Today’s generation, including some of the best baby boomers, is into photography. Thank gods for allowing humans to create smartphones, point and shoot cameras, DSLR, and even the comeback of film cameras.
Before 2020, finding our niche in photography had been advised over and over again to us wannabe photographers. It was always said that finding one’s expression in photography should be prioritized. Also, there’s the hone your craft; practice every day; upgrade your lens.
However, let’s be honest; not all photographers will be given a day in their lives to make money out of our artistic expressions even if we have found our niche. The eye on our lens approach all the time will not allow us to make lots of money. We have to hustle! We need to get paid! We have to stop being a purist because that’s just shading our talent from making lots of money.
One of the best things to do as a photographer – skilled or not (yes, I said it), is to become a product photographer. Being a product photographer is where the money is at! Think thousands and thousands of websites needing photos of products they sell. Ecommerce is the number one platform needing hundreds of photos every day. How to become a product photographer is easy.
Here are five things you need to know on how to become a product photographer:
A Smartphone Can Do The Job.
We all have smartphones. I’m sure of it. Those that do not probably do not even like photography or constant communication, so we let them be. We are not also going to think and talk about them.
For us that have Twitter and Instagram accounts and have been thinking hard on what to post, putting the utmost care on what to share on social media, we can easily do product photography. If by any chance, we are on the same wavelength of wanting to become a professional photographer and we have a professional camera, then we should use it. However, a smartphone should not easily be disregarded because it can also do the job.
iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy, Huawei P30 have all been created to capture stunning photos. Why not use it?
Create a mini studio.
We are not photographing people. We are taking photos of objects, and we don’t need a lot of space to capture incredible photos. We create our own space to tell stories that will capture people’s minds into buying a product. The thing is, it doesn’t even have to be bigger than a table sometimes. Small objects can fit on a table easily, so that will work.
Stabilizers and Shooting with Consistency
We cannot rely on our hands. Sometimes, we are not aware that we are trembling or shaking because of fatigue. Relying on our arms and hands to shoot at all times can be tiring. For one, we are relying on angles, lighting, shadows, and reflections. We’ll talk more about lighting later.
If we want to shoot with consistency, especially with smaller objects, we need to make use of tripods. This is one of the most important items we need to have on hand when shooting products. A handheld camera will not be suitable for shots that require capturing hard objects. A makeshift tripod will not be the wisest to do; it can slide or fall backward when we have nothing reliable to use. There are tripods for smartphones now too, and accessories we can use to attach a smartphone to a professional tripod.
Here are two types of tripods:
- An extendable tripod stand used for professional photography
- Usually, just a foot high. It is used to achieve angles. Some of these flexible kinds were made specifically for smartphones. However, there are sturdier ones that can hold DSLR. This can easily be placed on a table and be bent to achieve specific angle shots.
There are two types of lighting:
- Natural light
Natural light is usually used for food products. We’ve seen those mouthwatering food photos in California restaurant menus. Since that area is predominantly sunny, alfresco dining seems to have become popular in California. Most of the food photos in menus were captured using natural light. When we say natural light, we are talking about the sun. Nothing can get more natural light than the sun. Natural light is best used to capture items that have softer characteristics. We can use this for plants, food, and bathroom products.
- Artificial light
When we talk about artificial light, we mean light coming from bulbs, candles, and fire. It depends on the mood we plan to portray in our shots. Artificial is also called “hard light” because it produces a more focused light surface. If we need to show the details and texture of a product, we need to make use of this hard light to entice the customers’ discerning eyes.
We should not mix natural light and artificial light when shooting products. We need to choose one to highlight the best features of our product, depending on the softness and hardness of those objects. Also, learning how to play around with a light source is going to be a great advantage for us photographers.
Bouncing or filling light is one of the things we need to master, not just for product photography but also for our artistic expression. Use reflectors to direct light on the product. White craft boards can do the trick, especially if we are taking a photo of something metallic or glass.
Photoshop and Lightroom
If we know how to shoot photos, we also need to know how to clean these photos and edit photos. Sometimes using Lightroom is enough, sometimes an edit needs to be done in Photoshop. A rule of thumb that we all need to know is, do not over-edit any of the photos we take. Also, we should never pass off other people’s photos as our own by editing them. That is unacceptable.
BONUS: Where Do We Offer Our Services?
How to become a product photographer is a process and doesn’t stop at learning all those things. We can’t assume that people and companies will suddenly figure out that we are doing product photography. We need a website to serve as our professional platform and as our portfolio.
Also, we need to get out of our comfort zones and offer our skills and services to e-commerce websites like Amazon, eBay, and other merchants online. There are several platforms where we can go to provide our services as a product photographer. There is also a website where we can offer to sell copies of our practice shots like Shutterstock.
Build a portfolio. To be honest, being a product photographer is much easier to attain because we are surrounded by numerous numbers of objects in our homes. Take a photo of a wristwatch. Start with small items. Practice. Show it to friends and families. We don’t have to tell them at first that those are photos we’ve taken. We can simply say it was from a website. Let’s see how they react. How to become a product photographer is easy if we have the right drive and determination.