Simplicity in Commercial Product Photography

In the world of product photography, simplicity is a common element. It is very eye-catching and often exudes a sort of elegance. Somewhat ironically, however, simplicity is often one of the most difficult things to achieve. The video below shows a photo shoot for Jameson Whiskey in which the photographers attempt a very simple and minimalist style. What may surprise you is how many people and how much work it takes to create such a minimalistic photo:

Some things that should be considered when trying to create a simple image:

  • Lighting – Basic white, or neutral, lighting is usually the best. Mixed lighting is often distracting to the viewer.
  • Color – Keeping the number of colors to a minimum is best, and the colors you choose should work according to the color wheel. They may be complementary, analogous, triadic, etc.
  • Text – Words should also be kept to a minimum or be organized in a way that keeps the viewer’s eyes from darting back and forth across the image
  • Composition – This is usually when you want to stick to the rule of thirds. Horizontally or vertically symmetrical images work very well for minimalist compositions.
bottle rig

Rig designed to hold a bottle at various angles that can be photoshopped out later

still life drink

Hand-picking mint leaves and placing them to look perfect

whiskey glass

One of the “simple” images from the photoshoot

As the video shows, it may take several people and a rather complicated set-up to create minimalist imagery, but the results are well worth it.

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  1. Chris Fischbeck says:

    Wow, I never really realized how much work went into those photos! Great video! Now I want to try it!!

  2. Many people don’t realize how much work goes into any type of photography. I’m a commercial photographer. Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know that photographer!

  3. mike says:

    You know you have a bad client when they tell you…”…. this will just take a few minutes….”

    It means they have no clue whatsoever.

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