A good photograph of a product is a great sales tool all by itself. Which is why so many vendors of all types of products are eager to have the best images of their wares to show prospective customers.
There is more than having the right thing to sell and showing a picture of it. A product photo can be of the item itself of something it does, or maybe of the packaging it is in. So, those decisions need to be made, what type of image.
Then, you will need to choose what style of photography to implement. Sharp and well lit works for many items. Others may be better represented by using the photos to create a mood. Artsy, dark, airy, romantic, action, etc… are types of product images we have all seen ourselves.
First off, though, it should be a good photographic image. There are some basics to getting great product photos.
How to capture amazing product photos + lighting tips
Being able to capture sharp, in focus, well exposed images is the primary goal in most product photography.
How do you make a sharp image? Lens quality is one factor, so you should be using high quality equipment. That doesn’t mean you need the most expensive gear out there.
There are often some amazing bargains available for really good cameras and lenses. It requires you to do some research to find those excellent tools and great prices. That describes a lot of what we do here for you.
Sharpness is also affected by technique. Camera shake is one of the main causes of unsharp images. Practicing good shooting methods will help. So will deciding on a good tripod. The best tripods for product photography will help your images be sharp.
Sometimes, manually tweaking focus while in live view mode is a preferred method. Practice your focusing techniques, manual and autofocus.
How do get the right exposure? In this area, too, automation on modern cameras is fantastic. However, you need to understand the basics of photographic exposure. The exposure triangle of shutter speed, f-stop, and ISO is how you determine exposure.
Sometimes, you might need to adjust compensation, other times, it may be best to use manual control. Don’t rely on post processing to fix mistakes. Get the best in camera exposure possible, and it would probably be better to capture in RAW.
A short, free online tutorial on lighting can also help out quite a bit. Basic technique and lighting configurations can be used for portraits, product images, and even videos of the items.
A two light set up with softboxes at 45 degree angles will result in a good view of many subjects, but you may find yourself trying other light placements are more advantageous for the product you’re photographing.
How I found the best tripods for product photography
- Size. To be useful for capturing the sharpest images possible, you want a tripod that is big enough to hold your camera steady. You will also want enough height to be usable for the product photos you are capturing.
- Stability. Size does tend to relate to this, since a bigger, heavier tripod is often more stable than a smaller, lighter one. The construction also comes into play here. You want controls that will securely lock tripod parts in place.
- Extra features. Not all tripods will have the same features. Some have a horizontal arm that is a great tool forgetting product shots. A horizontal central column will give you a lot more options for product photography.
- Quality. All the extra features in the world won’t make up for a poor quality tripod. Besides fit and finish, you also want it to be as durable as possible.
- Price. While we’re not opposed to paying more for higher quality and extra features, we also don’t want to spend more than necessary.
Top 5 Best Tripods For Product Photography + Reviews
1. ZOMEI Camera Tripod 72 inch Tripod Review
For product photography, it’s hard to find a tripod with more usable features. It’s also large enough for positioning your camera in any position to capture the image.
It’s a very tall tripod, a full sixfeet in height. Many photographers will probably never use the full height of this tripod. But, when you need the height, it’s nice to have it available.
It extends so tall by means of four leg sections and a long center column. Legslock by means of twist ring knobs, and the center column has its own knurled ring for adjustment.
One of the major feature differences of this tripod is the horizontal central column option. The column can be pulled out to a position that allows it to swing into a horizontal orientation.
A horizontal central column gives you a way to position your camera directly above the product. It can be used for taking pictures of flat art, too.
One of the legs is removeable. It becomes a tall monopod when you reattach the ball head to it. So that’s even more versatility with this tripod.
It comes with a very sturdy and well made ball head. The ball head is topped with a securely locking quick release system that actually does release quickly.
Costing in the$150 range, this is one of the best tripods for product photography on the market at any price. Everything is high quality, from the solid aluminum legs and columns to the easy to operate controls.
2. Vanguard AltaPro 263AT Aluminum Tripod Review
Available with several different heads, this is another extremely versatile tripod. The multiangle center column is what makes this one of the best tripods for product photography.
Besides all the obvious advantages for product photography, this tripod is also very popular with nature photographers. Each leg can positioned in several different angles.
Combined with the multi angle center column, this allows for virtually any camera position to be securely held for the sharpest pictures possible.
Under $100 without any head attached, you can add a wide variety of excellent tripod heads and still be in the $150 price range.
The center column is adjusted from vertical to horizontal, and anywhere in between, with an instant lock lever system. Very versatile for all sorts of imaging work, it holds up to 15 pounds of camera and lens very securely.
Vibration is kept to a minimum by means of quality construction and high end materials. Vanguard’s excellent ball head is a good match for this tripod. Smooth operating and with a very nice quick release system.
3. K&F Concept TM2534T DSLR Camera Tripod Review
Four section legs give this tripod a large load capacity of about 20 pounds at a maximum height of 66 inches. It also has a horizontal center column adjustment for maximum versatility of camera placement during product photography.
A removable leg can be mounted with a ball head for use as a monopod. The legs can be placed at several different angles, a good way to provide a very stable platform on any uneven ground or other surfaces.
The legs and center column are locked and unlocked with twist ring knobs. Twist rings are a viable option for locking legs on a tripod because they pretty much self adjust as the mechanism wears.
Around $150, this is a great bargain for a very nice tripod for nature or product photographers.
4. Neewer Camera Tripod Monopod with Rotatable Center Column Review
Neewer’s entry into the horizontal arm tripod for product photography is very well made out of a high quality aluminum magnesium alloy and is also in the $150 price range.
One leg is removable to become a monopod. All three legs are locked with twist ring for each of the four sections. Maximum tripod height is about 65 inches and the load capacity is around 20 pounds.
A nice thing about the tripod legs is how wide they can spread out. This is valuable for the type of shots that some products need in order to highlight a specific detail. It’s also useful for macrophotography of any kind.
5. Horizontal Arm Professional Camera Tripod & Monopod Review
Vivitar has been a provider of fine photographic equipment for as long as many of us have been photographers. This excellent tripod is no exception as it continues that tradition.
It is in the around $150 price range and has many of the same features as the other tripods we’ve considered.
Each of its three leg sections are locked with twist ring knobs, as is the fully adjustable vertical and horizontal center column. Aluminum allow construction keeps weigh down while proving more than adequate strength and stability for virtually any photographic job we might throw at it.
All 5 of these tripods are extremely versatile, usable for product photography, portrait photography, nature and macro photography, real estate and architectural photography, even for videography. They are light enough to be carried around without too much effort, and they fold up compactly for transport or storage.
The horizontal center column is a great feature, as are the other features of these tripods. A couple of them even convert to monopods for action photography such as sports and wildlife.
If you are considering the best tripods for product photography, look closely at these. An awesome combination of reasonable price, high quality, and extraordinary usability.