Product Photographer Guide – Bringing Your Subject To Life

Nov 8, 2021 | 0 comments

People often think that life as a product photographer is less interesting than other forms of photography. This is in part because you have a specific subject to focus on and it can be something rather mundane. However, there is so much more to this form of photography and here are some useful tips for bringing your subject to life, to truly transform your product photographs.

Tell a story

This probably seems quite obvious to most product photographers, particularly those working on clothing photography who often have to tell a story. However, it can sometimes be lost when we focus on taking product photos because of the more rigid structure to the photoshoots.

You may be lucky enough to be working on a product that is interesting, exciting and telling a story all by itself. If that is the case, then fantastic but in many cases, it doesn’t and you need to think about how you can create images that draw the viewer in. Maybe this is by focusing on specific emotions or aspects of the product or using props and backgrounds to build a story with the product as the focal point.

Get creative with your surroundings

Very much linked to the point above, you can get creative with your surroundings and still keep the focus on the product you’ve been commissioned to photograph. As a product photographer, you may be asked to work on simple, everyday items and it is all about thinking outside of the box and getting creative.

Maybe you’ve taken some standard shots for a clothing photography project but feel its missing something. Explore your surroundings and find unusual backdrops, different scenarios or props and see how it helps to tell the story of your product.

Focus on the product

This may seem like I’m contradicting the point above, but as a product photographer, you need to be adaptable and sometimes keeping it simple works wonders. You may notice that something in the foreground or background is distracting the viewer from the product. Instead of trying to fix it or move it around, simply get rid of it.

Focusing on the product and making sure every part of the image adds value to the product is an effective way of improving the photos you take.

Think about contrast

When we talk about contrast, it isn’t merely about light vs dark or contrasting colours. It could be a background that contrasts emotionally or physically with the subject. This is all about being creative as a product photographer and thinking about what works best for each individual situation that you are in.

Using colour contrast will usually make the subject stand out and be noticed by the viewer, and it is the same with lighting changes and contrasts. Perhaps you use lighting from alternate directions to create a sense of drama. One very interesting option is to think about textures and how a contrasting texture could add new layers to a product photo.


No matter the subject and techniques used, the number one rule for any product photographer is to make sure that the choices made are for the benefit of the subject. If changes you make detract from the product in question, then it is clearly not helping you deliver the best possible product photographs.

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