What Every Photographer Needs to Know to Make a Perfect Product Photo
I receive many questions about how to capture and make flawless, clean images. Below are some guidelines on how a photographer can achieve excellent product photography results.
1. Plan your shoot. Have a strategy on how and where you’ll set up your lights, background and props. Think about any additional supplies you may need, such as clips/glue to secure objects and reflectors, etc. Planning ahead will help you avoid unpleasant break-downs or even rescheduling a photo session due to lack of small, but necessary items(s).
2. Remember to clean your product and background with cleaners and/or special brushes. I use the same type of cleaner as for sensor cleaning, electrostatically charged for removing dust. Having dust on close-ups is unacceptable, and will cause you big trouble when doing post-production.
3. If your shoot involves moving objects, like liquid, do a lighting setup for the rest of the scene first, making sure you have picture perfect permanent objects. Only afterward you can start pouring your liquid, adding/adjusting lights/reflectors to make it work for the whole scene.
4. Having a computer with a big screen connected to a camera while shooting helps greatly. You’ll be able to see your images full-size after each shoot, noticing important details and glitches which must be fixed. Never rely on the camera’s small screen while shooting in a studio, as it tends to show images nicer than they are.
5. Post-production. Remember: 50% of the success of your image is your equipment, knowledge, and experience as a photographer. The other 50% is post-production. So it is necessary to know how to use Photoshop (I do not know any other photo-editing software which can be qualified) and RAW processor. I prefer to do white balance/brightness and contrast adjustments in a RAW converter, before I open it in the editor. The results are usually significantly better.