22% of online products are returned, because they look different from the photos. Getting sold product returns is not an expected outcome any businessman wants; it gets them scared and concerned. As a product photographer, it is your job to ensure that the products don’t look surreal!
Hence, you have to get your camera settings for product photography right. So that. It displays the product more naturally. During the process, you are allowed to make mistakes or get flaws that can be removed after having photography post-production services; but still, you have to get your job done from scratch.
I want to share some of the ideas and knowledge I do while doing product photography. I learned the ropes in the process of time. I hope these will help you with your camera adjustments.
Without further delay, let’s dive in.
Which Cameras are the Best for Product Photography?
Camera manufacturers generally give much consideration while making cameras. Even though camera parts, gears, functionalities, and purpose remain the same, the usage may vary from user to user, from product to product.
There are certain cameras that are the best for shooting portrait photos, some for nature photography, some for wildlife photography. Similarly, there are some cameras best for product photography.
Some of the best cameras for product photoshoot are-
- Panasonic Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera
- Nikon D750 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera
- Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera
- Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
- Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera
Best Camera Setting for Product Photography
Before you set up your camera, I want you to emphasize the lighting part. There are many parts that are correlatable with camera settings, but simply think, you are in a dark place; how much backup from your camera would be enough for your photoshoot? Moreover, it is said that professionals tend to use better lighting to shoot their products.
1. Lighting for Product Photography
You might be wondering why we are even explaining about lighting here- it is apposite here. Lighting is an inevitable part of accomplishing a camera performance, which brings me to the point where I cannot but explain.
When your shooting product involves commercial purposes, the more light you get, the easier for you to shoot, but be sure of harsh or excessive lighting as well.
There are many products that are shot outdoors. I am going to skip that part and assume you are going to shoot indoors. You may use either natural, artificial, or both lights.
Let’s take a look at what type of lights you can use for your product photography setup.
- Use natural light
Having a studio with a window is like a trump card because it allows me to make the most of natural light as much as I want and however I want. There are some products like jewelry that radiate dazzling beauty under the sunlight!
Then again, make sure you are not shooting under harsh light at mid-noon! Do so when the sun rays are pleasant and glowing- like in the morning or the afternoon.
- Have studio Light
We generally use Tungsten, Fluorescent, or LED light for studio photography. You can use any of them but make sure the light complies well with the environment, especially when it is for e-commerce sites or marketing platforms.
- Get softbox light or ring light
For continuous lighting, you can use a softbox light. This is widely popular among studio photographers for providing a natural look to the subject by providing soft rays.
There is another type of light known as ring light which is a good option for product photography. This light provides even lighting and does not cast any shadow. Thus you can easily point up the details.
- Do not use flash
Refrain yourself from using a camera’s flashlight; this is not a good option for product photography at all. You may have trouble with exposure if you use a flashlight. Moreover, flash does not shed even rays. If you must, better use off-camera flash. And if you can avoid using flash, that would be the best.
2. Use Manual Mode
I have experimented with almost all the settings for a commercial photoshoot and found out something interesting. Guess what?
The manual mode of the camera works best for product photography. So, I would like you to recommend using this mode during camera adjustment while shooting.
While shooting for product photography, make sure your camera settings are in manual mode. It will allow you to take control in capturing the best shot you want. By using this mode, you will be able to set and adjust the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed according to your needs.
We all know how crucial these 3 settings are. Having complete control over these is really overwhelming, and you will help you experiment and find the shots and angles best suitable.
3. Shoot in RAW Format
While shooting product photos, make sure your images are being captured in raw format. By using a raw format, your files will remain the highest quality, large and uncompressed. The raw format allows you to store as much data as possible without damage.
Another perk of using raw image format is to edit. When you need any type of post-production services like clipping path, background removal, retouching, or any other work in your image, the output gets better on working raw images as users get more flexibility later.
Most cameras do have this function to set, but if your camera doesn’t have this option; no need to freak out. Use the largest image size and format your camera has.
4. Set Your Exposure Triangles Right
The importance of exact exposure is beyond description. Therefore, pay attention to your ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. These are known as exposure triangles which act to adjust for getting accurate exposure.
- What ISO should I use for product photography?
ISO measures the camera’s sensitivity to the light. Low ISO means less sensitivity to light. On the other hand, the high ISO means higher sensitivity to light.
