These Camera Settings for Product Photography Will Take Your Photography to the Next Level
We are all aware of the fact that photography has various types and over the course of a few months, we have explored almost all the relevant types that most people need to know about. However, the one thing that most people do not know is that aside from the types of photography, it is also very important to understand that there needs to be a proper understanding of what you are looking, in the first place.
Now, if you are looking at product photography, the name says it all. It is a type of photography with the focus solely on taking pictures of the products, and doing a good job at that. You can, easily mess this up, but we will not let that happen as we are going to help you figure out the best settings for product photography.
Before you get scared, it is not at all going to be difficult and you will be all settled in no time. So, let’s not waste time and have a look.
Understanding the Camera Settings for Product Photography
Now, the whole concept of understanding camera settings is not at all complicated. Most people just go ahead and use the same settings for all types of photography but that is not the one thing that we would advise that you are looking into these settings just so you can have an understanding about the situation and the right one, at that.
So, let’s not waste time and have a look at every possible setting that you need to know when it comes to product photography. At the end, I’ll also tell you what the most ideal settings are, so you do not have any issues coming in the way.
1- Always Put Your Camera in Manual Mode
I do have a feeling that this is already there by default for most of the camera users. People have been using their cameras in manual mode for as long as one can remember and while it might be difficult for some to actually nail it, you would be a lot more surprised that it is not as difficult as you might think.
So, what do you need to do? Well, it is simple. Just put your camera in the manual mode and you will be all set to go. However, there is a lot more that we are going to explore, so let’s keep looking, shall we?
2- Make Sure You are Shooting in RAW
This is another thing that on paper, should not be mentioned but we are going to talk about it, anyway. Why? People normally do not understand this, in the first place and to cater to that, we are going to talk about how to fix this.
The most important thing that you should know is that if you are looking to shoot product photography or any other photography, for that matter. I would highly suggest that you are doing it in RAW. Why? Well, when you are shooting in the RAW format, you are getting the option to go ahead and edit your pictures the way you want to and that too, without a fault. It might take some time to perfect, but it definitely is the right way out.
3- Keeping the ISO Low
On a camera, ISO is responsible for regulating the sensitivity of your camera sensor to the available light. When you are looking at a lower number, the sensor is less sensitive, which will result in the sensor needing more time to take the shot. If you are shooting in a low light and still have to use a higher shutter speed, you will need to crank up the ISO but if you do get too high, you will start encountering digital noise.
Not many people know this but ISO settings reflect split seconds and normally vary from 100 to 3200 and even higher on some of the new camera. This means that 100 ISO is a full second, and 3200 ISO is 1/32 of a second.
For product photography, you will need to use the lowest ISO possible to ensure that the image is coming out looking as clean as it possibly could look.
4- Setting the Right Aperture
An aperture refers to the opening in your lens that allows the light in. The wider the aperture is, the greater the amount of light that comes in, and the narrower the aperture is, the less the amount of light to be allowed in. It works exactly like the pupil of your eye.
The size of an aperture is measured in f-stops and the smaller the number, the larger the aperture. Which means that f/1.4 is a larger aperture opening than f/11, and that means that you are getting more light with f/1.4 than you are with f/11. Furthermore, the aperture is also linked to depth of field, and the depth of field is the area of the scene that is acceptably in focus.
For product photography, if you are using a white or plain background, you can usually use anywhere from f/4.5 to f/7.1 aperture. This is going to let you isolate the subject and have it in complete focus to a point that all product details are clear.
However, if you do not have a plain background, then you will need to isolate the subject (product) from the surrounding elements, and in such a case, a wider aperture (f/2.8 or lower) is what we are going to suggest to you.
5- Getting the Shutter Speed Right
Another thing that you need to understand is that getting the shutter speed right is very, very important. Shutter speed is the indicator of how fast the shutter opens and closes, and for those wondering, this value is indicated in stops of light and measured in fractions of a second. Higher shutter speed is excellent when you are talking about helping to freeze a subject, while slower shutter speeds can result in motion blur.
