Practicing Product Photography on a Daily Basis

Jan 6, 2022 | Business Topics, Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint, Photography | 6 comments

As I’ve been settling into product photography, my time in the studio has shifted from staging furniture to staging product photos. Instead of hanging props on the wall, I’m laying props down on the table for a flat lay.

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Farmhouse White, Hemp Oil, Replica Surfaces, Flat Lay, Jennifer Baker Creative, Eight Hundred Furniture

The shift has been similar and different all at the same time. There are elements that feel familiar, like choosing my camera settings and staging. Other aspects feel foreign, like using a big strobe light that shoots off a flash as bright as the sun.

Creative Input

Throughout the last few months, my creative input has changed as well. I’ve been devouring episodes from The Creative Exponent Podcast and The Beginner Photography Podcast. There are a few product photography courses that I’ve purchased so I can learn “all the things” about lighting, composition, editing, etc.

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, Milk Mix EZ, Jennifer Baker Creative, Eight Hundred Furniture, Replica Surfaces

A repeated theme throughout all of these (and other) sources is that you have to practice. Are you a concert pianist? Play the piano every day. Happen to be a fine oil paint artist? Paint every day. Want to be a product photographer? Take pictures every day.

(Well, maybe not every day, but as often as you can. There…that’s much more realistic!)

Start With the Basics

If you want to practice something every day, you need to get the basics down first.

Let’s take the piano for example. Before you can play a song, you need to know the notes. To know the notes, you have to read music. To read music, you need to understand scales. To play scales, you have to know where the notes are on the keys.

Get the idea?

So with product photography, you have to start with basic concepts like, how does a camera work? What do ISO, aperture and shutter speed mean? How do they relate? How does my personal camera work? Where should I take pictures? How do I set up a studio?

Then there’s lighting, shadows, highlights, editing, composition, styling, exporting, file sizes, etc.

Basically, there’s a LOT to learn about photography in general, let alone product photography!

General Finishes Milk Paint in Gulf Stream Blue, Jennifer Baker Creative, Milk Paint, Eight Hundred Furniture

Now I’m not a total newbie when it comes to photography, but I did have to start somewhere. Even so, I have a LOT of skills to practice and concepts to understand.

100 Oil Paintings vs. 100 Product Photos

Miss Mustard Seed is a huge inspiration to me. (Read “huge” as “massively-love-her-work-wish-I-could-do-what-she-does”.)

She has set up little challenges like her “100 Oil Still Lifes”, which you can read about here. Basically, she challenged herself to paint 100 still life images using oil paint across 100 days. I don’t remember if they were consecutive days, but the point is that she did 100 paintings.

Now let’s think about that for a minute…

There are 5 traditional work days in a week. Each month has 4 weeks (on average). If Marian did one painting every “work” day, that’s 20 paintings a month.

So theoretically, someone doing a 100 painting challenge could knock them out in 5 months. (20 per month for 5 months = 100 total.)

Okay, enough with the math. Back to photography!

I’m thinking that it might be fun to embark on my own 100 journey, but instead of oil pain still lifes, it would be 100 Product Photos.

Farmhouse style lantern made from paint stir sticks, Mora Milk Paint by Miss Mustard Seed, antique cheese presses, Grain Sack Milk Paint by Miss Mustard Seed, Jennifer Baker Creative, Eight Hundred Furniture

Product Photography Challenge: 1 of 100

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of practice work in the studio. Specifically, I have focused on certain skills, compositions and techniques.

One of those is the idea of “levitation”. This is where you cleverly create a photo where it looks like your subject is suspended in mid air. This took me quite a while to nail, but I’m super proud of this photo.

Everyone, say hello to Product Photo 1 of 100!

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, Hemp Oil, MilkOil, Jennifer Baker Creative, Eight Hundred Furniture, Levitation Photography

What Are Your 100’s?

So how about you? What are you trying to get good at right now? What do you want to practice? Do you want to do 100 “somethings” with me? If so, comment below and tell me about it!

As I was writing, I was listening to this podcast episode of The Creative Exponent. If my post resonated with you, I think you might like this too:

Photo Credit: The Creative Exponent

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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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