A Mistake I Made Years Ago When First Trying Product Photography

Product Photography MistakeOver the years, I have photographed many people and things for various jobs.

At one point, early on in my photography career, I was freelancing for a marketing firm.

The firm would provide me with awesome and challenging photography jobs to do. One of which was photographing a lot of jewelry for a local store.

Being how early I was in my career, I did not know enough about product photography to charge a lot. So the store got what they paid for. Inexperience. I did my best, though, and they used some of the photographs in various advertisements as planned.

In the end, it worked out well.

However, I made a mistake. One very serious mistake, which I learned from shortly after.

Click on the photo to view it larger. Do you notice anything odd?

Give it a good look.

Do you notice where the camera was focusing?

If you can’t tell, I’ll help.  It’s focusing just on the right of the center diamonds of the earrings.

Here is what happened…

I was using a macro lens. The Nikon 105mm Macro, to be precise. The lens has a max aperture of f/2.8, which is quite shallow. That means at f/2.8 everything behind or in front of the focal point will be extremely soft.

This photograph was made at f/5, which as it turned out was also quite shallow with the lens.

My lessons learned:

  1. When doing product photography, use a smaller aperture, somewhere between f/11 and f/22.
  2. Macro lenses enhance aperture effect, so a large aperture is a shallow aperture.
  3. Don’t assume you know your lens. Test it thoroughly before a job.

I learned lessons from my mistake. Fortunately, the customer was happy. And I’ve never made the mistake since.

Don’t make the same mistake I did. Hopefully, by reading this, you’ll avoid it.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. I think figuring things out like the right lens to use is a mix of trial and error and knowledge. We learn as we go, and mistakes will happen. Great tips for product photography, thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu