Helpful Guide on DIY Product Photography Setup

As a Photographer having the perfect product photography setup is a dream of reality. Especially when you find out the most of the store owner can't afford a professional photography studio.

Now, the thing is you can take quality pictures without a setup. right? But, what's about your creative ideas. You may want to experiment with background, light, props, etc. Isn't having a professional product photography setup is the answer?

If so, let's learn more about DIY product photography setup. In this article, the equipment necessary, and how one can set up a product photography studio will be discussed in detail. So that you can start your photography career smoothly and faster.

Product Photography Setup Overview

The product photography setup is meant to ease and control the backdrop, lighting, and styling. Moreover, it should be capable of showing your creativity.

When buyers observe a product page, they are looking for evidence of quality and value.

It is very much possible that almost all people who have internet access, have at least visited some kind of online store, Amazon or eBay for example. On those websites, thousands of products are showcased from thousands of different companies or brands.

However, what attracts the eyes are the clean, crisp and beautiful images of products on white backgrounds.

Those images that allure consumers spend their hard-earned money in a blink of an eye are the results of product photography. Therefore, it can be said that product photography is one kind of commercial photography to capture the best still images of products to be displayed.

It is often said the when Have thy tools ready. God will find thee work.

Guide on Setup an In-House Product Photography Studio

For product photography, you can always set up an in-house studio. It will cost less than renting a studio for this purpose. In fact, I prefer to set up a studio before getting a product photography client.

You can buy all the necessary items mentioned later in the article at a very low price and set the studio up by yourself without any financial pressure.

It is a common knowledge to all the photographers that the niche that is growing faster than most other is the photography of product.

This is the most important part of all the eCommerce sites and usual offline ventures. Consumers will always want to have a look at the products of their choice before they either choose to order online or go visit the shop with a pocket full of money without seeing a proper picture of the product they want to buy.

Various stalls will show their products online via the internet or the shop owners. This has become a lucrative career choice for many starting or veteran photographers.

This article will now discuss the equipment and devices you will need to set up a product photography studio.

Equipment for product photography

Equipment for product photography

If you are reading this article then it is very much possible that you are either curious about photography or already know and learning about product photography.

This will mean that you are already acquainted with the devices and equipment necessary to set up a product photography studio.

From this point on we will look into a list of common devices and equipment necessary for a product photography studio.

Now what equipment you will need for product photo shooting actually deepens on you. However, here I have listed the most important equipment you need.

Product photos demand details, texture and color accuracy. So,

  1. The camera need to be capable of shooting macro and close photos.
  2. Besides you may need to take photos in slow shutter speed in order to capture more depth and reduce noise.
  3. For those two reason, the light should be paly vital role to control shadow and display the product colors. And a tripod can be handy.
  4. Beside to to reduce the post-production hassle a solid color background is help full.
  5. And, you will need props, table or product stand, mannequin to showcase product.

Product photography camera

Product photography camera

Without the camera, there can never be any photography. This is the most important piece of equipment in the photography business. That is why it vital to select the right one for you and then spend accordingly as there are other things to buy, but one can never go cheap while buying a camera for professional work.

The availability of cameras in the market is not a matter of joke. It is very important that a photographer carefully chooses his camera.

There are many good manufacturers to choose from. Coose a devices that the best for product photography work. There are so many options to work with. Lenses of all kinds can be mounted on them with ease.

Lenses for product photography

No camera works without good lenses. Cameras are nothing but a piece of the device without its eyes. Lenses are eyes. They bring objects closer so that photographers can take macro shots of products. For every kind of photography, there are at least a few lenses.

One has to choose lenses based on the product size and how much of the product needs to be highlighted.

There is a plethora of lenses in the market ranging from ‘good’ to ‘better’. Although the image quality will vary in both types of lenses are compared, the extra cost for the better lenses seems to be unjustified for product photography.

To take macro shots of products usually three categories of lenses are utilized – for larger products 12-24mm, for average-sized products 18-200mm, and for close-up photos, we need 105mm lenses. Following is a list of lenses recommended for professional product photography studio. You may have to spend a couple of grand to buy good lenses for detailed shots.

  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon F
  • Tamron A001-C SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD [IF] Macro Fast Telephoto Zoom Lens
  • Canon EF50MM F/1.8 STM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
  • Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
  • Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro

Camera Stand

In order to capture product photography, the camera has to set to a smaller aperture size. This will give the photographer the best depth of field than a camera can capture.

The sharpness of focus is defined by the depth of the field’s width. To achieve that photographer needs the biggest f/stop digit that a camera is capable of producing.

This digit and the speed of shutter are very close in relation. The bigger the f/stop digit lesser the light that enters the camera. To balance out one has to match that with a slow speed of shutter which will expose your photo to light for a longer period of time.

This is where a tripod or camera stand comes to play. Although other type of photos can be taken holding the camera in your hand, photos will be blurry with slower shutter speed as hands shake with time.

It is not really important to spend too much money on this. Just one tripod which is sturdy enough for your camera will be ok. Brand tripods should be your choice but within a twenty-dollar range. You can look into tripods at Amazon.

Geared Head

Geared heads are very important but they do not have to be very expensive. These geared heads let you level and angle your cameras for precision and quick shots. Mid-range geared should not cost you more than four hundred dollars.

