Camera and Lenses for Product Photography

One of the most common questions asked by those just starting out in product photography is what camera and what lens is best for product photography.

To help answer this question, Karl explains some of the camera choices for product photography before taking a closer look at some of the best lenses for product photography. He also details what lenses he uses when shooting products and why these are his lenses of choice.

Comments

  1. Hello Karl, I need help with these two things please:

    1) I have a Nikon D5300 camera, I bought a 105mm micro lense, I though it was the right one to photograph my products (which are flower arrangements, I am a florist) but it doesn’t work very well, I always need to be very far from the subject and can hardly get the product to fit in the frame, unless I am extremely far away.

    Can you please recommend me which lense is better for shooting flower arrangements products? I am always shooting still life photography and like to gave the depth in the background.

    2) Whenever I upload my photo on instagram or facebook the quality gets very bad, I always crop the photo to the size asked by the platform, but i still have the same issue. Is there a video where it explains how to export and upload a photo to keep the best quality possible?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi, yes the problem is that the D5300 is a crop sensor camera which has the effect of making the magnification of the 105mm lens greater meaning you need to be further away. If a 105mm macro lens was used on a full frame 35mm camera then you would find that the magnification was not as great and therefore you would not need to move further away. The next problem is that most product photography is quite small, watches, cosmetics etc but flower bouquets are often not. So what you will find is that a standard good quality 50mm f1.4 or f1.8 lens is what will work best for what you need. This would likely fit in the flowers at a suitable distance and give a pleasing result. In answer to your second question the following videos might be useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6bp4zbicRM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8YNPrGkA4g&t=465s and https://karltayloreducation.com/class/preparing-your-images-for-web-using-photoshop/ I hope this helps.

      1. Hello Karl, thank you for the response,
        I have been thinking to get a full frame camera, I am looking at nikon Z7 Mark II or Sony A7R mark 4, which lenses would you recommend for each of these ( I will use them to shoot mainly my flower arrangements) thank you

        1. Hi, if you were shooting with a full frame camera, let’s say the Sony as an example then I’d say the 90mm Sony Macro lens would be a very good choice but this would also depend on how big your flower arrangements are and how much space you have to move back from them?

  2. Hi, Karl

    I see you often use a studio stand.

    Is this something you would recommend as an essential piece of equipment for getting quality results, or more of an assist tool for the bigger format cameras? Given the weight and size of the equipment.

    Cheers

    1. Hi, it depends. For proper product/advertising photography I would say it’s essential because of the precise nature of the work and the requirement to build composite images where nothing can move at all. For other stuff it’s not as necessary.

  3. Hi Karl
    I have Fuji Xt3 and 23 mm and 56 mm , I can’t buy lens at this moment , Can I use 85 mm ?

    1. Hi, this is an APS size sensor which means an 85mm will be about 100mm or so which should be OK if it can focus close enough?

  4. jacktranterphotography

    Hi karl, Just wondering if you would have a preference to lenses, i have never done product before i have been doing portraits ever since i started, i have an canon 85mm 1.2L (with extension tubes) or a sigma EF 105mm Macro lens, shooting on a eos R.

    1. Hi Jack, the 105 macro will be your best option for product work on that camera. If there was a shorter focal length macro available such as 80mm that would also be a good option but the 85mm you are talking about doesn’t work well with extension tubes because it is optimised for a portrait look and depth of field.

  5. Hi new to your program, loving the information so far and maybe you answer this later in another video but do you go over the understanding of focus? and how to read that information off of a lens in order to visualize the lenses ability prior to even trying it?

    thank you

    1. Hi Alexander, thank you for joining and I’m glad to hear you are enjoying it. We have a chapter on Focus here – https://karltayloreducation.com/class/focus-2/ but if that doesn’t cover what you need to know about focus distances, all lenses have a specification (usually on the lens brand website) that detail how close it can focus which is the most useful bit of info. There are other factors such as how fast they focus but they don’t always make that clear.

  6. dmzbennett@icloud.com

    Hi. Ok my question is …I have a canon eos 90d with a kit lens of 18-135mm. Would that work for product shoots ?

    1. Hi, the camera will but the lens isn’t the best choice as it is unlikely it will focus close enough for a lot of product work when you are using it in the 70mm range.

  7. Hi Karl,

    This might be a bit like asking how long is a piece of string but – I currently shoot with a 28-70mm lens on a Sony a7iii (up to now I shoot mostly interiors and it works for that) but moving into product photography, which would you recommend to purchase next – the 90mm macro as it covers more depth or the 50/60mm? It’s mostly small home accessories at the moment – crockery, candles etc but could change.

  8. Hi Karl,

    I seem to have all the wrong lenses! I was previously only doing landscapes/ a bit of wedding work and currently have a sigma 35mm and sigma 135mm both 1.4. I’m now looking to do a bit of product work for the company I work for but are these lenses usable? Would extension tubes work in these circumstances?

    1. Hi Eleanor, for product work they are not ideal, you might get away with the 135mm if it focuses close enough but you’ll be better of with a 90mm Macro or similar for product stuff as most products are small. If you’re products are big (handbag or larger size) then your 135mm will probably be ok.

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