Product images are usually photographed against a plain white seamless background for the purpose of catalogue publishing. The choice of color white is pretty self-explanatory since it is the least disturbing to the product itself – except if the product is white!
What You Will Need:
- A Camera on a Tripod
- A Studio light with a softbox
- Seamless white paper (size depending on the size of the product itself)
- Sticky tape
To get a seamless white background, you need to stick the white paper with one end on to a surface such as a table, and the other on to a supporting wall, with the smooth curvature of the paper eliminating obtrusive edges and seams.
Once this background is ready in place, go ahead and place the product roughly to the center of the paper, allowing for a bit of space around all edges. Next, set your camera up on a tripod and position it to aesthetically frame the product. Why we recommend the use of a tripod is, once you get one shot just perfect, you can easily shoot dozens more without having to recompose every time. This also lends a feeling of uniformity to the entire project if you are shooting for a catalogue.
Next, position the softbox angled down towards the product, and bring it as close to the product as you can, without letting any edge of the softbox enter your picture area. The closer the softbox is to your subject, the softer is the light. The closer the softbox, the softer would the product’s shadow appear, and the further the softbox, the more pronounced is the shadow. You can fine tune the shadow by bringing the softbox just as close as you are comfortable with. There is no hard and fast rule as to how pronounced or even present a product shadow needs to be – so experiment with this until you are satisfied. Some people go to great lengths to remove any traces of shadow on their product images, but a more complex setup is required for that.
Once the softbox too is in place, all you need to do is to calculate the right exposure. Remember, where flash photography is concerned; your shutter speed does not play too critical a role! Your aperture does! If you have a light meter available, take a light reading by pointing the meter towards the light from just in front of the subject. As for the ISO, it is recommended that you use as low an ISO setting as you can. The lowest ISO always gives the finest image detail. Set your camera’s white balance to ‘flash’, and you are ready to go.
That’s it! You are ready to shoot dozens, hundreds or thousands of images once you’ve got the basic set-up right…take your time with the 1st shot.