Product Photography Lighting

Light is the lifeline of photography. There can be no photo without it. Hence, light will change the quality of photos you take depending on how well you manage it.

The control of light sets the difference between a novice, good, and experienced professional photographer.

To take sharper pictures with varying depth of shadow you need various equipment for lighting – flash, lightbox, softbox, umbrella softbox, light tent, luminous fill light, reflector, etc.

In order to reduce glare and shadow, the light tent will help a lot, therefore, one needs to buy one that best fits his product range.

Although natural light is good for photography but it may not always help your case in product photography.

You need to carefully select what you may need – strobe or continuous lights, number of lights and stands, shadow boxes, etc.

Attractive Background

Background is one of the most necessary parts of photography. With a better background, you will be able to take better quality photos and the product will clearly visible with all of its colors and features.

With a suitable background, you can manipulate your image better and the focus of your buyers will solely on the items you are selling.

For product photography the recommended color of the background is White. It will separate the product from the background and help your consumers see the product details clearly.

It is important to have some kind of reflector to balance out the lights coming from a light source.

For example, if you are shooting with a natural light coming from the window, the direction of the light will be one that comes from the source and one side of your product will be well lit while the other side will have a darker shade.

To ensure that nothing like that ever happens you have to have some kind of reflector or bounce card.

This background can be manipulated in Photoshop after the photoshoot. You can buy a background or make one using white paper or cloth.

White Bounce Cards

You can make one very simple by using cardboard boxes. In product photography, you need lights coming from all the sides. If not then set up some light bounce cards or reflectors to cleverly make use of the available light source.

But if you think you need shadow you change the color of the reflector to black. Black boards will give you darker shadows. If everything is white including the product and the background, black bounce board will be necessary.

Photo Shooting Table

When product photography is involved, you cannot skip on your table where you will eventually place your product and background. If you are not using a lightbox, then a table is your only alternative solution.

You can setup your table to have both your backgrounds and products on it.

If the surface of the table is not attractive or if you want it to be hidden away from the public eye, then put a white background on it. Table gives your product a steady stability that is necessary for a photo shoot.

Setting Up the Studio

Each photography session you have may have different requirements. It varies depending on the product size, color, and presentational requirements.

Each and every product has not complied with Tabletop Photography. You may find yourself shooting jewelers, clothes on the mannequin, or lifestyle photos.

So, your product photography studio be adaptable for those.

On the other hand, the background and the lighting element should be adjustable.

However, some beginner photographers prefer portable photography lightboxes over traditional ones. Though they can be useful but from my experience, I have found them inconvenient.

In case of shooting product photos for amazon can be done with these types of photography boxes. But you'll find inferior control and different style of photography.

When you are setting up your product photography studio, it should rearrangeable for individual requirements.

Table Setup

Product photo shooting table set up tips

First of all, we need to set the table up as it will be at the center of all activities. The table should very close to the window but not so close that shadow from the windowsill disrupts the natural lighting.

Table position and window will be at a right-angle to each other, could be left or to the right of the window. Light becomes softer as you move your table closer to window and if it is big enough.

You need to cut off any other light sources inside the room so that they do not disturb the natural light coming to the set.

The angle the table and the window at, to each other, can be changed to forty-five degrees from ninety degrees. This will certainly change the style of the light.

If you want your photo to be more dramatic then keep the window behind your table and shoot your camera facing straight to the window. You can also do it within a garage with an open door.

Setting Up Your Background

Product Photography Lighting & Background Setup

This is the next part after you have placed the table at the position of your convenience. Place the table right next to a wall.

Then set your background by taping one part of the background to the wall and then onto the table. The wall part and the part on the table have to be at a right-angle to each other.

You should put your product at the center of the table in a way so that you can add reflectors around it.

In case of lighting setup you can either use - natural, one, two or three light setup.

Camera Setup

Your camera should only focus on the product. If you want you can set it all to auto mode. But if you are experienced with the camera you can adjust it in manual mode.

Everything will have to either in auto or in manual mode to work nicely. Usually, DSLR cameras have RAW mode that takes a lot of space. Always select the best quality of picture mode.

You have to keep in mind the aperture and exposure setting, white balance and ISO setting, etc.

Setting Camera to Manual

Best control can be achieved over your photo only when you have a manual mode of a camera. This will allow you to test out your camera. You will have to adjust aperture priority and exposure is a very important setting to photo.

Shooting Your Photo

The next step is to take a photo of a product. After shooting, photos will be evaluated and retouched in photoshop before going out of the studio.

Pro tips for beginner: Take multiple shot, experiment with shutter speed, focus length, angle, and props.

Conclusion

It is very important to invest a neat amount of money on product photography as it creates a brand image and trustworthiness.

A clearer, crisper, and more beautiful image than that of the competitors will give the product manufacturer an edge over the others.

It will tell the boldness of the products and their true value to the consumers. Hence, investing time, thoughts, and money in product photography will go a long way.

Based on how one represents his products sales will either jump or die out against a flashflood of products from other competitors.

To sum everything up, it is very important to have a few essentials things in your studio if you want to do product photography.

First comes the camera, then comes the lenses, the lighting setup, reflector, camera stand, table, bounce board, and a suitable background. With these items at your hand, you can easily set up your own product photography studio.

Want to shoot photos for Amazon?

Learn more about how everything you should know to start your career in amazon product photography.

Originally published January 10, 2021 , updated January 10, 2021
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