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product photography equipment reviewed and compared

Updated on February 9, 2013

Make more money with the best product photography equipment

Top quality product photography equipment will improve your product photographs and take your skills to the next level. But what is the best product photography equipment? To help you out here we have product photography equipment reviewed and compared.

Many people make money online by selling various items, products and trinkets on eBay and other similar auction sites. If you are an online auction trader and want your products to have the biggest "pull" you need to have the best photograph, which requires the best product photography equipment. People like pictures and a good picture of the item or items you are selling will increase your viewers, which in turn should see you get the best price and your online business soar.

Compared to other types and genres of photography, product photography isn't that hard. After all, when you photograph products you have total control over the light, total control over the composition and total control the environment. There isn't a single thing you can't control therefore capturing the perfect product photographs is well within reach. All you need is the right type of product photography equipment. If you want to capture the best product photographs there are a few essential items of product photography equipment you need, as detailed in this article.

So, if you sell products on online auction sites and want to know what product photography equipment you need to capture the perfect product photographs that will increase your visitors and maximise the amount you get for your items check out the product photography equipment below.

Product photography equipment - A quality camera lens

A good lens is an essential piece of product photography equipment you need to capture great photographs of products. Many photographers consider prime lenses produce sharper images than zoom lenses and I have to admit I am inclined to agree since prime lenses suffer less from barrel distortion, vignetting and pin cushioning.

A prime lens with a focal length of 50mm - 100mm is an ideal piece of product photography equipment. When taking photographs of products you want to get maximise the depth of field and get as much of the frame in sharp focus as possible, which will mean using the narrowest aperture you can get away with. As a result, the speed of the lens doesn't matter.

When taking photographs of products you will be using a tripod therefore the lens doesn't need to have image stabilisation, vibration reduction, optical stabilisation or anything like that as camera shake won't create any problems at all.

One of the best product photography equipment lenses is a 100mm macro lens. 100mm macro lenses are the ideal focal length, they are super sharp and the image quality is simply superb.

Canon EF100mm f2.8 macro lens

The Canon ef100mm f2.8 macro lens is one of the best lenses for product photography, if you shoot a Canon digital slr of course. This is one sharp lens and many photographers consider it Canon's sharpest lens, and when you see what this lens can do it is easy to see why. The image quality of this lens is simply superb. Colours are bright and vivid, but still realistic

and not oversaturated.

The Canon EF100mm is tough and durable and very well made, even though it is not an L series lens. This lens is not weather sealed but given you will be taking photos of products indoors this really doesn't matter.

You can buy a Canon EF100mm f2.8L IS lens, which obviously has image stabilisation, although this is not needed either as you will be using a tripod. The difference in image quality between the Canon EF100mm and EF100mm L is negligible so spending the extra on the EF100mm L lens is not worthwhile and the EF100mm is more than good enough to capture some stunning product photos.

Product photography equipment - Tripod and related accessories

We have already established that product photography requires very narrow apertures to maximise the depth of field and a flash gun to provide the light therefore it is not possible to capture tack sharp hand held shots. The only way to get tack sharp images is to have a tripod in your product photography equipment line up.

When choosing a tripod for your product photography equipment it is important to get one that is tough, sturdy and capable of supporting the weight of your camera and lens without shifting. The tripod and tripod head needs to be fully adjustable so you can capture the types of images you want to get. There are many cheap tripods on the market and all of these are useless pieces of product photography equipment and are best left alone as they don't hold the camera and lens perfectly still for the duration of the exposure. Buying a cheap tripod is false economy so my advice is to spend a little extra in the first place and buy a sturdy tripod in the first instance.

In addition to a sturdy tripod you are also going to need a good tripod head in your product photography equipment bag. What is a good tripod head? well, a good tripod head is fully adjustable and strong enough to hold your camera and lens combination. Cheap tripod heads are useless and a total waste of money, so it is always worth spending a little extra and getting something decent in the first place. Before you part with your hard earned cash it is worth weighing your camera, lens, flash, filters etc. so you know how much weight the tripod head needs to hold as this will make sure you buy the right product photography equipment in the first instance.

When using your camera on a tripod it is possible to get a blurry photograph simply by "knocking" the camera when pressing the shutter release. To over come this problem I always use a remote shutter release and would always recommend using one. Remote shutter releases are available in wired and wireless models and since neither is better than the other, the choice is down to personal preference. Remote shutter releases are essential bits of product photography equipment that are cheap and won't break the bank.

Strong and sturdy tripodsBUY NOW

Good quality tripod headsBUY NOW

Remote shutter releasesBUY NOW

Product photography equipment - Artificial lights

When you take photographs of products you will be working indoors where the ambient light level is low and you need to keep this in mind when buying your product photography equipment. Rather than working with the available light it is much easier to black it out totally and replace it with artificial light of which you have total control. For this the best product photography equipment consists of an external flash gun or flash guns. If you want total control over the flash gun you need to buy a flash gun with full manual control.

When taking photographs of products you don't need a really powerful flash gun as you are going to be very close to the subject. In fact, you will quite often get a better photograph using a medium sized flash gun rather than a top end powerful flash gun. Because of this the best piece of product photography equipment will be a mid sized flash gun.

A cheaper alternative to an external flash gun in your product photography equipment line up is to use a lamp or multiple lamps. Lamps are either on or off, therefore you don't need to set them up. This makes artificial lighting product photography equipment that is easier to use but not as versatile. The only way you can alter the exposure with a lamp is to move it closer to, or further away from the subject. Even though you can't adjust the power of a lamp many still life and product photographers prefer to use them instead of an external flash gun. If you think you would prefer to use photography lamps check out the items below.

The light emitted from both external flash guns and photography lamps is often harsh and will result in areas of high contrast. To overcome this you have to soften the light and diffuse it. There are a number of different products you can use to soften artificial light including diffusing material, soft boxes, light diffusers, gels, umbrellas and light spheres to name but a few.

If you don't currently use a light diffuser I have to ask the question "why not?" Light diffusers will instantly improve your product photography and whilst there are some expensive light diffusers on the market you don't have to spend a fortune for a good light diffuser. In fact, a few bucks is all you need, as you you will discover.

Flash gunsBUY NOW

Photography lampsBUY NOW

Light diffusersBUY NOW

Product photography equipment - Light tents

If the products you sell on eBay are shiny or metallic items, such as watches, jewellery, metal ornaments and the like you will find that using artificial lights will create hot spots on the image, i.e. areas of pure white that are over exposed. The best piece of product photography equipment to prevent this is to use a light tent, which is a metal frame covered in a thin, translucent material.

When using the light tent product photography equipment the product to be photographed is placed inside the light tent and the light source is placed outside the light tent. The light is diffused and softened before it strikes the product which eliminates not only hot spots but also dark shadows.

Light tents are essential pieces of product photography equipment that are cheap and, if you take photogrpahs of shiny products to sell on online auction sites are very useful.

Cowboy Studio Table Top Photo Studio Kit

If you want a complete product photography equipment set up you need a light tent set which consists of a light tent and two lamps like the one here. When it comes to buying a product photography set up you don't need to spend a fortune so don't shell out loads of cash on one as you won't get anything of better quality than the cheaper light tent kits.

If you have any comments, rants or raves please feel free to note them in my guestbook. Similarly, if you know of any other product photography equipment you would like to share please feel free to do so.

I welcome your comments

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