Product photography composition draw the viewers’ eyes into the image. Some even show the product in a setting that would fit the item’s purposes, creating a story out of a simple scene.
The best product images are the ones where it looks like not much time and effort went into them. As if you stumbled across a magical feast, with lines of steam to show the dish is still piping hot.
Read through our rules here, and see which of them work for the type of product your are photographing. You can even combine a few to create something really spectacular.
8. Front and Centre
Compositional rules work well when applied to their subjects correctly. The rule of thirds is a great way to make something more interesting. However, there will be times when you want your product front and centre.
It makes the item the centre of attention. No distractions, your eyes go straight to it. Plain and simple.
You can also only show part of the product, making the viewers imagine the rest and fill in the gaps, so to speak.
7. Camera Angles
Camera angles make products interesting, but also reachable. The 45° downward glance is similar to how our eyes look at objects on tables and shelves.
This technique makes the product seem obtainable, or rather, more realistic. As if the viewer already owns it.
A camera angle such as this adds depth and shows you as much of the product as possible. You may not see some of the features if photographed head-on, or from an aerial perspective.
6. Negative Space
Negative space is important in product photography for a number of reasons. One of the most important aspects is that it helps to draw the eye to the items and products in the image.
Space gives them room to breathe. This image below also works as a rule of thirds, as only 1/3 of the scene is filled with items.
Another reason is that sometimes you’ll find text needs to back up your product. Allowing space means you can address this easily, by adding it in after in post-production.
Generally, this is the off beat comedy of the composition world. It may seem strange, but it is playful, interesting and well thought out.
5. Rule of Odds
The rule of odds is an interesting product photography composition technique, as it works on a very subconscious level. The idea is that an even amount of objects in a scene is easy for a viewers mind to organise, and therefore, feels boring.
An odd number causes tension and interest because of the lack of organising.
If you have only one product, you can place other items in the scene that further the concept of the advertisement. For example, shaving foam would work well with a towel and a razor.
This helps create a story through setting, making the product more believable.
4. Rule of Thirds
We all know the rule of thirds from other areas of photography. This is the golden rule that is drilled into us from the get-go. But it works, and because it works, it stays. As I said before, sometimes front and centre is important to place importance on the item.
Here, the rules of thirds stop the object just sitting in the centre of the frame, but rather placed on the intersections of the image. The intersections appear when you split the frame into three equal columns and three rows.
This becomes more interesting as your eyes need to search a little to see the product.
3. Differential Focus
A differential focus comes from placing the foreground in focus and background out of focus. This is a great way to make a scene more interesting.
Through product placement, setting and dressing of the scene, you are able to give an accurate story, rather than just a plain shot of an item.
Here, the knife stands with its tip inside a tree trunk. In the background, we see a man and a barbecue. Already, this gives connotations of an outdoor feel. Here, the knife is a survival tool rather than slicing tomatoes in a stainless steel kitchen.
The out of focus background feeds into the story and product, without overpowering the scene.
2. Dynamic Diagonals
Instead of looking at the rule of thirds, or the front-and-centre concept, why not try the dynamic diagonal compositional technique. This involves either arranging or photographing your product with lines in mind.
Lines are the strongest elements of design available, and here you use them to place a focus on your product.
The lines are dynamic as they add a touch of movement to a scene. According to the Diagonal Rule, important elements of the picture should be placed along diagonal lines.
These lines are a simple, yet effective way to breathe life and energy into a static composition.
The lines help draw the viewers eyes from the frame to the product, placing emphasis on the most important element of the scene.
An aerial perspective is a great compositional technique to show off your products. The top-down viewpoint offers a unique look at a product that you are used to seeing at a 45° angle or straight on.
It’s a powerful look, intensified by a blurry, out-of-focus background.
This is a favourite for simple items where one side is the most synonymous, such as food photography. The best things is, the table or floor offers space to beef up the scene with extra items, creating a story rathe than a plain image.
And there you have them, 8 golden rules for product photography composition. Use them in your next product shoot and show us your results!
For more great tips, read our product photography checklist!
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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