Product Photography: Nine Essential Tips

Submitted by Andrea Bruchwitz on Mon, 01/13/2020 - 05:21
Nine Essential Tips for Product Photography
© Martin Diepold |

Product photography has its origins in classic commercial photography: making a visual record of products in order to present them in various media. In contrast to advertising photography, product images should not evoke any deep emotions, but should primarily serve to show the product in an aesthetic way.


Staging a high-quality product shoot is no mean task. Before getting started, the experienced product photographer asks herself a number of questions. What is the ideal lighting – natural light or artificial light? What other elements are present in the frame in terms of background and composition? In this tutorial, you’ll find helpful tips from Martin Diepold. A professional commercial photographer, he is the chairman of the Berlin Photographer’s Guild and runs his own film and photography studio.

Tip 1: Use the Right Camera for Product Photographs

Professional product photos demand a full format camera. Not all cameras provide this. “I almost exclusively shoot with cameras from Sony’s Alpha 7 series and the corresponding lenses,” says Martin Diepold. The Sony Alpha 7RII has a 42 megapixel resolution. Another solid product photography camera is the Canon 5D Mark IV, which shoots at 30 megapixels. These are some of the best cameras for product photography

Tip 2: Keep the Image Background Simple

“The background can’t be too busy, or else it will distract the viewer from what’s important,” says Martin Diepold. “The background also shouldn’t reflect light, otherwise it can create bright or harsh edges on the object.”

Professional product photography - The best camera and lens for product photography
© Martin Diepold |

Tip 3: Always Use a Tripod for Product Photography

In order to keep the angle consistent, you should work with a tripod so that you can perfectly illuminate the object. “In the studio, we use a column stand. It is incredibly stable and enables us to set a really precise axis.” Outside the studio, Diepold uses a light carbon fiber tripod from Sirui.

Tip 4: Keep the Aperture Small

Martin Diepold advises a relatively small aperture for product photography so that the final image has a large depth of field. “If you want to create a shallow depth of field in your images with the background out of focus, then you should use a long focal length as well as an open f-stop and artificial lighting that resembles natural lighting,” he says. That way, you are not beholden to the flash sync speed, and can set your own shutter speed to get the shot you want.

Tip 5: Use Various Light Shapers for Product Photography

“You can achieve perfect lighting through calculated use of different light shapers or light tents. In some cases, just one light and a reflector can be enough.”

Tip 6: Keep an Eye on the Screen During the Shoot

While photographing products, Martin Diepold advises connecting the camera to a computer, and to photograph directly to the hard drive. “The camera display is far too small to really assess the picture. Also, you can begin configuring the first photo editing settings.” This is incredibly important, because a great product photo is about 50% photography and 50% photo editing.

Best lighting for product photography
© Martin Diepold |

Tip 7: Work Out Your Concept in Advance

All professional photography should be informed and shaped by a concept: lighting, mood, depth, artistic genre, cultural associations and references all go into your concept. This is perhaps truest of product photography, where creative concepts are ultimately answerable to the bottomline. Whether you want a packshot, a freestanding object, or an outdoor shot, you should have a well thought-out concept before you shoot. “You have to think about exactly how you want to present the product. Then you can think about what kind of equipment you will need,” says Martin Diepold.

Tip 8: Tackle the Shoot Step by Step

  1. Get the right angle using your tripod or column stand.
  2. Dress your set: Arrange the objects you want to photograph.
  3. Set up the lighting one light at a time and take careful note of what light is created by each lamp. Take it one step at a time.

Tip 9: Present Product Images on Premium Prints

Are you a passionate studio photographer, or do you run a business and want to show off your products in the best possible light? With WhiteWall, you can have your product photos printed in intricate detail on our high-quality acrylic materials. Our high-definition prints have twice the resolution of conventional photo prints. Every last detail is crystal clear!

Product photography with a sculptural presence - our Acrylic Photo Block

Product photography: photo on an acrylic block
© Martin Diepold |

Acrylic photo Block

Product photography on an Acrylic Photo Print

Product photography: acrylic photo print
© Martin Diepold |