If you are just starting out in product photography, or if you don’t shoot enough products to warrant buying equipment and setting up a full product photography studio, fear not, because there are ways to shoot products with a very low cost set up and no studio lighting.
What you need
Here is a list of things you need to set up a simple product photography studio at home.
- A decent camera – a good point and shoot or one of the newer smartphones with a good camera will work fine. If you have a DSLR, then having some knowledge of the settings, such as aperture, will help to make your image come out better and cut down on post processing time.
- A table or flat surface
- A window or other another light source, such as a lamp. (In this post we will be using window light)
- A piece of white poster board or something similar for the background
- A reflector. In this case, we will use a small piece of poster board cut and folded. A reflector is just a piece of white paper/poster which refelcts light back on to the product. The image below shows how light hits the reflector and is directed towards the product.
- A tripod. If you do not have a tripod, you can use another hard surface to set your camera on to avoid blurry photos.
The Home Photo Studio Setup
Step 1: Set up the background & lighting
Set your table up with your white background taped as shown below – one end taped to the table and another on a wall or some surface behind the table. Set this up close to a window so you get the light coming on to the white surface. Tip: If the sun is too harsh when you’re shooting, you can soften it with a sheer curtain.
A smooth and clean surface such as this helps to eliminate distractions from your product.
Step 2: Take a test shot
Take a test image. In the image below you see the dark shadow to the left of the image. The next step will help to get rid of the dark shadow.
To reduce shadows position a reflector on the opposite side from your window so the light hits the reflectors and comes back to your product. As you place the reflector, watch as the light fills in the shadows. Try positioning the reflector in a few different ways to see how the light moves around and impacts the shadows and the overall light around your product.
3. Use reflectors & take final shot
Here is a shot after the reflectors were placed. Notice that there is no shadow to the left like in the previous image and also that the image is a lot brighter than the previous image. This is because the light from the window hits the reflector and reflects back to the product, thereby making it brighter.
Here is the final image right out of the camera. Notice that there is still some shadow near the clasp. By placing another reflector, you can remove that shadow as well. Where you place reflectors is a trial and error process. Look at how the shadows change as you move reflectors around and you’ll get the hang of it.
The next step is to do some post processing in a tool like Photoshop. You can remove the background to make it a pure white and maybe add some contrast, etc. We will cover this in another post.
What are some of the challenges you face when photographing at home? Comment and let us know.