PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY


– What’s up everybody? Peter McKinnon here and
welcome back to another video. Today is a tutorial, but, I’m pumped about today’s tutorial because it’s one of my favorite
things to do with a camera. It’s how I started making
money with photography, it’s what got me a career for
seven years with photography. It’s what’s continued to drive
my career in photography now and that is product photography. Now, before you (mumbles)
command W, I’m out, product photography is incredible. There’s so much more to it
than just the way it sounds. It doesn’t sound exciting. Like if you look, I did
a video, I don’t know, like two, three weeks ago
called night photography, and I’ll link it up there, night photography sounds cool. It’s like, yeah, we’re
shooting at night, it’s dark, it’s mysterious, night photography. But you’re like, product photography, you just think of like, blue
jeans and like white runners and just like mundane things that suck. Like oh, I’m a catalog photographer, just taking pictures of strollers
and hockey nets, and yep. Just, just doing that. But, product photography is amazing. There’s so many ways to
bring out your creativity and express yourself through the way that you show off a product. And that’s for whatever
it is that you’re doing. And there’s so many ways to
monetize product photography. So, that’s today’s video,
it’s gonna be incredible, I’m super pumped on this,
I’m very, very, very excited. So, let’s roll that intro,
and then we’ll get started. (rock music) (claps)
Phew! I also realize the beginning
of this video was very intense, I came off very, very
hot out of the gates. But, this is something that,
as you can visibly tell, I’m quite excited about. Let me give you like a
super fast back history. I worked for a company for seven years photographing all their products, okay? This company specialized in
making custom decks of cards, and different tricks and marketed things to the magic industry,
magicians, we would sell to magicians and collectors and people that would collect the decks of cards for the different artists
that we had design them. Super cool job, super creative job, worked with a bunch of really
cool down-to-earth people. And we had like complete free
reign, so it was awesome. Now, one of the things that
I got very, very good at was taking photos of products,
because that was my job. So, the mail would
come, and there would be a whole bunch of new
stuff for me to shoot, and the boss, Brad,
would be like, all right, like here are these things,
these are the days we need them, like have at it. Like, whatever, if you need
some budget for photography, here you go, just do your best. And that was my, those were my guidelines. So the sky was the limit. So when it came to actually
shooting decks of cards or products, I would
break everything down, no matter what I was shooting,
into different sections. So I would talk about
themes, textures, and props. Those three things usually yielded very good product photos. Matty’s on his way over,
we’re gonna do just that. I figured instead of just sitting here for the next 10 minutes and
talking to you about it, which I could very easily
do because I’m pumped! So, here’s the set-up, Matty’s gonna just like
browse through my office and choose two things,
we only need like two, for me to photograph. And then we’re gonna
take those two things, go to the antique shop, and I’m going to try
to look for some props, look for some things that support those two items that he chose. So, that’s uh, this is fun! I’m excited for this! Okay. – Any, any two things? – [Peter] Any two things. I mean, don’t choose like, the
blanket that covers my window or anything like that sucks. (laughs) – Can I? – [Peter] Okay, so plug the merch. – (laughs) I’m just kidding. – [Peter] Link in bio,
shameless shameless plug. – Little plug there. Any two things here? – [Peter] Any two things, I mean, everyone always gravitates towards this shelf of nonsense, but, – Yeah, there’s so much. – [Peter] Yeah. – I feel like I want to
choose like two things, well maybe one thing that I could, ’cause I suck at product photography, you’re so good at this. So maybe one thing that like, maybe would help me if I saw you doing it. And then maybe just one random. Two things, right?
– Two things, yeah. – Random thing. – [Peter] If we did four things this video would be like, 40 minutes. – Yeah, probably. I kind of want to choose this egg. (Peter laughs) – [Matty] I feel like
that might be too easy, it kind of looks cool already. – [Peter] Yeah, I mean, how do you make it look like, really cool? – That’s true, that’s true.
– Yeah. – Let’s go with this thing? I don’t know what the heck… What is this, man? – [Peter] (laughs) Hold it
in the light so I can see it. It’s a puzzle. – What? – [Peter] My friend Chris does
a lot of puzzles on YouTube, – Are you supposed to
open it or something? – [Peter] Yeah, I always I always buy them after he tells
me to buy them, so (laughs) – This thing looks random. Do this, at least. – [Peter] Okay, go, so, number one, – Number one, this thing
