- Get to know the product
The worst thing you can do in a product shooting, is to improvise, you really need to start planning ahead by looking at references and by getting to know the product that you are going to visually enhance thanks to your abilities as a commercial photographer. The big advantage of doing this, is that you are going to be in a better control of the situation when it comes to the real shooting. By exploring a product previously, you should look for different angles, interesting details of it, the best angles for light, interesting interactions of the product with secondary or contextual elements, etc.
- Plan lighting
Again, plan ahead. If improvising with the product is awful, now imagine to improvise with lighting. Lighting is going to enhance your product shooting into a whole new level. You can use fixed lights (like video LEDs light), strobes, and flashes. There is a complete world out there related with artificial lighting. In this planning, you should include both, available light and artificial light. There are some online tools for planning lighting ahead.
I use http://www.lightingdiagrams.com/Creator, which really needs a visual improvement talking webwise, but it does the job very well. You don’t need to be 100% strict with this planning, you are going to make tweaks and adjustments in an organic way as the shooting begins.
- Search for DIY
There are plenty of Do it yourself hacks on the internet for everybody that is working on a tight or decent budget. DIY are fun, and there is always somebody out there using their creativity for avoiding extra expenses, and thankfully, willing to share with us their insights. Keep them on the radar, they are going to be a great ally.
- Sharp Lens
Light would enhance your products for sure, but sharpness in a good lens, is going to make the difference between average photos and yours. There are some great lenses out there, and thanks to the internet, you can be sure of the sharpness they offer being a little geeky and looking at the MTF charts. This guy had made a great video on how to read them:
Practice different POVs
When working with products, it’s good to explore the variety of angles in it, and try always to get different points of view of the object. It’s also a good thing to do, to standardize your points of view when working with several products for a client.
- Plan your focal
As with light, it’s good to plan your focal. When shooting, try a cinematography way of doing things, I mean, plan the order of the shots. For example, when working with an 85mm lens, do all the shots that need this lens, and then you can go with the macro lens.
- Experiment with backgrounds
The actual trends are showing products in an organic relationship with their useful context. Try to experiment with interesting arrangements and with the real context in which you’re the product is going to interact. You can give a twist to the thing by juxtaposing opposing backgrounds. You are going to be creative, but is not going to be so harsh.
- Web suitable
Try to plan scenes that are going to look good in web and mobiles, because the majority of the product display, will occur in web platforms.
- Human factor
Try to include human factor or human interactions with the product, instead of just shooting the product alone. At the end, you can deliver both, because there is always important to have simple shots of the product alone.
- Don’t ever forget about composition
You are, after all, shooting photographs, so please, don’t you forget about composition. I recommend you this website to learn about composition: http://compositionstudy.com/
- Write scripts
So, you are planning light, you are planning backgrounds, you are planning focal and Points of View, writing a script for the shooting moment will help you tremendously to stick to the plan. Remember to have fun, you can bend the thing a little bit, but after all, you are doing a professional job here, and having a control on your plan, is going to be the greatest weapon besides the gear.
Always use a good quality tripod, this fellow is going to be your BFF and practically your best lens.