For flat lay product photography an overhead camera rigging system with an HD monitor gives the Macro lens the flat, level shooting plane for tack sharp focus. We lit using 2 soft boxes and a quarter stop 48 inch scrim with a 3rd flash behind.
The sequins took a bit of light modifying, to maintain the jewel tones without blowing them out. We used foam core to create a box to channel the light.
Flat lay product photography requires one essential tool for setup: pins. Lots of pins, lots of foam-core layers and additional time. Spandex can be a bit of a wrestle due to the elasticity, but pinning does the trick.
What began as 35 cosmetic products turned into a full line of 360 products for a full e-commerce website. Using continuous lighting many shots needed stack focusing to provide crystal clear focus from front to back. We used a Canon 100mm 2.8 macro L lens no more than 1 foot from the product and set the aperture at f8.
To create the shine on the brushes, lipsticks and other reflective products we used a variety of light modifiers (scrims) to create each gradient.
Color matching is always critical for e-commerce and requires special 2 fold attention – lighting the color consistently, then visually matching the product to the screen in post. Though all monitors use RGB, not all monitors will display color the same. Things like graphics card, monitor drivers affect the actual display of color on every device. Despite knowing this shooting the products under strict lighting and visually color matching they will be consistent and you’ll minimize product return headaches when color is part of the buying decision.
Typically the proper way to shoot a product set up like this is to have 2 separate shots and composite these in Photoshop. It’s impossible to properly exposure for the box and not blow out the white pearls. For this shoot we didn’t have time to remove the pearls as this was rush job. We elevated the camera to a high angle using a macro lens, used an overhead diffused light source with a silk scrim. We used another light source in front – to highlight the front of the box and the top inside of the box. Once we properly exposed the light we stack focused with about 20 shots from top to bottom. We would like the box interior whiter, but couldn’t do it in the time we had, so this shot was usable. Generally these types of jewelry shots require an enormous amount of time get the right lighting with the proper exposure.
We had enough time to properly execute this shot, which requires two separate set ups. The first setup was to light and properly expose the ring. We only used an overhead light source with a silk scrim for this, stack focusing with about 10 shots using a 2.8 macro lens. For the second setup we removed the ring using three light sources for the outside and inside of the box. We stack focused with about 10 images. In Photoshop we put the two shots together achieving the whiter box interior.
Product on white background is the standard today. Minimal stack focusing is needed for this black leather belt leaving the edges slightly out of focus for an attractive image with depth. We used a transparent surface using three studio flashes – one overhead with a silk scrim, two soft boxes on either side with flags to block the light. A white background is lit by one flash meticulously placed, together yielding the pure white background we’re after.
The beauty of clear shiny glass. Lighting glass requires a toolbox of gadgets to achieve the final product image on white. A specialized surface gives the reflection in the foreground at the base of the glass diffuser. In order to keep any shadow from interfering with the transparency looking front to back means flooding the background with light and strategically placed strobe flashes. While striving for glass on white be careful not to lose the definition of the bottle. We used a number of light modifiers and redirected light as need to create this final image of lightness and clarity.
Product on a white background has become the standard for product images. Whether to use a full shadow, or slight shadow, or no shadow is the next question. But when you’re ready to show off your product creativity opens a fabulous door. The above photo of spice jars keeps three of the four jars in focus, with a slight out of focus on the third jar, for a subtle statement.
The next photo is a lovely simple composition, still on white for an open, floating feeling, adding the spoon for a touch of lifestyle. A subtle product styling idea.
Still keeping the product styling simple we’ve added an organic feel using wood for the presentation. These are only a few ways to style your product. Keep your own product as an alternative to stock photography for your website.
Finally adding a full background frames the jars using a brick for strong base statement. The first jar has the strength and focus, allowing the other jars to become part of the background. You get the idea of the vast possibilities when you’re ready to take bring your product front and center in your website and promotion.
Amazon has strict requirements for its product photography. All products need to be shot on a white background. Sounds simple until you realize “white” is a precise hex color # 255, 255, 255. While there are multiple ways to achieve this result for this product we used a specialized surface to give a beautiful transparent, “floating” feel. The studio strobes have to be precisely placed to pull this off. Flooding the white background with light bathes the dog whistle in pure white. Just what Amazon desires. Also helpful to our client was a captioned photo of parts. See more product photography photos.
The explosion of Amazon as a marketplace has sent many sellers scrambling to meet the “on white background” standard set for Amazon sellers. It can be frustrating because Amazon defines on-white as in RGB color 255, 255, 255. The slightest off shade results in non-compliance.
There are two ways to achieve this pure white. The best quality is to shoot the product on white and truly have it ON white, properly lit. Like this:
But what if your product is white? If you try to shoot white on white (pure white) without professional setup equipment you’ll end up with little definition to your product. There are techniques used by photographers one of which is using acrylic to give a suspended look to the product and flooding it with light resulting is a rich depth of white – on white. Notice the sheen, the fibers of the nylon straps and the full out line of each product. Like this:
The other method of achieving a pure white background is using Photoshop to extract the product. If you begin with a properly well-lit product and know you will finish the work in Photoshop this can result in getting more shots taken in your session time. It’s a discussion to have with your client. Extraction works for products with defined lines – fuzzy slippers will be more time consuming to extract. As a photographer you need to budget your time, or you will spend more time in Photoshop than if you had properly lit the product to begin with. Bottom line: get a the best image with your camera and you can save time OR do the most in Photoshop.