Getting started in product photography? Reach for a dose of knowledge from literature! Check out our book recommendations!
Some say that “he who doesn’t have in his head – he has in Photoshop,” while others disagree, as they believe that the basis for photography should be the ability to prepare the scenery and the subject before capturing it in the frame. We belong to the second group and believe that in product photography, knowledge goes hand in hand with professionalism. We learned from the best and we always advise beginners to do the same. So we have prepared a review of books on product photography by masters in their field. Fancy a bit of literature?
Eberhard Schuy “Product Photography. From subject to still life”
This is a must have in your bookcase if you are into product photography! You could even say it’s the “product photographer’s bible.” In it, Eberhard Schuy discusses arrangement methods and lighting schemes for product photos. Among other things, you will learn how to represent an object to make it look three-dimensional or how to “suspend” it in the air. You’ll also find an extremely thorough analysis of the arrangement of scenes with simple objects, such as a cup of tea, a leaf, a shoe or a bottle cap, but also those more difficult to photograph, such as spilled water, moved glasses or air bubbles.
After reading this book, you will not only be a technically excellent product photographer, but also sensitive to psychological aspects. This is because the author pays attention to how the eye travels through the photo and what is the first thing we pay attention to. It’s extremely important to know how to attract customers.
Eliot Siegel “Fashion Photography. A Practical Handbook”
You probably think that this book appeared in our inventory by mistake, however, we must lead you out of the mistake. It is here not by accident! Fashion photography tips can come in handy when creating ghost photos or arranged product photos with a model. In this item you will find a practical guide to creating photos from A to Z, and these are definitely universal issues. The author included a dose of knowledge about perspective, ways of framing, props. He also devoted a lot of space to lighting techniques, and this is extremely important to create perfect product photos. The rest of the book discusses different types of model poses. These are worth getting acquainted with if you are working on fashion campaigns!
Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua, Robin Reid “Light in Photography. Magic and Science”
Another noteworthy item is one focusing exclusively on light in photography. The authors address not only the choice of lighting equipment, but also conduct considerations on the behavior of light, its reflection, direction or angle of incidence. These technical complexities present translate into product photography. They show how to use light to emphasize shape and contour, and how to photograph metal and glass. A lot of space was devoted to photographing a white object on a white background (this knowledge can definitely come in handy when creating a packshots of white products ! As well as a black item on a black background. The book also includes a chapter on shooting outdoors and building your own studio. These are certainly valuable tips for beginners!
Scott Kelby “Digital Photography. Photo Editing”
The photographed objects have long since been prepared, the light set up, the product photo practically taken. What do we have left? Of course, photo editing, which is just as important as preparing the scenery. If you are wondering how to go about it, be sure to take a look at the book “Digital Photography. Photo Editing” by Scott Kelby, one of the most widely read author-photographers. From it you will learn, among other things, how to correct optical defects in a few steps, move elements in the frame or remove noise. The book’s chapters also didn’t lack those basics like correcting photos in Camera Raw, cropping or converting to black and white. It has been written with lightness and a sense of humor, so its reading is sure to combine the pleasure of reading with the absorption of a vast amount of useful knowledge.
Thomas Bertling “How to Render: The Fundamentals of Light, Shadow, and Reflectivity”.
“How to Render: The Fundamentals of Light, Shadow, and Reflectivity” is a book written by Thomas Bertling, an experienced industrial designer and engineer with an impressive client list that includes companies such as Disney, Samsung and Whole Foods. The book has won praise from readers, earning an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 based on more than a thousand reviews on Amazon.
In it, Bertling focuses on understanding and applying the basic principles of light, shadow and reflection, which are key to rendering photos. Readers describe the book as technically advanced, focusing on the physics of light and its effects on various materials. Readers note that the book is not a textbook for learning drawing or perspective, but focuses on rendering techniques that can greatly improve the quality of final works.
So why did it appear here? This is an excellent option for product photographers who want to understand and master the basics of light, shadow and reflection to create effective and attractive presentations of their products.
Other books, directly or indirectly related to product photography, have also been published on the Polish market, which may be particularly useful for those interested in this area of photography. These publications provide knowledge on various aspects of the photographic process, including composition, lighting and editing techniques, which are key to creating effective product photos.
- “60 ideas for better photos”. – David duChemin. The book contains 60 short lessons and exercises to help you understand the basics of photography.
- “Photography according to Langford for masters, or how to achieve perfection” – Michael Langford. An item that details the process of photo creation and addresses the subject of photography as an art discipline, a form of expression, an element of advertising or modern technology.
- “Secrets of the master of digital photography”. – Scott Kelby. The direct style, great sense of humor and interesting examples make this one of the best book courses on photography.
- “Creative photography without secrets” – Bryan Peterson. The author teaches how to develop the ability to see the world creatively, avoid visual mistakes that lead to boring shots and take better, more interesting and evocative photos.
- “Exposure without secrets. How to take great pictures with any camera” – Bryan Peterson. The book discusses in detail the issues of exposure time, aperture, iso and their relationship to each other.
- “Photography with Soul. 44 exercises exploring life, beauty and self-expression” – Allesandra Cave. Inspiration for anyone who loves photography, no matter how advanced.
As you can see from the examples above, we can gain knowledge about creating product photos not only from those books that have product photography in the title. Items describing work with light or drawing attention to the psychological aspects of how the audience perceives our frames will be extremely valuable. Undoubtedly, the knowledge you will gain from these items will expand your competence, so you will create even more professional product photos.