The Best Settings For Product Photography

Unlike other types of photography out there, product photography is by far one of the most challenging. Despite how lucrative it can be, there’s lots of things that you’ll need to take into consideration.

The Best Settings For Product Photography?

From equipment to lighting, there’s no doubt that product photography can be daunting. In this guide, we are going to be talking you through all of the best settings that you should use for your future product photography.

Regardless of whether you have been hired by a client to shoot a new product launch, or you simply want to become a more technical photographer – we’ve got you covered in this guide.

If you want to go ahead and make a leap into product photography (or you simply want to take your current product photography techniques to the next level) then we’ve got you covered in this guide.

All the way from optimal aperture settings all the way to lighting options to go for, you’ll find all you need to know about the best product settings here. Let’s jump in!

1. Always Shoot In Manual Mode

If you want to make sure that you are taking professional level, product photography, you’re going to want to make sure that you are shooting in manual mode.

Of course, while it might be tempting to shoot in auto mode (after all, camera’s are savvy and have the ability to make automatic adjustments in accordance with lighting, subject nature and how close the lens is) opting to shoot in manual mode will no doubt allow you to achieve the best results.

If you weren’t already aware, shooting in manual mode is essentially a setting choice in your camera that will allow you to manually select what your preferred ISO, shutter speed and aperture will be.

More often than not, these three features are referred to as the iconic “exposure triangle”. These three settings are purposefully designed to be able to work together to control how bright an image will be, all while influencing the overall look of the pictures, as well.

Like we have said, it can certainly be very tempting to want to shoot in auto mode, as this will allow the camera to do the work for you.

However, shooting in automatic mode will almost always prevent the camera from being able to provide the optimal exposure, as the camera will only be able to “guess” what settings the exposure triangle should be placed at.

While this can be helpful for those just getting started in photography (or even those simply interested in capturing fun and creative images without worrying about the technicalities) when it comes to product photography, getting the technical side of the photography right is going to be key.

All that being said, here is a quick breakdown of how you can manually set your camera to achieve the best results:

Select a Low Aperture

One of the most important camera settings that you are going to need to make good use of when capturing high-quality yet natural product photography is the aperture.

The aperture essentially refers to the size of the opening inside the lens that can let the light in when passing through the camera’s sensor.

When it comes to product photography (see also “Product Photography Techniques For Beginners“), you’re going to want to make sure that the depth of field is focused on the product that you need to take the image of, rather than other aspects of the frame.

So, by opting to use a low aperture, very little light will be allowed into the lens, which means that all of the focus will be centered around the product.

Keep ISO As Low As Possible

The Best Settings For Product Photography?

Along with using a low aperture, it is also recommended that you keep your camera’s ISO setting as low as you possibly can, too. To cut a long story short, your ISO has the clever ability to be able to control how sensitive your camera sensor is going to be to light.

While having a high ISO can be helpful when shooting low light conditions, it can impart a grainy filter that can greatly decrease the quality. Usually, this is referred to as “noise”.

In order to make sure that you are taking the highest quality imagery that will be both natural and untouched, you’re going to need to make sure that you are opting for an ISO setting that is as low as possible.

To help optimize your ISO setting, it is recommended that you shoot in a space that has great lighting, as this will allow you to decrease the ISO to the lowest setting possible.

Use A Low Shutter Speed

Last but certainly not least, when it comes to the exposure triangle, you’re also going to want to make sure that you are opting to use a low shutter speed.

This is because the shutter speed essentially controls how fast the shutter opens and closes when capturing an image, and the speed can greatly affect the image results.

While higher shutter speeds will be able to freeze a subject, lower shutter speeds can create a dreamlike motion blur.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you opt for a low shutter speed when taking product photography in order to get around any image quality issues that might be caused by a shaking hand.

Along with this, opting to show with a lower shutter speed in combination with a tripod will also help to ensure the highest quality imagery, while also allowing for more light to be brought into the image, as well.

Plus, by working with a tripod, you will also be able to use your hands to work on the composition and make other small adjustments without messing up the frame or focus.

2. Utilize Automatic Focus

This is one of the best pieces of advice that we have to share with you while taking product imagery. In order to get the best results, you should make sure that you keep your camera focus settings on automatic.

While this might seem a little counterproductive, it’s always best to shoot your product imagery with the focus set to automatic, as this will mean that you won’t need to worry about going to the trouble of getting your camera to focus.

Of course, while you can opt to use a manual focus, it can be very time consuming and frustrating to use. Even if the focus is just slightly out, it can completely throw the focus out of the optimal area of the frame.

When it comes to taking product photography, it is extremely important to make sure that you are keeping the product entirely in focus for the shot.

The goal of product photography is to show off the product, which is why it’s so important to make sure that the product is in clear focus without any blurring. For this reason, it’s best to stick with automatic focus.

3. Choose The Correct White Balance

Last but certainly not least, to ensure that your images are able to render all of the colors within the frame perfectly, you’re going to need to make sure that you have set the white balance correctly. This can be easily done by accessing the settings area of your camera.

Keep in mind, this setting can be a little harder to get right than some of the other settings that we have mentioned in this guide, as the white balance will vary very much depending on what your lighting situation is.

For the best results, you are going to want to make sure that you are taking your product imagery in a studio setting so that you can have studio lights, although speedlights can also work just as well.

If you are going to be shooting in a studio setting, then you should simply set your white balance to “Daylight”.

Although, if you are going to be taking the product imagery in natural lighting, then you should simply opt to set your white balance to “Auto” as this will help to ensure you have the optimum white balance for your imagery.

The Bottom Line

All in all? Even though it’s safe to say that product photography can be an extremely lucrative line of income, it’s a photography style that requires plenty of technical skill and camera equipment.

Still, now that you have made it to the end of the guide, we hope that we have been able to provide you with all the information needed to go ahead and begin taking your very own product photography. Before you go, why don’t you consider saving this guide?

Laura McNeill
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