How to take next level product photos

camera product shot in black and white

Are you interested in product photography or just wanting to step up your product photography game? I am here to share with you my best product photography secrets to help you take your product photography to the next level.

  • Use overhead lighting
  • Use a macro lens
  • Add fun colors
  • Show the product being used
  • Wear the product (if possible)
  • Showcase the brand name
  • Use a simple backdrop
  • Show the product in motion
  • Take the product out of the studio
  • Throw the last 9 tips out the window

Some of the links listed below are affiliate links. I earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through my link. I 100% recommend the products I link and I am in no way paid or sponsored to say this.

Use overhead lighting

This is one of my favorite setups for product photography. Overhead lighting is great because it highlights the design and gives the product a bold look. I like to pair overhead lighting with a black background to give the photo an extra bold look and it helps make the product pop.

Samsung Galaxy S9 product photo
Overhead lighting with a Samsung Galaxy S9

Use a macro lens

Using a macro lens for product photography is an excellent way to show fine details and capture close-ups of a product. Macro lenses allow you to capture shots that traditional lenses don’t allow because of their close focusing distance. My favorite macro lens is the Canon 100mm macro. It has allowed me to create shots I never thought possible and I am blown away by how good it is every time I use it. Read my full review of the 100mm macro by clicking here.

Red Rpse
Red Rose

Add fun colors

Black backgrounds can be cool and dramatic for product photography but sometimes you need to add a pop of color to your photos. The easiest way to do this is by using a colored backdrop such as this one. It’s easy to get carried away with product photography by using lots of colors, backdrops, or props in our photo but we should always remember to keep our product the focus of the image. Don’t let your background overcome your product and don’t use so many props that the product is no longer the main focus of the photo. Simplicity is beautiful, everything we do in product photography should revolve around the product and do help make the product pop.

Blue and Pink Nike Shoe Photo
Blue and Pink backdrop with Nike shoe

Show the product being used

It’s good to show a product in a variety of environments but one of the most important ones is being able to show the product being used. It helps the viewer know what they are looking at and it helps the viewer to understand how the product is meant to be used. Showing a product in use makes the photo helpful to the viewer and it adds an element of interest.

Espresso machine making coffee
Espresso machine
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Wear the product (if possible)

If you are photographing something you can wear such as a hat it’s good to show the product being worn. It helps the visualize what the product will look like on yourself if you see someone else wearing it. Depending on what’s being photographed it can also help to “shape” the product such as a bracelet or piece of clothing.

Mercia's clothing hat
Me tipping a hat

Showcase the brand name

If the product has a brand name clearly displayed on the product its important to showcase it in a photo. Try to include the whole product in the photo but make the brand the feature of the photo. In the photo below, I could have taken a photo of any baseball and it would look pretty similar but when you highlight the brand name you know that it’s a “Rawlings” baseball. Your clients will be happier with your photography if you pay attention to details like this and will be more likely to hire you again and recommend you to others.

Baseball
Baseball

Use a simple backdrop

Using a simple backdrop such as a black background can help simplify your product photos and put the attention on the product being photographed. Eliminating all other distractions such as colorful backgrounds and props puts all the emphasis on the product. Keeping product photography simple is key to clearly displaying the product being photographed.

product photography of a tree
Mini tree
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Show the product in motion

This tip goes back to showing the product in use. If you can show the product in motion you will make the photo more interesting. Having the product in motion will help understand how the product is designed.

Hourglass in motion
Hourglass

Take the product out of the studio

Sometimes taking a photo out of the studio helps to add variety to a product photo. If every shot is a plain and simple white background it will quickly get boring. Take the product outside in natural lighting and try taking photos in unique locations that can’t be replicated in a studio.

Macro lens
Macro lens in pine straw
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Throw the last 9 tips out the window

Throw the last 9 tips out the window? Did I just waste your time reading the last 9 tips just to tell you that they aren’t even important? No, all the tips mentioned above are great and helpful for product photography but it’s important to remember that we don’t always need to use the same tips and techniques for every photo. Get out there and try something new and you might end up loving it. Product photography has endless possibilities don’t ever limit yourself to one way of shooting, always be learning and trying new things and your product photography will improve dramatically.

Bonus tip

If you made it this far in the article, I want to thank you with a bonus tip! One of the easiest ways to guarantee your photos come out razor sharp is to always take product shots on a tripod. When you handhold your camera while doing product photography often times we will make our photos slightly out of focus or blurry from the small movements we make holding the camera but if your camera is locked in on a tripod you can nail your focus tack sharp every time.

Here is a list of my favorite product photography gear to help improve your photos

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