Shooting solid, clean product photography is an art. It can be simplified with a little science. I’ll show you a set that works and is adjustable to your subject.

Base product photography set

Here’s how to build your product photography set. First, start with a plastic storage container and remove the top. To create a grey background, line the bottom with black cloth or paper.

Place a piece of quality non-glare glass on top. This is your shooting surface. Take a scrim and suspend it over the glass at a slight upward angle. This is the science. It is the reflection of the scrim on the glass that makes this work.

The set, including a light with snoot (1), soft box (2), scrims (3), non-glare picture frame glass (4), plastic storage container (5) and tacky wax to hold products in place (6).


You can use one light that has a snoot, but I find more control with a second light that has a softbox attached.

The snooted light allows creation of a soft spotlight. The size can be controlled by how close the light is to the scrim. Make it softer by moving the snoot further away and sharper by moving it closer.

The contrast of the scene can be controlled by the second light.

Product photography makes the product the star of the show.

Change the power of the two lights to come up with slightly different lighting patterns. In looking at my test images, I found the highlight on the pen was too sharp. Adding two more layers of diffusion smoothed out the long highlight beautifully.

Variations on the product photography set

In this view, some additional post-production was needed because the edge of the non-glare glass was visible behind the coffee cup.

In addition to a grey background, other colors may be used to line the platform. To add other options, one side of the platform can be cut away and another light with colored gels can be used to enhance the intensity of the color.

For another product photography set possibility, take a look at Nicole S. Young’s post.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob