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  • Writer's pictureSaurik Shah

5 tips for the beginners of Tabletop photography

You go to a jeweler’s store to buy a ruby ring because you somehow love rubies. But the front photo in the store showing the elegantly crafted emerald ring studded around fine diamonds, casted in platinum captivates your heart. It just attracts you no matter how hard you try to keep your eyes away from it.

The photo makes you shun your first choice of having a ruby ring to having something larger than life, something that sparkles beauty. Well, that’s the power of tabletop photography!

It has the power to kindle desires, alter choices and remake your imagination.

Don’t believe me? What about all the food photos in restaurants, photos of apparels in garment stores and delicious looking coffees in the café next to your house. Tell me if they haven’t grabbed your attention at some point in time! Now, you believe me!

But, if tabletop photography commands so much of a sway, how to get to taking such mesmerizing photos? Also, if you are a beginner in the field of photography, does it make monetary sense for you to learn this part of the art?

Let’s answer the second question first.

Yes my friend! It does make perfect economic sense to learn tabletop photography because it has high commercial value. Food, products and any object that wishes to get marketed will eventually be photographed by the professionals who know the game! Also, if you service your clients well, chances are that you’ll rope in longer contracts with them.

Alright! That was about the second question. What about the first?

Well, with a lot of experience of photographing products across varied industries, allow me to share the secrets. Follow these 5 basic steps and you can make a great start to some of the most mesmerizing photos ever! So, here it is!

1. Plan your picture in advance

Have you seen how the army generals plan for the battle before hand in the movies? They have like a map of where which battalion which hide under which mountain and what moves and counter moves will give strategic gains. Well! You don’t have to get to that detail.

Just have an idea of what your composition will look like, how will you make the product stand out and what will you ultimately want to tell through the final shot.

2. Props and Background for Production

These are the artillery in your photography! I mean all the props and the background to enable you to tell a story.

You can play with the placement, add embellishments, use a host of varied props and make sure you add to the appeal quotient. If you keep an open eye to everything around you, you’ll be amazed to find really marvelous props at throwaway price or sometimes even cheap!

Used papers, craft papers, some pebbles and leaves from your backyard garden, your used stationery and what not!

3. Steady tripod

Handheld camera may or may not give you the sharpness you desire for tabletop. Instead, tripod helps you give far more stability.

Explore different angles and fix the one that gives you your desired shot. The fixity brings great clarity and efficiency at shooting. You yourself can try without a tripod for tabletop and you’ll know the difference.

4. Tethered photography

The ability to view your work while you are at it, does wonders for you and your client. With tethered photography, your client can view the shots on the laptop or even on a phone with wifi connection.

It gives you and your client a sense of direction and rectifications come out way easier.


Especially for the bigger clients, tethered photography comes out very useful. It basically just ensures that you and your client are on the same page when it comes to vision and the final outcome.

5. Light

How can we forget that!

Depending on what the product is and how much texture you want to show, you could use natural light or play with light smartly using thermocol or A4 papers.

You’ll have to explore a bit about what kind of light works best for each product. Different types and direction of light whether they are bright, soft, intense changes the look of your product.

Move the product you want to shoot around the light source and see the effect. You’ll see that if you put the light sideways, you’ll see half the picture bright and half in the dark. This creates good contrast, if that is what you want to highlight. If you put the light source at the back, it will create a brightness in the background of the object but not so much for the foreground.

And likewise, you will learn if you simply explore with changing light sources.Does it not seem playful? It actually is. Get into the flow of it and you’ll see how tabletop photography can get really exciting. The entire process of planning the composition to final shooting is adventurous and full of learning.

Obviously, it doesn’t end there! And we’ll have lots of blogs that detail each step and post photography work too! So stay tuned! (And, by the way, do tell us if you have won your first few battles with tabletop with these spy secrets!)

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