5 Tips for Taking Product Photos That Sell

Find out how to distinguish yourself with flawless commercial photography that translates to big-time paydays with these pro tips from product photographer Christopher Grey. Plus, one fortunate photographer will be given his online Craftsy class, Commercial Photography: Taking Product Photos That Sell, and learn even more essential techniques for making money with your shots!


Mastery of lighting is essential for product photography.

1. To create drama in your photos, use an extra small softbox–because the light falls off rapidly–and move it in close to your product (which will produce a nice gray on the background if you’ve used seamless white paper).

To make a gradated background, aim a light at one corner or side of your seamless and allow the light to rake across the seamless. The light will naturally fall off from bright to dimmer, creating a natural gradation. Move the light farther or closer to the seamless to change the intensity of the gradient.


Feather the light for a graduated backdrop.

2. Create eye-catching highlights on the edges of your product by cutting a hole in your background paper and positioning your softbox behind the paper. Try not to cut the hole beyond the lines of your product, but if you do, fix it by moving the product closer to you.


Cut a hole in your background to produce interesting highlights.

3. Use precise strip lighting for unbroken highlights that draw the eye to an image. Because strip lights are so long, they can create a highlight that runs the entire height of your product.

Use tall soft boxes to create unbroken highlights that draw the eye to your product. The highlights and reflections they make will run the entire height of your subject and lead the viewer’s eye and create interest.


Attractive highlights and reflections draw the viewer’s eye.

4. Use side lighting for sexy contouring that elevates your image from basic to blockbuster. For example, set your product near a window or lamp, or use something white to bounce light onto it from the side.


Side lighting emphasizes shape.

5. Use a smaller depth of field to capture a unique view of the product that wows the client. Using a smaller depth of field can also help you show off texture and create drama.


Impress clients with a shallow depth of field.

See here for a chance to take Christopher Grey’s online Craftsy class Commercial Photography: Taking Product Photos That Sell, and gain the business savvy and technical skills to win clients, campaigns and a successful career in photography! Christopher will even critique your photos and answer any questions you have. And, since you’ll own your class forever, you can learn at your preferred pace and revisit techniques before your next shoot.

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for photographing products?

Christopher Grey has been a product photographer for more than four decades, and has worked with a range of clients from The Home Depot to Collins Avionics. He’s authored 14 books on photography, including the bestseller Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers. Christopher is a three-time winner of the Nikon Certificate of Excellence, and has received Photo Design magazine’s Gold Award for stock photography.

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One response to “5 Tips for Taking Product Photos That Sell”

  1. Hello Christopher,

    Good tips and 1 EXCELLENT tip for me too!!! I am always having problems with glass and making an interesting highlight (I usually create one afterwards in Photoshop) by using a very small stand on which you put your bottle. I always use a bigger one, so the bottle will not fall, but the result is that you can see my stand in the reflection in the bottle. Yours is a very clever solution (stupid of me of course, but sometimes in your own work you can be as blind as a horse).
    Thanks and good luck in your work

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