What is product photography?
What does a product photography studio need to take professional photos?
Why product photography?
Product photography is the representation of an object that we can normally see in 3 dimensions in a 2-dimensional image, it is nothing more than a photo of a product that today we can see in any catalog, advertisements in magazines, web pages or businesses in line.
To go into more detail, product photography is a branch of commercial advertising photography, which is why our product photo will have certain special characteristics that are not appreciated in other photographic disciplines.
These characteristics are based on the fact that we must manage to represent the product in an almost identical way to how we see it live and direct, and also take a creative photograph of the product, so that it is much more interesting and attractive to the future consumer.
It is something very relative, since it depends on a fundamental factor, which style of product photography is the best or do you want to orient yourself, since this photographic discipline, being so complex, requires a lot of equipment to take the best product photos.
There is a minimum equipment that a product photography studio should have, which in addition to the camera and lenses, is the use of a very stable tripod, different studio lights such as flashes and continuous lights, but above all, many light modifiers , lighting diffusers, different types of accessories and supports and enough space to take product photos, with the camera connected to a PC, remote controls for cameras and flashes, developing and editing software, among others.
It is also necessary to put into practice some special techniques such as freezing the movement of liquids or particles, special flashes are used and these types of flashes are very expensive and not all studios can afford them.
The quality of the products is not only inside, the substance is important but also the eye wants its part and for this reason improving or renewing the image of the products helps to increase sales.
Products must be increasingly captivating, attractive and appetizing. Customers always want to experience new emotions and this can also be done through a photograph.
I am a freelance advertising photographer and I specialized in products. My passion for photography has led me to choose products where I can best express my creativity, to always give them the best image, through total control of the light.
How to photograph products?
With our product photos we must represent what we see, be it the textures, shapes, types of materials and dimensions. This is achieved by having complete control of the lighting, through special techniques to correctly photograph the products, with specific instruments to control the studio lights, such as the different types of modifiers, diffusers and reflectors, among others.
Only in this way will it be possible to achieve a 2-dimensional image highlighting all the qualities of the products that we want to promote, since product photography is oriented towards sales and promotion.
Of course, for this, the creativity of the product photographer is very necessary, in addition to the marketing of the brand. Through the product photo we must achieve the desired result: make the client or future client make the decision to purchase the promoted product.
As an advertising photographer, in my product photography studio I know exactly what it means and that is how I have achieved the satisfaction of my clients with product photography for catalogs.
For this reason, product photography is considered one of the most complex and complete among all the disciplines of photography. The product photographer, with studies and experience, is the one who best knows how to manage light and use it in each situation, obtaining photographs of professional product.
If a customer is looking for a certain product, it is because they intend to buy it, since the fundamental steps are: attraction, interest, decision and action through a call, direct purchase or email.
In order to create the attraction with a descriptive and creative image, through an interesting product photography or with visual impact plus a description that satisfies the needs of the client and also with images of details, angles and without distractions, we managed to transform that decision into an action, buy the product or contact a representative or seller.
In short, product photography is a necessary tool for promoting products and increasing sales.
What types or photographic styles exist in product photography?
There are several types or styles of product photography that I will try to explain and differentiate in a synthetic way below.
Simple product photography
Well, as its name indicates, it is a style of professional photos for products where we will find our product alone and well represented, without adding any other distraction or complement.
It should not be confused with photography for e-commerce or for online stores, since it is the product that stands alone but not with a white background photo, which is a simple product photography, but in reality it is not generated to create attraction but rather decision. On the other hand, product photography that generates attraction is usually seen with a different, more creative lighting, with illuminated backgrounds, reflective bases and so on.
E-commerce product photography
It is a variant of the simple professional product photography but it is only intended to illustrate a product, from different angles and details, they are usually photographs with a white background with a quality designed for the web.
In e-commerce photography, as the name suggests, the goal is to take photos that are useful to accompany the description of a product, on an online store. They are the classic photographs found on eBay or Amazon, generally on a white background, with classic shooting angles: front, back, profile, etc.
The e-commerce shots aim to represent the object with detail and precision. The main purpose is to show the customer the object in a legible and detailed way. It is an objective and non-subjective type of shot, essential for representing textures, colors and materials in a realistic way. They are photos of quality suitable for the web, with low resolution.
Product photography in still life
This style of product photography itself is what is known as nature morte in art and we can find many still life photographs that do not represent the product but the art of the photographer to convey his emotion in his photographic art work.
On the other hand, still life photos for products are represented in another way, it is where our product interacts with the environment, often we see them represented with other elements (called props) that generate a composition of the image that integrates with the product and generate a sensation in the viewer.
Life Style Photography
Another style within product photography is Life Style photography, although it sounds very similar to still life, it should not be confused because it is very different.
This style within the product photos is more oriented to the integration of the product with the consumer and therefore not only the product is seen with its environment, but the human presence is also integrated.
In Lifestyle, you interact directly with the person, where the product is the protagonist, but without many special techniques to highlight the product itself, but rather to highlight the interaction with your potential buyer.
Gastronomic Product Photography
Finally I will talk about gastronomic photography, which is product photography, but oriented to food. A product photo is also a photo of food but only food, that is, something that we will put in our mouths for our satisfaction.
Gastronomic photography can be represented with the product or food only in its traditional presentation or it can be integrated as still life or life style and even with e-commerce.
This style of photography has a special technique within product photography, especially with regard to lighting, composition and focal planes and it is for this very reason that I affirm that product photography is the most complex of all photographic disciplines.
Do your product photos need editing?
Product photography, and especially advertising photography, requires a lot of editing work, in fact, post-production takes many times more time than the photographic shooting session. A good product photography should always be well edited and the editing of product photos requires a lot of specific technical knowledge and specialized software.
That is why I have followed courses and learned from top-level editors specialized in products based in the USA, only thanks to this, is that I can achieve that my photographs obtain the quality and the great difference in the final result, which satisfies not only to the client, but also to the final consumer.
In advertising photography, the original creative process and setting are as important as the subject. The sets are built ad hoc: the lighting, the props, the special effects are unique and customized for each single shot. It’s easy to imagine that this type of shot requires a different budget.
However, the result contributes significantly to creating the aura of the product as perceived by the customer. Luxury brands in every sector rely on this type of communication to make the end customer perceive the exclusivity of their products. They are high quality and resolution photographs, where you work on a specific concept that enhances the characteristics of the product and are suitable for printing.