Product Photography: Overview


How to Take Amazing Photos with your DSLR


Lesson Info

Product Photography: Overview

I'm actually really excited about today because I do so much portrait work that to do something a little different sometimes is really fun. I do do some commercial work. I'm known for my portrait work for the most part. And we don't really advertise that we do commercial in my studio, but of course, I have clients who come in for product photography and for editorials in magazines and things like that. We work for a local magazine in my town that focuses on parenting and we do everything from the gift-giving guide every Christmas to the front cover for the Valentine's issue, all that kind of fun stuff. So, as you get more and more into photography, you'll start doing projects in different realms. And having a different genre to work with is really fun. It's takes your mind off of things. It allows you to be creative in a different way and see things in a different light. So, people are wonderful, but sometimes photographing objects is better because they don't talk back and t...

hey don't move. And you can focus your energy more on actually creating a technically perfect image than actually having to worry about a little toddler or a 10-year-old who's grumpy or whatever. So, today, it's more DSLR fun. Of course, we're all talking about the digital single lens reflex cameras. And today, we're going to focus on tabletop work, mock-up images, modifiers, and more. And you may be like, "What the heck is a mock-up, Julia? What are you talking about?" We are going to explain all of that a little bit later. But first, let's revisit what we've learned. That little girl is one of my favorite clients. I asked her where her belly button was and she flew her dress up like that. It was the cutest thing ever. So, in review, we did portraits, kids, pets, and groups. Today, what were those three things? Of course, they were camera angle, lighting angle, posing angle. With posing, that can mean placement too, so, object placement, posing. Today, we're going to work with jewelry. We're going to work with these cute, little, crazy , stuffed animals that are over here. We're going to work with food. That is still an object or a subject that needs to be posed or placed within the frame. Composition is going to be huge today. We're going to focus heavily on color and composition because we're putting objects in a frame, right? Again, the nice thing is, they don't move around unless you shove them somewhere, right? They don't talk back to you. They don' don't have to worry about getting a good expression. All you got to worry about is your light, your lens choice, and the technical components of how you play with aperture, and shutter speed, and of course, color. So, again, I want to just reiterate for those of you who are new to us today, you are in the right place if you perhaps are kind of venturing out in your ability to shoot commercial. You want to shoot products for a business you've got. And professional photographers, this completely applies to you as well. There are times when you need to promote your products, your canvases, your albums. All these kinds of things that you sell to consumers need to be photographed and put on your website. So, knowing how to shoot commercially is going to be really important, okay? You are in the right place if you run a business and need to create branded images for your marketing, okay? We all have, if we run a business, we have a brand, right? It may not be solemnly defined yet in your business and what you're doing but you have a color scheme that you use. You have fonts that you use. You have your logo. And those, you have a feel to your business. And being able to shoot images for your online purposes, whether it be of your Facebook header and profile, your blog header, different blog posts that need an image of some kind. You're going to really have fun today because we're going to be showing you all different ways to create this kind of imagery, easy Home Depot supplies, like literally, you just need some foam core from Home Depot and you're good. What if you're an online seller of products like this woman here? I mean, hello? Come on. Right? My kid would go crazy over this stuff. But you want to photograph it. I mean, yeah. You hold it in person, you're like, "Oh my gosh, this is the cutest thing ever." How do you photograph it on a flat surface in an online store that will attract a consumer to want to buy it? Because when it's three-dimensional and you can cuddle up to it, you want to buy it. But when it's on an online product catalog, sometimes it's hard to see it in its cuteness. It's hard to portray how amazing the product is with just a two-dimensional image. So, that's what we're going to work on today. What if you love food? I could live on it, man. Right? Food is awesome. Food is colorful. It's wonderful. It's what makes the experience in life so beautiful. Having food and experiencing a meal with someone else is part of what makes life wonderful. So, how do we communicate food in a visual medium that's two-dimensional. You're in the right place if you love the idea of creating your own studio and are hesitant to take the leap. What does that mean? That means working with studio strobes, having a dedicated space in your home, or perhaps an office, or maybe you even want to start thinking about renting a space somewhere. How are you going to set that up? What kind of gear and equipment are you going to need? And how are you going to take the leap to shooting more with strobes, rather than, say, a big, natural light window that we've got going on here today? You're also in the right place if you want to see light and color better and to make beautiful imagery, of course. So, don't forget. You can get our DSLR Quick Reference Guide and Adobe Raw Basics PDF. It's an awesome little thing, And what is is, or at least part of it, is this little pocket guide that we've printed so that you can fold it up, really cool. And it has all of our color stuff in here that we're going to talk about today. It's got composition and DSLR basics to just remember things that you want to remember when you're on the fly, when you're actually in a shoot. So, this is wonderful, courtesy of my studio assistant, Beth. She made this and made it so you could basically fold it up like this and put it in a credit card holder and stick it in your back pocket, which is really nice. And it also talks about Adobe Raw Basics and how to edit your images in Adobe Raw. So, go to I apologize that I put images. That is my actual photo website, And of course, join our Facebook group. That's where the conversation keeps going after the class. And I'm in there almost every day. And there's commenting, or marking, and critiquing as much as I can. So, head there. Join the group. If you want more content on just operating your camera. Khara Plicanic has a wonderful course called, "The Beginner Photographer's Crash Course." Amazing. Like, if you want to learn about your camera and how to operate the exposure triangle, shutter speed, aperture, all that good stuff, ISO, she is your gal. And then, of course, full in-depth content on food photography, go to Andrew Scrivani, am I saying that right? I hope. Scrivani, wonderful guy and just a true expert in food photography. Because we're going to touch on food photography today but let me tell you, it is an animal. And there are ways to style and design food. The things that you...crazy things that you would never even guess people do, like the way they make whipped cream is just weird. They do all kinds of cool stuff that are little behind-the-scenes, hidden secrets that if you don't know, you don't know. And he's an amazing guy and does a wonderful class on food photography. So, head to that if that's something that you're interested in.