– Weird puzzle. – Weird thing. And to help me, I think, let’s do this, is this a real camera? No, it’s fake.
– No, it’s plastic. You know who got me that? You know Ted Forbes,
The Art of Photography channel on YouTube? He does cool stuff. You’ve never seen–
– (laughs) No. – [Peter] More of like
an academic channel, – Okay, okay, okay. – [Peter] Really like into like, the art of photography, it’s great. But he sent me that, it actually works, but, it does look super plastic-y, and, – Oh, it’s like a film camera. – [Peter] Yeah, hold it
here so I can see it. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. Yeah, okay, so like, make
that look super desirable And like you’d want to buy it. – Yeah, cause like, I have
to take photos of cameras a lot of times and I have
no idea what I’m doing, so. – [Peter] Oh, for like
thumbnails and stuff. – Yeah yeah yeah, thumbnails. – [Peter] Yeah. Okay, cool. So, plastic camera,
weird cast iron puzzle. Okay. Let’s go buy stuff. (gentle electronic music) This is my spot! This is the best antique
shop I’ve ever been to, run by the nicest people. Alright, so you guys already saw the two items that I’m
going to photograph, the old plastic Holga camera, and that weird little cast iron puzzle. So you know the items, so
we’re gonna go through here and pick what I think is
going to accent those items to make really engaging, colorful, punchy, good product photos. So let’s, let’s go pick some stuff! (upbeat electronic music) Okay, so one of the things
that I look for a lot when I’m shooting stuff are textures. Different surfaces and textures that will match the
item that I’m shooting. So, for example, that
little cast iron puzzle is like brass and looks
really, really old. So the first thing that
stands out is this old tin, what is this, like a
cigarette tin or something? But look at the inside, like look how gunmetal and rusty that is. So, this would look cool if it was like sitting on an old crate,
maybe there’s some stuff coming out of it, like
some old photographs, like that puzzle was well lit. That’s kind of the mood that I’m thinking. So like, when I have the object in mind, I walk around a place like this and try to find either
textures, environments, and then little props to kind of accent the main thing that we’re photographing. An old brass padlock. There’s no keys with it though, but I could probably pick it. But the keys, if it had the keys, those would be good little accent items to kind of just strew around,
like, is that even a word? But just mix and scatter
around the main little puzzle that we’re trying to shoot. Look at these! Yes! I’ve always wanted one
of these for my bookshelf behind like where I film. Okay, this works, look at this. This is like an old, gross-looking
crate for ginger ale. Look at that. I love that it still has
the original paint on it, it’s all warped and gross, but, texture is everything when
you’re doing product photos. Texture makes stuff look so
much more rich and inviting, and pulls you into the
photo and tells a story. Everything about that photo
just makes you feel good, it makes you feel like wonder and mystery, and those are all the types
of things that I try to pull out of products
that I’m photographing. Especially a camera and a
vintage puzzle, it looks vintage. It’s not, but, I think
having it on the corner here with these old nails, and
the little bit of red. Both the camera and the
puzzle will work well with this crate, so, I’m going to buy it. – [Matty] What’re you checking out, Peter? – Two things. I just need some extra
little mindless props. So like, a wrench. Perfect, cause it’s old
and rusted and looks dope, and it’s just one of those
things that gives texture, you get a shine off the
steel here, it looks good. There’s some, I think
it’s an old Ford wrench, which is amazing. Made in Canada, I’ll take it. – [Matty] Oh hey guys, original lens ball! Sweet! (Peter laughs) – Okay, picked all my items, everything is conveniently fitting inside this crate, but I’m not gonna show you everything yet. You’ll see it when we get
home and we style some photos. Yeah, I’m excited! Always find good stuff here. Always. ♪ Oh Maybelline ♪ Okay! Now that we have our box of props, I can begin to set everything up, and kind of stylize the little theme, the little set that I’m gonna build to take the photos of the
objects that Matty selected. We have our old vintage
camera, that’s number one. Like an old pencil case, I
liked the texture of this. I think that’ll look good on camera. We have, what do we
have, some old postcards and photographs that I will
take out of these sleeves and just kind of crumple up. Bought that old Ford wrench. An old, what is this? Pennsylvania trailer,
super rusty license plate. Again, texture. Texture is everything. This thing has plenty of it. And then we got this little tin that we looked at right at the beginning. And then the box itself! Okay, so, all in all, this
was like a hundred bucks. Now, you don’t have to
spend that much money, but these are props that
