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