If you’re just starting out as a product photographer, then you may not have come across the concept of Tabletop product photography before. We’ve put together a brief overview below to help explain what it is and what types there are for you to use. They offer a fantastic opportunity to create the perfect product photos.
What is it?
There isn’t a requirement for a long or complex explanation of what tabletop photography is, as the name gives most of it away. This is an area of product photography that places the products on a table when taking photographs. It is particularly popular and useful when working with smaller objects such as food and drink or cosmetics. We also find it increasingly popular for those working in jewellery photography.
Why is it popular?
One of the main reasons why it is so popular is because it is relatively easy and inexpensive to work with, as you need less specialist equipment, or don’t have to worry about paying for a model. It is still important to make sure you have the right equipment for each individual shot, so as a professional product photographer it will be just one aspect of your skillset.
Another reason for its popularity is its flexibility and adaptability for social media and e-commerce websites. If we take an example from jewellery photography, then a tabletop setting will allow you to choose plain white backgrounds for those e-commerce websites. From there, you can go for flatlay or stylised shots to add style and branding.
What types are there?
There are three main types of tabletop photography that are used by a product photographer and these are white background, flatlay and stylised. We’ve summarised each below:
For many of the big e-commerce sites, a business is required to submit the main product photograph with a plain white background. This may not be exciting but it is a necessity and tabletop photography allows you to do this as you can simply lay your products on the table, take the image and edit out anything you don’t need afterwards.
The first of the more creative forms of tabletop photography and is where you shoot from above the product, primarily at a 90-degree angle but at a slightly lower angle if the product looks better that way. This allows you to show off your product in full, with props, branding or other products to tell a story. Whilst it can be difficult to show perspective using this type of photography, it does allow your artistic side to flourish.
The final type of tabletop photography is the stylised approach and this goes a step further by thinking about the product in an environment. Whilst this can be difficult in certain areas, such as jewellery photography, it is a fantastic choice for food and drink or gadgets. If you’re tasked with photographing a laptop, then why not set up a scene of a person using it at a desk? This is a perfect way of engaging with the customer, helping them to imagine owning and using the product in their day to day lives.