Two Tricks Of The Trade Used By Product Photographers

Experienced professional product photographers have a whole range of tips and tricks they use every day to achieve the sort of end results which not only look incredibly simple to reproduce, but which actually get the job done of making people want to buy the product. Often it's those photographs which look straightforward and relatively simple which require the most amount of work, planning and preparation. It's only when you try to recreate those sorts of images yourself that you start to realise that there really is much more to professional product photography than meets the eye, or even the lens.
For example, you may have a product which you want to display standing up, such as an iPhone for example. Having it flat on the table makes it look less real, and so you think, almost certainly correctly, that by having the product standing up it looks more three dimensional, more real and therefore more tangible and appealing.
But if you have ever tried standing an iPhone or other thin, curved item up you'll have noticed that it's very hard. You might try something like Blu-Tac or plastecine, but you can't really get it to stand up straight unless you wedge the product in a ball of it, but then of course this is then very obvious.
In some cases you'll find that the product can't even be supported from behind very well because it's either transparent, meshed or very intricate. The answer in many cases is actually to use fishing line or the cotton thread that's being sold as 'colour matching' because it's actually transparent. By attaching one end of this to the back of the iPhone with BluTak, or tying it around a part of the product, you can have the product standing up, or even leaning at angle. Of course, you'll also have the thread visible, which is where clever post production work comes in. Using sophisticated photo editing techniques it is possible to completely remove the line, even from fairly complicated and busy backgrounds, making it look as though the product is standing up all by itself, seemingly defying gravity.
But this is only one problem that needs to be overcome, and there are plenty more. For example, you may assume that a bottle of shampoo is fairly easy to photograph, until you realise that the bottle is made from a black plastic material and the cap is made from a shiny chrome material. How do you light the product up so that the black bottle is not so dark that it looks flat and unappealing, without making the chrome top shine so brightly it's barely visible at all? If you try photographing such a product it seems that you either have to accept that the bottle will be too dark or the cap too light, but not both at the same time.
Some professional product photographers may be able to create a lighting rig that's finely detailed enough to be able to focus the light or diffuse the light in the right way to overcome this problem but there's another solution that can be achieved even more quickly in post production. By taking at least two photographs of the product, one overexposed so that the black bottle comes out clearly and one underexposed so that the cap looks detailed, it is possible to then blend these twp images together, transferring the cap from the slightly darker image to the over exposed one, creating a photograph which ensures that every part of the product is correctly lit, detailed and appealing.

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