Close-up Product Photography – Watch on YouTube
We have covered product photography on a white background, and how to achieve black and coloured backgrounds too. However, there is more than one aspect to product photography. In this article we will explore how to capture important details and features using close-up product photography tecniques.
Close-up Product Photography
Why is it important?
When displaying images of products online, the main goal is to sell the product and inform potential customers. The featured image is almost always going to show the full product in the frame to make it easily identifiable and distinguishable on the virtual product shelves of e-commerce websites.
However, When photographing your products for the first time, it is very easy to become overly focused on that one key image and find yourself with a product listing that is lacking in visual information.
People are visual creatures. Most will look at images before even reading the description of a product. If your customer is left with questions about what your product looks like, it will impact how much confidence they place in the purchase.
Additional images on your listings will go a long way towards building trust with the customer, especially in highly competitive markets. Close-up product photography on your product listings helps customers to identify product materials and build quality as well as important or unique design features.
A well fleshed out product listing with attractive, professional-looking images also shows confidence and pride in your own products. So, you have your featured image that shows the whole product… what else do you need?
A lot of thought and effort goes into how products look. Details that most people won’t even notice after they have it in their hands. Your product photography is one way to bring attention to these details, features, and design choices.
What to look for
This really depends on the product you are photographing. What does it have on its exterior that would make a customer say “wow”.
You may be looking for ergonomic textures or shapes that make the product nice to hold. Perhaps there is a special kind of fastening or material that screams high-quality.
If you are photographing your own products, this should be easy as you know it inside out. If you are working for a client, the important features should be discussed in the consultation phase, along with the importance of capturing them.
In these close-up shots of an Xbox controller, we focused on the texture of the grips. The shape and carefully measured curves make it pleasant to hold and the dash of colour on the buttons stand out from the white and black of the product.
What about boring products?
So, not every product is designed with visual impact in mind. Not all products have to stand out have sleek designs. What do you do with 100 variations of a product in a similar-looking bottle, some knick-knacks that all come in the same box?
Well, this is where creative photography can fill in the gaps. There is an angle for every type of product, and lighting to make it shine. The approach will be different, and it might take some more thought, but everything has details to show off.
In the image below, you can see that we used a green backdrop to complement the green brand of Xbox. Although this would be too distracting for the main catalog, it can make the white product stand out in the alternative shots, whereas this would otherwise be a very plain shot.
The trouble with close-up product photography is the same as any macro photography. The closer you get, the shallower your depth of field.
When trying to capture details in products, this really works against you. Creative and arty shots are great, but if 90% of the product is obscured by soft focus, the customer is left with only 10% information.
…if you have the time.
Focus stacking is a fantastic method for eliminating the soft focus that comes with getting up close. If you spend the time, your images will come out razor sharp from front to back. However, if you have lots of products to shoot be aware that 10 photos can easily turn into 100 or 1000 when stacking every shot.
Lighting is one of the most important parts of any photography, but especially product photography. For feature images, most people will use a large softbox, product tent, or similar product photography solution. This is great for those white background shots that need to be consistent.
However, this technique can be disastrous for the detail shots. Reflections are uncontrollable, surface relief and texture are eliminated along with shadows, and products can often look flat or washed out.
When photographing details, it’s much better to have control over your lighting. Move the light to where it looks best for that detail. Bring it closer, more or less diffusion, perhaps fewer light sources to cast a shadow across a surface.
This can still be done with a white background as long as you are lighting the background and product separately. After all, as important as it is to show the details, consistency is also paramount.
Sometimes subtle changes to lighting can be all that is needed. It’s no good showing off the details of a product if the lighting or angle makes it hard to recognize as part of the same product.
All of the images seen here were taken using the Adaptalux Studio lighting system. Adapting your light to suit each shot is quick and easy, making detailed product photography a breeze.
Learn more about the Adaptalux Studio here.
Close-up product photography is as much an art form as it is a technical skill. Creative photography decisions can make or break a product listing. It is always worth dedicating time and resources to presenting your products in the best possible way.
Lastly, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more macro photography tutorials, ideas, and inspiration!