As with all photography reviewers, it is a matter of self-pride that we shoot our own product photos for
poisoning sharing with readers and this is why now 2 years into starting this review blog, I’ve more or less distilled my product photos setup into an as simple as possible one.
in fact, for some of the photos shared here today, this was the full set-up I used.
Above, we have the Fujifilm X-Pro3 with my favorite XF35 f1.4mm, a simple budget table-top tripod (the Pixi from Manfrotto), and of course, a basic Lume Cube for added lighting and all photos here are photographed with this set-up.
Any set-up one considers must fulfill 3 criteria imo – simple to set-up, within budget, and of course, able to deliver as close as possible to required outcome JPEGs.
Let’s go to some samples.
Pictured is a 1977 Rolex Cellini ref 4083 with a customized full gold bracelet. Over-the-top? Yes, but absolutely beautiful. The black background here is actually truly your budget IKEA wooden table top and directional light provided with the Lume Cube.
All watches should have their papers, this slip is as important as one’s identification cards in my opinion.
In this set-up below, the only additional item I needed was a piece of wood with a nice grain (I got one from the Art Shop at around USD5) Shot in under window light slightly diffused.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual ref 114300 – an example of what elegant simplicity means
This photo above, unfortunately, was not what I envisioned, you can see the reflection of me on the watch’s reflective surface – which leads me to an additional piece of equipment some will need – the circular polariser/linear filter to remove unwanted reflections. Getting the image right out of the camera saves one way more time later over having to photoshop.
There is also this point of how many megapixels do we really need, my answer? Anything more than 16 MP is way enough if one simply wishes to showcase on the internet. Having 24-28 megapixels allows one the flexibility to crop further in like the shot above. Having a megapixel monster like a 50 MP or a 102 MP here might do more harm than good frankly. And ironically, a smaller sensor translate to more depth of field, necessary for product shots in the same way they work for macro shots.
The Tudor Black Bay 58 – X-Pro3, XF18mm f2
Of course, there are times where I have to provide better quality image product shots, and this is when I unpack my Foldio 3 and even bring in the Nikon Df with its Nikkor 50mm f1.8 – a super budget lens which well, easily performs above its price bracket. The Foldio with its simple to use setup and most importantly, consistent LED lighting – makes the job way easier.
This shot above required focus-stacking (yes, Fujifilm cameras can do it), you can read about the process here. And as such, I used an optically better lens, the XF90mm f2 plus the Foldio as I needed a clean background and maximum details I could coax out of the system. Due to the nature of focus-stacking, I also used a table-top tripod and as shared, one needs an as stable tripod as possible as the smallest amount of shake can kill the shot.
Of course on my site, you will find many other product photos, with frankly, the ones of the Leica Q being one of my most loved. In summary, the 3 set-ups I use are:
- Fujifilm X-Pro3 with the XF35 f1.4 (rarely I will use the XF90mm) with a Lume-cube and the Manfrotto Pixi. (Frankly, the X-T3 or even lower tier camera will do fine too)
- Nikon Df with the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 if I need really optimal optical perfomance. Note that the Df has only 16 megapixels but oh, Nikon wasn’t joking when they used the tagline – Pure Photography.
- The Foldio 3 if I need better more controlled lighting plus a variety of backing materials which can be easily sourced – like an IKEA wooden table-top, or a piece of wood from the nearby art shop and guess what, in the photo below, a towel.
The EBEL Sportswave (Gents model) – yes, that’s a towel its resting on.
Time for you to try your hand? 😉