Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Cathy Seaver, a commercial photographer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She works primarily for Cull Group shooting product, corporate headshots, and other client needs. In her off time, Cathy enjoys getting out into nature to shoot what she sees around her. She is also an avid horseback rider, enjoying her time in the saddle on trails and playing around with a bit of dressage. Check out her work on Instagram.
Shooting commercially, a photographer doesn’t necessarily get to choose what they are shooting, nor how it is shot. There are certainly times when a client simply needs a straight up plain old photograph of their product on a white background to use in a catalog or for online shopping. This type of session can be seen as boring for many photographers.
That being said, your client is looking to your expertise to make their product look great. So push beyond typical client expectations and make photos that are exceptional.
How to make it fun? Read on for a few suggestions.
Grab an artistic photo or two of your environment or the object you are shooting. Take a walk around and find interesting lines, shapes, patterns, reflections and shadows.
Think About Your Lighting
It’s easy to just set up your shot and get it done. However, if you are tasked with shooting say, a gallon of milk, go the extra step and make it the best lighting you can!
Throw in a reflector or a flag to make subtle changes to your light. In my sample images, I simply placed a black flag set upright on the shooting surface in the second image to achieve more definition on the camera left side of the bottle.
The light in the first image is OK. It highlighted the label, which was my intent and what my client wanted. However, the light in the second image shows more shape to the bottle, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Shoot a Photo or Two for Your Portfolio
Of course, shooting a product shot for your portfolio should be cleared with your client, so do that first.
In this next example, the client asked for photos to use on a banner at shows. I decided to shoot what they asked for and then to step it up a notch. The client loved what I was able to deliver.
Using a waterproofing spray or printing with a clear coat, create a water-resistant label, then add droplets of a 50% water/glycerine mix in a spray bottle to a glass bottle to make it appear cold. Note that you may still need to photoshop out some discoloration from the liquid if using a waterproofing spray on paper.
Boring Shoots Don’t Need to be Boring
If you give yourself a little nudge, even the most dull of photoshoots can turn into a creative masterpiece! So, get the work at hand done, then shoot something for you. Who knows? Your client may want to use the images too.