Introduction to Product Photography

Every day we look at photos of products in one form or another and somewhere it was a photographers job to photograph that product. If you have an interest in photographing products of all shapes and sizes but not quite sure how to get good sharp images with clean lighting that compliment the product, this course will set you and the right path. Different products require different approaches to photograph properly. A chrome plated product requires a different lighting setup than a bottle of wine or a wooden chair. In this course we will show you how the lights work, how to choose the proper tool to create the best lighting for a specific product, and even some Photoshop tricks that will make your photography stand out.


Our world is dominated by images of products for sale and everywhere you look magazines, brochures, the web, and advertisements, all show products for sale. Products are  photographed to motivate the buyer to want the product. This makes product photography a huge business for photographers. But it is not as simple as just taking a picture of the product. Lots of thought, creativity, and photographic skill go into making a product look appealing to the buying public.

There are lots of lighting techniques, tips, and tricks that you can use to create good images to sell products. If you want to shoot product photography, do you have the skills and studio setup to do that? Does your friend have a jewelry or clothing store and need you to photograph product? Maybe you work for a company that sells products and does not have a staff photographer and there is an opportunity for you. Maybe you have an Ebay store and wish to shoot products for it.


Lighting and styling products is a very complex subject and any successful photographer will tell you that lighting is one of the most important aspects of great photographs. If you understand the basics of lighting and where to place your lights for a nice portrait, then you are ready for for this course. You will gain a powerful understanding of light, both in its quality as well as its direction; not only which light or lights to use, but when and where you should apply them!

Do you know how to light a simple box of candy to be used in an advertisement? How to properly place highlights on a perfume bottle? Do you know what light modifier to use for lighting metal? Can you correctly place highlights to make a product look incredible? Do you know how to use Photoshop to lighten and darken areas of a product? Have you shot a product in several digital captures and then composited in Photoshop?


Every lesson you receive includes examples of shoots created by Charlie featuring lighting placement and the strategy used to capture the best possible product shot. This 4 week course will cover products in the studio and on location. These weekly assignments are intended to help you focus on the exact principle you need to progress to the next level in your photographic art. Assignments will include photographing the following subjects: metal, glass, food, packaging, clothing, plastic and wood, as well as a few large products on location. And every lesson you receive is written in an easy to understand text and amply illustrated with color photos. If you are serious about owning your own studio, this course will pay for itself a hundred times over!


What’s covered:

The principles of tabletop and product lighting, lighting tools and accessories.

Photographing metal, glass, flat art, and knockout backgrounds.

Large products, apparel, catalogs, and natural light.

Studio sets. How to use constant and strobe light for effect, and Photoshop compositing techniques.

You need a good understanding of f/stops and shutter speeds and how they work. Any lighting experience is helpful, and a basic understanding of Photoshop.

This course includes written and video lectures for easy understanding. 

Instructor: Charlie Borland has been a commercial and stock photographer for over 30 years. He has photographed for a wide range of clients including: Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Tektronix, Nike, Blue Cross, Nationsbank, Precision Castpart’s Corp., Mentor Graphics, Texas Instruments, Pacificorp, Cellular One, Sequent Computer, Early Winters, Cascade Bancorp, and AGC. His imagery has been used thousands of times worldwide and a sampling include: National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women’s Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, CIO, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Eco Traveler, Southern Bell, to name a few. Charlie is the co-author to Understanding Flash and the author of Outdoor Flash Photography.  Charlie has been teaching for over a decade and teaches several courses here.

 Note: If you do not have any lighting equipment, click here for a list of lighting gear for taking this course.