portrait photography

Tips for Mastering the Best Camera Settings for Product Photography

Learning the art of product photography is fascinating. To start taking beautiful product photos, you don’t always need a costly, high-end camera. Sometimes, all you need to do is learn the camera settings for product photography.

Mastering a product photo camera setting isn’t tricky, but it requires practice. In this guide, photographers at Stellar Studios discuss ideal camera settings to produce exquisite product images.

Best Camera Settings for Product Photography

Capturing product images takes time and skill to master. And with the right camera for product photography, you’ll be able to apply these settings to your product photos. Check out some of the best product photography camera settings that can make your product images detailed and accurate:

1. Use automatic full focus

Manual focus blurs your photos and lowers the quality of your product images. To achieve the ideal product photo camera setting, use automatic full focus as it produces more crisp images. This lets your consumers see an accurate picture of your products.

Some DSLRs have different ways to activate automatic focus mode. Most cameras have the same basic structure, but there will always be some variation depending on the brand and model. Check your camera’s instruction manual to learn how to change focus modes.

For Canon DSLRs, here’s how you can set the autofocus in the camera settings:

  1. Look for the AF-MF option on your camera lens.
  2. Set your lens to AF Mode.
  3. Put the camera in live view and zoom in on the product.
  4. Hold down the AF-ON button until the camera begins to auto-focus.

2. Opt for manual camera mode

One of the quickest ways to improve your photography is to shoot in manual mode. Setting your camera to manual mode will give you complete control over the exposure triangle: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

These elements let you control the brightness and contrast of your product images. In automatic mode, the camera chooses the appropriate exposure settings for you. This may seem more convenient at first, but ultimately results in less-than-ideal shots. Instead, it gives you the camera’s best guess. If you want the best results, set your camera settings for product photography in manual mode.

To enter “Manual” mode, rotate the mode dial on top of your DSLR until the “M” icon appears in the center.

manual camera settings

3. Always shoot in RAW format

Taking pictures in RAW format will result in the best image quality. RAW files are uncompressed, have sizes of 20 MB or more, and have not been preprocessed in any way. Because RAW files have large sizes, ensure your camera has enough memory to store the images.

When it comes to product photography, the best camera setting for the photo format is RAW. Raw footage provides the most editing flexibility in the post-production phase. You can fix up the picture of the product without losing any information. It also provides a much broader color spectrum, which is critical for printing product images. 

Here’s how you can change your camera’s image format:

  1. Select the menu option.
  2. Proceed to Image Quality.
  3. Choose RAW.
  4. Hit “set” to save your new settings.

4. Maintain a low ISO

ISO refers to a camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. When the ISO number is low, the sensor is less sensitive, requiring more time to take the shot. Increasing the ISO enables you to shoot in lower light conditions and quickly capture images. The resulting images, however, will be extremely grainy. So, keep your ISO setting low for the best DSLR settings for product photography.

Here’s what ISO numbers mean in different lighting conditions:

  • ISO 100-200: Daylight
  • ISO 200-400: Shade/Indoors
  • ISO 400-800: Flash Indoors
  • ISO 800-1600: Darker Indoors
  • ISO 1600-3200: Indoors at Night
  • ISO 3200+: Extra Low Light

For your product shoot camera setting, start with ISO 100 and gradually increase it as needed. To adjust the ISO settings, press the ISO button and change the speed using the “up, down, left, and right” buttons. The procedure may vary slightly between camera models, so check your owner’s manual if you don’t see this choice.

5. Use a small aperture

For product photography, you also need to pay close attention to your camera’s aperture and depth of field. The F-stop system measures the size of the aperture, and most values are between F1 and F22. The aperture controls how much light enters your camera through the lens and determines the photograph’s depth of field. It also performs similarly to your eye’s pupil. The larger the aperture, the greater the amount of light that enters, and the smaller the aperture, the less light that enters.

The F-stop system can measure the aperture, with most values falling between f/1 and f/22. When the aperture is small, the f-stop value is also high, such as f/16 or f/22. For product photography camera settings, an aperture of f/1.8 lets a lot of light in, whereas an aperture of f/22 does the reverse.

Use an F-stop as high as possible, such as f/16 or f/22, to get the entire product in focus. Only when you wish to create a shallow depth of field to highlight a particular item should you utilize a lower aperture.

The aperture setting also impacts shutter speed and ISO. A higher f-stop (smaller aperture) means less light gets into the camera. To keep the image’s brightness the same, you must use a slower shutter speed and a higher ISO.

6. Fix the shutter speed

shutter speed

Another camera setting for product photography that you should be aware of is shutter speed. The shutter speed determines how quickly a camera can capture a moment. By adjusting the shutter speed, photographers can control the time the camera is exposed to the scene.

The shutter speed is measured in split seconds. When the shutter speed is high, the product is kept in sharp focus, but when it’s low, motion blur is visible. 

It’s not necessary to capture motion in product photography. However, there will be camera shake if you try to hold the camera with your hands, so we recommend using a tripod. Use a slow shutter speed, like 1/13, in conjunction with a tripod to achieve sharp results. When taking pictures of lifestyle products, which are always in motion, you may need a shutter speed of 1/400 or higher to get sharp images.

7. Adjust white balance

You’ll need to adjust the white balance to get accurate color and white representation in your product shoot camera settings. This will ensure that the colors in your photos are correct and that there is no color cast in the white areas of your shots. For instance, the whites in photographs of products taken in natural light tend to take on a bluish cast.

You can tweak the white balance in different ways. Generally, most cameras have an automatic white balance setting. The camera analyzes the scene and determines the optimal color temperature. However, your camera may become confused if the scene lacks white or close to white colors, contains only one color, or is illuminated by multiple light sources with different color temperatures. If this happens, you need to adjust the white balance settings.

You can manually change the white balance by choosing a preset to get the ideal camera setting for product photography. Most cameras have the following white balance presets:

  • incandescent lighting
  • fluorescent lighting
  • daylight
  • flash
  • cloudy
  • shade

To access these settings, look for a “WB” icon in your camera’s menu. Unless your lighting situation has multiple complicated sources, you should use these defaults just fine. In that case, you’ll need to adjust the white balance manually.

8. Skip the flash

To get a professional product photography look on your DIY product shoots, skip flash photography. Using a flash causes the product to be lit artificially and unflatteringly, making it difficult to get a good exposure. If you have to use artificial light, choose a steady light instead of a flash to show the true beauty of the product. When you can’t avoid using a flash, use off-camera flash equipment for your product photoshoot setting.

9. Utilize optical zoom

Most cameras offer both optical and digital zoom settings. Avoid using digital zoom for the best DSLR settings for product photography because it simply creates a zoom effect by cropping the image. As a result, the image quality of the product suffers. Get as close as you can without switching to digital by using optical zoom. As the zoom lengthens, the wide-angle lens’ distortion is corrected. Some camera lenses, especially the wide-angle ones found on smartphones, are prone to this.

These are just some of the product photography settings your camera and skills can achieve. Combine your talents with your favorite product shoot ideas, and you’ll get the best photos!

Take Excellent Photos with the Best Camera Settings for Product Photography

Setting the camera properly is essential for product photography. Use these nine camera settings for product photography to take professional-quality photos. By changing the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, shooting in raw, manual mode, and automatic focus, skipping the flash, and zooming in, you can get sharp and crisp pictures of your product in no time.

Have ideas in mind? Contact us today for more information about product photography.

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