Tips for taking great product pictures

The world is awash with enticing imagery. From computer monitors, televisions, phone screens and magazines, consumers are bombarded with pictures of products the sellers want to sell. At Ikon Photography, we know easily people can get numbed to the relentless onslaught of advertising. So it becomes increasingly important that your products are captured in such a way as to set themselves apart from the visual noise and catch the attention of the increasingly sophisticated consumer.

You’ll need a quality camera

It’s true, you can take some good pictures with your phone, or a ‘point and shoot’ camera, but surely your products need something better than just ‘good’? For a specialist job, you’ll need a quality tool and in this case, a professional camera is a must. With changeable lenses, much higher resolutions, optical zooms and a myriad of settings, a Digital SLR is your best option. For product photography and the settings you’ll need to get a great still image, you’ll also need your camera to be completely immobile so a solid tripod is a must.

Lighting is everything

Much of the skill in photography is skill in the manipulation of light. Two otherwise identical pictures, of the same subject and from the same angle can be completely transformed in mood and appearance by adjusting the light falling on it and that which surrounds it. A professional product photographer will almost certainly spend as much time adjusting the lighting as adjusting the settings on the camera

High key photography

Certain products benefit from a minimalist approach where there’s nothing else in the picture than the product itself. Shooting against a bright,  all white background will focus the viewer on the subject and with proper lighting, every minute detail can be captured with an overall feeling of crisp, clean purity. A completely blank background also allows easy manipulation in post production.

product photography

Set the mood with colour

A white background is a great fallback especially for online product stores, but don’t dismiss the effect of colour and personality in the background. What sort of feelings do you associate with your product or would you like to be associated? Researching the psychology of how colours are associated with mood can give you an idea of what colours you might like to use. This could be as a background to your product, in the props pictured with it, or in the clothes your models are wearing. Green for example conveys a calming, refreshing and relaxing mood. Have you noticed you see a lot of green in hospitals? This isn’t by accident!

Set the scene

Consumers are interested in how a product looks, but also how it’ll fit in with their lives. Consider where your product will be used? What will it be near? Who will use it? How will it make them feel? Consider all these when you’re picking a static background or a model to give your product a place in the world. Interesting textures and materials in the background can be visually striking, so long as they don’t distract from the product itself.

Experiment with angles

Even the most mundane subject matter can grab attention if the image is captured from an interesting angle. While consumers often want to see a product from a variety of perspectives, you’ll need one super interesting image to draw them in and make them look at the rest, so don’t be afraid to move the camera and the subject around to get some unusual angles.


If you didn’t get everything right on the picture you took, all is not lost. The secret behind many a spectacular photograph is a little post-shoot enhancement with an image manipulation software package like Photoshop. Done correctly, minor blemishes can be erased easily, unwelcome reflections can be removed and filters can be added to change the feel of the image. It can take a lot of skill to use and the software is usually quite pricey, but the results speak for themselves.


Trust Ikon to make your products tell their own story

With the right product imagery being so important, it makes perfect sense to let the experts handle it. Here at Ikon, we’re passionate about film and photography and have unrivalled experience helping retail and consumer brands, large and small look their best. We can assess your needs, shoot in our studio, on location, or even construct sets all to make your business and your products look spectacular. Get in touch with us and let us help tell your story.