Professional Product Photography Using a Smartphone

Good photography is much less about the gear you don’t have and much more about using the gear you do have.In this video, Brandon of figandlight shows how to shoot a high-quality reflective bottle using simple tools available cheaply around the home and a cell phone. By doing so, he effectively illustrates that good photography is less about the best and newest gear and much more about know how to use what you have.

Step-by-step instructions are provided about how to compose the image, what tools were used, as well as camera settings. Emphasis is placed on ideating the final image and shooting in a way that pays respect to the final image. In practical terms, for this particular shoot, for example, this meant underexposing the image slightly so as to preserve details in the highlights; and then brightening the overall image in post-production.

Photography, quite literally means to “write with light.” Know how to light a subject or a scene is paramount to this practice. There are many freely available resources online including YouTube channels such as figandlight. However, I do believe it’s also of great value to invest in your education when you reach a point where freely available resources aren’t quite cutting it, so to speak.

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15 Comments

Johnny Kiev's picture

"how to shoot a high-quality reflective bottle using simple tools available cheaply around the home and a cell phone." This translates to -using simple tools available cheaply around the home IF YOU ARE A PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHER- and a cell phone, as most of us don't have all that kit just lying around.
Cheap would be doing the shot in a white bathtub, you can get very similar results with a bit of patience and some contortion ;)

Ali Choudhry's picture

That's actually a great video idea. I'd genuinely watch that! If you end up doing it, reach out. :)

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You want clicks with no criticism?

Johnny Kiev's picture

I may just give it a try, I used to do it all the time but age and an iffy back curtailed things, I don't bend like I used to.
Still, the odd session won't hurt too much I suppose.

Sanket Khuntale's picture

Its a very good process, but professionals don't do this! :)

Ali Choudhry's picture

How would you do this differently?

Sanket Khuntale's picture

So you think a professional photographer would shoot images from a phone to give it to his client to make prints? or to publish it in a newspaper or magazine? Would that meet the professional standards or quality?

Ali Choudhry's picture

There is indeed precedence for that. It would depend on the brief. :)

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Ouch!

J.d. Davis's picture

Hmmm.....no.

While it is a good photograph, AND taken with a smartphone, it isn't (in my opinion) an example of 'Professional Product Photography'.

C-Stands, "V" flats and rolls of diffusion material do not qualify as CHEAP. Also, using a post-processing program instead of being able to adjust exposure in-camera is somewhat of a cheat, yes?

It looks as if the light fall-off above the bottle has been enhanced in post as well.

C Fisher's picture

Not sure about IPhone but Android has many manual camera apps, so exposure adjustment could be done on some phones.

J.d. Davis's picture

while that may be true - the discussion is about the video - yes?

Jan Holler's picture

What a joke. Please stop kidding us.

Ali Choudhry's picture

Happy to help!

Jan Holler's picture

Don't take it too personally. I've seen much better from you.