Catalog product photography is a huge industry bringing in huge profits. If you want to break into this world, there are a few things you should know. Here’s the basics on what’s fact or fiction:
Fiction: It’s Expensive to Shoot
Although catalog photography may sometimes look expensive, even outright luxurious, it’s not necessarily costly to shoot. Sure, some fashion product campaigns may be over the top - but not all product photography requires fancy clothes, exorbitant equipment, or any other excessive costs. If you’ve got an eye and a few good pieces of equipment, you can turn product photography into a lucrative hobby, or even a career.
Fiction: It’ll Make You Rich Overnight
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Yes, if you work hard and network, you can eventually build your reputation and make a career out of product photography. However, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, and photographers expecting to turn photos into profit overnight will be sorely disappointed.
When you begin, you probably won’t have consistent product photography jobs to keep you busy. You’ll have to search for work and take the time to build your reputation and portfolio.
Fact: Lighting is Important in Product Photography
Yes. In fact, this statement is an understatement. Lighting is one of the most important elements in product photography, and having the right lighting tools can make or break your shoot. The correct lighting can help you avoid harsh shadows, create drama and feeling in your image, and bring out the product’s detail.
Fiction: Product Photography is Devoid of Emotion
If you think about visual advertisements from well known brands in the electronic, car, and watch industries, you’ll notice that most of their product photography elicits an emotional response from its viewer. Their product photography makes people feel a certain way about their product. It’s important to the success of a campaign for product photography to carry the tone of the overall brand and to achieve an emotional bond with whoever is looking at it.
Fact: A Tripod is your Best Friend
A tripod is an essential tool in the kit of any successful product photographer. The tripod ensures that your images stay sharp, stunning, and focused. It also frees up your hands to make any necessary adjustments to the product or its setting.
Fiction: Utilizing Image Editing Software is “Cheating”
It is very rare to see an untouched image in the world of product photography. There’s no shame in using image editing software like Photoshop to make your photograph as visually appealing as possible. After all, the goal is to sell the product, and as long as it’s represented accurately, there’s no harm in it.