Essential Equipment for Product Photography


Product photography can be a lucrative business if you have the right gear to get the job done right. Continue reading to learn more.

The Essentials

Make sure you have the best camera and lenses you can afford. While people have done some great work with low-budget setups and cheap digital cameras, you aren’t going to want to feel embarrassed if a client wants to visit your studio and all you have is a point-and-shoot pocket camera.

Invest in a sturdy tripod, too. And for extra stability during longer exposures, opt for a cable release.

Make sure you have stands for your lights and a background support system that can adequately display and hold your background, whether you go for fabric or a paper roll.

Clamps are also required to hold paper on a support beam, reflectors on light stands, and more. Also, most items that don’t have flat bottoms are going to require support to stand up for photographing, so you’ll need a lot of fishing line and additional stands to tie it to, especially if you find you need to change the angle of your lights.

The Importance of Lighting

Product photography will require, at minimum, three lights. One light will be the key, or main light, a second will be for fill, and a third (or fourth) will be used to light the background. More lights are always better because you can always work with more light sources, especially for products with intricate details. For jewellery photography indirect natural or soft lighting usually works best.

A light meter that’s compatible with your lighting system will make finding the correct exposure easy. You’ll probably need some flags to block light from hitting certain areas, and you’ll want plenty of bounce cards to help light reach areas that it otherwise can’t.

Getting the Details Right

A turntable is handy if you’re taking 360-degree photos that will be stitched together. Don’t forget rubber or cotton gloves to keep fingerprints off any shiny or reflective surfaces, and have plenty of cleaning cloths and compressed air so you can keep dust out of the shot. You may not notice smudges and dust in person with the naked eye, but if you’re using a macro lens to get detailed close-ups and you don’t clean items well, you’re going to be reshooting or spending hours editing out all of those marks.

Finally, consider shooting tethered to a laptop with photo capture software so you can get a larger and more detailed preview of your images as you go. This will help avoid time-consuming reshoots if your lighting isn’t perfect or there are distracting elements that aren’t obvious on your camera’s LCD.

The Big Guns and Fun Toys

Remember that, even after you get the basic equipment in place, every job is going to be unique and involve different requirements. Ultimately, when you work as a professional photographer for a company like, you’ll always find out about new gadgets that are going to help you do your job easier. This means that if you’re charging a flat project rate, the sooner you’re done, the more money you’ve made per hour, so equipment that makes you more efficient is imperative.

Ultimately, with essential professional equipment in your studio, you’re bound to nail every shoot with ease.

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