Art of Product Photography Composition: Tips for Product Photographers

Composition is defined as the technique to layout different objects and elements within the image to improve the visual appearance. Through proper composition, photographers and designers guide the viewer’s eye in the desired direction. This is actually done by accurate framing, arrangement, and placement of objects and elements within the scene.

If you are a beginner in product photography, it is important that you have a good grasp of the common product photography composition guidelines. It is not that all the great photos come from these composition rules, but it is advantageous to have an idea while exploring for out-of-the-box compositions too. 

Below we are going to discuss the most common product photography composition methods in 2024 that will come in handy for your journey towards mastering the art.

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1. Rule of Thirds

Photo by The glorious studio 

The Rule of thirds is one of the most common compositional methods. Being a professional product photographer, it is always tempting to place the product in the center of the frame which is not always a good idea.  The benefit of using the Rule of Thirds is that it is easy to figure out and implement on the image. Having the subject in one-third of the image while filling the remaining two-thirds with negative space is more attractive to the viewers.

As per Rule of Thirds, the frame is divided into nine equal parts with 3 horizontal and 3 vertical lines. In most cameras and smartphones, there is a grid in their live view. The aim is to place the important elements on the intersection points of the horizontal and vertical lines.  The reason for this is to make the image more balanced and engaging to the viewers. Studies showed that viewers tend to focus on those intersecting points faster than on the center. 

2. Golden Triangle Rule

Photo by Binoid CBD 

The Golden Triangle Rule is another important compositional method that is almost similar to the Rule of Thirds. In this rule, the photo is divided into triangular sections and there must be a strong diagonal element to apply this rule in a photo. The grid contains a diagonal line connecting two corners of the frame, and there will be two additional lines from the other two corners intersecting the diagonal at right angles forming two right-angled triangles.

This photographic composition might seem to be a bit more complex for a beginner than the Rule of Thirds. But once you get used to it, you will benefit from applying it to every single photo you take.

3. The Rule of Odds

The Rule of Odds is another popular composition method used in product photography that is very simple and effective. The idea behind this rule is that when shooting more than one object, group them in odd numbers. Odd-numbered items prompt the human eye and brain to work harder to process the information. As a result, the prospective buyer spends more time on the product image and gives more attention. 

Grouping products in either 3 or 5 is generally advisable. Also, you should differentiate the items by placing them on different planes and varying the size, color, and angle of the items. 

4. Use Negative Space

Photo by Artem Podrez 

Negative space is the space on your image that is not filled with any objects or products. But there still could be a plain surface or background in the absence of the products. Placing the objects with enough negative space helps draw the attention of the customer. Negative spaces are also useful for designers and advertisers as they need to add text to the empty spaces.

Using negative space effectively in your designs and advertisements can be tricky.  Choose your fonts and colors wisely so that they adapt naturally to the original image. For inspiration, you can look at some of the images on billboards and other advertisements. 

5. Apply differential focus to make the subjects pop out

Photo by Grailify 

Differential focus is a photography composition technique where you decide where to use sharp focus and which part to keep out of focus. This is the reason it is also referred to as selective focus. This technique is used in product photography to get a sharp focus in the foreground and make the background blurred. This is an interesting way to highlight the product in the foreground. With a little bit of maneuver and proper product placement, you can delineate an Amazon story to the viewers.

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6. Dynamic Diagonals

Photo by Pegah 

Dynamic Diagonal is a photography composition method that is relatively easy to grasp. The rule is to place the products and other important elements along the diagonal lines. Lines being the most important element of design, you should place the focus element on them. Other elements should support the focal point, and draw the attention of viewers to the focus. You can implement diagonal lines on a photo to make it more vibrant and energetic.

7. Shoot from angles that best highlight the most important features

Photo by Ferdinando Ferrazzi 

Angles are important for any kind of photography. Choosing the perfect angle for product photography allows for highlighting the special features of the product such as texture, color, etc.  Instead of shooting only from the front or top-down, you can try different angles to capture different perspectives.

For example, a 45-degree downward angle makes the objects look like placed on a  table or shelf. This way the products look more attainable to the viewers. A right camera angle always adds more depth to the photo and helps represent the best parts of the product. So try exploring different angles before finalizing one.

8. Use design elements such as line, color, shape, texture, etc.

Photo by Elsa Olofsson 

To make your product photography more appealing, use different design elements such as line, color, shape, texture, etc. in your composition. These design elements stimulate an emotional response from the buyers and help make purchasing decisions. Lines can be created by many things such as fence rails, wood planks, etc. 

Lines help draw the attention of the customer in a particular direction. Colors can represent energy and brand perceptions of the image. You can use colors to create consistency across your product photography. Try experimenting with different shapes and textures in your photographs to create a unique feel and emotion in the customers. 

9. Shoot from the front angle and center the product

Photo by Anissa Mebarkia Thomsen 

If you can use the compositional rules effectively, your photo will look great. In product photography, sometimes you just need to place the product in the center and capture it from the front to get as much highlight as possible. There are no distractions in this placement so as to direct the viewer’s eye straight to the product. You can place the product either in the foreground or in the middle ground, and use a shallow depth of field to blur the background

10. Shoot from a top-down perspective

Photo by Alex Azabache 

One of the most common product photography composition techniques is to shoot from a top-down or flat lay perspective. This creates a unique view of the products which is very much appealing to the customers.

We are used to seeing photos that are usually shot from a 45-degree angle or straight-on angle. When a photo is shot from a top-down angle, it creates a unique perspective that attracts the buyer. For a better focus on the product,  you can also try blurring the background.

This technique is often used in food photography as the empty spaces can be filled with different items to depict a story to the viewers.

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To Conclude

So we have so far shared the most common and widely used photography composition method which you should keep in mind while taking photos. But you can explore and try out your own compositions as there are no hard and fast rules regarding this. The main goal is to keep the viewers engaged with the product photos and convince them to buy the products.

Banner Courtesy: Photo by Ivan by Pexels

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