Product Photography | Part 1

Tristan Challenger

In order for a company to survive, they must pour a certain amount of time, effort, and money into their Marketing Department. We often see magazines, billboards, and web pages with one thing in common: Product Photography. Through product photography, companies try their best to capture your attention and attempt to sell an idea, a service, or simply an emotion.

I'm not writing this to teach you the marketing aspects of a company. Hopefully your grade 10 business teacher taught you that. What I am here to talk to you about is what goes into making an image like ... THIS!

Actually lets start with something much more simple, like... THIS!

As simple as it looks, this is product photography. This company sells custom glass panels for luxurious homes. In the shot above, it seems like the front of a regular home .. .no biggie right? What if I told you it is all fake? This image was multiple layers of images pieced together like a puzzle by an experienced editor.

As the photographer, this was my part.

I started off by having an in depth meeting with the client a few months before the shoot to figure out what the purpose of the shoot was and who the intended target market was in order to understand the concept and style I would be using. A few months before the shoot is typically when you should have the meeting so that you can do your research and show up prepared. For this shoot I took home one of the glass panels to study the weight and how we would prep it on set so that we can be as efficient as possible. I also took it to understand how the light would reflect.

That did not work at all.

In that case, the next thing you should do at the meeting is set a test shoot date. A day or two before the actual shoot. Doing this allows you to fail,fail,fail then achieve the look you are going for and also allows you to mark and set everything up for the next day which is the actual shoot day.

TIP: On the test day, when you already set up and found the look you are going for, take a few shots of whatever the product is and show it to the client (or assistant) so that they can see where your creative mindset is at and if they have any changes or requests they can change it that day.

The goal at any photo shoot is to win the client over.

It's now shoot day and everything is prepped and ready to go. The most crucial thing to do is hire an assistant or two to help you on set, this helps with efficiency and overall quality of the production. For this shoot specifically, I had 2 assistants that helped with setting up and also giving a second eye on reflections, smudges, or anything that was wrong with the glass. We brought in props and placed them behind the glass to show the privacy level in which a customer would receive when purchasing that specific piece. There were over 6 different types of frosted glass and each had 5-7 different sizes.

While on set, I worked closely with the editor going through various renditions of the glass panels and having him pop them into his editing software so we could have an idea as to what the final piece would look like. I used a technique that was really helpful with keeping all the images consistent. That was using a phone app that connected to my camera in order to trigger the camera. At some points we also had to become creative because we had enough props for maybe 3 set but we then had to rotate and move things around to create different looks within the glass.

For The Setup We Used:

• Camera : Canon 6d• Lens: Canon 24-70mm L• Tripod: Manfrotto 190x + Joby tripod head• 2 C-stands• Lights: Elinchrom D400 (x2)

All-in-all, when you're shooting a product, it's best to take your time to get the shot right. No matter what, there is a way to get it done.

Things To Take Away:

• Meet with the client a month or two in advance• Always have a test shoot day• Brainstorm ideas with the client and come to a middle ground with the concept of the shoot• Bring an assistant or two to help with efficiency and quality• Do your research on whatever the company is that you are shooting for• Be prepared for everything to go wrong so you now what the backup plan isNext time we will go over another part of product photography which is very important and that is post processing.

Stay tuned!

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Product Photography | Part 1


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