Let me start by saying: I am not a professional Photographer, and I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing most of the time with Photography. It’s a skill that I’m still working on and learning, but I can at least say I have improved and learned a few things since first starting product photography.
Product photography is a key ingredient in the necessary evil that is marketing; I wish I could just tell a few people I make beautiful arrangements and then word of mouth would do the rest of the work, leaving me to never have to post anything ever again, but unfortunately that’s not the way this works. Taking the right picture (and marketing it the right way) is sometimes more work than my actual job: being a Florist, so it’s important to do it well (or at least not suck at it).
During my trial-and-error-style of photography studies I learned about the necessity of a few important things: setting intent, background, angles, lighting, and editing. Think of “setting your intent” as the planning phase: decide what you want the image to show and focus on. This may be showing the use of a bouquet by having a bride holding it, or it may be highlighting the artwork on a wineglass by showing off the brushstrokes. If you don’t know what you want your image to portray, you won’t know how to set it up!
Background, angles, and lighting are all somewhat self-explanatory, but that doesn’t make them easy to get the hang of. When figuring out where to stage your photo, a large part of that is deciding what is going to be behind your focal point (*cough cough* background *cough cough*). Backgrounds can enhance your image as well as take away from your focal point. I typically choose a background that’s mostly one color and has some texture (e.g. a paneled wall, an interesting-grained wood table, a lush plant, etc.). Once you’ve decided on your background, you’ll need to figure out your angles and lighting. I tend to take a BUNCH of pictures, moving the objects as well as the camera, to figure out what looks best. Ever notice how you sometimes look different in different pictures of yourself? The same goes for objects! Play around with the angles, play around with the lighting, figure out what works best for what you’re trying to create.
Editing your photo digitally is a WHOLE different ballgame that I’ll talk about in another blog post soon, but for now, go take some pictures!