Camera ISO settings coincide with the amount of light the studio is getting. If you are working in natural light, ISO settings of around 400 will work fine. Though you may need to add up ISO numbers if your studio doesn’t have much light, instead of increasing the ISO, increase the amount of light.
I recommend you to start working with ISO as low as possible and then raise the numbers gradually. This will get you smooth images of your product. Refrain yourself from using higher ISO, as we already know that this will create noises in the image.
- What Aperture should I use for product photography?
The task aperture handles is to control the amount of light passing across the lens. The depth of field largely correlates with an aperture as the center of the focus relies on aperture. The opening of the aperture is measured in f-stops. A smaller f-stop number means a larger aperture. Similarly, a higher f-stop number means a small aperture.
A large aperture will blur the background and sharpen the foreground in focus. Conversely, a small aperture will keep both background and foreground in focus.
While shooting, your product in focus should be given priority. A large aperture may not entirely focus on the product and blur the surroundings, including the product. If you have a chaotic or messy background, a large aperture can be a timely solution.
But if you are using a backdrop or have a simple background, start from a small aperture, like f/11, and then adjust the aperture higher to find the exact aperture that works perfectly to capture your product in full focus.
Also Read: What’s the Best Aperture for Portraits – Recommended Camera settings
- What is the best shutter speed for product photography?
Shutter speed is the length of time of the camera sensor exposed to light. Shutter speed goes both ways to take fast photos as well as freeze motion. Faster shutter speed will freeze the object in the shoot. On the other hand, the image will get motion blur while shooting at a slower speed.
For product photography, normally, you don’t need to have a faster shutter speed. As there is no risk of the product moving, so you don’t have to worry. While you keep your product lying flat on any background (white for most cases) or hanging, a low shutter speed like 1/12 will do the job just fine.
But to shoot with a model, you need a fast shutter speed. If we exemplify this, talking about clothing photography, jewelry photography or shoe photography . And you have a model to wear those products for shooting; you will definitely need to adjust your shutter speed fast for them due to their constant moving. Then set the shutter speed to 1/300 or more.
5. Adjust White Balance
White balance is the setting that proportion the color temperature of an image. How you would adjust your white balance depends on the amount of light your studio is getting.
Many photographers tend to use ‘automatic whit balance’ and let the camera adjust the white balance deciding on the surrounding by itself. In most cases, the ‘automatic’ setting does the job well with color temperature.
A couple of times in my life, I have faced some situations with this part, though. Once, I had an outdoor photoshoot of some products. There I set ‘automatic’ settings for white balance. When I checked the shot after clicking, it shocked me! Some colors emerged out of nowhere in the image, and the color correction went wrong. After that, I preferred manual setting as a lesson learned!
While taking photos, photographers bottle up many expectations. So make sure your settings are not troubling you too much. You can set your white balance automatically, manually, or do nothing about it.
Later, you can have those images edited for white balance. Many post-processing software are available now, which will let you do this job by ensuring accurate color correction. The precondition is that your image should be in raw format.
6. Have Automatic Focus Function
Setting manual focus is a painstaking task; sometimes, you may work your eyes out to focus accurately but end up not. Why would you burden yourself so much when there is an automatic full focus function available. This function works amazingly.
Though many photographers suggest manual camera settings to have precise images come out, some settings still work better automatically. Focus is one of those.
This system is intelligent enough to align the camera lens towards focusing the subject. It will concentrate solely on the product resulting in sharp images, so you don’t have to concern yourself with any shaking or blur.
7. Zoom In
I have used cameras with digital zoom, optical zoom, and hybrid zoom. The Optical zoom really works better. Other zoom options have their specific purpose of serving, I won’t deny, but I would suggest you optical zoom for product photography.
Position yourself to keep an appropriate distance from the product and then zoom in to take close shots. Capture as many shots as you can from the front, back, side shots, the description parts as well as any particular part you want to show. For example, you may want to show the diamond, ruby, or stone part closely if you are shooting jewelry.
I hope these product photography camera settings and elaborations will help you work on the right track. There is nothing wrong with not knowing and doing wrong. It’s our job to assist you in fine-tuning and finalizing. Keep up your good work with vim and vigor.