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Budget or High-end Product Photography

(Part 1 - Budget)

Mercedes, Serco, Thermoking Product Photography


Modern day marketing is very much dependent on Photography as it is the greatest form of representation for any brand or product. The way your product is presented online is crucial to your sales as it could have a significantly positive or negative result. Amateur-looking shots of your products could cause your potential clients to run for the hills. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend thousands to attain a professional profile for your products. This article will basically touch on how to shoot cost-effective but still maintain high-end look and feel (fake it till you make it). This will infuse faith in your online store.


Cost-effective / Low budget Product Photography

Using a decent DSLR CAMERA to shoot your products is necessary to capture the sharp detail and quality of the product. Fortunately a DSLR has become very affordable. No doubt that you can’t go wrong with a modern single lens digital camera, even as a start. Who knows, maybe this photography aspect of your business could turn into a full blown hobby or career.


Lighting can absolutely, one-hundred-percent be the least expensive thing on your list. Playing NATURAL LIGHT can be so beautiful if you manipulate it in just the right way. Shooting indoors, close to a window would be ideal. The more light you have the better because you can always cut back and defuse the light with a white curtain, cloth or even paper. The less light you have the harder it will be for you to white out your background, fill in the shadows or even at least lighting up your product. The light is your friend, keep it close.

If you’re financially able to, you could also invest in studio lights like Elinchrom. It is also important, when purchasing a light, that it can not only flash but that it can function as a continuous light source, meaning the light can stay on. This makes it easier to preview the shot and you can also use the lights for video. A main or core light is used from the front to light up the subject, then a fill light is used to alter any unnecessary shadows and/or white-out the background.


Shooting with a TRIPOD is another essential when shooting products and definitely makes a huge difference in the quality of the image. You can buy a really inexpensive one online or at your nearest camera store but remember, a tripod is used to stabilise the camera for a clear and sharp image, so the heavier the tripod, the more stable and more expensive. A tripod could potentially be a great investment if you are heading in a photographic direction or if you are planning on selling/shooting more products in the future.

Background / Scene

SETTING-UP and creating a rich environment for shooting the product can get very frustrating especially if you don’t know what you’re doing and you don't have a sense of direction or plan. Look at some reference images of other products. Look at what you are shooting. Is it glass, is it plastic or is it gloss or is it flat mat. Let the product be the guide to your shot and how you play with the light. If you shoot glass, make sure to have black cards.

Having the right BACKGROUND is important as it sets the mood for the product. More commercial shoots usually acquire a bright blank background with no distractions whatsoever. You can build this white backdrop, or otherwise known as an infinity curve, with something as simple as draped white paper or material. Make sure it’s spotless (otherwise fix in post). With a professionals budget, a studio setting with lights and built tabletop infinity-curve would be ideal but you have to start somewhere. Then lastly place your product where the draping meets the table and MAKE SURE YOUR PRODUCT IS CLEAN - Meaning that there are no fingerprints, stains or dust particles on the product being shot, background or even on the lens (be cautious).

Depth of Field / Look

The aperture is the opening in your lens that lets light into your camera and is designed to be measured by an F-stop or F-number. A wide aperture (lower F-number) creates a narrow or shallow depth of field that would enrich your images to obtain the professional look you’re reaching for.

Oliver Karstel is a professional photographer, videographer, designer and creative consultant. I specialise in custom content creation, brand development and marketing | info@oliverkarstel.co.za www.oliverkarstel.co.za | FB.com/oliver.karstel.media | IG.com/oliverkarstel


Copyright © 2017 Oliver Karstel Photography. All rights reserved



Oliver Karstel is a Pretoria-based South African photographer and creative consultant. As an award-winning photographer and videographer, Oliver has worked with multiple multi-national corporations and organisations including the United Nations (U.N.), NEPAD (African Union), Kal Tire (CA) Thermo King (US), GEA (DE) and PERI (DE and UAE) . Oliver has received accolades from international photography awards including the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), and his work has appeared in publications including INSPADES Magazine and Construction World Magazine. He has worked across the breadth of Southern Africa, West Africa, extending to Northern Europe and the Middle East.


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