Inside Product Photography Advice: Photographing Camera Equipment

21318362106_wp-000065.jpgAn overlooked area within the field of product photography is the camera itself. Camera equipment and photography equipment poses a unique challenge to the product photographer, which is yet another reason why it’s safer not to attempt your catalogue photography in house, relying on the services of a professional photography studio instead.
So what is it that makes cameras and camera equipment so challenging when it comes to photography? There are three main issues which need to be considered. The first issue is that the people who are likely to be looking at your photographs of cameras are likely to be camera enthusiasts, and therefore enthusiastic about quality photography. If the images you’re using are of poor quality then this doesn’t look inspiring, and is unlikely to appeal to image conscious consumers.
Having high quality photographic images is always important no matter what you’re selling and no matter to whom you’re marketing it.

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The second issue that needs to be considered when thinking about camera product photography is that most items of equipment tend to be both dark and detailed. If you look at most medium to high end digital and SLR cameras they tend to be black almost all over. Not only this but there tends to be quite a few buttons, and many of these are black too. This poses a problem, because it can be very difficult to take a photograph of a dark, detailed object and manage to both capture the detail, and make the product look three dimensional. Too many amateur photographs of cameras and similar products either lose the detail, or make the camera seem flat, cheap and uninteresting.
The third area of concern relates to reflections, because there are one or two areas of the camera which are likely to reflect light or to reflect what’s in the room or studio. The two most obvious examples here include the lens, and any digital preview screen on the reverse of the camera. The lens doesn’t tend to pose a problem as far as reflecting the studio is concerned, because what will generally be seen are simply light circles. But these are important, and by using coloured lights, appropriately angled lighting and the right exposure it’s possible to really make the lens stand out. This is important because often the lens is the only real element of colour, and by having a glowing lens with light circles it helps to add a great deal of depth to the image as well as providing a focal point.
The screen at the back poses a different problem though. By switching this off you lose a potential area of colour and interest, and you also pose the risk of having the photographer and studio reflected in the screen, which doesn’t look very professional. Switching the camera on though and having an image on the screen doesn’t always work, as the quality will appear greatly reduced. It’s generally best to use post production editing to superimpose an image onto the area where the screen is on the camera, although this has to be done very carefully indeed in order to make it look natural. Again, any keen camera enthusiast will certainly spot a doctored image, and this will beg many questions as far as the authenticity and honesty of the rest of the image is concerned.
So when it comes to product photography for cameras and photographic equipment it really is far better to make use of a professional photographer and studio, otherwise you could find your business very underexposed.