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Define Your Message in Small Product Photography

Skill and knowledge in macro and close-up photography can come in handy when photographing a product or a still-life subject that’s pocketsize or smaller. Getting in close helps to bring out the details by filling more of your frame with the subject, and the smaller your subject is, the closer you have to get to it.

Ordinary photography equipment may not enable you to reveal important details in subjects smaller than your camera’s digital sensor. When you’re shooting something that small, you need a macro ratio of at least 1:1 to reveal a proper amount of detail.

Small products and small still-life subjects are similar in size, and neither is going to move around on you. But the way in which you photograph each can vary greatly. Product photography requires certain factors that help to show the literal sense and functionality of a subject, while artistic still life photography allows you to determine what should be revealed and what should be concealed.

Small product and small still-life are two similar but separate styles of macro and close-up photography. You will need to know what your clients expect when having their small products photographed, how to meet those expectations, and how to make your own visions come to reality in artistic still-life photography.

Product photography is meant for selling products. This means the appearance of the subject and the message told in the image need to be truthful in order to avoid false advertising.

Photographers who want their images to stand out visually commonly use creative lighting styles, composition, and postproduction techniques. In product photography, you need to limit these practices to make sure that the subject remains realistic (relatively speaking, of course). You want to idealize the appearance of something, but you don’t want to make it appear to be something that it’s not.

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