Home / News / Tagged: 360 Product Photography

The Essential Equipment for Studio Product Photography

The Essential Equipment for Studio Product Photography

Online shopping has increased the demand for product photography. E-commerce websites need good photographs of their products as the value of products is often judged based on the quality of the photos. It’s an excellent opportunity for photographers to set up a small studio for product photography and start an extra stream of income. You can begin product photography in a small room with significantly less equipment. This article will talk about some essential gears you need for product photography.

[blognewsletter]

Camera:

A camera is a must-have gadget you require when it comes to photography. You don’t need any special camera for it. Any DSLR camera you have is good enough. Product photographs are mainly used on websites, so there is no need for a high megapixel camera. If you are shooting for print magazines or billboards, you need 50 or higher megapixels, but 24 megapixels or even 10 megapixels is enough for the web.

camera for studio photography

Lens:

Any standard zoom lens like 24-70mm is suitable for most product photography. Even you can start with your kit lens. Since we are shooting still objects, you don’t even need a lens with an image stabilizer feature. So you can start with the lens you already have. If you plan to shoot small objects like jewelry, you need a macro lens to get close to the product and shoot all the details.

lens for studio photography

Tripod:

You’ll need a tripod to fix the camera on that, and your hands will be free to place and move the subject for different shots. It would be handy if you have a camera trigger (wired or wireless). 

tripod for studio photography

Lights:

Light is essential for photography. A good photograph depends entirely on good lighting. Here we have a few options for lighting.

  1. Window Light: If you have just started and don’t want to invest, use a room with a big window for lighting. You can click good photos with window lighting, but it has limitations. You can’t control it much, and you can shoot only day time when light is coming from the window.
  2. Continuous Light: The second option is continuous light like an LED bulb, LED panels, or LED studio lights. With these lights, you can shoot any time, but you’ll have less control over them. LED studio light is a good option because you can easily use some light modifiers. You can also control power and color temperature.
  3. Flash: If you already have a flash, you can use that for product photography. Just remember a few points like don’t use it directly, or you’ll get a harsh shadow that will ruin the shot. Also, please don’t use it on-camera. It’ll give you flat photographs.
  4. Studio Strobe Lights: If you are shooting general products, the above three options will work, but if you plan to shoot high-end products like jewelry, watches, perfume, or cosmetics, you need more control over lighting. In that case, strobe lights are the best option. Strobe light usually gives sharper pictures than continue light because the shutter speed is faster. Also, you can use various modifiers with it and have complete control over light.

lights for studio photography

Reflectors and Flags:

After lights, you need reflectors to fill up the shadows. You may use white paper or a thermocol sheet as a reflector. For flags, you may use black paper. If you don’t know, a flag is anything that cuts or blocks the light.

Backdrops:

If you are doing product photography for e-commerce websites, you need a white background. For small products, you may use white chart paper. You’ll need different color backdrops, textured backdrops, and wood panels for other kinds of photography. It all depends on your style and your client’s requirements.

flash for studio photography

Table and other items:

You’ll need a big size table to make the setup. Next, you’ll need a black and transparent glass sheet. You can use a glass sheet to shoot the product with reflection. You’ll also need bulldog clips to hold the backdrop, reflectors, and flags.

Now I will tell you about two essential products for product photography that will take your product photography to the next level. 

[capsule360]

1. Photography Lightbox:

A lightbox or a light tent has everything you need for product photography. We can call it a mini studio too. It’s a box with translucent sides and a backdrop. You can place your product inside it and click a professional-quality photo. All sides are translucent, so there will be no ugly shadows.

The lightbox comes in various sizes, and most of them are foldable so that you can take it anywhere. You can easily take a picture of a product that is 15-16 inches in size with the bigger one. Some smaller ones come with LED light strips and don’t require additional lights. The lightbox comes with 4-5 different color backdrops and is not very costly. So if you are into product photography, you should invest in it.

2. MIOPS Capsule360:

Capsule360 is the best camera gadget for advanced product photography. As you’ve noticed, most sites nowadays show products in 360 degrees. You can use a mouse on your PC and your finger on mobile to see the product from all sides. For this, photographers rotate the product, take various shots (12 to 36), and turn it into a 360-degree photo. 

