Product Vs. Portraiture

For last few weeks I’ve been doing some product shots for class. It’s been fun to get away from portraiture (more or less) and be able to focus on all the technical stuff behind the camera. This happens with portraiture too but there’s a lot more attention and interaction given to the subject while I also try to think of everything else I’m doing. Since products usually are not living or breathing I can easily focus on my setup and craft the image step by step. I don’t have to try and entertain the other person(s) in the studio at the same time.

Products are certainly a breath of fresh air for me because the way they look is the way they look and I don’t have to try to get an emotion to surface. People get very self-aware when they are being photographed and it’s easy to come away with a picture that looks nothing like them at the end of the shoot because they were nervous or whatever.

Editing product shots is also very different from portraiture. The retouching brushes, most often the healing brush and clone stamp, see a lot of use in both genres. However, with portraiture editing has to be a lot more subtle because the photograph still has to resemble the subject at the end of post work. Softening wrinkles and dodging eyes, healing out moles and pushing necks in can quickly bring a photograph far from the original. That type of editing is fine if it’s what you’re going for but I don’t enjoy hearing, “That doesn’t even look like me” when I’m done with an image.

Products are more resilient, keep all major landmarks like buttons and handles in the same place and you’re all set. Go nuts with the healing brush because I doubt you’re going to make a tea kettle not look like a tea kettle by accident. Products have a personality just like people do, but smaller, finer details aren’t going to stop a product from looking like itself. It’s a tricky game keeping the qualities of the subject intact from beginning to end, but it’s worth it.

I think for next week’s blog I’ll walk through the shot and edit I did of my Audiotechnica headphones.

Audiotechnica Headphones



I finally bought my domain name and there will be some changes coming in the next few months as I create my newest work to launch with a new website. The URL now redirects to Let me know if you run into any problems and follow me on Twitter for the most current happenings in my journey with photography and art.

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