Professional product photography is essential if someone runs an e-commerce store or wants to showcase their creations on social media. This guide covers the equipment recommended during Hypop’s workshop: The Small Business Guide to Professional Product Photography. This popular workshop was in partnership with Jasper Avenue, and during the session, business owners discovered how to boost sales through high-quality images.
Camera and Lenses
Taking product shots with a smartphone is possible, but a DSLR or mirrorless camera with specialist lenses is a better option. Many camera accessories are unsuitable for smartphones; for example, a wireless trigger on a camera enables the firing of multiple flashes, and they have Bluetooth connectivity for the adjustment of the flash mode, power output, modelling light, and high-speed sync. The Godox XProII wireless flash trigger lets the photographer reliably trigger flashes up to 100 metres away. It offers advanced control capabilities for working with system-specific features and is available for Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm, Leica, Olympus, and Panasonic cameras.
Smart photographers and videographers also use the Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Duo to ensure accurate colour rendering from capture to post-production. When used with calibration software, it assesses camera reactions under different photography lighting scenarios. The 24 patches are hues found in nature and include sky blue, skin tones, and green foliage.
As photos are taken on a camera, the Tether Tools TetherPro USB-C to USB 2.0 Micro-B 5-Pin 4.6m cable provides a streamlined connection to a computer. Photographers view the images on a laptop screen instead of trying to gauge the clarity of a shot from the back of the camera. Being coated in high-visibility orange, this cable stands out and avoids becoming a tripping hazard.
Stabilisation & Support
When doing small business photography, having a camera on a tripod further reduces the possibility of camera shake and blurred photos. The Spectrum 260cm heavy-duty tripod is often used for cameras but is also robust enough to support a studio light. An alternative for flat lay product shots is the Beike QZSD Q202F tripod with its convertible centre column. It has a ball head with a pan-tilt handle for adjusting the camera from front-facing to flat lay. It also includes a smartphone bracket for easy smartphone shots.
Taking e-commerce product shots is made easier with continuous lighting and flashes. Controlling the direction and intensity of photography lighting is crucial for creating professional images. Continuous lighting in studio photography refers to a lighting setup that emits a constant stream of light, allowing photographers to see exactly how the light falls on the subject in real time.
Flashes, also known as strobe lights, offer several advantages in studio photography. Flashes have short bursts of light that produce sharp images. Studio flashes are also compact and portable, making them suitable for on-location shoots and studio work. The Godox SK400II-V 400W flash strobe with LED modelling lamp is an example of an excellent light that is ideal for product photography and portraits.
Softboxes, diffusers, and modifiers are commonly added to flashes and lights to minimise harsh shadows and create a flattering appearance. If you are on a budget, reflectors are a cost-effective way to manipulate light and improve your studio photography. Reflectors bounce light back onto the subject, filling in shadows created by the primary light source. Reflectors are lightweight and foldable, making them easy to carry to different shooting locations. The Spectrum Multi-Standard 5-in-1 reflector set has different surfaces, such as silver, gold, and white. Each colour produces a slightly different quality of reflected light, allowing the photographer to create specific moods. If a stand is required, consider the 5-in-1 Reflector With Stand and Boom Arm kit, which allows fine adjustments to the reflector’s position to get the right angle.
Product photographers often prefer a plain background because it provides a clean, professional canvas for them to work with. Seamless paper rolls are an excellent choice, offering versatility in colours and styles. One of our most popular colours is Marshmallow White. It’s available as a half-roll or full-size paper roll. For portability, use seamless paper rolls and a sturdy backdrop stand with a segmented crossbar. And remember to order some Professional Large Backdrop Pegs at the same time. These clamps are 16cm with a 9cm opening, making them the best choice for clipping muslin, paper, and canvas backdrops to the crossbar.
A T-stand is ideally suited for holding small muslin backdrops and as a flat lay backdrop stand. It is a space-efficient option for mounting backdrops that are 3 kilograms or less. In its full format, it’s 2 metres by 2 metres, but the kit easily packs into a carry bag, making it ideal for on-location shoots or compact storage. Four 10-centimetre pegs are included in this kit so that backdrops and flat lays remain securely attached to the stand.
Flat lay backdrops are versatile surfaces used in photography to create visually captivating images of flat-laid objects. These backdrops for product photography feature matte, non-reflective surfaces and come in various designs, textures, and sizes, making them suitable for a tabletop or a larger setup. Flat lay backdrops are a practical solution for creating visually engaging and well-composed images.
When photographers don’t want to invest in a backdrop stand with paper or muslin backgrounds, they use Pro-Boards on a table to achieve similar results. These backdrops are professional, realistic-looking photographic backdrops. Two stands are included for a 90-degree angle seamless floor-to-wall setup.
Photographers can add unique elements to a product shoot with Geometric Props. These product styling props are available as circles, cubes and arches. They come in a range of stunning colours. When simplicity is required, we also have a white arch from Pro.Props that combines subtlety with style. And if a shot requires added dimension, layers, and flair, see the range of ribbed transparent acrylic sheets or an artificial palm leaf.
When the camera has been put away, photo editing begins. The Calibrite ColorChecker Passport Duo includes two video targets for post-production video editing software, whereas Lightroom and Photoshop provide tools for enhancing still shots. During a photography session, factors like lighting, exposure, and composition may not always align perfectly, leading to inconsistencies in the photos. Editing provides an opportunity to correct these issues, adjusting exposure, contrast, and colour balance to create appealing images that meet creative and technical standards.
High-quality e-commerce photography serves as the initial impression for potential customers of small businesses. Photographers and videographers elevate their work by using quality lighting, backdrops and props. In this blog post, we’ve listed the essential items required to create stunning product shots. With these tools, a photographer can turn objects into art. Get started!