Product Photography Techniques For Beginners

More and more people are beginning to sell their things online. Whether you are just looking to swap some clutter for cash or setting up a legitimate online business, you need to learn how to take good photographs of your products.

Product Photography Techniques For Beginners

Uploading high-quality photographs of your products online can have a huge positive impact on your sales. It’s proven that a good product image (or several) can influence potential buyers to follow through with the purchase!

So, good product photos are a must – but how exactly do you get started with product photography? Here is your ultimate product photography guide (see also: Movement In Photography: The Ultimate Guide) for beginners! Check out the information below to learn how to get started in this photography niche!

What Is Product Photography?

First, let’s cover the basics for our beginners. Product photography (or e-commerce photography) is a type of commercial photography that takes photos of items sold on the Internet.

It aims to make these products look appealing as possible so potential customers are more likely to make a purchase. This is because it allows potential customers to view the product in its entirety online without having to see it in person.

As a result, product photography can be found on websites ranging from social media pages, and small business e-shops, to professional corporate websites.

You can find product photographs for everything and anything including cans of soda, pairs of shoes, and more. Product photography is closely linked to object photography. Object photography is exactly that – taking photographs of objects.

However, product photography is object photography with a commercial purpose – you’re not just taking a photograph of a backpack because it would make a cool print, but because you need a clear photograph to help sell that backpack to potential customers. 

As a result, a lot of methods and techniques used for object photography overlap with product photography. 

Types Of Product Photography

There are lots of different ways you can photograph a product to make it look appealing to potential customers. Some product pages use a mixture of various types of product photography to show the product in different contexts.

Here are some of the types of product photography you can find online. The type of product photography you choose to do dictates a lot of the techniques you use so choose wisely!

White Background

This is the most commonly used type of product photography used by businesses. It’s easy to see why – a pristine white background allows potential customers to see the product clearly.

There are no distractions, no room for confusion – just a basic but informative image for customers. This type of photography is commonly seen on e-commerce websites and marketplaces like Amazon.


Contextual photographs show the products as they are intended to be used or surrounded by relevant props.

This allows customers to see just how the product would fit into their daily lives, give them a better sense of scale and helps them imagine using the products themselves.

They still feel very structured and professional but have more style and character than conventional white background images.

Some examples include modeled items of clothing, a cookbook propped up on a kitchen counter with a loaf of bread nearby, a bottle of skin cream sat next to a bathroom sink with soap and a body sponge, etc.


Lifestyle photographs overlap a lot with contextual photographs. The main key difference is that lifestyle photographs feel more natural and typically feature way more people.

They could easily be a candid lifestyle photograph – but the product can still be clearly seen. The purpose of this type of product photography is pretty much the same as contextual product photography but with enhanced effects.

It makes it easier for the customer to see themselves using the product and incorporating it into their daily lives. This method is used for all kinds of products like wristwatches, clothing, accessories, beverages, furniture, and so much more.


These photographs pay close attention to the details of a particular product. They can range from close-ups on the stitching of an item of clothing, to a close-up of a single eyeshadow color in a whole palette.

Their purpose is to help potential buyers see the finer details of the product and appreciate the craftsmanship there. It also helps products stand out from the competition and provide more detailed information about a product like its texture, color, etc.

Beginner Techniques For Product Photography

To get started with product photography, there are a few things you need to consider. Take a look at the list below and consider the points made.

Get The Right Equipment

Firstly, you will need the right equipment. Luckily, the beginnings of product photography only require a few basic pieces of photography equipment. These include:

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Background

Of course, you will need your camera but most professional cameras work well for this type of photography. Some photographers even use smartphones!

Tripods are also a great piece of equipment to consider. Not only do they keep the camera steady but it makes it easier to take multiple photos from different angles, distances, and more.

Reducing the blur of your product photos helps make them clearer and more attractive to potential buyers and a tripod can definitely help with this.

It also keeps the dimensions equal and consistent between multiple products. This can make your portfolio of product photographs look more professional for potential customers and clients alike.

Background Sweep

A popular technique for white background photography is the sweep. To avoid your camera picking up any blemishes that can ruin the pristineness of your product photo, you can use a sweep.

It’s easy to do as all you need is a long, bendable sheet of white card or paper that curves up against the background wall. This provides a flawless background with fewer blemishes and no awkward shadows.

Choose Your Aperture

Choosing the right aperture is so important for your product photographs. Wide apertures work great with product shots because they increase the focus on the product itself. You can create a strong depth of field to make the product stand out to potential customers.

This technique can also work for contextual shots to help avoid the shot from feeling cluttered. The product still stands out but the shot looks more alive and has more ambience than a basic white background photograph.

Use A Telephoto Lens

This lens is the go-to lens for product photography. This is because it gives the closest perspective to the human eye and avoids any misrepresentation which is vital for product photography.

Choose Your Lighting

Lighting is the trickiest part of product photography to nail down. Most photographers use light modifiers to help achieve that bright but natural lighting to perfectly show off products. As a result, you will want to consider setting up modifiers like:

  • Softboxes
  • Reflectors
  • Bounce Cards

Avoid Clutter

It can be easy to get carried away when playing with the composition of your product photograph. If you are adding other props to help style and add different aesthetics to your product pictures, there’s just one rule to remember – don’t overshadow the product.

Adding a lot of clutter to your product photos can sometimes draw attention away from the product.

This is a huge mistake because the purpose of your photograph is to sell the product to potential buyers and if they can’t see the product clearly or their attention is drawn away by other elements of your product photo, then they’re less likely to buy your product.

Keep things simple when it comes to the lighting, composition, and background. Minimize any distractions so potential buyers can see the product clearly!

Take Multiple Shots From Multiple Angles

For most products, one product photo is not enough to convert a potential customer into a paying customer. Most products have three to eight product images per page, all with different angles or close-ups.

For example, take a pair of shoes – customers will want to see not just the side of the shoe but the front, and back, modeled on a pair of feet, and close-ups of any particular details like logos, stitching, or designs.

So, don’t settle for just one shot at one angle. Take lots of shots from various angles so potential buyers can really see what they are purchasing.

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! That’s our product photography guide for beginners. We hope that by now, you have a much better understanding of what product photography is and how it works.

It’s different from object photography as it has a particular purpose but product photography goes beyond the conventional white background basic product pictures.

There’s a lot of opportunity here to make some incredibly impressive shots! Now, all that’s left for you to do is to give it a try yourself! Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Should I Charge For Product Photography As A Beginner?

If you are an amateur photographer looking to start offering product photography services, a charge between $25 and $120 per hour is a good place to start.

Professional photographers can charge between $100 and $150 but offering a lower competitive rate can help you land more clients if you are just starting out.

Is Product Photography In Demand?

Absolutely! Over the years, there’s been a huge rise in e-commerce websites and businesses. This means that this rise has also caused a demand for more product photography.

More people are looking to start selling their products online, start small businesses, or even sell unwanted items from their homes.

As a photographer, you can offer product photography services so these products and item look their very best online to help boost your clients’ sales.

Laura McNeill
Scroll to Top