Design Object Photography Techniques For Beginners

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. Regardless of whether you believe this old adage or not is irrelevant.

Design Object Photography Techniques for Beginners

A beautiful photograph is certainly more impressive than an amateur piece of work that does not employ the right techniques. It is especially difficult for beginners to get to grips with design object photography.

When you see all the lights and set up for a photo shoot, it can seem daunting to take on. Particularly for those of you that are inexperienced in photography. 

We understand the pain of learning photography, design object photography in particular, which is why we have listed a few techniques that beginners will be able to make use of. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and get started!

What Is Object Photography?

In short, object photography is centered on photographing three-dimensional objects or arrangements. The most commonly used type of object photography is something called tabletop photography.

This essentially means that smaller objects will be draped on a table or shelf and subsequently photographed. 

Within tabletop photography, there are two main scenarios that you need to consider. These scenarios are known as isolated objects and specific context objects.

The lighting sets for these two scenarios can be very different. For example, you could have a single light source or more complex, multiple light sources.

But that is not all, you can also have a ton of different backgrounds that can change up the look of a basic design object photography setup. 

What Techniques Should Beginners Keep In Mind?

As a beginner, you will likely be inundated with so much information, it can be hard to know whether you are coming or going.

Luckily for you, we know what techniques you should always keep in mind, especially as a beginner. In this section, we are going to go over several techniques that you absolutely need to keep in mind. 

1. A Smartphone Camera Can Be A Life Saver

You are probably thinking that for this technique you will need a high-end, fancy smartphone.

But…you really don’t. If you happen to have a fancy smartphone with a screw-on lens, absolutely take advantage of it. But you can use a simple smartphone with a camera. 

A lot of the newer smartphones have powerful camera lenses and a series of settings that can make photographing objects much easier.

For example, there are settings that can help with a variety of light settings and environments. 

2. For Consistent Photography, Make Sure To Use A Tripod

If you want to photograph objects, you absolutely need to use a tripod. They are very helpful tools that can make a huge difference to the quality of your photographs.

While you can use a makeshift setup to prop your camera up in place, this is not a long-term solution. It will be so easy for your phone or camera to slide around. This obviously makes photography even a stationary object difficult.

If you want to make sure that your photos are consistent, you should invest in a tripod, this will make your life so much easier in the long run. Below are a few tripods that might be a good fit for you: 

  • Traditional Tripod – These tripods are essentially three-legged tripods, that are not quite as flexible as other types of tripods. They may be perfect for stationary photos. 
  • Flexible Tripod – A flexible tripod is ideal for those of you that need a device that can keep your camera stable while also allowing for diverse angles and heights. 
  • Mobile Grip – If you solely photograph using a smartphone, then you may want to use a mobile drip. This will make it easier to use a mobile on a regular tripod.

Tripods can make a world of difference to your technique. This is why we have added it to the list of beginners’ techniques.  Simply keep in mind that the right tool can make the world of difference to your photography career and improve your technique(see also: Flower Photography Techniques For Beginners). 

3. Make A Decision Between Natural Light And Artificial Light

If there is one thing that you absolutely should never underestimate with photography, it is light. The right light can help a product or object stand out and highlight little details that you might not notice even in person.

Design Object Photography Techniques for Beginners (1)

There are two main types of light that can use for object photography, and they are as follows: 

  • Artificial Light – Artificial light will usually include light sources like flames or light bulbs. Many people call artificial light hard light as it tends to have a stronger focal point. Artificial light is ideal for objects that have details. This type of light helps little things to stand out.
  • Natural Light – Natural light is basically sunlight. It is known for being a soft light. This type of light will be used if a product is supposed to have the illusion of being outside, or it is outside. If you are using natural light, it might be a good idea to shoot with the product and a person. Humans tend to look wonderful in natural light. 

Learning about lighting techniques is essential to becoming a great photographer. Deciding on artificial light or natural light can make a huge difference to your set-up and what the focus of the photo should be. 

4. If You Want To Soften Shadows, Use Fill Light Or Bounce Light

Regardless of what kind of light source you are using. It is likely that you will need to play around with the shadows.

If you have hard light from a single direction, it will cast a shadow on the other side of the object. In cases like this, you will need to use a fill light or bounce light technique.

There are three basic techniques you can use to soften your shadows, we have listed them below: 

  • Fill Light – A fill light is a low-intensity light source that will be used to supplement the main source of light. This is a great method to lighten shadows and create a softer and more cohesive object setup. 
  • Flashbulb Bounce Light – This technique operates by using a reflective card that will bounce some of the main light back underneath the object. This will reduce the intensity of the shadows.
  • Standalone Bounce Card – This is a technique you can use if you are shooting on a smartphone. Basically, this is a bounce card that free-stands and helps to soften harsh shadows. 

Using fill light or bounce light to soften shadows is an essential technique that will improve your overall photographing skill and technique. 

5. Sweep Mode Or Portrait Mode Can Make Your Product Stand Out 

If your aim is to emphasize the object you are working on, this is the technique for you. Using sweet mode or portrait mode on your camera will do wonders for your art.

Backgrounds are important, they can show people what they need to see in an image.

What kind of background you are using for your object photography makes a difference and will affect whether you should go for sweep mode or portrait mode. 

  • Sweep Mode – If your background is white, you will know that this is one of the most challenging choices. Cameras will pick up even the smallest detail, so a little stain will stand out. But to get the perfect stark white background, you should use sweep mode. It will make a huge difference and certainly improve the quality of your work. 
  • Portrait Mode – If your object is staged with a dynamic or real-world background, you should absolutely use portrait mode. A stunning background can easily steal the show and make your object blend into the background. If you want to give your object depth, you should use portrait mode. This is a professional technique that many people use to bring out their objects even in busy real-world background settings. 

Using either of these techniques to help your product stand out is essential. This is a key step in upping your photography game and taking beautiful object photos that stand out no matter what background you use.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and learning about these design object photography techniques for beginners(see also: Nebula Photography Techniques For Beginners).

If you keep these techniques in mind, you should be well on your way to taking gorgeous object photographs.

That being said, even with all of these techniques in mind, you absolutely need to practice. If you do not keep at it, you will not improve. Oftentimes, we have found that learning as you go will give you the best results. 

Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading this article and finding out what techniques will help you develop your object photography (see also: Still Life Object Photography Techniques For Beginners) skills.

If you did find this article interesting or helpful, you absolutely need to check out our site. We have a range of articles available. Some of which you are sure to find useful. 

Thanks for reading!

Laura McNeill
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