It’s a very tedious job as you need to rotate the product precisely after every shot. The rotating angle must be accurate to create a smooth 360-degree photo. That is why not everyone can click such pictures, and those who click charge a hefty amount for that.

But if you have Capsule360, you can click such a picture quickly and effortlessly. It comes with a turntable accessory. You need to place your product on the turntable, open the app and select how many images you want to take. Capsule360 will rotate the turntable according to the number of photos and trigger the camera to capture a smooth and quick 360-degree image. In a nutshell, it’ll click a 360-degree photo even before you relax and take a sip of your coffee.

capsule360 for studio photography

It works with both camera and smartphone. Capsule360 can also be used together with the Capsule Slider. Capsule Slider will slide your camera automatically with great precision as per your settings. It’ll be helpful for jewelry photography where you want the entire product in focus by using focus stacking.

These are the essential equipment to start product photography. You probably already have many of them. Whatever you don’t have, you may make a small investment to buy that and create a new income stream with product photography. So, all the best.

[star star="3"]

[faq q1="what is studio product photography?" a1="Online shopping has increased the demand for product photography. E-commerce websites need good photographs of their products as the value of products is often judged based on the quality of the photos" q2="what do you need for studio product photography?" a2="You’ll need a tripod to fix the camera on that, and your hands will be free to place and move the subject for different shots. " q3="how can you enhance your product photography?" a3="Capsule360 is the best camera gadget for advanced product photography. As you’ve noticed, most sites nowadays show products in 360 degrees."]

360 Product Photography Guide for Beginners

360 Product Photography Guide for Beginners

Product photography (aka commercial photography) is one of the most lucrative areas in the world for those seeking to earn a living through photography. Because of this, it’s extremely competitive, and standing out from the crowd to gain clients is key. But getting started in product or commercial photography can be daunting because there are so many factors at play that must come together to create engaging imagery.

Here, we’ll explain the basics of product photography, highlighting 360-degree photography especially. If you’ve ever visited a website to purchase a product and had the option to scroll through several shots of the product taken from various angles, then you’ll have encountered 360-degree product photography. Simply put, it’s a sequence of photographs that have been taken of a product that rotates on a surface to show the product’s full features. This works especially well for products that have interactive features on more than one side so that potential customers can build a picture in their heads of how the final product looks.

[blognewsletter]

360-degree product photography is a little tricky to get right though, and while there is dedicated equipment to achieve consistent results, we’ll be showing you how to use the MIOPS CAPSULE360 and additional slider and turntable accessories to make the most out of your shooting time. Take a look below at the kit list to see what you’ll need before you get started.

Product Photography Kit List

  • Camera or smartphone
  • Appropriate lens if using DSLR or mirrorless camera
  • Tripod
  • Lighting
  • Light tent or modifiers
  • MIOPS CAPSULE360
  • Cable and laptop (if tethering)

Now let’s move through the appropriate steps to set up the camera, lighting, light modifiers, and CAPSULE360 properly to get the best photos (or videos) possible to get reliable 360-degree images.

Setting up the Camera

Product photography, in general, relies on precise camera settings that remain the same to produce consistent results and this is even more important in 360 product photography because the images are often placed in a carousel on a website, meaning the viewer can navigate between images as they lay one atop the other. Therefore, each photo has to have the same exposure, lighting, white balance, etc. 

It’s best then to use manual mode to repeatedly shoot with the same settings. An aperture of between f/5.6-f/11 is good to maximize light input to the image sensor but also maintain a reasonable depth of field so the entire product is sharp. ISO should be kept to a minimum (ISO50 or 100) to reduce image noise and shutter speed should fall at the lighting’s sync speed (usually 1/250sec for flash lighting). Continuous lighting setups may require a slower shutter speed in order to capture a well balanced exposure.Lens should be set to correct focus and in manual mode, not autofocus to save on AF hunting.

setting up the camera for product photography

Balance the Tripod

Set the tripod to an appropriate height by adjusting the length of the legs, then use the in-built spirit level to make sure the tripod legs are level first. If you don’t have one you can purchase a spirit level that fits on the mount thread of the tripod footplate. 

Alternatively, you can use a hot shoe spirit level, or use the in-built spirit level on your camera if it has one, but bear in mind this doesn’t take into account the orientation of the tripod head, so rotated products may appear wonky if not correctly aligned. Once the legs are level, put the camera on the tripod head and then make sure the camera is level, too.

