Product photography – the staple diet of the studio photographer! Not all photography is glamourous. It can be quite mundane, working with everyday products and if ecommerce is involved, it can be very repetitive. It falls far short of the stereotype image of the photographer portrayed in the movies, constantly jetting off to far away exotic locations with scantily clad models and a full entourage in tow. Not to say I have never done this type of work, far from it but just recently I have been shooting an inordinate amount of studio product photography.
I enjoy the challenges that this type of work creates. Usually these are challenges of scale rather than technical detail. Generally it’s about how to get a great deal of product shot in the smallest amount of time without compromising standards, to make it cost effective for both the client and photographer. The repetitive nature of the work can be challenging and at times it is hard to keep motivated and focussed. Consistency in approach over the entire product shoot is essential and a prerequisite to give any product range that quality feel. Attention to detail is a must at all times during a long shoot. Music helps and I do at times find myself talking to inanimate objects! It’s only when they talk back that I realise I may need a break! I find it’s the diversity of products though that provides the energy and stimulus for every shoot. A day spent with mobile phones is different to a day spent with glass – they throw up a range of differing problems, all to be resolved within a tight time frame. Relying on past experiences is also invaluable and makes for a quicker and better result. On the plus side though – everything that happens in front of the lens is under your full control. There are no weather restrictions or any of the other location related problems to hamper progress and raise the stress levels. If anything, a product shoot can be quite therapeutic. Very satisfying and rewarding when looking at the final result. More detail about some of these shoots to follow in later blogs.
The above examples are all effective solutions to ecommerce product photography. There are many examples of the more aspirational type of work within this discipline. Frustratingly, I have just completed a shoot for a London client specialising in swimming pool lights but as the work has not been published yet, it cannot be shown here for now. However I do have other examples! These were ‘in camera’ images requiring no retouching or photoshop work at all apart from cropping.
All Images © 2014 John Russell Photography.