Class Description

Julia has a great way of explaining even some of the most technical things so that you can understand them. This is a great class to get your feet wet and then use what you learned to start swimming. - Barry Miller, CreativeLive Student

Understanding how your camera functions is a start, but in order to capture the best images, you need to know more than what buttons to push.  Julia Kelleher will walk you through some likely beginner photographer scenarios to show how to work in multiple situations, compose your image and get the most from your subjects. Whether you purchased your camera to take photos of your children, your friends or even products you are hoping to sell, Julia will show you how to feel comfortable in any environment. In this class Julia will show you: 
  • Taking pictures of children: how to work with energetic subjects, what compositions are safest as well as poses and ideas to keep them engaged 
  • Taking pictures of groups: be it your friends, coworkers or clients- learn the best approaches for group photos so you can capture people looking their best 
  • Products: If you’re starting a business or selling your belongings online, a great picture goes a long way in helping a buyer choose your product 
  • Headshots or banner photos: learn techniques to get professional headshots or captivating banner photos for your social media or website 
  • How to work with natural light and control it in your favor, as well as inexpensive options to help improve your lighting quality 
 If you’re new to working with a professional camera, this class will give you the confidence to capture an image in any scenario with your expensive purchase. Make the most out of every situation by learning to compose, pose, direct and light your subjects.  



Julia is an amazing teacher!!!! Funny, go with the flow, honest, and obviously so gifted at what she does. That came through and also inspired those feelings in me as a novice photographer. I left her class feeling excited to play with my camera and appreciate that she encouraged me to use what I have now and get good before spending tons of money on fancier stuff. I also love that she showed how everyday materials from Home Depot can make for great images. I particularly appreciated the 2nd day on product photography, social media images and the short demos in PhotoShop. Please do a full class on just this Julia/Creative Live!!!!!

Brandon Couch

So first off I've been doing photography for a little bit now and only shot in manual 20% of the time and was okay with it. Since coming to this class and seeing how manual mode isn't scary, it is everything you need and want in the life of photography, I now will not use anything else. The team at Creative Live is amazing and Julia's love for other starting and even professional photographers is amazing. She would sit and talk to us together and individually and really loves those who love photography. I would recommend this class and any other one of Julia's classes here on CreativeLive. I can't wait to come back. Was AMAZING!!! LIFE CHANGING!!!

a Creativelive Student

What an awesome class! I am not a beginner and am currently making a living as a photographer and was interested in this class because #1 Julia is such a great teacher with such talent and #2 I was expecting to take away some valuable information to pass along to my little after school beinning photo club. I am happy to report Julia did not disappoint:-) What actually happened was that I learned so many things that I probably should have known being a seasoned professional that I lost track of my original intention of why I was there. I couldn't wait to pull out my camera and try all of the new things that I had just learned. The color balancing and the little dot showing when your camera (Nikon) was manually focused alone was worth the price. I enjoyed every minute of this course. Thanks Julia! Anyone would benefit from this course....