Considering how you are talking about product photography, and you will be dealing with little to no motion, you can use slower shutter speed. This is specifically helpful if you are using a narrower aperture. However, if you are using a slower shutter speed, I would highly advise that you look into using a tripod around with it for the better and perfect experience.
6- Understanding the Importance of White Balance
You also need to understand the importance of white balance because without all of this, you might not be able to get things started, in the first place. The accurate white balance is needed so there are no color casts n the white areas of the photos and the color of the photos along with the subjects in the photos are true to what they should look like.
You can adjust the white balance through the auto setting, you can also use a grey card, and you can also go ahead and adjust things in post processing. The point here is that for product photography, you will need to have the understanding of how to handle white balance because are not looking to be in a situation where things can get out of hand and you end up ruining the product photography.
7- Always Use Autofocus
Yes, I did say in the start that your camera should be in manual mode and that is to ensure that you are not running into any issues such as camera settings changing on their own because your camera discovered something different than it was supposed to be. But trust me, camera always needs to be on manual for the optimal results.
Moving further, I would highly suggest that you are using autofocus on your lens; this is the best way that you can take some stunning pictures and that too with ease. I do understand that this is not something for everyone and there is always confusion associated with it, but you will be in a much better place with autofocus enabled.
8- Avoid Using Flash
If you have to be in a situation where you are going to need some artificial lighting, then I would suggest that you are using continuous lighting instead of using flash because flash is not going to work the way you want it to work and you are only going to ruin the experience and that is not what we are looking to.
9- Don’t Be Afraid of Zooming In
Considering how you are photographing products, there are situations in which you might have to zoom in and don’t be afraid to do so. I would even go to the lengths of suggesting a macro lens, especially if you are capturing something that has a lot of fine details because that will only make the experience infinitely better.
Common Issues Faced in Product Photography
Now ideally, product photography is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure that does not require a lot of hassle. However, there are times when people get mistaken by how things can go wrong.
There are some issues that we are going to list down that people face.
1- Not Knowing What Sort of Pictures the Client Wants
The first thing that you are going to run into is not knowing what sort of pictures the client is looking for. The solution to that is simple, talk to your clients, ask them about their ideas and what they have in mind and then create something for them.
2- Not Paying Attention to Lights
You will also have to pay attention to lights; both natural and artificial. See if they are needed in the photos that you are taking and how should the implementation be. This might seem small but it is incredibly important and should not be looked over.
3- Ignoring the Colors
I understand the composition is very important but ignoring the colors is not at all what I would suggest anyone to go towards. Why? Well, you are taking pictures of products, and you would need to be sure that the colors are looking good enough so you can get things in order in no time.
4- Not Enough Highlights
Take a watch, for example. A stunning mechanical watch. If you are too busy photographing the watch itself and not all the intricacies that go into making that watch, you are doing it wrong. You have to be certain that you are paying enough attention to these complexities and little details of the product you are photographing.
5- Going for Complications
You have to be certain that you do not end up overcomplicating the whole image that you are taking. If it is looking good in its simplest state then let it be in that state and you will be all good to go. There is no need to overcomplicate things where they are needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Product photography might be difficult for some but to be honest, once you get better at it, you will start to make sense with ease. I do understand that this is not something that is the same for everyone but hey, if you are looking into getting the right amount of shots, this is easily the best way to achieve that, in the first place.
In the entirety of this post, the goal was to ensure that we have covered every single aspect of product photography and the settings that one needs to use to get things right. It might not be easy for everyone to achieve, but it actually starts making sense once you get the hang of it.
Hi, I’m Robert Frank, a videographer fascinated by the fusion of technology and art. As a self-proclaimed ‘Gimbal Maestro’, I’m here to help you achieve smooth, professional-looking videos.