Product Photography: The pros and cons of iphone vs dslr

You have all seen them, beautifully shot images of products posted via social media, magazines, ecom sites etc. Shooting these beautiful images does take some know-how but it's easier to get a hang of than people think. Styling these beautiful photographs does take some what of an eye but don't worry! We're here to share some secrets that will turn your photos into stunning beautiful shots! 


Lighting 101:

One of the most important aspects to getting that effortlessly vibrant shot when it comes to product photography is the lighting.

  • Natural light is key - in our experience the best time to shoot your images usually is on a clear day around the golden hours ( shortly after sunrise - an hour before sunset ). 
  • Don't be afraid to use reflective light. - For example, if you are shooting a photo in a room with lower natural light, set up your shoot/styling as close as you can to the window. If you still don't see the lighting translating in the shot you need try having someone hold up a white poster board angled at a slant in front of your photo area. This poster board will catch some of that light that shining into the room and bounce it off the lens of the camera in return brightening up your photo. You can play with the angle the board is held until you capture the photo you see fit.
  • Plan your timing of the shoot with help from some apps  - When shooting lifestyle shots of products being used in the daylight we have found that relying on a couple apps to help you capture that light perfectly in your images is really helpful. These apps are available on the apple store - below we listed some of our favorites. 
  • Lumy -  Tells you when the golden hours are going to be at peak in your area and also notifies you of other good times to shoot depending on the location of the sun. 
  • Yr.No - The perfect weather prediction app. This app tells you a break down of the days forecast as well as recommend an area close to your set location that may have better weather. 
  • Sun Route - This app will tell you where the sun will be at any specific time on any particular day. All you need to do is point the camera on your phone into the sky and the app will show you the sun's position. A computer-generated sun is superimposed onto the phone's view so you can actually see in real time how the light will interact with the current surroundings.

Product styling: 

  • Lifestyle - When shooting lifestyle product images try shooting photos of your products either grouped together in a styled and sophisticated manner in your home. You want to try to capture how this product is used in the image - whether is be a candle lit sitting on a bookshelf in your home, a face cream opened to show it's texture or a perfume being misted onto a neck. Showcasing how one uses the product translated always into a good lifestyle image. Make sure to shoot in natural light and if you want to capture a motion image such as mist spraying , oil dropping etc shoot the photos with a DSLR this way you can control the shutter speed and get those crisp shots you want. 
  • Branded content -  Many of you have probably seen what a #Shelfie looks like. These stunning images which are often colorful and filled with tons of different products all perfectly staged together on their bathroom shelf. Instagram loves this fun trend. When you are trying to capture a more editorial or branded set of images try shooting these in natural light, even playing with window light leaks that cast beautiful shadows in the images.  Style the products against a solid color background and play around with some "props" for color such as plant life, brushes, the products themselves. 


iPhone vs DSLR:

Technology has advanced so fast in our phones in the past 10 years. In our current time, you don't even need to be a photographer to be able to capture beautiful images with just your phone! Some people still are a little salty about this, but when it comes to capturing lovely images without having to lug around tons of camera equipment it's amazing. 

  • iPhone:  The newer iPhones are built with a very powerful camera lens and software. You're able to film in 4k, shoot super high res images and more! We tend to shoot all of our social media content with an iPhone. 
  • Cons: We mentioned above how important lighting is to capturing a perfect image when it comes to product photography. The only con we really must point out when shooting with the iPhone or newer Android phones is the lack of ability to capture high resolution and crisp images in low light. Product photography can be tricky because you want to capture the beauty of the packaging, the product itself etc. If you are shooting images in a darker room or lower natural lit areas outside you'll find that the images come out blurry and not as beautiful if you were to shoot them with a high powered lens on a DSLR. Shooting drains the battery + racks up storage space. If you are shooting a lot of images on your phone make sure to bring a backup charger for your phone because the battery will drain fast! We also like to shoot all the images, edit them and then transfer all the images to a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive etc. After they are uploaded delete the images off your phone so you can then access the ones you want to use easily from the cloud service apps. 
  • Pros: So so easy! It's obvious that having to only carry around your phone to shoot images with is a huge bonus - we also can't get over the beautiful high resolution newer phones can shoot with now. As you can see from our image posted above the quality is beautiful! Editing your images has never been easier as well! When we shoot our products for lifestyle shoots, the web or any other type of shoot we always quick edit them using the app called VSCO. This app is literally amazing and so easy to use - you can copy edits, resize, fully change and edit all aspects of your images and there are even downloadable Lightroom presets that are partnered with VSCO so that you can stick to the same editing presets via your computer. Without the complete ease of having everything right on your phone social media would not be where it is today with photography. 
  • DSLR: Every photographer needs to understand how to use a DSLR camera. Not only will learning how to use and fully operate a DSLR camera in manual mode help with your photography skills in general but it will make the ease of use so much quicker for you when shooting. DSLR's come extremely in handy when you need to shoot RAW high resolution images for print, web, advertisements, lookbooks, and site product images. These images are fully editable and you can really fine tune how you process these images out while using Lightroom when you shoot in RAW or RAW JPG.  


Now that you've got some knowledge go out and try some of these secrets out. Make sure to share with us your photos via instagram by tagging us @nightshiftwaxco - We can't wait to see what you create, it's going to be beautiful! Happy shooting - xoxo

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