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Product Based Photography - Setup


Hi everyone,


I hope all is well.


I'm looking for some feedback and suggestions for a complete setup which can be used for product photography (indoors and outdoors). I have a new startup online business and the photos of my products are of huge importance for not only the website but mostly for social media, as they're lifestyle based. In addition to photos, I will be taking some very little video shots which can be used for 30 second video ads. Below are the structures I have in place:


Product Only:


  1. Indoor photos (product shots - close up - white backdrop)

  2. Indoor photos (different settings) - ie, counter tops (marble/granite/quartz), floors (hardwood), furniture (leather, wood)

  3. Outdoor photos (different grounds and backdrops) - ie, nature related, woods, water/ocean/sand, forests, marble/concrete slabs

Product Worn:


  1. Indoor/Outdoor photos (models) - These shots will be product worn by an individual (wrist shots)

  2. Outdoor/Indoor video (models) - Video content will be a mixture of close range and distance range (mostly close). Some scenes will have more movement, for example a vehicle driving in and out of the scene.

The products itself are stainless steel watches and bracelets. The watches have sapphire crystal glass and polished coatings and both elements are highly reflective and difficult to shoot. The bracelets are a mixture of stainless steel beads with charms and natural stones (matte black or tiger's eye). The stainless steel beads are highly reflective, along with the charms and stones (specifically the tiger's eye stones). I'm currently using my iPhoneX to shoot, in an LED lit lightbox, but the photos are coming out sub par. Definitely not at a professional level.


In terms of the advice I'm looking for, I'll break them down in to categories:




I spoke with a videographer and photographer friend, he advised me of these models:

Canon 70D
Canon T7i
Canon 60D
Canon t6i
Canon 50D
Canon t5i


At this point, due to the video needs, I'm leaning towards the 70D. I was advised that any of the others can be used for my photo needs, but they're not suitable for video.




Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens - $500/New|$350/Used
Canon 50mm f/1.8 - $100
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM - $850
Canon 100mm f/2.8 - $450
Canon 50mm f/2.5 - $250


I read that the 50mm is sufficient enough for the product photos (not only in this thread but others on the forum). Would any of the other lenses render noticeably improved results? Would any of the other lenses help me with close range indoor and outdoor lifestyle based photography, in addition to product photography in a lightbox? When I mention lifestyle based photography, examples of this would be close range shots of my watches and bracelets on indoor props like counter tops, flooring, furniture. Lifestyle based photography outdoors would be the products being worn by an individual or solo shots again with ocean/sea backdrops, concrete floors, rocks, streets, etc.


In addition to the close up photography mentioned above, I will need a lens for further away distances, especially for the video. Many cameras being sold used already have lenses with them, for eg, Canon 18-135 STM LensCanon or EF-S 15-85mm lens. Would these lenses be useful? Other than the macro lens, what other lens or lenses would you recommend for further away shots and video (indoor and outdoor)? I can try to find one of the cameras already being sold with this lens, so all I'll need to buy separately is the macro lens.




I found these two kits which look pretty good for the product photography

Godox 300SDI (3 * 300W 300SDI Studio Flash) - $415
Godox 120DI 360Ws 3*120W - $250

Would I be able to get enough lighting out of the second option or is the first option the bare minimum?




I'm looking to educate myself more throughout this process. I was referred to "Light Science & Magic". I was also wondering, is there any highly interactive video training which is recommended? I have already started the Udemy course - Photography Masterclass 1.0: A Complete Guide to Photography.

I would love to get some feedback on everything, as I'm looking to start purchasing all of the equipment this week.


Thank you!



What is your budget?  Are you looking to buy used gear?  Or professional grade gear?



I would not recommend any of the cameras on your list for to reasons.  One, half of them are Rebels.  Two, the other half are older models.  The best of that group is the Rebel T7i, not the 70D.  I would not recommend the 70D to anyone, for any reason, most particularly not for video.  Do some research on the 70D.  I think the 80D could be a good fit for you, although not the best fit.


For indoor stills, any of the cameras on the list can give you good results.  If you want great results, then you would need to aim a little higher at a full frame body, such as the 6D Series or 5D Series.


Shooting video is more complicated.  If video is your priority, then you need a video camera/camcorder, or a HIGH end DSLR. Most any DSLR shooting video will suffer from overheating, and recording time and file size limitations.  Also, shooting stationary subjects, such as someone seated at a table facing the camera, can be done with any of the cameras on your list, but in only in SHORT video clips.  


If the subject is moving, if the camera is moving, if the lighting is changing, creates a whole new world of problems to solve.  Canon’s latest DSLRs incorporate Dual Pixel AF image sensors, which have been upgraded over previous versions to address  the complex shooting scenarios you can encounter shooting video.  None of the cameras on your list have this feature, except perhaps the T7i, which may have a crippled version of it.


The 80D makes full use of the DPAF image sensor, as does the 6D2 and the 5D4.  When these bodies are used with select STM zoom lenses, they can lock focus on a subject’s face, and smoothly track focus as the subject;s distance to the camera may change.  With an STM lens, they will also be able to automatically, and smoothly, adjust exposure by varying the aperture.


For product photography, while most any lens can be put to use, some will do a better job of it.  You will want a true macro lens , combined with a with a good tripod rig.  You may also want a good post processing application, like Photoshop, for image stacking and final retouching.  In fact, you WILL need post software, no if ands or buts about it.  The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro is the best choice on your list.


Lighting is complicated, so i will leave that topic to others.  As far as you knowledge of photography goes, there is no substitute for experience.  I think it takes several thousand photos before people really begin to “see the light”.  I recommend buying the inexpensive EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens.  It is more than worth the cost for what it can teach you about photography.  If you take a class, you will want to have fast prime lens, anyway.

"The right mouse button is your friend."


"I'm looking to educate myself more throughout this process..."

"I would love to get some feedback on everything, as I'm looking to start purchasing all of the equipment this week."


You are a bout to make a big mistake if you buy before you educate.  What you need mostly at this point is knowledge which you clearly don't have. Of course you can use the learn as you go theory but you will need a pile of money.


Ignoring that fact, buy the Rebel T7i and 18-55mm STM kit. Any 36" to 48" studio soft box with modeling lamps will work.  You need several but remember cheap stuff is cheap.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!