Today I want to go into all the details and show you all the Behind the Scenes of the product photography I’ve been doing at home. We’ve all been stuck at home for almost a year now and it has impacted our lives in a number of ways, but one of the ways it’s really affected my life is having to shoot all of my college projects at home. I’m studying photography as many of you know and I’ve done a number of projects from the confines of my bedroom over the last year, but the most recent project I’ve been working on is product photography. It has taken a lot of reorganising my room and thinking of solutions to equipment I don’t have access to at home and I wanted to share those with you to assist you in your endeavours to shoot product photography at home.
I’m going to go through the equipment I use, the settings I’ve used, the solutions I came up with to particular problems and some innovative ways you can shoot at home even if you don’t have expensive camera equipment, so let’s just get into it!
- Camera – Fujifilm X-Pro 2
- Flashes – Nikon speedlight SB-700
- Flash converter – FujiFilm EF-X8
- Piece of A2 paper for background
- masking tape (to tape background to the wall)
- flat surface
This is the short list of what equipment I used, but now let’s go through how I used them to create the photos I did:
I chose to do Jewellery Photography, since I would only need a relatively small space to shoot it in compared to something like clothes. I bought a big piece of black and white paper from Hobbycraft and taped it to my wall to create a seamless curved background to shoot on. I cleared the top of my chest of drawers and used it as a flat surface to shoot on because it was already up against the wall, but if you don’t already have a conveniently place piece of furniture you can always move a coffee table or something up against a wall, which will work just as well.
I used a couple of studio flashes to light my images, but I am well aware that not everyone will have these. I did several photos without any flashes using only things that everyone should have, so I will get to that momentarily, but first I want to go through what I did with my flashes for those who do have them.
I had my flash set to ‘Remote SU-4’ on 1/16 power.
I don’t really have any camera or light settings that I’ll default to, so I usually just start with everything in the middle and adjust the settings on both until I find what works. This may not be the quickest way to do things and professional product photographers who have been shooting the same thing for 20 years probably know exactly what settings are needed for each shoot, but I think it’s fine to spend a few extra minutes playing around with settings to make sure you get the right settings for the job. Also if you’re shooting at home, then you’re probably not under as much pressure as you would be in a professional studio environment.
So that was a very simple shoot, with very simple results. Simple can be good and simple was what I was aiming for with this particular shoot and I would suggest that you start with something simple if you’re just getting into product photography whilst you find your feet. However, most of the time, you’re going to want to take your product photography a little further, so I’m going to show you how I create an amazing image using no studio lights/flashes and you technically don’t even need a camera for this one – just a phone, a laptop (or any secondary screen) and a mirror.
This is the photo I took:
And now I’m going to show you how I took it: I brought up a picture of the sky that I’d taken on my laptop and made it full screen, so there wouldn’t be any unwanted reflections in the photo. I then took my circle mirror that is actually the lid to my jewellery box and placed it on the keyboard of my laptop. Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to see immediately where I’m going with this because you will be able to see the reflection of whatever image you put on your screen in the mirror, so the rest should be pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll talk you through it anyway.
I put my necklace that I was photographing on the mirror and then took some time to re-arrange the necklace into the desired position and also played with the position of the mirror and the angle of the laptop screen. This is really just a lot of trial and error, but you can see from the image below what I ended up with.
As you can see the set-up purely comprised of my laptop screen, a mirror and whatever my subject was. I did use my camera and tripod for this, but if you don’t have them, then you could quite easily use your phone for this and still get a pretty high quality image and it might actually be easier to get the angle you want with a phone since they’re much smaller and lighter than cameras. I didn’t use any studio lights or flashes for this image and it is actually my favourite image I took that day, which just goes to show that you don’t need a lot (or even any) fancy equipment to get some great photos.
You can get really creative with this technique with a mirror and a laptop screen and I think my next project is to try and take a much bigger mirror outside and try to echo the effect on a much larger scales, so make sure you stay tuned for that!
I hope this post was helpful and that it’s maybe inspired you to go and try some simple product photography at home! If you have any questions, then let me know in the comments where I’d be more than happy to answer them! Also if you try any product photography at home, then send me the final results on Instagram (@thephotographydragon) because I’d love to see what you create!
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out