Well, here we are still stuck at home (for the most part). But staying safe at home during the pandemic doesn’t have to be all bad. Think of it as an opportunity to hone your craft or learn a new skill. Photography is more relevant than ever in today’s online world. Learning how to shoot product photos at home is especially pertinent right now since so many businesses and studios have had to close their doors and operate online instead.
As a Los Angeles food and product photographer, I know the value of quality images when it comes to increasing ecommerce sales. (See my previous post about how to shoot products on a white background.)
Or, maybe you’re not a professional photographer or ecommerce retailer at all. Maybe you simply want to relieve some stress with a new hobby. No matter how you happened upon this post, I’m excited to share some of my best tried-and-true methods for shooting product photos at home!
4 Things You Need to Shoot Product Photos at Home
A Variety of Backdrops
Back in the pre-pandemic days when people could leisurely explore the aisles of their favorite stores, I was always on the lookout for surfaces and backdrops specifically for photographing products. Now, I just look for good deals online (which is *almost* as fun). Keep an eye out for interesting fabrics, floor tiles, plexiglass, scrap wood, colored papers, etc.
Some of my favorite textures include: marble, slate, concrete, parchment paper, and white tile. The goal is to build a collection of diverse materials that add texture without detracting from your subject. Complementary colors and textures work well. For instance, you might use a matte backdrop for a glossy product. Or an orange backdrop for a blue product (if the occasion calls for a bolder look). Have fun playing with color, texture, and material.
A well-placed prop can do wonders! Utilize props to provide balance, texture, definition, context, or intrigue. When selecting props, follow the same rules as above – you’re looking for items that will elevate your products but not take away from them as the main focus.
In food photography, some of my staples include bowls & plates, unique cutting boards, glassware, wooden utensils, and colorful cloth napkins.
For other products, you might include: greenery & florals, ribbons & fabrics, party supplies & confetti, bead board, and marbles.
Bonus tip: Want to mimic water droplets on a glass? Simply spray some glycerin on it. (Or use eye droppers to carefully place them.) This prevents them from rolling off.
Dedicated Studio Space
Separating my workspace from your normal “living” space helps me stay more productive when working from home! (Even if it’s not a profession, you deserve a hobby space!) Choose a space with different lighting options. If possible, you need a window with blinds to adjust natural light. You also want a good deal of space where you can adjust angles and set up strobes, bounce boards, curtains, and backdrops. Have fun making it your own!
Equipment is key! Ideally, you need the following photography essentials:
- A DSLR or mirrorless camera
- A quality quick-transfer memory card
- Multiple lenses for varied angles and focal lengths
- Lighting – LED panels, softboxes, flashes, light reflectors & diffusers, etc.
- White balance cards (helpful for white backdrops)
- Backdrops for surface variation (see above)
- Tripod for stability and lengthened exposure
- Camera strap & cleaning essential to keep your equipment safe
You’re Ready to Shoot Product Photos at Home!
Once you have these four things set up, you have all the essentials for your at-home photography studio. Have fun creating. For more product and food photography tips, be sure to check out the Lindsay K Photo Blog.
Lindsay is a Los Angeles-based food, product, and commercial photographer. She specializes in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with her HEREfor product marketing!