A common misconception in product photography is that the best photos are taken and processed heavily in post-production software. While this may be true for digital assets, a clear differentiator between great photos is the quality of the product pictures taken straight out of the camera; before they enter the post-processing phase. A well-taken photo will require less time within editing software and shows true beauty from the initial shot.
Details are something the photographer notices first.
Most brand owners may not see a label askew, or imperfections in the product packaging. However, as a photographer, I am often looking at each product detail up close, making it easy for me to take note of any areas that need adjustment, in order to highlight and repair any less-than-ideal marks or scuffs that occur during production or shipping.
I use a laser level, I am particular about precision.
You read that correctly. More often than not, I am adjusting my level to calculate how accurate labels are affixed to packaging, and how liquid rests within a bottle, in the event that production was less than perfect for the item I am shooting. This is important, because I can manipulate imperfections and present the beautifully designed product I know you produced.
Why am I telling you this?
I think it’s important that my clients know how important these details are when selecting products to photograph. In order for me to spend less time within post-processing software, the most carefully selected products to be delivered to me are ideal. To make things run smoothly, I ask my clients to briefly look through the following criteria and provide me with what they see as the more accurate representation of their marvelous products.
Check the label.
If the label is clearly placed on an angle, it means I will take the time to manually adjust it myself. If you have several similar inconsistencies out of no fault of your own, like peeling or ripples, don’t feel discouraged, since most customers may not notice minute label issues, but for your professional photos, select the product you feel is the closest to straight cut and damage-free.
Even better, if you can provide me with the product and the label separately, I am most appreciative to affix the label myself-by use of my trusty laser level. This helps me guarantee one less focus during post-processing.
Check for nicks in the packaging.
Scuff marks or indents happen often during shipping, and although not a difficult repair in the post processing phase, an easier one to eliminate altogether if you look over the packaging and select the product with the least amount of deficiencies. If you find there are none, that’s great!
Wrap glass products in microfibre or cloth.
Glass products are delicate, in that they can be easily scratched or broken during delivery and setup. Microfibre is soft enough to aid in avoiding scratches, whereas some paper filling products have a rougher texture, leading to small scratches that can be noticed in a photo. If microfibre is not an option, a similar smooth cloth, bubble wrap, or foam filler are good options to consider as well.
Just a few brief looks over the product helps me greatly.
I appreciate those few moments because they make the shooting process more efficient and smooth. For that I thank you. However, in understanding that with larger projects, items, or shipments, this may not regularly be the case, I always spend time adjusting, cleaning, and preparing each item before it reaches the front end of the camera. This ensures great photos straight out of the camera. It gives me a basis for the least amount of post-processing and produces the most authentic imagery.