Jared Polin has created a useful and practical guide to product photography using entirely natural light. His process is far from complex, and he’s an entertaining talker:
Jared’s Product Photography Tips
- Get in as much natural light as you can.
- Try to fill the frame as much as possible with the subject.
- Switch up your angle—standing, crouching and sitting will all produce subtly different effects, and you have to shoot first to see the differences.
- Changing your angle can also change your background from distracting to simple, or vice versa.
Changing your angle can determine what colors show up in the background.
Midway through the shoot, he decides that there’s no such thing as a bad idea.
“You could also put different colored lights or objects in the background to be different bokeh objects that are out of focus and looking interesting back there… I could probably put zebra pillows—which I have—which would then—I’m gonna do it. You stay right there. I’m gonna go get the zebra pillows.”
The zebra pillow was a last-minute call, but Polin loved the results.
He wound up digging the zebra pattern best of all, and noticed that the white actually reflected some light from the window to create separation between the object and the background.
When you’re dealing exclusively with what’s around you, and no external lights or flashes, experimentation is key.