you will have forever, unless you throw them out. So, you can reuse them and
use them in other photographs, and other projects, on sets, on films. They’re props, so you can use them whenever you would need props. The other bonus, is I have this crate, so I just keep all the
stuff in this crate, throw this in the basement, and then whenever I need something,
I can go down there, check to see if I have
something that works, if I don’t, whatever. If I do, it’s probably
gonna be in this box. Which also, doubles as its own prop. So, now it’s time to stylize
and set up this shot! Item number one. Alright, so this is essentially
the set-up for this shot. We got that tin half-open,
we got the texture of the inside of the tin right here, we got this nice texture of
this old-school pencil case, these are the strings that
close the pencil case, they just look cool kind of loosely just hanging out right there. We got the wrench in
there for added kind of industrial, gritty-looking feel. And then we got the box
itself, the old-school box with the nice window light kind of hitting the side of that bronze. And then maybe we’ll shoot it
in this way with the macro, and it should look something like this. (upbeat electronic music) So again, as you can see, I’m not trying to make this video super cinematic, I’m trying to show you
guys how raw things can be when you’re taking even
professional photographs. Like, you don’t need to
be in a big ass studio, you don’t need to have
fake mist and crazy lights. Like, I am literally chilling
on my kitchen floor right now, with a box that I just
bought from an antique shop. But it is doing the job, and
it is doing the job well. And this is the scene I ended up going for that I liked the most with the camera. I flipped the box back around, used this as kind of the background,
covered the wood at the bottom with this bag, this license plate, and put these on the floor
so that you didn’t see my hardwood when I
actually shot the frame. But the reason I chose this
angle is because I liked the way the light was hitting the lens
here coming in from the door. I liked that it was hitting
this lens real nice. So this frame kind of cropped
in tight with that macro lens. That ended up looking the best for me. (upbeat electronic music) I just noticed my, I was
holding my kid earlier, she was just drooling on
my shirt here. (laughs) Just waaah! Whatever. Now I’ve told you guys this story before, the whole reason this relationship exists. The whole reason, I mean,
I’m able to use this logo, and put the Canadian
maple leaf dead center, which is super cool! These are also, you know, shameless plug, these dope wall flags are
available in his shop, but. (laughs) I just Logan Pauled you guys. (laughs) The whole reason this
relationship even started was because I was confident
in my product photography. And he started a business
selling coffee and merchandise and accessories, and stuff like that. And I bought everything
that he owned in the shop. I bought it all. And I started doing my version
of product photography, and then posting it to my Instagram, and tagging him in every single photo. And he didn’t respond right
away, but I just kept doing it. I kept taking photos, making
them as best as I could, applying these types of techniques until he finally saw what
I was doing, and was like, can I repost some of these? And when we finally got a dialogue going, I was able to say to him,
hey, I’m willing to do this for you if you want for a trial
run to see if it’s something that you like, and then
if it is moving forward, maybe this is something that
you can start paying me to do, and sending me new products
and I’ll photograph them, and that’s how our relationship started. Okay, that’s it. I think this video’s been
like 45-minutes long. I know this was a long one, but it’s, if you’re into photography,
and you’re here to learn, and you really want to
take this to the next level and make it something that’s
more than just a hobby, I think this is the kind of video that you would benefit from. So I hope you enjoy it, I hope you get some of these
tips and maybe implement them into your own style and your
own work as a photographer. I think there’s something
here for everybody. If not, whatever! Thanks for hanging out. But if you liked this
video, hit that like button, smash it if that’s
something that you’re into. Subscribe if you aren’t already. And! And! I will see you guys in the next video. Peace! (upbeat electronic music) – Yeah, that– – [Woman] But this has
to push back, somehow. – How does this collapse? Does this mirror pop up?
– Oh here! I got it, I got it. This switches that, – Oh yeah, you squeeze that, – [Woman] So there’s a
little button right here, So that’ll squeeze all the way in? – And then push this in,
– Super cool! – [Man] No no, no. – Down. Right.
– Like that. – Wait what, like what? – [Man] You just kind of push them back. – Cool! – And you’ll feel it. – Just force it, right? – Yes,
– No! – Okay yeah yeah yeah, I got it. – And then it just closes up.
– Cool! I’m gonna have no idea what
to do when I get home, but– (laughing)

