Have you ever browsed through a catalogue of products or a retail website and wondered why the photos in it look so much more impressive than the ones you take? For example, the stunning photography on the Apple website looks so good, it's probably one of reasons why they sell so many products. This type of photography is called commercial photography and there are some important factors to consider when achieving beautiful shots like the ones you see from Apple.
Commercial photography is a very skilled discipline and can take years to master. If you get one part of a shoot wrong then it can waste a whole day of studio time. The best commercial photographers in the business have a number of core strengths - and I've listed those out below to provide inspiration to any budding commercial photographer students.
Experimentation with Light Sources
It's sometimes the simple things that can make the difference in a commercial photography shoot. For example, just turning the light to a different direction can give an entirely different mood and feeling to the shots. Use varied methods when setting up your lighting such as naked flames (lanterns and candles) to see what shadows these create. By experimenting with light it's possible to make a good photo become a truly great photoâ€¦ this is probably the biggest secret to being a commercial photographer.
Vary Your Angles
Switching the angle of the product or where you are shooting from can have a huge difference to the end results of any commercial photography shoot. Most product photography, and particularly the ones on the Apple website, tend to be shot from close up or just above the product. This approach to angles can really show off the product with the best features and design elements. One thing Apple sometimes do is to shoot from a high angle. This fresh perspective can really make the product stand out on the webpage - in particular when on a white background.
Move Outside the Studio
Commercial photographers tend to be stuck in the studio a lot of the time which can become very boringâ€¦ and in turn that boredom can transfer onto the photo. Some brands have seen great success with taking product shots in exterior locations, even if the product doesn't necessarily lend itself to an outdoor shoot. This isn't something that Apple does very often, but it can work really well. Having a product posed in outdoor locations in which it might be used in everyday scenarios can give the potential customer a great insight into how they would use the product themselves. It can really help consumers to visualise using the product. Just like you do with lighting, outdoor experimentation can create stunning commercial photography opportunities that you might not have considered before with superb results.
Editing the Commercial Photography Shoot
Once you have captured the perfect photographs, is time to do the editing. As you prepare the images for your website or catalogue make sure that they are all approximately in similar dimensions and styles. Tools like Adobe Photoshop come with some excellent functions where you can add hard light and shadow, create masking effects, and even cut out any blemishes to make the shoot just perfect. Color correction will probably be the most important job. When you look at the Apple website you will notice that all photos on there have a similar hue and style. Even if you take the photo away from the website you would probably recognise it as being an Apple imageâ€¦ and that's a sign of a truly skilled commercial photographer.
To conclude, being a commercial photographer and taking the perfect shot is just as much about creativity as your equipment and skills. Just some small changes to the shoot can make the world of difference so don't be afraid to experiment.
This photography article was researched, written and compiled by Double Exposure-commercial photographers in Southampton. They are a young team of creative UK-based photographers who have recently published a new YouTube video-you can watch that direct on YouTube or see it embedded below.