We are inundated with Product Photography on a daily basis. Magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc., it comes at us 24/7. You got a taste of what goes into product photography when we did our month of food photography. Now we are going to try it with subjects other than food, but a lot of what you learned about lighting and composition doing food works well here, too. Try to think of this assignment as a print advertisement, or if you want to do something simpler, an image to sell something on Ebay. Even if all you want to do is sell something on Ebay, presenting it well may make the difference between selling it for the price you want or not selling at all. Who knows, you may find this is your photographic niche.
Browse through magazines and take a good look at some print ads. What is it about them that captures your attention? Did they use lighting to accentuate the product? Is the product shown being used in a particular way? What about color; is it bright or subdued?
Lighting: Try for soft lighting. Harsh shadows will detract from your subject. On camera flash will probably not show your product at it's best. This does not mean you need to buy fancy and/or expensive lighting equipment. Try using a a sheer piece of fabric over a desk lamp (careful not to let it get too hot, we don't want fires!) for a larger object, or building a simple DIY lightbox/tent for small items. Natural light is another option.
A tripod can make a big difference at getting a sharp shot. Make sure your camera is steady.
Staging, Composition and Color: Keep your backgrounds simple. You don't want to distract from the product. The viewer's eyes should be immediately drawn to it. White backgrounds are good for both showing off the item and for lighting, but consider what color might show off your product the best. A string of white pearls may disappear on a white background but glow on a black one. If you want to include something else in your image to enhance your product - people in the background enjoying your cola perhaps - consider using a narrow dof to keep the focus on your product. Make sure anything else you include is complementary to the subject. Is there anything special about your product that you can show in a unique way? For example, photographing a waterproof watch in a goblet of water.
Bright colors can connote cheerfulness and energy. Soft colors may give a more relaxing feel.
Editing: White balance is key, if you didn't get it when you took your shot (the best way), fix it now. Erase spots, try some fill light, crop to eliminate empty space.
Shooting Winning Pictures for Ebay
Super Simple Light Tent
Here's my try at getting you to buy this candy:
As always, rules:
Please note the change in closing time as well as the size limit.
Just a note to new posters: DO NOT start a new thread for your post. Please just hit the reply button at the bottom of any current post and put your image there.
1. Your original image you submit should be taken between the 10th of March and the 24th of March. Each week as an assignment closes on the Wednesday, it will be AUTOMATICALLY deemed *CLOSED* after 8am GMT ( 3am EST) and any posts after that time will not be eligible for the assignment competition. Don't wait until the last minute to post!
2. Your post must include "Assignment: Product Photography " (to show your permission to count it for the contest) and the date the picture was taken (to show that it is a valid entry).
3. EXIF data should be intact. It helps if you can include the main points (including camera, lens, date taken, ISO, shutter speed and aperture) in the text of your message.
4. Only one entry per member (if you can't restrain yourself until the end of the first week you can post two or three separate pictures but your entry should be in a separate post and the only marked with the text above). It must be an original image taken by you.
5. Remember the cross-site image size limit (740px on the longest side).
6. If the image does not exist in post at the end of the contest, it is disqualified. If you modify anything on flickr and re-save the image then the link is broken and the message needs edited to link the picture again before it will be included in the contest.
For everyone, please do not repeat other people's photos by quoting them until the contest is over. If you want to comment on or discuss an entry you can use a link to it (or just delete the picture from the quoted text).
7. If you are looking for the winners of the mini-contest, please check the front page of the DPS blog Saturday late afternoon (EST) and here.
Next assignment: "Tell Me a Story". Look for something meaningful in your life. It could be an object in your home, a place, etc. Perhaps something from your childhood, an item from your family or a friend, or a place you went to that has special meaning to you. Use what you know to photograph it and, if you want, write a short few lines giving it's background and why it means so much. The written story is optional, it's just a chance to get to know something about each other. Try to make your image interesting, so others will want to know the story behind it.