Have you ever wonder what makes people an online shopaholic? What attracts in the first place to stop scrolling and give a second look at any product? The answer is- picture. Yes, that is the first thing customers notices about the product. And nowadays most people prefer online shopping and that is why product photography and product photo editing are combinedly a fast-growing profession.
Product photography is different from other sorts of photography. Here the photo needs to be appealing and detailed. You cannot deny compromise with the quality here. So, if you are about to start as a professional product photographer, take a look at our comprehensive photo shooting and editing gear list. Here you can know about the complete guide of the equipment you need as a product photographer.
Photo Shooting Gear
What use of describing the importance of a camera in photography? Well, there is certainly something to say about the ‘suitable’ camera. Depending on the service you want to provide, you have to choose the perfect one. For example, if you want to sell your photos to any eCommerce website, you don’t need high-end cameras. As big file sizes do not go with websites, you have to reduce the size afterwards. Better, if you choose simple cameras.
But if your target is photographing for printing, you definitely need a camera that has a high-resolution sensor. For posters, banners or billboards, the photos need to be much wider and bigger than the regular ones. So it is important to have a high- resolution photo in the first place.
If you are a newbie in product photography and do not want to invest in a camera, then your Smartphone can be the solution. Now, most smartphones come with a high-quality built-in camera that can replace the need for a DSLR. The only thing you have to ensure here is the camera quality of the phone. If it is 12 mp or more, then you are good to go. Some of the latest models even have the option for add-on lenses. So you can use a wide-angle lens or a macro lens according to your requirements. Also, there are some amazingly effective camera apps that can help you take professional quality product photos.
If you have an iPhone X, you are already one step forwarded in the race of product photography. As a beginner, you can start doing your job with the device. iPhone X comes with a 12 mp camera with two types of lenses- wide and telephoto. It has a new image processor and noise reduction algorithm which is super powerful for taking professional quality photographs. It also has many features same as DSLR like autofocus, aperture, shutter speed, and quality iso. So it is the perfect alternative to a DSLR camera in product photography.
The lens is another must-have gear for any types of photography. Even your high-end cameras will not give you the desired photo if the lens is not wisely chosen. You should select lenses considering what types of products you are to shoot and the specific portion of that to highlight. A lens features focal length, minimum focusing distance, magnification ratio and the quality you want in your images. Depending on these features, you have to choose the right lens for product photography. There are prime lenses and zoom lenses which are extremely useful for taking excellent product photos. In the case of aperture, you should choose a lens that has a wider aperture quality. It helps you take images in low lights.
A photographic filter is made of high-quality glass or resin and it protects the lens from scratches. It also blocks lights
And certain colors from getting into the lens. There are several types of filters available in the market like thread filters, drop-in filters, close-up filters, rectangular filters, and so many others. But in product photography, you cannot pick one randomly. Depending on the natural lights, you have to choose the perfect filter.
For example if you already have too bright lights around you, a neutral dimming filter will work the best. Polarizing filters are great for products like jewelry, glasses, dishes and other shiny stuffs. It does not harm the photo quality while reducing the glare effectively.
Tripods and heads:
Tripods do not have a direct contribution to make the photos better. But it makes the whole process more comfortable for a photographer. The tripod is a must-have gear for taking still-life photographs. Select a tripod that is lightweight and compact for easy portability. Also, the legs should be sturdy and easy to rotate.
Another important gear along with the tripod is the tripod head. Yes, that is also essential for product photography. Photographers do not mind spending extra bucks for a tripod head as it can last longer than other gear and makes the job more convenient. From some other types of tripod heads the ball head, pan and tilt head and pistol head are perfect for product photography.
Natural lights are doubtlessly better for taking images. Still, sometimes we do not have any choice but to use a flashlight. For intensive use, flashes are a lifesaver. But you have to be careful while using a flashlight. The wrong setup can ruin your entire effort.
Anyway, there are so many brands that have come up with affordable and high-quality flashlights. You can choose one that suits your purpose the most.
The light stand is a gear that holds up the flashlights. First of all, it makes the light movement much convenient. You can easily rotate the stand without concerning much about the flash. It also takes the whole weight of the light. So, it is useful to have a high-quality light stand for a professional product photographer.
Some photographers may not like to use a camera strap but we recommend using it for a product photographer. The strap provides you with safety and comfort. Capturing a photo of the products for advertisement is not something you can do within the blink of an eye. So it is necessary to work with comfort. Though we will not say categorized it as a must-have gear but for safety and convenience, you can use one.
There is no point in explaining the importance of artificial lighting in product photography. The maximum quality of an image depends solely on lights. Anyway, among many other forms of lighting, a lightbox is mostly perfect for product photography. The lightbox is a mini version of a studio. It makes capturing every detail of the product much easier and effective.
Softbox is used to soften the lights from any source. Sometimes you do not need the harsh light that comes from a bulb. In that case, you can use a softbox to have soft natural lighting on your products. It also helps in limiting the glare and shadows. The softbox is mostly perfect for small products. It enhances the edges and corners of the subject. For the best control over lighting, nothing is comparable with a softbox.
The light tent is an easy solution for artificial lighting. It is a wireframe cube that is covered with white fabric from three sides. It makes nice soft lighting inside the tent. You will get equal lights from every side of the tent on your products. But remember that you cannot experiment much with this stuff. But as a beginner, you can invest in it to get a good grasp on the artificial lighting technique.
Lighting is the trickiest part of any photography. If you are a product photographer, you cannot rely on natural lights. So there is no escape from artificial lighting. Shadow is a big problem in product photography. It ruins the entire effort. That is why you need to have a kit for lighting. For example, portable LED lamp, LCD bi-color dim light panel, fluorescent ring light, etc.
