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Hi Indies!


I am preparing for my first product photo shoot and wanted to know what items/equipment should my photographer have? The photographer that I have hired does excellent work; however, he has never done a shoot for products before. So, I want to know what is needed (such as special paper/board or a box) to make sure the photos are beautiful and inviting. Any comments or suggestions are welcome! 



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Product photography is very different from photography of people, places, etc. From what I have learned living with a photographer and talking to product photographers, the most important thing when taking product photos is having the right lighting. Usually product photos are taken on a light or white background. This sometimes causes the image to the underexposed -- meaning it comes out too dark -- and this is not a good thing for a beauty product. I'd just make sure the photographer knows how to use whatever equipment he has to compensate for that, including good lighting and lens settings that compensate for light backgrounds.

I look forward to suggestions other people have, and good luck!




Hi dM,


Thanks so much for your advice.


I have a few concerns.... because the photographer that you have hired has never done this type of photography, it's risky with the lighting, background, etc.  Google "photo lightbox photography" and see what you come up with... You might even discover that you can actually do your own photography and save yourself money while producing quality photos...


Hi Tanya,


Thanks so much for the tip! I will try to goggle the subject and see what I come up with.




In all honestly, the photographer should be telling you about the differences between product photography and whatever he specializes in. I share Tanya's concerns, but I was too chicken to put it so bluntly. I once asked a photographer who had really great photos at his site -- photos of architecture -- if he could take product photos for me. He was honest enough to tell me that he did not have the equipment needed to make product photos look good. He patiently explained that taking pictures of buildings and real estate is very different from taking pictures of sugar scrub. He told me some of the differences (which I mentioned in my update earlier), and I appreciated his honesty. He saved me time and money.



Hi dM,


You're very funny! Thanks for sharing that story. I really appreciate his honesty too! I have spoken with my photographer and he assured me that everything will be great. So, we will see!


Hiya, Nickola...

Have you thought about what kind of pics you want from this shoot? Like, are you wanting a single product in each pic... are you going for a group of a single product... or a group of different products? Are you wanting to stage your product with ingredients around, florals, or maybe even being used? Are you wanting to see your product from deck level, or above? Close up, or real close up? Lids on... lids off?

Product photos so much impact the look and feel of a website, and I'm wondering if you've thought about this as well. I've had some stunning product photographs down the years, but they just didn't look right against the look of my website... and so it was back to the drawing board.

If it's a friend you're hiring for the pics at a reduced rate, then have a word and maybe work together to get a variation of prototypes you can look over. If you're paying proper dollars for your photo shoot, then I would start looking for someone who has experience of product photography.... then checkout their portfiolio.

The best of luck, and I hope some of this helps.


Indies rock. Let's get rockin'.


Hi Susan,


Thanks for the tips!

Good point from Susan - has he shown you product photos that he's taken for someone else? That would be a clue as to what you're going to be getting.


I would like to add that the product is the hero, so the shots should concentrate on the product you are selling.  Also, the shots should be simple and clean- not too much props.  Top angles are always very nice to show forms, design and textures.  Front shots, to show packaging.  I also suggest to see cosmetic adds on magazines for reference.  Clinique is a good example.  Good luck.

I took a different approach -

I am my own photographer not because of know-how but due to budget.  I found a company online called Tabletop Studio and bought a kit of lightboxes and lights that cost about $200.  I had shopped for this stuff in a local photo store where equipment cost several times as much.  This kit saved me!  And it comes with directions (very useful as I had no idea how to use it). 


I'm still experimenting but can get some good a basic shots -

Hope this is of use -



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