Today, I am going to highlight how many of our affiliate photographers got into professional product photography (or are getting into it). Amateur photographers often begin with product photography because it can be mostly done indoors, you have the most control over the elements, and it does not require expensive equipment.
If you don’t have the budget to rent a studio (or build one at home), don’t worry – you can take high-quality product photos at home with just a few essentials. We are going to walk through setting up a home studio with minimal equipment.
The first step is to find the best place in your home for product photography. Here’s what you need to look for:
Whatever you shoot, you will require an even base to put your product and props on. Even a simple foldable table will work (don't worry about the surface since you'll be covering it anyway. Just make sure your table is stable and won't wobble).
If you can, get a table that is at least 6 feet by 4 feet in size, as that will allow you to shoot medium to large-sized products.
Lighting is by far the most important aspect of any photo studio. Even though natural lighting is often the best option, it is difficult to control and only available for a few hours each day.
You will need at least two basic photo or video lights as well as adjustable light stands. For beginners, I would recommend going for continuous LED lights on stands so that you can see how your final photos will look as you compose the shot. DIY (Do It Yourself) videos can also be found online that explain how to build your simple photo lights.
For optimal color and intensity control, choose lights that come with adjustable settings. You will have more creative control over the lighting setup.
My preferred light setup for beginners is the Godox SL60 which you can easily find online and in retail stores.
Natural and artificial light create harsh shadows when used directly. To overcome this, you’ll need to purchase (or craft) diffusers for your lights.
Simply adding a white sheer curtain to your window will diffuse the light so it's even and soft. You can also experiment with other materials like paper and shower curtains to see how they affect the amount and intensity of light coming through the window. You will also need spring clamps to hold the curtain/ cover in place.
For your stand lights invest in a good softbox to cover your lights and provide even, soft light to illuminate your product without the harsh shadows. I recommend the Godox SB-UBW for this and 80cm should cover almost everything you can shoot on a table.
Reflectors should be an essential part of any photo shoot. They help reflect (you guessed it) light onto your product and eliminate shadows further. For naturally lit shots, you want to place your reflector opposite the window and behind your product to give the most even illumination.
They come in different colors and sizes but the ones you’ll find yourself going to most often will be the white/ translucent, black, and silver reflector. Make sure you get these and preferably in a metal frame for durability. You can find plenty of high-quality reflectors online at reasonable costs.
Lastly, what you need to make your product images pop are different backdrops and flat lays to stage your product on.
Backdrops can be fabric or paper, depending on your need and budget. My recommendation is to invest in a high backdrop holder, spring clamps, and paper rolls of different colors. You can find all of these online. Paper gives a more seamless background than fabric and is also easy to maintain…you just tear off any part with marks or stains and roll the paper forward.
Backdrops come in many colors but to start, invest in a high-quality fabric or paper roll in white and black colors. These will give you the ability to compose most products without any background interference.
Flat lays are like backdrops for your table surface and come in hundreds of designs and patterns. These can help you compose your photo better and get that “professional” look in the final edited photo.
Flat lays are typically laminate or acrylic sheets that are durable and can be easily stored. However, you can also use dinner plates, tiles, wallpaper, old plywood, old sarees, etc to experiment with your flat lay look. There is no limit except your imagination. You can find flat lay online for cheap and keep collecting them as shoot more.
You don’t need to spend a lot to have a photo studio set up at home that will allow you to take product photos and videos like a professional. I hope you found this article useful, if you are starting and would like to learn more and take on photography assignments, check out the team at Pyx Photography.