Mostly, I'm a people photographer. Photojournalism or so-called "formal" portraits are my passion-- I say so-called because its wrong to call a fashion shoot formal. Staged might be closer. But if you want to excel in your niche, you have to be skilled in every other type of photography that surrounds it-- and that's pretty much them all. One day that model is going to be holding a bottle of Jim Beam, and for the advertiser they're equally important parts of the frame. So here's a few tips for product photography:
- Soft, round (big) lights-- like you get from box lighting-- is okay for Amazon.com or product packages; but
- Soft, round (big) lights are too bland for advertising. Go with small lights.
- On shiny surfaces, work with small reflectors/mirrors, as well as black flags/strips/blocks to add shadows
- The object doesn't move, so use continuous lights and low shutter speeds (with a tripod)
- On matte surfaces, scrape the light across (use low, side lighting)
- Light the background for more separation
- Know the background color they'll be using if the product will be a knock out
- If it are doing a knock out (replacing the background) the original background should be on a spectrum from white to black-- never colored. Otherwise you'll get color bleed on the product.
- Err towards too bright or slight over-exposure