“Product photography” generally requires some professional equipment such as a studio and lights. Special equipment is needed when shooting specific products. For example, when photographing a perfume, a luminous panel will be used as a countertop to make the entire product more transparent. When shooting water droplets, a voice-activated shutter is used to capture the moment when the water droplets flow.

The most common ads are mostly in black or white because black and white have the best highlight in the product. This time, I tried to make some similar effects with the simplest methods and equipment and shared the basic skills of product photography. I hope you can take high-level product photography with the least resources. After reading this article, you may wish to try it at home!


The Shooting Equipment

Lens: PENTAX DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
Background: Black cardboard (available in general stores, price depends on size, about $ 2)
Tabletop: Acrylic Plastic board (used to produce a reflection effect, generally available in shops selling signature materials, the price depends on the size, about $ 20-30)
Others: small studios, tripods

Advanced Preparation

  1. First, use a piece of black cardboard or a piece of black cloth, as the background
  2. Then use an acrylic sheet as a tabletop
  3. Only use the flash as the light source, not the studio light (if you don’t want to invest extra, you must find a way to satisfy unlimited desires with limited resources!) First adjust the flash to Slave mode, and use the fuselage as the master to trigger the flash. Then place the flash on the right, depending on the effect the viewer wants. Keep in mind that a softcover has been installed on the flash beforehand to make the light softer.
  4. Due to the dark background this time, normal semi-automatic or preemptive shooting will affect the normal metering of the camera. Therefore, I recommend shooting in full manual mode. If the light and dark are not adequate, fine-tuning can be made. The ISO and shutter can be determined on their own.

Target effect

The subject this time is a Flenda lens. In addition to the black background to bring a bit of mystery out, it will reflect the coating on the surface of the lens with a light source, which seems more attractive. Also, to ensure that the light source is not affected by the environment (such as natural light from house ceiling lights, doors, and windows,) it is not necessary to be in a small studio. When shooting reflective items, make sure that you do not “appear” in the photo due to reflections.

Actual Test

Put the items in place before framing and targeting. Use manual focus when needed, remember to pay attention to controlling the depth of field (recommended aperture setting is f/8 or above), because too much shallow depth of field will make the product appear not clear enough.


(Above) This photo was shot using the internal flash and the external flash, but the desired reflection effect was not obtained. Therefore, the author then re-shot the external flash to another position.


(Above) This time, the effect of placing the flash on the right is better, but the bottom of the lens is a bit overexposed, so please change the position and shoot again!



Light can make the texture of the product stand out and make the lens more metallic. We can see from the picture below that the coating of the lens and the light make the photo look more attractive!


You should pay attention to whether the light will overexpose the product because the reflection is too strong. If this happens, you can move the flash a little further, or add a piece of white paper to disperse the light. Of course, you can also lower the camera’s exposure setting to match.

What to do if there is no Flashover?

If your camera doesn’t reflect enough, you can try to use a table lamp or flashlight instead. Coupled with white paper for soft light, the effect is just as good!

What if there is no Macro Lens?

A macro lens is not necessary, it depends on the condition of the subject. Just like this time, I did not use a macro lens. Besides, the lens is not the main factor. As long as you know how to use light, you can get good results with an ordinary lens kit.


  • Use of a tripod is recommended to avoid fatigue when holding the camera for long periods of time and to avoid hand-shake if the subject or background light is dim.
  • It is recommended that novices use zoom lenses to facilitate composition.
  • Pay attention to whether the object is fixed. The lens almost rolled out when I was shooting.

It is not difficult to make it work, as long as you pay attention to and have patience.

Author, demonstration, and photo provided by Kawai Lee.


Author: Kawai Lee