OHMYCAMERA Product Photography Blog

What Product Photography Equipment Do You Really Need?

If you’re just starting out in product photography, the thought of buying all the necessary equipment can be a little daunting.

What do you really need? What’s essential and what can you do without?

In this article, I will make a list of the essential gear for product photography and will also give my personal recommendations on what to look for and how to buy the best equipment for product photography.

Essential Product Photography Equipment

The following is a list of essential equipment for product photography. This is the bare minimum that you will need to get started:

  • A digital camera (DSLR or a mirrorless camera)
  • A macro lens (or a standard lens with an extension tube)
  • An external flash or a speedlight
  • A tripod
  • A softbox
  • A light stand
  • A V-flat reflector (or 5-in-1 collapsable reflector)
  • A computer with photo editing software (Lightroom or Capture One, and Photoshop)

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these items.

1. Digital Cameras for Product Photography

Sony A7 III mirrorless digital camera
Sony A7 III mirrorless digital camera

A digital camera is the most important piece of equipment for product photography. You can use either a DSLR or a mirrorless camera. I personally prefer to use a mirrorless camera (Sony A7 III) because it allows me to preview the final image in real-time, but both types of cameras will work fine for product photography.

5 Things to Look For in a Camera for Product Photography

  • A high megapixel count (24MP or higher)
  • Ability to attach an interchangeable lens
  • A hot shoe mount to attach flash or speedlight trigger
  • An option to connect your camera to a computer to allow you to view and transfer images directly onto your computer in real-time
  • A full-frame format is preferred, but if you are on a tight budget, you can always start with an APS-C camera and upgrade later on

If you’re just starting out, I recommend buying a used camera body. This will allow you to get started without breaking the bank. You can always upgrade to a new camera body later on as your needs change.

Best Digital Cameras for Product Photography

Product PhotoModelFeaturesCheck Price
Canon EOS R5Canon EOS R5
  • 45MP full-frame sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to eight stops of compensation
  • Advanced autofocus system
  • DIGIC X image processor
Check Price (Amazon)
Nikon Z5Nikon Z5
  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS full-frame sensor
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD UHS-II card slots
  • 3.6m-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Check Price (Amazon)
FUJIFILM X-S10FUJIFILM X-S10
  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
Check Price (Amazon)
SONY A7 IVSONY A7 IV
  • 33MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 3″ 1.03m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD
  • 3.68m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate
  • 759-Pt. fast hybrid AF, real-time eye autofocus
Check Price (Amazon)
Canon EOS M6 Mark IICanon EOS M6 Mark II
  • 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 8 image processor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5481 AF points
  • 3.0″ rear touchscreen flips up by 180° or down by 45°
Check Price (Amazon)
Sony A7CSony A7C
  • Advanced 24.2 megapixels back-illuminated 35mm full-frame image sensor
  • 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 3” flip-out, vari-angle LCD makes framing and vlogging easy
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
Check Price (Amazon)

If you’d like to learn more about these cameras, I wrote a highly detailed guide on the best cameras for product photography in 2022.

2. Camera Lenses for Product Photography

Sony A7 III mirrorless camera with a Sony 90mm Macro Lens
Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G (SEL90M28G) lens

If you are just starting out in product photography, you can get by with a standard kit lens (granted that you’ve purchased your camera with a kit lens and not just a camera body).

However, if you have a sufficient budget and you are willing to get the best results right from the start, I recommend investing in a macro lens. A macro lens allows you to capture close-up images of tiny objects like jewelry and intricate elements of bigger items. Macro lenses are designed to handle very close focusing distances (12-inches or less) and take very sharp and highly detailed images.

Another option is to use any standard lens paired with an extension tube. An extension tube is an attachment that goes between your camera body and your lens. It doesn’t have any glass inside; it simply furthers the distance between the camera body and the lens. The farther the lens is from the camera body, the closer the focus distance is. Hence, extension tubes allow you to convert any lens into a macro lens.

Extension tubes for camera lens
Meike MK-S-AF3A Automatic Macro Extension Tube for Sony E-Mount

4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Camera Lens for Product Photography 

  1. Make sure the lens has a compatible mount with your camera. Even if your lens is the same brand as your camera, there might still be a compatibility issue. For example, Canon DSLRs use EF mount lenses while Canon mirrorless cameras use RF mount lenses.
  2. Focal length is an important consideration when purchasing a camera lens for product photography. The ideal focal length on a full-frame camera for product photography is between 80 and 100mm. This is because this focal length best represents the item as humans perceive it. Also, note that lenses with a focal length smaller than 50mm can cause perspective distortion in your product photos. 
  3. Lens magnification is another important factor to consider. Lens magnification is the ratio between an object’s size when projected on a camera sensor versus its size in the real world. Without getting too much into technical details, I recommend choosing a lens with a magnification of 0.5-1.2X and a 1:1 ratio for a macro lens.
  4. Prime lenses (fixed focal distance lenses) generally have a better optical quality compared to zoom lenses.

