My Product Photography Setup

November 2nd, 2012

Last week Claire asked if I would share my product photography setup here on the blog. Today while shooting some new products for the shop (to be revealed next week), I snapped some photos of my setup too. It’s super fancy. It will blow your mind with its fanciness.

I take my product photos next to the big window in our great room. I like to photograph in plenty of natural, bright (but indirect) light. I make sure every artificial light source in sight is turned off. Even a lamp all the way across the room can mess up the color balance in a photo.

All I use for my setup is some foamcore, my signature backdrop fabric, and two big storage jars from my kitchen—weird I know, but they’re convenient to grab. Oh, and my camera. I’ve always used my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens for my product photos. It’s my favorite.

product photography setup

I arrange my foamcore like so, using the storage jars to prop up the vertical pieces.

product photography setup

Here’s the back view. See? I told you it was fancy!

product photography setup

Then I drape my fabric over the back and bottom board, and I’m ready to break out my camera. The vertical board on the right is never in the photos, it just bounces light back onto the product being photographed. This keeps the shadows from being too harsh.

product photography setup

To get overhead shots, I just stand on a chair next to the table and lean over the product I’m photographing.

product photography setup

I’d love to have room for a permanent setup one day, but for now this works fine for me!

30 Comments

  1. thanks for sharing! i tried for the first time today using a white board to bounce the light…but i never thought of having that second board to drape the fabric (which was something i was having trouble with today. trying to figure out how to get that ugly wall out of my shot but cutting objects in my photo).

    everything you do is so beautiful and inspiring!

  2. Thank you for this post; this is so helpful! And I always love your photos!

  3. Dondrea

    Thank you for sharing your setup! I have the worst time with this on my own. I’m going to try it with your suggestions and cross my fingers for better pics. :)

  4. Melanie

    Ah excellent! I’m not alone shooting like this ;) Although I have to say, before we moved I have been using a 4×8 white laminate (1/16) found at Home Depot. The sheet backed a wall and bended nicely on a table 3-4 feet from the wall (hope what I write makes sense). A solution in case someone has bigger pieces to shoot. I used too a 50mm fixed (my favorite) and nothing can beat natural diffused light (a cloudy day).

  5. Thank you! This is really awesome/helpful since I’m new at taking pictures.

  6. Wonderful! I’m making one. Thank you!

  7. Mine are shot like this… I have three boxes (you know, small, medium, large that fit into each other)… and I stack them (smallest on the bottom, largest on top – you know, the safest way, haha..) right in front of a window. Gives awesome shadows that create a rather dramatic effect I like. If I were to use a reflector, I’d lose that, but I tend to like it. It kinda screams LOOK! HERES A CARD! hahaha

    Great job. Your house looks immaculate, as always. Mega jealous.

  8. I’ve always loved your product photography! It’s something I’ve definitely struggled with and this seems like a really easy to follow set up. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  9. Thanks for sharing this, it’s great to see you don’t need lots of fancy gadgets to produce truly stunning photos at home!

  10. So refreshing to see that what I do for my photos, most others do too! Looks great (and works!) so why fix it!? ;)

  11. Thank you for sharing how you get your shots looking so great. I find it a struggle not to get my own shadow in photos – I always seem to have a bit of it hovering in a corner – very frustrating! Great setup.

  12. Joy

    I love seeing everyone’s set ups for photographs. It’s always humorous to see what’s really going on outside of the frame. :)

  13. Love it! This is what I do too. Except I put my foamcore on a chair in our mudroom… :)

  14. Hi Amanda, thank you so much for sharing how you shoot your photographs. I hope it helps as many people as it helps myself.
    I have a week off work next week so will get myself down to my local art store for foam board (the British name) and hope that there is some autumn sunshine! Let’s see if my pocket panasonic can come up with the goods :)
    Thanks again. If I can ever help with garden questions, please do let me know.

  15. Cindy

    Hi, thanks for sharing – love that a setup so simple can produce such stunning results. You might have touched on this somewhere else, but I was wondering what kind of post-processing you do on your images to get that warm & dreamy look. Do you run them through any filters in Photoshop or something like that?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      The only post-processing I do on my product photos is to adjust the levels in Photoshop, because I want the colors to be represented as accurately as possible. For my blog photos I use Photoshop actions to give them that warmth. MCP Actions offers some great ones! http://www.mcpactions.com

  16. I have the same kind of set up for photography at home. I’m glad I’m not the only one who throws it together like that. I really like that you use the fabric to keep the shadows down. I’ll have to try that tip.

  17. This one is such a helpful tutorial…The pictures on your blog come out so great…

  18. This is so simple and ingenious. Most of my photography experience comes from trial and error, so I’m super grateful that you not only shared what you do, but how you do it!

  19. I just re-photographed my entire shop inventory using your faux studio technique. I was putting it off for so long because I couldn’t decide where the best place to photograph in my small apartment was. This helped a ton! Thanks for sharing!

    p.s. I love your shop and your blog…very inspiring :)

  20. Brandi

    Where did you get those chair cushions? Love them. :)

  21. A fabulous set-up that costs so little and produces on such a large scale. Love it! By the way, your photography is wonderful.

  22. Thanks for sharing! this looks very similar to my photo setups :-) I’m glad I’m not the only one

  23. I know I’m late on the read, but this was incredibly helpful, Amanda. Thank you so much!

  24. I’m SUPER late to the game, but I just discovered your site, and I love it! Thanks for the product photo tips.. bouncing the natural light off of an additional piece of foam core will help me a ton.

  25. hi amanda.

    i think the way you give us a glimpse into the “behind the scene” moments of your life/shop really speak to your confidence and strength as a designer as well as a human. this is super refreshing. thank you so much for the helpful tips now and always:)

 

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