My 5 Top Tips for Perfect Pack Shot Photography.
It is a real bug bear of mine when I hear ‘it’s only a pack shot, it doesn’t have to be that good.’ Which is probably why most pack shots we see are completely and utter rubbish.
The myth that because it is going to be printed small in a magazine say, the quality does not need to be decent is just so nonsensical to me. Or worse still, that it is ‘just for social media’ grrrr…..
Quality is quality and when pack shots are done well, you can see it a mile off. So here is my two pence worth to how I produce my high end looking product work.
1. Reflections: Controlling reflections in the varying materials within products like metals and glass is key. It is probably the first thing I look for when looking at still life photography. Metals that have bright white hotspots and reflections of the studio in them are an absolute no no. Understanding specularity values is key.
2. Edges: Control the edges of a product shot and half your battle is won. Crisp clear separation from the background and well controlled shadows will bring the shot to life. If I have to see one more product where the edge is just merging into the background I swear I’ll flip.
3. Product angle: Oh if I had a penny for every wine bottle or perfume bottle that isn’t absolute dead straight on to camera. Now, I don’t mean a product deliberately shot at 3/4 angle. I mean where the photographer has tried to shoot the product straight on, but it is actually off centre by a good cm or two. There are labels on these things, get that straight at least. If the label is wonky or not straight, read point 4…
4. Compositing: its 2020 people, no need to get it all in one frame if it cant be done. Shoot multiple frames and build the one final shot out of all the plates you have made. This goes for focus stacking too, shoot 20 to 30 frames through the product and stack them together for a pin Sharp image.
5. Pre-Visualisation and Retouching: Always start off having a clear idea of what you want the finished product to look like. The lighting, sharpness the framing. Using post product techniques to bring it all together is the final step to achieving a high end, polished product pack shot.
And thats that really. I could probably do my 5 top tips 5 times over as there is loads more I could bang on about. But for your sanity, I won’t.