Camera Gear Product Photography

Helpful Tools for Creating Dynamic Product Photos

The experienced product photographer has many tricks and techniques to display objects to their greatest advantage. Here are a few tools you’ll need to…

Positioning and appearance are everything to product photography. Your clients are looking not only for images that flatter their wares but also images that motivate their customers to buy. Fortunately, there are many imaginative ways to create extraordinary images. Here are a few of the tools you can use to display products to their best advantage.

Tools for Positioning

Dynamic positioning is always a challenge, particularly for smaller items like jewelry and personal electronics. Fortunately, the tools you can use to position these items are limited to only your imagination. Some of the most versatile tools include:

  • A Lazy Susan: Consumers want to see every aspect of the item they’re buying, which means it’s almost always necessary to shoot a product from a variety of angles. A lazy Susan makes it easy to reposition products between shots.
  • Blocks and Props: Dynamic posing is about positioning an object in an unexpected way. You can accomplish this with small styrofoam blocks and props that hold the item in place from behind. Include not only square blocks but also triangular ones so that you can place products at a variety of angles. Paint your props to match the color of the background so that if they find their way into your images, it’ll be easier to blend them out later.
  • Prop Wax: Prop wax is an invaluable tool to have on hand. Jewelry – especially rings – are often held in place with a small drop of wax. If your product keeps falling over despite your best efforts to prop it against a block, use a dollop of wax to adhere the item to the block.
  • Gaffer’s Tape, String, and Other Tools: Sometimes creative positioning is about doing something truly unusual, like suspending a product or positioning it at an extreme angle. Keep string on hand so that you can suspend a product from a spare light stand or a dowel placed over your lightbox. Gaffer’s tape gives you an easy and inexpensive way to position products in a variety of angles.

Making Products Appealing

There are numerous ways to make a product look even more attractive. Food photographers, for instance, use oil and sometimes even varnish to give food a tantalizing shine. Here are a few more helpful tools:

  • Cleaning Supplies: Always keep a supply of cleaning cloths on hand to remove fingerprints. Soft paint brushes and squeeze bulbs like you’d use to clean your camera’s mirror are a great way to remove small bits of dust.
  • Spray Bottles: Use spray bottles to give anything from flowers to fruit a fresh, dewy look. Make sure that your bottle’s nozzle has several spray patterns so that you can achieve both fine mists and larger water droplets. For that matter, an eyedropper is useful if you want to place only a few larger water drops on your product.
  • Rain-X: If you’d like water to bead nicely on glass surfaces, a bottle of Rain-X is a handy thing to have around. Buff it onto the product, spray it with water and watch as the water forms perfect droplets. Just make sure that you have permission from the product’s owner before applying any chemicals.

This is only a small sampling of the things that you can use to position products and make them more attractive. The more product photos you take, the more ways you’ll find to make those products look amazing!

About the author

Will Moneymaker

Will has been creating photographs and exploring his surroundings through his lens since 2000. Follow along as he shares his thoughts and adventures in photography.