Best Camera Lenses for Product Photography

Here are some of the best lenses for product photography for Sony, Canon, and Nikon cameras:

Product PhotoModelFeaturesCheck Price
Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro GSony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G
  • 45MP full-frame sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to eight stops of compensation
  • Advanced autofocus system
  • DIGIC X image processor
Check Price (Amazon)
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22
  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS full-frame sensor
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD UHS-II card slots
  • 3.6m-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Check Price (Amazon)
Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art (Sony E-mount)Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art (Sony E-mount)
  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
Check Price (Amazon)
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USMCanon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM
  • 33MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 3″ 1.03m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD
  • 3.68m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate
  • 759-Pt. fast hybrid AF, real-time eye autofocus
Check Price (Amazon)
Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro is USMCanon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro is USM
  • 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 8 image processor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5481 AF points
  • 3.0″ rear touchscreen flips up by 180° or down by 45°
Check Price (Amazon)
Tamron AFF017C700 SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 (Canon)Tamron AFF017C700 SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 (Canon)
  • Advanced 24.2 megapixels back-illuminated 35mm full-frame image sensor
  • 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 3” flip-out, vari-angle LCD makes framing and vlogging easy
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
Check Price (Amazon)
NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR SNIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S
Check Price (Amazon)
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-EDNikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
Check Price (Amazon)
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70 mm f/2.8ENikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70 mm f/2.8E
Check Price (Amazon)

3. Lighting Equipment for Product Photography

Profoto B10X Studio Flash Light
Profoto B10X Studio Flash Light

Professional lighting equipment is crucial for getting high-quality results in product photography. There are essentially two main types of lighting that you can use in product photography, namely flash and continuous lighting.

  • Continuous lighting refers to artificial lighting that continuously illuminates the subject. Continuous lights don’t flash when you take pictures, as opposed to strobes or speedlights, which produce bright bursts of light when you press the shutter on your camera to capture a photo.
  • Flash or strobe lighting works differently from continuous lighting. The flash fires after you press the shutter button on your camera, and it quickly lights up your subject for a fraction of a second before shutting off.

Although continuous LED lighting equipment has improved significantly in recent years (with more accurate color, ability to modify the light and adjust color temperature), most professional product and commercial photographers still prefer to use studio flash lighting.

There are a number of reasons why professional product and commercial photographers use studio flash lighting, but here are a few:

  • LED lights produce considerably less output power than studio flash lights.
  • When using LED lighting you need to work in a dark space. Otherwise, any external light coming from a window or an office light will be recorded in the camera and will create ambient light pollution in your shot.
  • LED lighting isn’t able to freeze motion. You’ve probably seen product photos with various liquid splashes and fast motion. These photos were made with a studio flash. To get anywhere near this type of shot with continuous LED lighting, you would need to use a very fast shutter speed of around 1/4000 or 1/8000 of a second, and at such shutter speeds, you will lose most of the incoming light. When using studio flash (or speedlights), it is the flash that freezes the motion, not the shutter speed. If you’d like to learn more about the relationship between shutter speeds and flash, I highly recommend you to read this article.

For my product photography work, I use Profoto A10 and two Profoto B10X studio flashes. Profoto is quite an expensive brand, but its products are very intuitive, compact, and deliver great results consistently.

If you are just starting out, I would highly recommend you to look at the Godox brand. They produce high-quality lighting equipment with a reasonable price tag, both continuous lights and studio flash lights too.

Best Flash Lights for Product Photography

Product PhotoModelFeaturesCheck Price
Godox DP800III Professional Studio Flash Strobe 800WsGodox DP800III Professional Studio Flash Strobe 800Ws
  • 45MP full-frame sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to eight stops of compensation
  • Advanced autofocus system
  • DIGIC X image processor
Check Price (Amazon)
Godox AD100Pro FlashGodox AD100Pro Flash
  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS full-frame sensor
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD UHS-II card slots
  • 3.6m-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Check Price (Amazon)
Godox V1-S Round Head Camera FlashGodox V1-S Round Head Camera Flash
  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
Check Price (Amazon)
Profoto B10X Off-Camera FlashProfoto B10X Off-Camera Flash
  • 33MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 3″ 1.03m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD
  • 3.68m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate
  • 759-Pt. fast hybrid AF, real-time eye autofocus
Check Price (Amazon)

4. Tripod for Product Photography

Digital camera tripod for product photography
Benro Go Classic 2 tripod with a Benro GD3WH 3-way geared head

A tripod is an essential piece of equipment for product photography. It will allow you to take photos from different angles and perspectives and ensure that your composition will stay consistent during the entire photo shoot. This is especially important for a photo stacking technique. Focus stacking is a technique used to achieve extremely sharp photos with a deep depth of field by merging a number of photos together in post-production.

