Every product photographer or packshot studio needs to know how to photograph very small objects. The starting point for all of this is making sure you have the right equipment to do the job. We’ve put together a summary of the key equipment that should be in every product photographer’s box of tricks.
The first entry on our short guide is all about lenses. It is likely that each product photographer or packshot studio has a macro lens because this is specifically designed to deliver high-quality images of small objects. These can also be used for other types of photography but in general, utilise these with objects such as jewellery, close up shots of food and drink or any other smaller products you need to shoot.
Alongside a macro lens, some useful equipment includes an extension tube and bellows. These two items increase the precision and quality of an image. Having these items to hand will really allow you to capture your products in the detail you want.
We always talk about how lighting is the key factor in product photography and when it comes to photographing small objects, it is incredibly important. It may be a product photographer is able to use natural lighting but in many situations, standard camera flash or natural light won’t deliver what you require.
Most packshot studios will already have a range of lighting equipment for this very purpose, such as ring lighting and a softbox. If you get the lighting right, then you will showcase the intricate detail of very small objects, particularly important for jewellery photography. When dealing with this type of photography, you should always be aware of how harsh the lighting is, making sure it doesn’t detract from the product.
How you display your product will depend on the type of object you wish to photograph. You will want a standard table that is stable so that you can place a range of products on it from small food products to drinks and clothing. However, for jewellery, you will want bespoke stands that allow the jewellery to hang down, sit on display or appear to be floating.
Furthermore, a turntable should be near the top of your shopping list as a product photographer or packshot studio. If you look at most e-commerce websites, you will now find 360-degree images and this can be seamlessly achieved with a turntable. It will allow you to make uniform, smooth images or videos easily and effectively.
There is a long list of equipment out there that people recommend and it is easy to get carried away. Our advice is to get the basics right, look for those homemade or cheaper alternatives that deliver what you need and then expand your box of tricks as you develop your skills.
Ultimately, photographing small objects for a client is all about being careful, controlled and focused on delivering intricate detail that will show off products. If you ensure you have the right equipment and knowledge then you can take outstanding photographs that will draw customers in and persuade them to spend money.