Getting the Most From Product Photography in Your Printed Literature

30 Jul 2014

There’s a saying that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, and never has this been more true than when applied to product photography. A crisp, clear, uncluttered image of a product can showcase your wares beautifully; a low-resolution, poorly lit, inferior photograph is a very bad reflection on your brand.

It’s particularly important when photos are taken for use in printed literature that they are of the highest possible quality. Often, it’s the time and effort that goes into preparation for a shoot that creates a good photo. Using a studio isn’t always necessary if you follow these steps to getting the most from the images you wish to use in your printed literature.

Create a Clean Image

When photographing your product, it is important that it is in good condition and incredibly clean. If possible, always use a new product so that there are no scratches or marks on it. If this is not feasible, ensure that you clean your product as best as possible. Grease marks, dust and fingerprints all show up in hi-res photos, and these can be off-putting to a viewer who is expecting to be enticed by your wares.

The background of a photograph is also important, and a cluttered or messy area will detract attention and draw focus away from the intended object. If studio access is not a possibility, make use of some pristine sheets of white paper to help display the product and ensure that it’s the main feature. A clean, neutral background is the best option for making your product the focus of any image.

Find the Right Light and Angle

Natural light creates one of the best scenarios for a great photo, and an overcast day is the perfect choice for creating an image that has no shadows. On a grey day a soft, diffused light is given off, which is ideal for a clear photo. If shooting outside and against a white background, it is also important that you adjust your camera’s meter and get your exposure right, creating a balance between the natural light and the background you have chosen.

Shooting an object straight on or from above may not create the most flattering angle, nor showcase the item at its best, so you should move around until you find an angle that suits your product best. Always consider what image you wish to portray to a customer and how you want your product to be viewed, shooting from an angle that encompasses this. A tripod can make shooting from an awkward angle easier, and also ensure that the camera stays still. This produces a crisp photo that is perfectly in focus.

Play with Your Settings

Finding the right camera setting for your product is important. If you are unsure of which options are best, you can opt for the ‘auto’ mode offered by most DSLRs. Your flash should always be off as this can create unnecessary shadows and create a highly unprofessional-looking image, and ISO should be as low as possible to ensure a smooth, clear and sharp result. Finding the right aperture mode to create the correct focus is also vital, and you will need to determine what your point of focus in your image should be.

Taking photographs for print literature is a trial-and-error process, and it can take a while to get the desired result. Using post-production techniques to clean up or crop an image is also recommended to create the perfect hi-res shot.