by Jaco vermaak

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Anyone can take great product photos at home!

Have you ever wanted to take an amazing photo of your products for your business or website?


Jaco Vermaak

October 23, 2017

3 of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to capture high quality product images at home are: Composition, Lighting and Camera technique. For today's blog we will be focussing on composition.

What is composition?

Composition is a way of guiding the viewer’s eye towards the most important elements of your work, sometimes in a very specific order. A strong composition can help turn a dull image into a spectacular one. Just as a strong composition affects the image positively a poor composition can completely ruin an image.  There are a lot of errors in an image that can be rescued in post processing such as, exposure and white balance, however bad composition can most often not be corrected effectively after the fact. One can crop the image to get a better composition, unfortunately doing so will rob the image of resolution and limit the file size. It is far better to get the composition correct in camera.

Before we dig a little deeper into composition, here are 2 example images of the same product under the same lighting.

Image 1
Image 2

Neither of the images are super strong in composition, however Image 2 has a better composition than Image 1. We can assume that a good composition is one that is most pleasing to the eye. Therefore the goal of composition is to show your subject matter off in a flattering manner. There is an enormous amount of books devoted solely to art of composition with topics such as: the rule of thirds, filling the frame, leading lines, negative space, space to move, the Gestalt Principles and the golden ratio among them. It can be quite daunting for a budding photographer to get to grips with all the the theory around composition, however the best place to start is by by keeping it simple.

Lets have a look at the most basic of composition and also the easiest to get grips with.....

The rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section.

The image area gets divided in 3 horizontally and vertically, leaving you with 9 blocks. With this grid in mind, you can frame your shot and pay close attention to the 4 cross points. The intersection between the lines is where the strongest composition could be. With the rule of thirds composition, you want to have your important subject matter situated off centre and ideally on one of the cross points. There will be times where this rule is broken, however you first need to understand the rule before you can break it.

Theoretically, if you place points of interest on or around the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images most people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

Till next time



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