100 Replies to “PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY”

  1. Sorry for the false alarm! Uploaded the wrong video first LOL whoops! PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY is one of my favourite things to do and how I first started earning from this passion! Who's headed to an antique shop?!?

  2. Dude, I've learned so much from your videos. Thank you for posting them.
    Loved this one and the advice for prop shopping is gold. My husband's cousin runs a rummage/antique shop 2 miles from my place. Shes got everything.
    Again thank you, I appreciate your work.

  3. Wow those photographs look amazing! But I was wondering, have you ever had complaints about people thinking they would get some of the props when they purchase the item? For example the puzzel INSIDE the tin box or am I just overthinking this?

  4. Currently starting Amazon FBA and photography is actually a hobby of mine (mainly motorsport and landscapes though). It might be time to try and do some of my own product photography for my Amazon company

  5. I absolute product photography, branding photography. I'm stoked for a shoot I have with a catering company, I do a ton for my God-moms floral and decor company… there are so many areas you can get into for product photography! It's the niche I want to be in. Travel photography too obvi but I need money to travel first haha

  6. Ok. That's cool and all, but what lens did you use? Full frame? Crop? I'm a noob, so this video is like 50% useful to me.

  7. Pete…love your honesty and exemplary work ethic. Your approach to the craft is inspiring and the art is top notch. Peace!

  8. I came for the “What’s up everybody” and so glad I stayed. I have an online shop selling vintage and loved your tips. Props are important for product photography. Thanks Peter !

  9. Sooo obsessed with your channel. Been watching these videos over and over. Helpful and just so motivating to want to be creative and be a better photographer. Thank you🙏🏻

  10. One edit PM if I may be so bold, "Texture is everything product photography." Delete the last 2 words of that statement. BE well my friends!!

  11. June 2019 and still helping others who want to do PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY like my self! Super great content and super helpful. keep on with the great work! <3 Much love from Kentucky!

  12. I've watched a lot of your videos and this was my favourite so far. It was extremely inspirational! I'm going to do some product photography!

  13. Thank you man am new at product photography and thank you so much for the tips you are the best and I hope to become a great photographer as you

  14. Can you make a video about how to edit product photos how you can make that color pop and be awesome because i take very good photos of products but i suck at editing i can make it good but i dont feel that i did the Best. So it would be very nice if you make a video about that, not only for me but for other people that strugle With the same think

  15. Pete, I have learned the manual settings of my Canon for video, how or where do I learn PHOTO settings? website?

  16. hey pete, do you calibrate your camera? if yes, could you please make a video about it, thanks a lot

  17. Really helpful ideas, use of texture and random accent items is clutch. I'll have to send you a deck of my cards to shoot since you are such an experts on that subject matter. 😆

  18. Thanks for this! Love the framing examples and set ups. Could you post here what lens/settings you used? You said macro, and obvious it was window light, but would appreciate any extra details!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *