The Trade Secrets Of A Product Photography Studio

Published: 22nd November 2011
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If you think you can't afford to hire a professional product photography studio then you may well be getting your sums wrong. Because with all of the tricks of the trade and the inside tips which professional advertising photographers have at their disposal, a product photography studio is about much more than simply lights and cameras.

Trying to carry out your own product photography could be a false economy, because it is inevitable that no matter how hard you try the quality of your images will fall far short of that which can be produced by the professionals. By taking advantage of the raft of skills and experience which professional photographers are able to provide it's usually possible to ensure that your products fly out of the stores, and become very popular with customers.

On the other hand creating poor quality shots will not only reduce the interest your customers have in that one product, but it's likely to lower the overall impression of the business as a whole. The message which customers are likely to get when seeing poor quality, in house photographs is that the business is not too concerned with quality, and is more concerned with cutting corners and making a profit. That's hardly a good message to be offering potential customers.

Let's take one simple example and see just how easy it is to get it wrong. One of the most common items which people tend to assume they can photograph themselves is clothing. Clothes don't have many of the unusual or challenging aspects that some products do, such as glass, shiny reflective metal, or complicated shapes which produce shadows. Clothes are simply materials, and as long as the whole item is displayed and the colours are true, then what is there to do other than point and click?

One of the first mistakes which people make is to lie the clothing down on the floor or on a surface. This is wrong for two reasons. Firstly the clothing will look flat, and will be distorted, preventing the item from being seen properly and clearly. If you look in any professional catalogue of clothing you'll see that where clothing items are laid out they still manage to retain a sense of depth, with the layers or sections of the item clearly separated.

The second reason why laying clothes out flat on a surface is wrong is because the lighting will look unnatural. If you lie a piece of clothing down on the ground then the lighting is usually going to be above it, shining directly at the front of the item. But this isn't how light normally falls on clothing. When you're wearing it, whether outside or inside you'll usually find that the lighting is coming from above. This means that if you like an item of clothing down on the ground the light and shade should suggest that the lighting source is coming from above the top of the product, not directly from where the camera is positioned.

Another mistake some people make is to think that dressing the products on a friend or member of staff will do. However, unless this person is able to stand correctly and work to the same professional standard as an experienced model, the result will look more like a family holiday photo than a catalogue shoot.

A product photography studio will come packed with a myriad of tools and features which an experienced commercial advertising photographer can use to create images which look natural, even though they're often created using the most unnatural materials and secrets. If you want your products to sell, then it's important to remember that in the hands of an amateur, the camera never lies. And that's the problem.

For more information about choosing a product photography studio, or to find out how affordable a commercial advertising photographer can be visit The Packshot People.

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