product photography

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by jazzodin, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. jazzodin
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    jazzodin New Member

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    Hi,
    I was wandering if anyone can give me some advise on how to get started in product photography. What are the best lenses for the job,I shoot with a nikon D200.I realize that I need to get a portfolio together but someone once told me that the shots I use in my portfolio can not be of any recognizable products or labels.Is this true?I know I can shoot what ever I want for practice and lighting purposes.If it is true what am I suppose to shoot for my portfolio?Also how does one get started...do I approach potential clients or just advertise my portfolio when I get it done.
    Any advise,thoughts,or comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
  2. CSR Studio
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    CSR Studio New Member

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    Find a product photographer and assist for them. You will get amazing contacts and be able to network. True product photography is tough and you much understand all about light. Find a photographer and be their shadow. Good luck!
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  3. rufus5150
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    rufus5150 New Member

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    Good advice on getting in with a product photographer as an assistant.

    Also, the book 'Light, Science and Magic' is extremely helpful. You can also do a google search on product photography lighting, there's a TON of videos and tutorials on how to light product and that's 90% of the fight. The one advantage with product photos is things don't move as much, they don't complain about it getting really, really hot and they don't blink, which means you can get away with using fewer lights, longer exposures and use all sorts of things like reflectors, mirrors, etc to get the shots the way you want.

    As far as lenses, I shoot 99% of my product shots with things in the normal and beyond range. For most straight product shots, you want as little distortion as possible. I frequently use a 50mm prime or a 70-200mm zoom (about 70% and 30%, respectively).

    As far as your portfolio, good luck... use the backs/sides of bottles, things where you can't see trademarked logos, etc is the safest bet or shoot things that are generic.

    I can't honestly tell you how to get started as I got lucky. The photographer my company hired to come in-house and do a few product shots showed up with a dead camera. I was doing a portrait session that day after work so I had my gear with me. After they banished the photographer for being a dolt the marketing folks asked me so I set up, did the shots, and it's been word-of-mouth since then.
  4. AlexNeo
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    AlexNeo New Member

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    I don't think there is any best lens for product shoot...but you may consider prime lens with macro function
    I think you also need some studio light for product shoot which you have more control over...you may use sun light if you wan for fun..not for job:lol:
  5. SanDiegoPhotographer
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    SanDiegoPhotographer New Member

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    to get started you might want to join Elance.com and bid on projects. Bid really low at first until you get a few jobs to build credibility. Before that make sure to do a lot of practice, because like everyone is saying you need to be able to master light in order to become really good.
  6. jazzodin
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    jazzodin New Member

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    Thanks for the replies and advise everyone.I already have studio lights...and even a studio to shoot in:lol:.Lord knows I've read a few books on product lighting and stylizing tricks as well.Most of my studio work is shot with my 50mm prime lens which I love....seems to do the job great.I'm going to look into finding a photographer that is willing let my assist him and learn.
    Thanks again .
  7. FamilyMan11
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    FamilyMan11 New Member

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    In product photography the lens does not matter as much as you think . Just keep in mind that the photo has to be very clear and not blurry.Some product photography tips for beginners can be found on the following site such as using a tripod to take pictures so that you avoid blurring, also it tells you of some inexpensive methods to get just the right amount of light and avoid shadows.
    Hope this can be of help
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  8. margadigi27
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    margadigi27 New Member

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    Interesting goal you got there but that is some tough job to work on. Better be an assistant first and be guided slowly but surely.;)
  9. LearnMyShot
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    LearnMyShot New Member

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    People think this is easy stuff, but no. Every product has it's own personality for light, especially reflective objects so there is no one solution to the problem...Hire a professional and see how they do it. That's the best thing to do. I've been shooting products for 30 years.
  10. carrollove
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    carrollove New Member

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    I don't think so there is any best lens for product shoot...but you may consider prime lens with macro function.
  11. Sw1tchFX
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    Sw1tchFX New Member

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    anyone can photograph a product.

    But like what was said earlier, lighting it is totally different.


    Cheap out on the camera, it doesn't matter. as long as you can hook up lights to it, that's all that matters. For lenses, doesn't matter, you'll be shooting them at least at f/8 anyway for DOF.


    It's EASY to keep names out of products. You can shoot food, apparel, tools, just clone out the names.

    If you want to be taken seriously in your area, shoot things that are cool and in. generally can't go wrong with shoes or any type of apparel. Stay away from knives or guns.

    At the studio I intern at, we have people drop of portfolios every week. We make fun of the portfolios that only have things like girls in bikinis, cars, and guns, regardless of how they're lit.


    If you can, see if you can work with a product photographer, email all of the product shooters in your area that you are interested in possibly learning from them, say something like you want to learn lighting better or something, don't mention product, and see what you get. you might be surprised.
  12. eltif26
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    eltif26 New Member

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    I'm trying to learn Product Photography.

    How can i improve this image?


    $DSC_0168.jpg
  13. IByte
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    IByte Well-Known Member

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    Use a 18% gray card, 5-10 bucks and get that background bright and white again.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  14. eltif26
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    eltif26 New Member

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    Thanks IByte!

    How often would i calibrate?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  15. IByte
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    IByte Well-Known Member

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    I do it in each environment I'm shooting in. Keep the card out of focus, calibrate your camera, press your shutter halfway; if you can lock your settings and have fun.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  16. 2WheelPhoto
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    2WheelPhoto New Member

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    getting in the door and finding work will be harder than procurement or learning to shoot.
  17. eltif26
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    eltif26 New Member

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    Thanks! My grey card is on the way.

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