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Simple Product Photography Tips: 5 Min Portrait

The reason I use the word “simple” in the title of this post is because this is a very basic setup that just about anyone can do.


Product photography does not have to be overwhelming. You don’t always need fourteen different lights, reflectors and assistants to capture a product shot. Of course in some situations where it is called for, you may need a more intense setup.

If your goal is to simply get a product shot captured and online to help you showcase a something than the tips in this video will come in handy.

When I am shooting photos of products on my kitchen table I like to use the natural light from outside and sometimes some continuos lights inside. In this case my main light was the daylight with a little bit of fill come from a continuous light that was meant to light me for the video.

My goal was to capture a product shot of the Canon lens that could be used for an article, a sales page or just for practice.

You will notice that I try and fill the frame as much as possible when I am capturing the image. Being that I do not crop my goal is to get the composition I am looking for as soon as I shot the image.

Keep in mind when you are trying to capture shots like this that your background will play a major part in telling the story of the image. Will you shoot from the top down, bottom up, off to the side or smack dab right on. As you see in the video I had control of what my final background would look like by simply changing my own level.


Did I want more of my kitchen in the background, did I want more of a blackgorund or did I want something else? I was able to make small adjustments that made each image look unique and slightly different.

Who knew that a simple zebra pillow could totally change the image? Last minute I decided to see what would happen if we added a zebra pillow in the background. The hope was that I would get some very nice bokeh giving us a totally different picture.

That is exactly what happened. We went form a dark background to a flashy white one with zebra stripes that were out of focus. Not only did the pillow give us a different background but it bounced light back into our subject creating some nice separation light.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many different things I could have done in the studio to make this a more professional photo shoot. But for a simple 5 minute portrait that anyone can do as long as they have some daylight I think it does a great job.

Click Here to see the FULL RES exports of the photos from this 5 minute portrait.

Do you know how people are always asking if they should go to school or study online? This assuagement is something that you would find in your first year as a photo student. The teacher would tell you to use natural light to photograph a product. That is all school is, it’s assignment after assignment after assignment until you finally leave school.

Use this as a personal assignment for you to practice product photography, that is the best way to practice before a real job comes along.

Feel free to download the full res images from the photo shoot. I used the Nikon D4 with the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRII with VR on to capture the images. I used Adobe Lightroom 5 to tweak and edit all the files.

If you have a suggestion you would like to see for a 5 min portrait feel free to leave a comment below.