From capturing wedding rings to the dinner you just whipped up, product photography is useful in many occasions. This type of photography usually uses one product as a focal point and highlights its intricate details to bring attention to the product.

Image Credit: @estkyc_

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM

These days, it is also presented in flatlays that are popular on social media platforms. Because product photography may involve focusing on specific surfaces on the object and the addition of items to complement the product, you may need a number of props to help you out, but don’t let that deter you from trying out product photography. If you’re not ready to invest in props, renting a space or purchasing new equipment, here are some easy and affordable tips to get you started.

Check the background

You don’t need a studio with different backdrops to shoot products; you can shoot in the comfort of your own home. The dining table, the floor, the white sheets on your bed—these make good backdrops because it provides a clean surface and helps the product stand out.

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Canon EOS 77D | EF50mm f/1.8 STM

White or textured backdrops are commonly used in product photography and you can purchase affordable alternatives like vanguard sheets in different block colours and materials from stationery shops. When shooting a 3-dimensional product, tape the sheet onto the wall so that it creates a curve to the table or floor. This helps to keep the focus on the product without any sharp lines where the perpendicular surfaces meet.

Take advantage of natural lighting

Lighting is important in product photography because the camera zooms into the subject and the light needs to hit the various surfaces of the product at all the right spots. Lightboxes can be costly, but natural lighting is free so take advantage of that.

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Canon EOS 100D | EF-S18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

Look for indirect light that won’t cast unsightly shadows on the product. This could mean shooting near a window with sunlight streaming in, but not shining directly onto the product. For example, if you are shooting furniture, allowing the natural light to hit the tabletop brings attention to the texture and material of the product.

Set up your camera

For flatlays or shooting flat items like cards, set your camera directly overhead at no angle. The distance from the camera to the product can produce shadows so try climbing a small ladder to get sufficient height directly above the product. Alternatively, fix the camera on a tripod and use a remote controller to get the shots.

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Canon EOS-1D Mark III | EF50mm f/1.4 USM

Set your camera with a small aperture to create a larger depth of field—this causes the product to pop and stand out from the background.

Use readily available props

Taking just the product against a white background can be boring. Adding props to the scene can accent the product, making the photo rich and inviting. Small but significant additions that complement the product can also help tell a compelling story in the photo.

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Canon EOS-1D X Mark II | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Pay attention to textures and surfaces that could possibly match the product. If the product is rustic, take out some old photographs to give it a vintage vibe. Placing football boots on a running track portrays the ruggedness of the product while keeping a cohesive colour scheme.

Get creative with packaging

Product photography can become borderline cliche because everyone is taking the same type of shots. When shooting food, a standard salad-in-a-bowl can easily get you the shot you need, but it may fall flat because it’s been done before.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM

Try placing the food in a wine glass or on an oversized marble tray, and you get a more interesting take to a standard food photo. By changing the way the product is packaged, you give yourself more options to create a shot that is appealing and unique.

Ensure proper placement and framing

Once you’ve got all the key ingredients of the photo ready, it’s time to arrange them to get the best angle and shot. When creating a flatlay, start with the largest items as the base of the flatlay and work your way to the smaller items.

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Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Placement of product and props is often a process of trial and error, so take your time. Don’t worry too much about the framing of the shot since you can crop later, and it’s advisable to leave some space around the edges in case you need to do so.

Take a variety of angles

The point of product photography is to show off the most attractive details of the product. For 3D products, this means turning and shooting them from all angles to capture the angle that best represents the product.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Taking a variety of angles also allows different perspectives of a product to be seen. For example, getting a headshot of a model with her fingers in the shot brings attention to the jewellery she’s showcasing. Shooting more angles means a range of options to choose from when editing later on.

Product photography takes a lot of effort and time, but you can definitely start at home with the things you own without breaking the bank. If you’re ready to take the next step and learn more tricks to enhance your product photography skills, Canon offers a new class focusing on this subject that’s set to take you to the next level. Find out more here:

If this article has inspired you to give product photography a shot, remember to share your photos with us at #CanonSG for a chance to be featured.