To create a 3D effect or 360-degree packshot of the product, you need to get an automated turntable. It rotates 360 degrees and gives you the perfect chance to take pictures from every angle. Some products must show their details from different angles. Neither you nor your camera needs to move from side to side if you have this table handy. It is super convenient and cheap stuff to invest in for a product photographer.
You cannot deny the importance of an attractive background in product photography. In that case, backdrops can be your lifesaver. But there are many things to take into consideration while choosing the backdrop. It differs from product to product. For example, a white backdrop is perfect for maximum kinds of products. But for jewelry, a black backdrop serves the best. But the black does not mean it has to be a texture-less jet black backdrop. There can be noticeable, eye-soothing textures or 3D effects.
The Umbrella is a great tool for artificial lighting in product photography. An Umbrella helps more than everything else if you are taking pictures indoor with white walls and ceilings. So product photography benefits the most from it. Also, you can get a nice soft glow over your products. There are so many advantages of this tool. It is portable, easy to use and cheaper than other stuffs.
The glass table is another essential stuff for a product photographer to create a realistic shadow effect of any product. It makes the photos more attractive and realistic. So consider keeping a glass table in your studio. It lets to go creative while capturing the photographs.
Diffuser Disc Panel:
A diffuser Disc Panel is must-have stuff for shooting in the studio as it works better with flashlights. It softens and diffuses lights to make an even lighting atmosphere in the studio. Make sure the fabric is translucent if muslin even better.
Reflectors help in manipulating the lights. They come in handy when the natural light gets dimmed that is why you need to fill the shadows. Make no mistake- they do not create any light. It only reflects the light wherever you want. While shooting product photos, if you do not want any shadow, Reflectors come as a lifesaver.
There are some color options for it that play a big role in the image quality. If you buy a silver one, it will bounce the maximum amount of light and give harsh lighting. Golden reflectors tend to do the same with a warm tone. On the other hand, a white reflector provides a softer light.
A mirror is not something you definitely need to have. But that does not make it a totally useless item. Some products look good with realistic shadows where a mirror can help. You can use it for capturing photos of cosmetic items, beauty products, bags, shoes, etc. in a word, for being a little more creative, you can use a mirror.
Clip, tape and hanger:
These are some essential stuff that you need to keep handy while capturing photographs of cloths, T-shirts, dresses, pants etc. to keep them straight and in a good shape, clip, tape or a hanger are super useful and convenient.
Mannequin is must-have stuff for capturing clothing items. You cannot think of taking photos of a gown or a bodycon dress without it. If you often take photos of apparels, it is a good idea to keep some mannequins in your studio.
A green screen background is a cheap option for product photography. You do not need to invest in something expensive for a background if you have some green papers or clothes. It is a great option when you want to edit the product photos and add a different background. In that case, the green screen is like a holy grail.
A camera bag may sound silly, but your photography gear is never protected without it. There are so many things to carry- camera, lenses, filters, tripod, battery, charger, etc. How can you think of keeping them secure without a bag? So a compact, light-weight bag is a must-have for a product photographer. The bag should be waterproof as well as water-resistant. Never go for cheap and low-quality bags which can bring more harm than good.
So, these are the must-have gear you need for shooting product photos. Now take a look at the tools you need for editing the photos.
Photography Post Production:
Only photography no longer can produce high-end product images that drive eCommerce sales. You must take digital image manipulation services to achieve the top-quality images of your products. And here come up the discussion photo editing gear. If you want to set up a photography and photo editing studio, you must have knowledge of photo editing tools and how to operate them.
However, here get an exhaustive list of image enhancing software that can help your creating topnotch image for your business.
Photo editing tools
A pen tablet is super convenient for editing photos effectively. For a product photographer, it is a perfect choice. The main goal of product photography is to make the product appealing for clients and buyers. That is why quick retouching is compulsory. Instead of using a desktop or laptop, you can use a tablet with a pen. It increases your workflow and provides you with comfort. As it is easy to carry you can take it wherever you want.
A must-have product photo editing software is Lightroom. It comes from Adobe Inc and it is a complete package of all essential editing tools. It does not matter which device you use- computer, tablet, or Smartphone, it is easily accessible. The best part of this software is it is for beginners and well for professionals. You can get access to all tools and features of photo editing in Lightroom. To make your product photos more attractive, it is a perfect pick.
Photoshop is another of Adobe’s software that does not require any elaborate introduction. It provides a good amount of photo retouching and manipulation tools suitable for both mobile and computer. To make your product photos professional-looking, Photoshop helps you the most. Using this software is not very easy but practice can make you a ‘pro’. Yes, Photoshop is costly but trust us every penny you spend totally worth it.
Gimp is a perfect selection for beginners and it is free. But that does not make it any less powerful photo editing software than Photoshop. Gimp also has several effective photo editing and retouching tools. It is light-weight which is why does not require much space. So using this one is convenient and beneficial. As an alternative to Adobe Photoshop, you can give Gimp a try.
Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor with lots of flexible drawing tools and text tools. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This software is super useful for a product photographer as it is great for manipulating objects. As the software is open source you can customize it according to your requirements. Similar to Gimp, it is beginner-friendly and easy to use.
CorelDraw is another great option for quick photo editing and retouching. It is a vector-based program from Corel an Ottawa-based company. As a product photographer, you need flawless photos which are attractive and smooth in detailing. In that case, CorelDraw can be the perfect software for you. Of course, we are not telling you that it is an alternative to Photoshop or Lightroom. Still, it worth a try for those cool features and powerful editing tools.
So here you have our comprehensive list of product photo shooting and editing gear and tools. Now the time is yours to explore and express.