Product Photography

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by sprinke, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    I've been helping my husband sell a bunch of antique tools on eBay by taking product shots. I think I'm doing okay (he says they are a lot better than most of the pics on eBay) but I always want to improve. I'm currently using shoot-through umbrellas with two speedlights and one continuous light as a modeling light, on a white paper background. The tools in question range in size from tiny drill bits that are a few centimeters long, to entire tools that could be 2 feet or more along an edge.

    I'm wondering who out there is doing product photography professionally or for fun, and what lenses you are using? One of the things that is important for my husband's purpose is depth of field ... we actually want small apertures and large DOF to get as much of the object in focus as possible.

    I have found that my 14-140mm has been most useful for this. With a wireless flash trigger setup, I don't even need a tripod, which really cuts down on the time spent fiddling around. The only time I use a tripod is when I'm shooting something really tiny and it has a lot of detail (like a maker's mark stamp) ... then I use my legacy macro lens. I'm shooting around f/11 to f/16 generally.

    (These are his auctions in case you want to see some of my pics: pacmot | eBay. You have to click on the auction and he has linked to full-size photos).
  2. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I've made a few product shots just for fun. I made my own little "collapsible" lightbox via foam board. I used 2-3 high wattage lamps, so I don't bother with a flash. You are right though in that a large DoF is usually more preferable in this type of shooting.

    Lens-wise, I found that a macro lens is excellent for product photography, because you can get a close focusing distance, and detail is quite good. This shot below was taken with my Zuiko 50mm f/2. However, with a lens that has such resolving power you really have to pay attention to dust specks that you normally wouldn't notice. :tongue:

    I've found white balance to be the biggest hurdle to getting it "right".

    Product photography is great fun though... it's very different from what I usually shoot, so it's a great way to expand my skills and interests.

  3. kytra

    kytra Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    Macro lens (40-60mm)
    continuous lights (3 sources)
    some kind of "tent" made of white textile to soften and even-out the light
    more important than the sheer power of lights is the spreading to eliminate shadows
    Tripod (tabletop)
    F11 with long exposures and low iso. No flash necessary for inanimate objects
    Use a remote or delayed exposure
  4. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I use my EPl1 kit lens.
    That splash of red (magic old duvet cover, bit crinkled now) really helps to stand out in a list.
    For my purposes it hasn't had to look like a catalogue picture (although mine are better than the Ebay stock photos), and I don't think my stuff (about 250 Ebay sales) would have sold any better if it had. I think it's better if it's a good and informative picture but one that looks 'real' rather than totally professional. The buyer wants to think it's you who took the photo and if it looks too good they might think you lifted it from elsewhere (and not therefore the example you're selling). But if you're selling uncommon items I suppose that's not so likely.
    I use natural light. I find flash and the light box I have when artificially lit too harsh and gaudy.


    This one with an old camera: