Things AKA Product Photography: Lighting! It’s all about lighting…sure, you can get one of those nifty little pop-up tent/box things with lights you shine through the side and believe that you have the tools to shoot your own damn catalog…but do you?
Back in the day when you had to consider things like swing, rise, fall, “shift and tilt” (no, it’s not just an iPhone app) on your 4” x 5” large format camera’s to get the right “perspective” of your product, your bigger issue was still lighting.
Most images of inanimate objects come to life via the “reflection” of the light source itself rather than having light(s) pointed at it. Your light source being fitted with a variety of “modifiers” including soft boxes (light banks) umbrellas reflectors, grids, frennel lenses, white, black, silver, or gold reflectors can drastically define the object you are shooting.
It’s not unusual for me to employ 10,000 watt seconds of light from up to a dozen strobe light heads. Creating just the right amount of detail and drawing the eye to an exact spot on the object of desire. I’m equally comfortable with things as small as the date on a penny or large as a semi truck & trailer. A black velvet purse or a shiny chrome trailer hitch ball…I’ll shoot those together in the same image. Try that in your light box thingy!
I can easily spend several hours, days even, shooting one image of one thing…however, the luxury of those kinds of budgets are few and far between these days…what’s that you say…you have 100 items you need photographed for your E-bay, Etsy or Amazon store? Your “box thing” will work for that or you can call me and see just how big the difference can be.