Make a shot list to ensure you get everything you need out of the shoot. Take a wide variety of shots, and after you’ve finished your shot list, allow yourself to experiment a bit. This is your opportunity to be more artistic and imaginative with your product photography. Sometimes unplanned photos are the best of the shoot.
While natural light isn’t great for product-only shots, it’s often perfect for lifestyle photos. It can evenly and naturally light your scene without much effort on your part. “But be careful shooting in direct sun, since it can create harsh shadows, especially if your product is reflective or shiny,” notes Aagesen. If it’s a particularly bright day, try shooting in the shade, and use reflectors to bounce natural light into your shot.
Editing lifestyle photos.
Whether you captured unintentional glare on your product, or you need to edit people or cars out of your background, check out these tutorials to help you perfect that product shot.
- With lifestyle shots, especially those taken outdoors, you don’t always have control of your setting. Use the Content-Aware Fill tool to edit out unwanted objects in your images.
- A color cast is an overall wash of color caused by the lighting in which your photo was shot. If it looks unnatural, remove it from your photo.
Capturing great photos of your product can be tricky, but with the right tools at your disposal, you can edit and tweak images to help them shine. And once you get plenty of experience with product photography, you may want to set yourself up to do it professionally.
How to start a product photography business.
With the rise in online shopping, there’s never been a better time to be a professional product photographer. E-commerce websites like Amazon dominate retail sales, and with sites like Shopify, Etsy, and eBay, any small business can quickly build an online presence. To get hired to create product photos for any business, first demonstrate that you can do good work.
Build a product photography portfolio.
The first step to growing your business as a product photographer is to create a portfolio. Collect your best work on one site, which you can then share as a link with potential clients. Include only your very best photos so you don’t overwhelm people with too much work. Limit yourself to 20 or 25 images, and try to show a variety of shots of different products in different styles and settings. You want to demonstrate your versatility as well as your artistry.
Spend time crafting your About section. Offer basic background information, like your relevant work experience and education, but also add some personal details that help convey your personality and interests. And of course, make sure to include your email address or phone number so people can contact you.
How much should you charge for product photography?
Pricing depends on your experience, costs, and the difficulty or location of the project. For e-commerce photos, you can charge per photo the client uses, starting at $20 per photo and working your way up to $50. For larger projects that include several products or a whole catalog, you can charge per product shoot.
To figure out what you should charge per shoot, check the rates of more established photographers in your area to get a sense of the market. Then share your portfolio with businesses in your area and offer competitive pricing. As you gain experience in commercial photography, you can begin charging a flat rate. You might go from charging a few hundred dollars for a daylong photoshoot to charging as much as a few thousand.
No matter where you start, remember that with each assignment you learn more and add to your portfolio. Every new problem you solve gives you one more tool in your kit. As long as you keep taking photos, you’ll keep getting better, and as you get better, you can seek more challenging assignments and charge more for your work.