A Beginners Guide To Product Photography

This article is a beginners guide to product photography equipment and software and what you’ll need to get started on your product photography journey.

There is so much information out there these days when it comes to photography of any kind, but particularly product photography.

It’s a fabulous way to create, it’s a wonderful way to make an income, and now more than ever, in such a digital age it has never been more important for product based businesses to have images that make an impact, look professional, capture the attention of their customers and help to sell the product.

When I started my journey in photography I started with the basics: a Canon 1300D with a kit lens and Adobe Lightroom.  As I have moved through my photography journey and as my focus has shifted primarily towards product photography, it was important for me consider what equipment and software I would need to purchase to take my product photography from just okay to professional.  Of course, it is worth noting that having the best equipment isn’t a guarantee that your photos will go from good to great either. There are things you can’t buy that will also take your photos to the next level – consistency, passion, motivation, drive, and a willingness to learn and put what you learn into practice.

I’ve been doing product photography now for 18 months and I’ve slowly built up the following kit:

  • Canon 6D Mark II.  This is a great little full frame DSLR work horse camera body at a reasonable price point.
  • Canon 50mm f1.8. This is a beautiful prime lens and is perfect for branding photography work as well.
  • Canon 24-70mm f2.8.  This is the hardest working lens in my kit.  Having the ability to vary my focal length between 50-70mm depending on what the shoot requires is super helpful, and I just adore the image quality with this lens.  It is a heavier lens, and it’s not cheap, however, it’s absolutely worth the investment.  This lens is also what I use for my landscape photography as well, so it’s incredibly versatile.
  • Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.  This lens captures intricate detail beautifully, and would be an ideal addition to your kit if you are planning to niche down into jewellery product photography.
  • Tripod.  An absolute must in product photography.  When you have a number of products to capture, you’ll want to make sure that the distance between the camera and the product is consistent across the gallery, so this is where a tripod is incredibly helpful.
  • Tether Cord.  This is the unsung hero of my kit. Having a tether cord allows me to shoot straight from camera and see the image instantly on my laptop.  This has been so helpful for me to be able to check composition, lighting and sharpness of an image and definitely makes my photography process more efficient.  Just make sure to get the correct tether cord for your particular camera make and model.  The link I’ve provided here is just for a Canon 6D Mark II.
  • Godox SL60W studio light with soft box.  I have two of these continuous lights in my kit now and I love having them in my kit.  I am planning on adding a strobe light to my studio light kit as since I wrote this article originally, I have now moved beyond just continuous lighting and need to now progress to having both continuous and strobe lighting.  But certainly, for a starter kit, the Godox SL60W is an affordable option to start off with.
  • White and black boards.  These are more examples of the underrated superstars of my kit.  White cardboard and black cardboard are essential and can be incredibly helpful to either reflect more light back into your scene (white cardboard/foam board) or deepen the shadows in your image (black cardboard/foam board).  You can pick these up from Officeworks for a very reasonable price.
  • Pixieset is a brilliant multi-functional studio software.  It works end to end from client questionnaires, contracts, quotes and invoices to gallery delivery, and makes the admin side of my work very efficient and professional.
  • Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Photoshop.  Lightroom is brilliant for basic edits and Photoshop is a dream for more advanced editing techniques to really help make your images pop.

This is certainly not a definitive list, and your decisions around your equipment and software choices will depend on the type of product photography work you do and your budget, but my hope is that this guide to product photography equipment and software gives you a starting point for you to research and build your own photography kit.

If you’re feeling confident in your photography kit and you’re ready to learn more tips around pre-production, production and post-production for your clients, you can find the pre-production article here.

Want to know more photography behind the scenes, or do you just want to come along for the ride?  Then head on over to the About page to learn more about the origins of my love for photography, or follow me on Pinterest,  Instagram or Facebook for more behind the scenes.  You can find examples of my product photography work here, or, if you’re a product based business and would like to enquire about how we could work together, you can contact me via the services page.


Until next time,

Deb Newton

Founder, Lens & Muse

About The Photographer

Deb is an Australian photographer from Newcastle, NSW, and she is passionate about exploring and documenting the natural and built world with creative curiosity and camera in hand.

Commercially, she photographs accomodation, eco-tourism travel service providers and sustainable outdoor product based businesses Australia-wide to create bespoke, impactful image galleries to connect with those inspired by environmentally focused travel, adventure and lifestyle.

You can find more product photography guides here, and you can find more of her work over on her Instagram and Pinterest pages.