Fill It with Light

Continuous lights work great for photographers that want to see exactly what they’ll end up with when they press the shutter release button, but are much less powerful than flash or strobe lighting, and as such, ambient light from windows and room lighting can interfere with the white balance and brightness of shots.

Flash lighting is preferred for product/commercial photography and outputs a much more powerful burst of light. Flash lighting comes in two varieties: flashguns and studio strobes. Both are good for product/commercial photography, but each has their own benefits. Flashguns are much smaller and therefore more portable than studio strobes, and they are often powered by AA batteries (and sometimes rechargeable lithium-ion) so are easy to shoot on location. 

However, studio strobes, normally running on mains power, are bigger but much more powerful and are designed to be used constantly throughout the day. They often come with power packs to provide energy for multiple units and are much more expensive.

product photography guide

Modifying the Light for a Professional Finish

Bare light sources such as light bulbs or bare flashguns produce harsh light with sharp shadows and specular highlights. This is not usually very flattering for product photography as it makes it difficult to see what the product looks like in terms of color and texture. Therefore, a modifier must be used to soften and spread the light.

The most common form of light modification for small products is a light tent in which a product is placed. They look like square tents with white, opaque material that diffuses the light. Lights are then placed on the outside of the tent, aiming at the product, and the tent diffuses the light for softer shadows.

This technique can also be replicated through the use of other modifiers such as umbrellas, softboxes, and other variations like a light table. Essentially, anything that softens and spreads the light will work.

product photography

Showcasing the Product

Electronic, motorized turntables are dedicated pieces of kit that rotate products for simple 360-degree capture. However, they are often expensive and serve only one purpose. The MIOPS CAPSULE360, on the other hand, is the world’s smallest and most compact motion box which can be paired with the turntable accessory to achieve the same result but it also opens up many more shooting possibilities such as rotating time-lapses, interval ramping, bulb ramping, panoramas, motorized sliding, long exposure or HDR time-lapses, face recognition tracking, star tracking, and more.

Setting up the CAPSULE360 motion box is easy, simply mount the device on a suitable surface and open the mobile app. The MIOPS app will intelligently detect the position and function of the CAPSULE360 and guide you through the setup process.

Not only can you achieve 360-degree photography with the turntable accessory but the CAPSULE360 can also be used with the Capsule Camera Slider which slides the camera back and forth very precisely for ultimate control over tracking shots. The motorized camera slider can also double up for use in a range of other areas such as timelapses, videos, and more.

Let’s say the product you are shooting isn’t designed to remain static and instead, you need to capture it in motion, well the CAPSULE360 tracking feature can track an object on the screen, too. It can even learn custom motion paths that are input by the manual movement the user creates. Both the device and app are user-friendly and the CAPSULE360 is compatible with a wide range of devices such as smartphones, action cams, DSLR, and mirrorless cameras in both stills and video modes.

[capsule360]

To Tether or Not to Tether

When shooting product photography, the chances are that you’ll be capturing images in the studio, or at least indoors. Capturing a memory card and then importing the photos to a computer is fine, but it’s faster to tether your camera directly to the computer so that images taken appear immediately within the chosen image editing software.

The benefit of tethering is two-fold: first, it saves time importing photos already taken and second, edit settings can be applied to the first photo in a sequence of images which is then set to automatically apply these edits to subsequent photos, meaning less editing time, too.

The standard way to tether to a computer would be to use a dedicated USB cable to attach between camera and computer, then to use appropriate image editing software that allows for tethered capture. Be sure to check the camera’s manual to ensure it’s capable of tethering capture before purchasing.

Blog Credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes

Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer, educator and writer. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and works with many high profile international clients. Further information can be found in his website www.jasonpb.com.

[star star="4"]

[faq q1="how to modify the light in product photography?" a1="Bare light sources such as light bulbs or bare flashguns produce harsh light with sharp shadows and specular highlights." q2="what is commercial photography?" a2="commercial photography is one of the most lucrative areas in the world for those seeking to earn a living through photography." q3="what is 360 product photography?" a3="it’s a sequence of photographs that have been taken of a product that rotates on a surface to show the product’s full features."]