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Photographing Products - 17 Most Common Mistakes

Photographing products can be more difficult than it looks. Some may think that you just grab a camera and shoot, but they couldn’t be more wrong. In order to achieve great results, you need to prepare for the shoot. This includes having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and what gear you will use, among other considerations. Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes when capturing product images.

These 17 common mistakes often affect product shots

Not considering the final use of the photo

First and most important mistake is not considering the final use of the photo. Make sure you find out how and where the photo will be used. This drastically affects the composition, lighting, and other aspects of the photo. For example, if the photo will be used on a website, it may need to be a certain size or have specific visual elements.

Using poor lighting when photographing products

Poor lighting, such as low-quality lights or mixed sources, can result in a dull, unappealing image that fails to showcase the product in its best light. Good lights have specified consistency, an exact range of colors, and a high Color Rendering Index (CRI). Some well-known brands for lighting equipment are 
Profoto
Broncolor
Hensel
Elinchrom
Westcott
Briese 
or for video
Aputure
NanLite
Rotolight
Litepanels,
Arri.

Shooting from the wrong angle

The angle from which you photograph a product can greatly affect how it appears in the final image. For example, shooting from above can make the product look small and unimportant, while shooting from below can make it look intimidating and dominant.

Blurry images

Blurry product images can hide important product details. Using a tripod can help you capture sharper, more detailed photos by keeping your camera steady and reducing camera shake. However, that’s not all. You can also utilize a camera or lens with stabilization features. Additionally, employing professional lights can shorten the duration of a flash and aid in freezing the subject. (Refer to the section above regarding poor lighting.)

Zooming in or out too much

Yes, you have to get that right. (This mistake also relates to the lens you are using.) Don’t plan to zoom out too much and then crop the image, as you are losing a lot of image details. Depending on how wide your lens is, it could create distortion on the sides that can make the image unusable. When you zoom too close, though, your subject may not be represented the way it should be. Additionally, you will encounter distortion that will take time to fix in post-production.

Failing to edit the photo

Surely, we had to mention that mistake. Even basic editing, such as adjusting the brightness, contrast, and color balance, can greatly improve the final image. Professional retouching, though, brings out as many qualities of the product as possible, often influencing the buyer’s decision whether to purchase the product or not.

Over-editing

On the other side, it is quite easy to go too far. Excessive or unrealistic editing can make the product appear unnatural or misleading. It’s important to retain the natural qualities and characteristics of the product to provide an accurate representation.

Not using the correct lens

photographing-products and how to choose lens

As mentioned before You have to use a correct lens for the type of a product You are shooting and for the effect You are expecting. 

Not using a white background

A white background can help make the product stand out and give it a professional, polished look, and your product should always be presented that way. However, it’s also great to use other backgrounds to show how your product looks in real-use case scenarios. If it’s a t-shirt, you always want a white/greyish background as the main picture, then include some zoomed-in details. Finally, photographed product can be accompanied by a few other shots where you depict the product with complete stylizations.

Not paying attention to composition

Composition refers to the way the elements of a photo are arranged and can greatly affect the final image. Paying attention to composition can help you create more visually appealing look of your photographed product.

Not using a diffuser

photographing products with a diffuser

Yeah, harsh lights can be cool and very provocative. But make sure you have some shots where the light is less definitive. A diffuser can help soften harsh lighting and reduce harsh shadows, resulting in a more evenly lit, natural-looking photo. It will also help with reflections.

Inaccurate colors of photographed products

Colors play a crucial role in product photography as they have a significant impact on how the product is perceived by viewers. This ensures that customers have a clear understanding of the item’s appearance before making a purchase. Failing to represent the product’s true colors can mislead potential buyers.

Cluttered backgrounds

Busy or distracting backgrounds can take away focus from the photographed product.

Lack of consistency

Inconsistent styling or composition across product shots can create a disjointed look.
Consistency in product photography builds trust with your customers. When they encounter consistent and reliable product images across different platforms and marketing materials, it enhances their confidence in your brand and the quality of your products.

Reflections and glare

Unwanted reflections or glare on the product’s surface can diminish its visibility and appeal.

Inadequate product preparation

Neglecting to clean or present the product properly can result in unappealing shots. Ensuring that the product is clean and well-presented before the shoot is crucial because dust, fingerprints, and smudges can be easily captured in photographs, detracting from the product’s appearance.

We suggest preparing the photographed product beforehand as it streamlines the photo shoot process. Having everything organized and ready to go saves time and allows you to focus on capturing the best possible images. It helps avoid unnecessary delays or distractions during the shoot.

Poor image resolution

Low-resolution images may lack the necessary clarity and detail desired for product shots.
In the digital realm, where most product images are viewed on various devices with different screen sizes, higher resolution ensures a better user experience.

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