I’ll start my post today by admitting that I don’t like doing product photography. Although this is only a half truth – I should say that I don’t like “conveyor belt” product photography, the kind where you take photos of lots of low-cost items on a white background.
The main reason for this is that people’s perception of these kinds of shots is that there’s nothing to taking photos of items on white background. You just put an object on a white background and shoot and send over the photos and that’s it, right? Well, not quite… because if you want the object to be perfectly lit and have a nice realistic light shadow of it on the surface it’s resting on, too, it almost never is as straight-forward as just taking the shot. Apart from having the perfect set for beautiful lighting, you need to perfect the image in post processing, meaning time spent editing the photo. Each photo. So to get great looking photos that have perfect smooth edges and perfect pure white background (apart from the perfect faint shadow), it takes far more time than just taking the shots and sending over the photos. Which means it costs much more than most people think it does. And this is why I don’t like doing this kind of work – apart from the fact that it’s hardly creative and inspiring kind of work anyway.
On the other hand, I have worked with some companies for years taking their product photos, and love the work I do for them. Every shoot is a challenge as I get asked to produce the strangest things. It might be a product that is still half way in the making and I have to edit it to look like it’s a clean perfect production sample. Or take photos of objects that I can barely see with a naked eye.
One of these companies that I have worked with for years make mobile phone cameras. I have created images for them that combine up to 14 photos into one, extreme close-ups, millimetre exact angles & perspective, etc. I have small scalpels and a tiny pair of tweezers to help manipulate the objects for the shots; all the minuscule parts that make the auto-focus of the camera work brilliantly. On occasion I have had to take the tiny camera case apart and put it back again, to get shots of different stages of the construction. The tiniest speck of dust shows up huge in the photos, so I have to keep my studio as free from dust as possible.
As I said, standard white background product photography doesn’t excite me, but when I get a request to take ‘an abstract close-up of the mobile phone camera lens’ I am interested! I like a challenge. I have a dedicated macro lens and macro extensions so I can get very close to any object… but to take an extreme close-up of a tiny mobile phone camera lens? I will give it a try! And I managed to take the shot they wanted – the one at the top of this post.
The following shot is my latest photo for them; all the amazing auto-focus technology bits and pieces that I have photographed over the years now finally set in a production handset.
I have come to a stage in my photography business where I don’t have to do the kind of work that doesn’t interest me greatly so I’m happy to recommend other photographers to clients who want standard plain background photography of low cost items. But give me a challenge to create something that needs more work and expertise to produce and I’m your product photographer!