using a light tent.

3. Not Using a Tripod

A frequent question sent to product advertising photographers is, “Is a tripod really necessary?” To get high quality and a more steady shoot, it is. The difference in detailing can be especially impacted if you are shooting at a low shutter speed. Horizontal tripods are often ideal– these tripods have an arm that can be horizontally adjusted so that you can shoot straight down on an object. This is especially conducive to flatter objects, such as plates, clothing or books.

Have you hired a professional product photographer for your business or corporate event photography? Let us know in the comments. Check out this site for more.

I’m Allison Febrey, editor of Art Magazine Online. After a few years too long in the cut-throat, competitive world of the New York City publishing industry, I decided to follow my passion and create an online magazine for modern artists around the world. This is a community site, if you’re an artist or just an art admirer, feel free to join the discussion!

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