In this blog post, I will share with you the best product photography props out there! This is a complete roundup meant to give you photography prop ideas as well as best practices for using props. Whether you are new to photography or have been in the industry for a while, I hope this helps you in some way! Now, let’s get started!
Product Photography Quick Tips
Before I share my photography prop ideas, I want to deliver a few best practices when it comes to photography – especially when working with businesses!
Do you know the brand?
The first tip that I have for you is to understand the brand. This is absolutely critical! If you get this part wrong, you could end up creating imagery that does not align with the brand and where they are going. If you are working with a brand that is all about environmental sustainability and include a prop that is not very environmentally friendly, what message are you communicating? It is incredibly important that you do your homework in advance! When you do your homework in advance not only does this make your end product way better, but it also shows that you are a true professional and you really care about the quality of your work and the end result for your client.
Who is the target market?
The next tip that I have for you is to identify the ideal target market of the product. It is critical to put yourself in the position of the consumer as it relates to that product. As an example, if you are doing product photography for a skincare brand and use a lot of really edgy shadows in the photograph, depending on the target market, they might not actually like this. I’m thinking about a very specific target market that is looking for really clean, cruelty-free vegan skincare. When you add shadows to an image, this tends to make a product look a lot more mysterious, which might not bode well for a skincare brand.
You might however want to use shadows if you are doing product photography for a specific jewelry line. Shadows tend to add depth to product photography, and when used in the right way, this can be really helpful. You really want to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer when planning the outcome of the photo. If you are unsure of what the target audience of a brand would like, take a look at the brand’s existing photography and even consider conducting some voice of customer interviews with consumers to learn about their preferences.
Utilize proper lighting
The last tip that I have for you is a bit more technical in nature. When you use the proper lighting, this can evoke a certain tone for the overall image. For example, if you are doing product photography for a beauty brand, you will likely want everything to be well-lit. A lot of beauty and skincare brands really like bright, poppy images. Alternatively, if you are working for a coffee brand and the brand itself is a bit edgier, you are going to want to use light and shadow to your advantage and you might not want an image that is so bright. In this way, you can see that using proper lighting is incredibly important to convey a specific emotion in photography.
The Best Product Photography Props
Next, I will be reviewing the best product photography props that you can use for your next product photoshoot. This is a list that ranges anywhere from shelves to plants and even liquids.
Best Product Photography Props – Backdrops
The very first product photography prop that I want to talk about is a backdrop. While a backdrop might not necessarily be considered a prop, I think that it could be used as a prop because depending on the backdrop that you use, this really changes the overall look and feel of a photo. There are so many different backdrops that you can choose from, ranging from solid colors to marbles to even wood backdrops. I think that this is really the first step when deciding the overall look and feel of your product shoot. If you are a beginner and are unsure of where to start, I would recommend a solid color backdrop. This way you can adjust the overall look and feel of your photo with props and editing in Photoshop.
The next product photography prop that I want to discuss is the use of acrylic blocks. I have seen acrylic blocks on the rise more and more. This type of prop is really great for creating a beautiful, modern image. I see a lot of acrylic props being used in the beauty space and I think that this type of prop is so versatile and you can really use it in a lot of other industries as well. You can also mix it up by stacking a couple of different types of acrylic blocks. These acrylic props also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I recommend getting a few different shapes and sizes to really mix things up and add variety. Check out these gorgeous acrylic props!
I think that shelves are really great props to use for product photography because it allows you to stack and show off different types of products. This is really great if you want to showcase more than one product in your photography. Shelves are also great if you want to add in additional props to sit on the shelf. Right now I’m thinking about a holiday product photography shoot and if I wanted to create some really great Christmas images, I could use a shelf to stack a product and then maybe add in some ornaments that are also sitting on the shelf. You can get extremely creative in your product photography when you’re using shelves, so definitely consider this.
Geometric props are also another staple in product photography. Foam props also tend to be a bit less expensive than acrylic props. Foam props could be a really great alternative if you are just starting out. Whether you are new to product photography or you’ve been in the industry for a while I would still recommend experimenting with foam props because they could really help you to create the look and feel that you are going for. Foam props are also more lightweight than other props, and they typically have a matte finish when compared to acrylic. As an example, if you don’t want a lot of light to be reflected off of your prop, then you might want to go with foam props instead of acrylic props.
Wood Photography Props
The next prop that is an absolute staple in product photography is the use of wood. You can use wood as a backdrop, or even as a way to stack a product. Wood is perfect if you are looking for a more rustic feel to your product photography. Wood props could work for any industry and really anything that you want to have a little bit of edge. While you probably could purchase a wooden prop, you may be able to find wood in your own backyard.
Product packaging also makes for a really great prop. Going off of the skincare example that we use earlier, you could actually use product packaging and stack it next to the product during the shoot. Try to have fun with it and experiment with different angles! Sometimes less is more, and keeping it really simple by just using the products and packaging is a really great way to highlight the product. This is an especially good idea if the packaging is really cool.
Water as a Product Photography Prop
Water is also a really widely used prop in the product photography world. I consider water to be a prop because it is something being added to your product during a shoot. As an example, something that a lot of skincare brands do is pour water over the product when they are shooting to give it kind of a smooth, clean feel. You can also consider using liquids if you are doing beverage photography.
The use of plants in product photography is one of my favorite ways to take photos to the next level. Something about the natural quality of a plant can really elevate your photos. This can be really great to use in skincare photography, outdoor photography, jewelry, clothing, the list goes on and on. As you can tell I’m a big fan of plants.
Something that I’ve also seen being done in product photography is the use of a shadow box as a product photography surface. Shadow boxes are really cool because they add a different dimension and depth to your product photography. You can experiment with different sizes and colors to see what works best for you.
How to Use Product Photography Props
I think one of the coolest things about product photography is that you have a lot of flexibility in customizing your set. There is so much creativity involved in product photography. Now I’m going to give you a couple of ideas for how to style your product photography props.
Stack or Arrange Multiple Props
One tip when it comes to styling product photography props is to stack or arrange multiple props. Experimenting with different arrangements when using multiple props can add a 3D effect to your product photography set.
Highlight Just One Prop or Product
Something else that you can do is use just one prop or product in your shoot. Depending on the brand’s overall look and feel as well as the target market, sometimes less is more. It is important to keep this in mind when working with product photography props.
Other Product Photography Prop Tips
It is important to understand the scale of not only your products but also the props that are being used. You want to be sure that you’re using props that make sense for the size of your product. For example, if you shoot engagement rings, you want to make sure that your prop sizes make sense. You may not want your prop to be much larger than the ring because the prop may not be identifiable in your photo.
Utilize a Cohesive Color Scheme
Another tip that I have for you is to use a cohesive color scheme when it comes to shooting your product photography. You want to make sure that you are using colors that go well together and also align with the brand’s look and feel. If you use colors that have nothing to do with the brand, your image might not turn out very well.
Always Plan Your Shoot Ahead of Time!
As you can see based on this article, there is a lot that goes into product photography, ranging anywhere from planning out the look and feel of your photos to the brand’s target market, to lighting, and even the use of props. It is always a good idea to plan your shoot ahead of time so that you have a general idea of what you are going for. This includes planning out the best product photography props! This will also likely make your photos way better in the long run.
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