Product Photography Tricks Of The Trade

Published: 22nd March 2011
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Depending on the nature of your business product photography is something which can prove to be extremely difficult. There are some products which it seems are almost too easy to photograph well, making advertising photography simple. But more often than not it is those products which people assume are easy to photograph which in reality are extremely challenging.

In this article we will look at a few examples of how product photography can be seriously underestimated, and may even backfire unless you take advantage of a seriously professional and highly experienced product photographer who knows the tricks of the trade well enough to be able to overcome the many problems in advertising photography which most of us don't even realise exist.

The first area includes those products which are reflective in some way. This will of course include mirrors, but just as easily can include things like kettles, toasters, metallic lighting fixtures and even those products which may reflect light in a less clear way, such as DVDs and CDs. Reflections can be particularly hard to deal with, because whilst it may be relatively easy to set up the stage area with a back cloth and lighting, reflections will achieve several things you'd rather avoid.

First of all there's the risk of the photographer and the camera equipment being visible in the reflection, as well as the studio, business, warehouse and other aspects which you really would rather were not included in the photograph. Reflections can also detract from the product itself, as well as reducing the way in which the lighting works, and in some cases may simply cause confusion between the product and the reflections seen in the products.

So how you photograph something which reflects so easily, such as mirrors, without the photographer, lighting, camera and everything else being visible within it? A professional photographer knows tricks of the trade which can manage to take a photograph which looks completely natural, and which will raise no suspicions at all that anything is out of the ordinary, but which at the same time will ensure that there are no reflections at all revealing what was in front of the product.

Another example is jewellery, in particular diamond jewellery. The problem is that the human eye works in a very different way to the lens of a camera, yet many people don't realise this when it comes to product photography. Many people think that taking a photograph of something which looks good in real life will necessarily result in a product photograph which looks similarly stunning.

The reality is that most photographs of diamonds and diamond jewellery makes it look more like glass. None of the sparkly reflections or colours are apparent, and as far as advertising photography goes, trying to sell diamond jewellery that looks like a rather plain bit of glass is clearly not a successful tactic. Again, as far as advertising photography is concerned professional photographers have a number of neat tricks which can create the same dazzling impression the human sees, but within the form of product photography. One of the techniques used is to have a circle of LEDs, particularly coloured LEDs, in addition to the standard studio lighting. It is these coloured LEDs encircling the diamond jewellery which results in the cascade of sparkles and colours which bring the diamonds to life.

Another example relating to jewellery is things like necklaces, watches and bracelets, because simply placed on the surface they end up looking extremely flat. Propped up on a stand the jewellery may look better, but the stands can act as a distraction. Professional photographers will use several tricks in such cases, such as invisible wires which can be erased in postproduction. Product photography is certainly not easy, and to be successful requires many years' experience learning and huge number of tricks of the trade.

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