Within the world of product photography, a packshot photographer is likely to need to control the appearance of depth in a shot. Whether this is a simple image of a product or a lifestyle shot outdoors with multiple subjects and props.
Fundamentally, photography is all about recreating that real-world 3-D image in a 2-D photograph and it is important to get the depth right otherwise the product image won’t look quite right.
Anyone working in product photography will know that we are lucky to have a whole range of tools to help change perspective. Utilising techniques, equipment and how our minds interpret images, a packshot photographer has more than enough options to deliver outstanding shots.
The most obvious way to change perspective is by using different lenses. For example, a telephoto lens flattens the perspective as it decreases the angle of view. It will bring objects that are far away, closer to the foreground subject.
The opposite is true when using a wide-angle lens. It will help make those foreground subjects appear more prominent than other subjects that are in the distance. Juggling the choice of lens is a complex and important skill that every packshot photographer should learn, particularly if they want to be successful in the world of product photography.
The next option often used in product photography is changing the camera height to alter the perspective of the image.
This is easy to understand if you try taking shots from different heights of a path or pier, where you have barriers to measure. When the height is increased, the angle of the path or fences converging is sharper and this creates more depth in a shot.
Here are a few ways that you can change the perspective if you understand how a person’s mind works.
The first way to change the perspective in this way is by using colour. If a packshot photographer uses warm tones (for example orange or red), against colder backgrounds (for example blue) then it will make the background appear further away.
The reason this happens is that a person’s mind has a default setting where it relates distance to a horizon full of blue colours. You can also follow a similar process when it comes to bright objects against darker backgrounds, with this causing greater depth.
In product photography, we often have to take photographs that involve multiple objects that are similar. For example a range of models showcasing fashion, or a packshot photographer working with a new range of food or drinks.
Having these similar subjects at a variety of distances helps to accentuate the depth in the photo and vice versa.
The last technique we want to cover in this article is taking advantage of movement. When there is movement close to your camera, it helps to increase the depth and you can manually get this effect by using a longer shutter speed as it also tricks the mind.
Whilst this may not be as relevant for many, compared with other techniques it is helpful to explore and practice all methods. This way, you can expand your portfolio of work as a product photographer.