An Introduction to Product Photography

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Eye-catching and inspiring product photography is all around us — on billboards, in shop display windows, magazines, websites… The list goes on.

Getting started in product photography can be an exciting, and highly rewarding, step in your photography journey, but there are a few key things you need to know if you want to create those high-quality product photos you see everyday.

In this introductory chapter of our ‘Getting started in product photography’ course Karl shares some of the knowledge and tips he’s learnt over the past 20 years as he provides an overview of everything you need to get started in product photography, including essential lighting knowledge and recommended equipment.

Throughout this class you’ll learn why knowledge, rather than equipment, is the most powerful tool a photographer can have and how you can use creative knowledge-based solutions to craft incredible results, no matter what your budget is.


  1. Hello
    I need a FB group when im discussed my problem for long QS & answer
    You Have any private FB Group???
    Please join me

  2. Hey Just wondering, Sometimes I see a Sony on your desk but never see you use it, Do you find any significant differences in Sony cameras that makes you lean to DSLR Canon for in studio work or is it just what your comfortable with?

    1. Hi Adam, I use Hasselblad MF for most of my work, I used to use Canon when I needed 35mm but now I find myself using the Sony’s more as we had them anyway for video and we have a number of good lenses.

  3. jdhunter

    You’re like the Jason Statham of Photography… I watch all your shows and keep waiting for you to be attacked by 10 bad guys and you kill them all with a Snoot……

  4. I am using my garage for my studio. I am shooting Portraits and Still Life. My garage is approximately 20’x20′. Thanks for the educational tools Karl and Staff!

    1. Thank you and glad to hear you are making the space work for you. We also have tips in our other classes about how to handle light in a smaller studio space.

  5. Hi Karl,

    after almost 10 years of pausing, I decided to start shooting again (as a hobby) and I’m building currently in the attic of my house a studio. The studio size will be approximately 5.5x10m, with three of the 4 walls angled.

    I’m not sure given the size of the studio if I should go with black or white walls and ceiling. I shoot mostly people/portraits but would also like to get a bit into product photography and videography.

    Can you give me any hint, that makes it easier to decide? Also, I guess the flash power should be sized accordingly to the decision.

    I’m planning to go with 2x600w and 2x1200w monoheads.

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Peter, If you paint everything black you’re stuck with it but it gives you amazing light control. However a white ceiling and white walls are extremely useful for portrait and product lighting. You will see in some of our portrait classes how to reduce a white studio to black when you need it. My recommendation is go all white and then rig up curtains or rails or wire around the walls and have the ability to either pull black fabric around when you need it or velcro in place etc. For the ceiling use double sided industrial velcro in white stick some on the ceiling and then buy some big black foam board panels which are super light weight and then tack those up to the ceiling when you need to. That way you have the benefit of white and the ability to turn it nearly all black too. Otherwise dark grey will reduce most of your light and leave the ceiling white and use the boards on the ceiling when you need to. A lot if it will also be how you feel about working in a black box or a white box day to day. I worked in a really small totally black studio once as an assistant (4x4m) and it felt quite opressive!

      1. Great info, Karl

        My studio is 6m x 6m x 3m so I’m kinda in the ‘smaller’ space situation. I can get a bit more distance by opening up one side of the building and getting a further 3m of shooting distance, which I see being utilised at some point.


        1. Hi Elliott 6m x 6m x 3m is not bad at all for product photography and if you keep your space tidy you could just about manage some portrait and 3/4 length fashion work especially if you can open up one side of the studio.

    1. Hi Daniel, I’m afraid we don’t really give out gear recommendations, especially on kit that we’ve never tested or used but I’ve heard of other people who are happy with those lights, I’d recommend you do some research.

  6. Karl, I noticed in a couple of your “product shot” videos, that you had what looked like a fulltime endless background wall… it doesn’t look like paper or vinyl, so was the wall designed like that?

  7. Hi Karl,

    Do you have any recommendations for lenses to use for product photography, particularly smaller and medium sized items?

    Thank you,
    Sarah 🙂

  8. Hi!

    First off, congratulations for the new Karl Taylor Education platform: it is very informational. I do not know if it is the right place to ask questions, so please forgive me if it’s not.

    I intend to build a small lighting kit to start honing my skills in product product photography: Can you please provide beginners like me some general guidelines to follow and some considerations to be aware of when buying lighting equipment?
    For instance, since product photography often requires smaller apertures and the lowest ISO, how much powerful the light must be to successfully do product photography, now and on the long run?

    Thank you very much and have a nice day.

    1. Hi Nathalie, 800J or above would be my choice. Grids, softbox, scrims to start with for product work. You’ll learn more in the product section about my best bits of kit. Thanks Karl.

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