Video: Walking through a typical product shoot

product_shoot_frameIn this video Kerry walks through the process of doing a typical product shoot. This tutorial uses the Westcott Spiderlite TD-5 constant lights. Constant lights are great for product shots because you can easily get your lighting setup and see exactly in the viewfinder what you will get when you press the shutter.

During this tutorial Kerry shows how to use a light meter to determine the difference between the background and the subject to achieve a good high-key look as well as using the meter to determine the proper exposure.

Equipment Used

Camera Canon EOS 50D
Lens Canon 50mm 1.8
Lighting Westcott Spiderlite TD-5
Software Adobe Photoshop Lightroom


Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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19 Responses

  1. Matt Michand says:

    Kerry, I love Camera DOJO have been following it for a long time now. This was a great tutorial. But I have a question, for the exposure why didn't you just use a cable release?

  2. kgarrison says:

    I have an EXCELLENT answer for you. The reason I didn't use a cable release is that I normally use a wireless cable release system and the batteries were dead. 🙂

    Also, I like showing people how to do things without buying additional equipment and using the timer is a solution to not having to buy a cable release. However, I do normally use one but I need to get over to Radio Shack because its an oddball battery.

  3. Regie says:

    Nice video but I guess you have a wrong caculations on the diff of f10 from f11, that is not 1 stop diff but only 1/3 stop.

  4. kgarrison says:

    The meter mode I was in gives me a light reading in stops. So its not f/10 and f/11 its a scale so that an 11 is 1 stop more than a 10 reading. If I was on the normal metering mode it might have giving me f/11 and f/22. Hope that clarifies it.

  5. mdowney110 says:

    I enjoyed the tutorial. I am looking forward to the one using strobe lights, as this is the gear that I currently own. Thanks again for another great video.

  6. Technical photography bits aside – you should mention about preparing the product too – a very critical step in product photography. The screen should be free of smudges and smears, perhaps polished with a microfiber cloth. In the image, the handset cord has an little kink in it, which to me, is slightly distracting.

    Back in the technical front – if you are using the timer or a release cable to eliminate the vibrations/movements, and, you have a camera without live view, mirror lock up could also be useful, especially if you are using constant lighting, and your shutter speed is getting down into and below the 1/60 range. Sure, it would be the extreme, but when doing product photography of still life, your subject isn't going anywhere fast…

  7. kgarrison says:

    Excellent points Joseph. That was certainly a quick setup to answer a particular user's question. But yes, there is much more to it like have clothes, blowers, etc. The smallest amount of smudge or dust will show in a good hires image.

  8. Matt Michand says:

    Thanks Kerry, that makes a lot of sense. We sometimes get caught up in the “schwag” were told we need to make great photographs.

    Thanks again sir.

  9. kgarrison says:

    The sign of a good photographer is being able to still get the shot when things arent working right and being able to solve the problem creatively.

  10. udijw says:

    Great walk through Kerry. thanks for sharing. Like Matt, I too, will go for the infra-red remote.
    One thing that I've heard is that you want to to turn off any VR system you may have on the lens before doing a long exposure on a tripod. not sure if it valid or just a buzz.

    On a side note – I am part of the team that makes the chips inside those nigty phones 🙂

  11. kgarrison says:

    The 50D doesnt have an infrared remote, although I typically use a Phottix wireless remote (dead batteries). Since I am shooting most of these with a 50mm prime lens, there is no image stabilization.

  12. Bob says:

    Thanks Kerry the best tutorial I have seen in awhile for still life…

    keep up the good work, Bob

  13. Dan says:

    Great tutorial. When might you be posting the tutorial using flash rather than constant lighting?

  14. kgarrison says:

    Its coming soon. I had a little setback with my light meter blowing up but I have it replaced and will be filming that spot this week.

  15. JohnTBall says:

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  4. July 9, 2009

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