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What is Product Photography?

Product, table top, still life, catalog, and sell sheet photography: designed to to tell your product story to your potential customers.

Product Photography by any other name

Product Photography Laser Ablation tool
Laser Ablation tool

Product photography, table top, still life, catalog, and sell sheet photography are all designed to illustrate your product in a way that your potential customers will find appealing.

And, with everyone shopping online, a good product photograph may be the difference between sale and no sale!

A successful product photograph can:

  • demonstrate how it solves a client’s problem
  • show what it will look like in the customer’s location
  • imply a level of quality of manufacturing
  • help to promote your brand, company and the product
  • get you on the cover of an industry publication website!

How do you create a product shot?

Novadell Bio Technology Products
Bio Technology Products

Like all of my photographs and illustrations, I believe in starting the process with the end in mind.

Once we have a firm concept of what the photograph is going to say to the audience (what problem does this product solve) and where it is going to say it (web site, brochure, press release, etc) we can create a plan to make the most effective image within the budget that makes sense.

Executing a product photograph does require some specialized equipment and skills. How the product is positioned, lit and propped and just as critical, what is behind it, all play a part in how professional, clean and clear your product will look.

Photoshopping the Products?

Industrial Product Photography
Industrial Product Photography

More and more often, special effects, manipulation, retouching and other Photoshop skills are needed on product shots, especially when working with prototypes or telling stories that require backgrounds that are impossible to travel to.

The final results of the product shot should end up looking exactly like the plan, if not better, and be ready to fit into your marketing program. Often, a shot that started out as a press release ends up being perfect for a brochure cover or tradeshow poster.

How much should I budget for product photography?

Special Effects Product Photography
Special Effects Product Photography

Which brings up budgets and costs of doing a professional photoshoot.

I have had many conversations with small startups who struggled to do their own snap shots and were frustrated when their results were not professional looking and, often, barely marketable.

The actual cost of a product shot should be amortized over the life of the product.

A good, but “expensive” photograph should be used to announce the product in the press.

Then, it will also be used to promote the product on their web site, in tradeshow materials, in brochures, and direct mail pieces.

In other words, that one shot could be responsible for generating thousands of sales! On a per unit basis, that image could end up being a very small part the cost.

Matt McKee Photography can create digital product photo illustrations in our studio or on location in your facilities.

We can enhance the product and background with Photoshop. Prototypes, retail projects, catalog covers or simply on white, we can create images of your products to help you sell more.

Related Stories from the Studio . . .

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Here's a quick little post about how we created micro product photography for manufacturing to help a client's tiny products stand out from the crowd and "sing" for their potential buyers.

Photos and Brand Consistency

Photography can directly effect your brand consistency. Don't make these classic mistakes and show your clients photos that don't reflect your quality.


At the end of the day, the "simple product shot" had to weave through many different decisions to arrive at this simple, clean, cover-worthy photo.

high-tech PR for Vespter MEMS Microphone