Hollywords: Dynamic Perspective in Product Photography


Welcome all, to the second edition of “Hollywords”. Ironically, I woke up this morning having lost my voice, so these are probably going to be some of the only "Hollywords” to come out of me today. If you’re still unfamiliar with me, my name is Holly Brown Bear and I work as full time photo editor and sometimes videographer here at Bang-On Photography. For todays update I want to talk about my experience behind-the-scenes, filming Chris as he put together a product shoot for the New Brunswick Collage of Craft and Design. It wasn’t long before I started to notice some really interesting points about the way he made everything come together on this shoot. Product photography is a huge topic to cover, but in this post I’ll be touching on some points about a studio product shoot, which is what we were doing here. So let’s go:

Movements Make The Shot

Small adjustments don’t seem like much when you watch someone making them, but slight changes made by skilled hands can make all the difference. Because I know the ropes it was interesting to notice how hyper-focused Chris gets when he’s in the zone at work, the micro-adjustments in between shots don’t change much at first glance, but from a post-processing angle it can save literal hours by the end of it all. It’s always good to know that he’s is thinking ahead, it makes the work naturally flawless, and makes my job faster on the editing side of things. For example, most people might not notice an improperly puffed shoulder piece, or think to turn loose strings into leading lines, but these are the details that need to be seen to make an image really effective for NBCCD’s marketing material.


Make It Work When You Aren’t Working With Much

Fact of the matter is, not every product shoot is going to be a lifestyle series. A lot of the time in product photography you’ll be expected to shoot from a neutral backdrop, with studio lighting and no model in the shot. Let me clarify, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this simplicity, because in the end the product is the point of it all anyway. For a lot of the NBCCD product shoots we need to photograph this way because the images are used in their design material where there needs to be a certain amount of negative space in the image for ad copy etc. For them, the art piece itself isn’t really the product here, rather the education received in order to create the piece is what they’re marketing towards. Chris is really skilled at taking a something that would normally be shown on a model in a lifestyle image, like one of the dresses from the fashion department, and still making it as dynamic and imaginative as he could if we had done an entire set design.


Dialling In On Detail

When you’re working with a bold art piece that happens to have a lot of different parts that make a whole, it’s important to get those detail shots that give a fuller perspective of the piece over all. If you’ve read our earlier blog on interior design I also mentioned the importance of detail shots, and lets be honest here if you keep reading our blogs you’ll see this point made continually. Detail shots are everything! When an artist takes pride in their work there is so much more than will meet the eye at first glance, and seeing how the camera captures even less then the human eye, it’s important to get close and personal with the products you’re photographing to really capture the hard work that’s gone into it. Although for this product shoot specifically, rather than showing the detail for detail’s sake we are focusing more on capturing the emotion in the piece that the artists are trying to convey.


There’s a unique and unaware confidence that comes with years of experience, this is true in any profession, but watching Chris put this product shoot together was a great first hand experience of that. For an inside peek at what I’ve been talking about here check out the video below that I put together from my little behind-the-scenes experience, as well as examples of the final results from this product shoot. Enjoy and check out some of the talented graduates from NBCCD, credited and linked below!

- Holly Brown Bear

(All images copyright Bang-On Photography)