There are many different types of tripods available on the market, and the prices vary significantly. You can find an entry-level tripod for as low as $30, but I recommend you invest a little more and get yourself a decent tripod that will have all the necessary functions such as an overhead arm that will allow you to take flat lay photos.

Camera tripod with an overhead arm for product photography
Benro Go Classic 2 tripod with overhead arm

I personally use a Benro Go Classic 2 tripod with a Benro GD3WH 3-way geared head. It’s a fantastic tripod, and the 3-way geared head makes it very easy to quickly make tiny adjustments to the camera’s level.

I found it very handy in a recent project where I had to take over 5,000 product photos for a local startup selling grocery products. I had to make a lot of minor level adjustments and my other tripod with a ball head just wasn’t very efficient for this task.

Benro Go Classic 2 tripod with a Benro GD3WH 3-way geared head
Benro GD3WH 3-way geared head

3 Things To Take Into Consideration Before Purchasing a Tripod for Product Photography

  • Stability. To reduce camera shake and potential damage to your lens and camera, it is best to buy a camera tripod with a hook that you can add weight to for stability.
  • Adjustability. When shopping for a tripod for product photography, make sure to pay attention to the adjustability of the height and orientation of a tripod. I recommend purchasing a tripod with a center column that you may adjust up and down as well as turn 90 degrees to take flat lay overhead shots of the products.
  • Payload. You need a tripod that will be able to hold your camera, lens, and any other accessories on your camera. It isn’t worth saving money and purchasing a lesser tripod just to have it collapse and break your pricey lens or camera.

Best Tripods for Product Photography

Product PhotoModelFeaturesCheck Price
Benro SystemGo Plus Aluminum TripodBenro SystemGo Plus Aluminum Tripod
  • 45MP full-frame sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to eight stops of compensation
  • Advanced autofocus system
  • DIGIC X image processor
Check Price (Amazon)
Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum 3-Section TripodManfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum 3-Section Tripod
  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS full-frame sensor
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD UHS-II card slots
  • 3.6m-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Check Price (Amazon)
Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 4 Section Aluminum TripodManfrotto MT190XPRO4 4 Section Aluminum Tripod
  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
Check Price (Amazon)
K&F Concept 67 inch Camera TripodK&F Concept 67 inch Camera Tripod
  • 33MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 3″ 1.03m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD
  • 3.68m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate
  • 759-Pt. fast hybrid AF, real-time eye autofocus
Check Price (Amazon)

5. Softbox for Product Photography

Profoto Softbox 60*90cm
Profoto OCF Softbox 2x3' (60x90cm)

A softbox is a must-have light modifier for every product and commercial photographer. A softbox will allow you to take photos with evenly lit products and avoid harsh shadows. There are many different types and sizes of softboxes available on the market, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs.

For product photography, I recommend using a 24×36 inches (60×90 cm) rectangular softbox. This will give you plenty of coverage for small to medium-sized products. If you are photographing larger products, such as furniture a larger softbox of 31×47 inches (80×120 cm) will be a better choice.

When I first started with product photography I got myself one rectangular Profoto 2×3′ (60x90cm) softbox and I was shooting all of my product photography projects only with one softbox for about 6 months before I got myself a second softbox.

Profoto Softbox 60x90cm
Profoto OCF Softbox 2x3' (60x90cm)

If you are shopping for a softbox, remember that some higher-end flash photography brands have their own unique mount adapters. If you use a Profoto or Broncolor flash, for example, you’ll need the same brand of the softbox. Most other brands have a standard Bowens mount.

Profoto OCF Mount Adapter

If you are interested to learn more about softboxes, I wrote a highly detailed article about softboxes vs. umbrellas with a lot of useful information that will help you choose the right softbox for your product photography needs.

6. Light Stands for Product Photography

Manfrotto 1052BAC Light Stand
Manfrotto 1052BAC Light Stand

To mount your lighting equipment you will need a light stand. A light stand is a telescoping pole with a spigot on top that allows you to attach your lights and other photography gear to the light stand.

Light stands come in different sizes and heights, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs. For product photography, I recommend using a light stand that is at least six feet tall (two meters).

When choosing a light stand, pay attention to the maximum load capacity and make sure that the light stand can support the weight of your lights and softboxes.

I have recently purchased myself a new pair of Manfrotto 1052 BAC compact light stands and I must say that I am extremely happy with these stands. They are compact and light, they have air cushioning to keep fingers and gear safe, and they have a special slotting mechanism that connects them together for easy transportation!

Two Manfrotto 1052BAC Light Stands
Two Manfrotto 1052BAC Light Stands

Best Light Stands for Product Photography

Product PhotoModelFeaturesCheck Price
Manfrotto 1052BAC Compact StandManfrotto 1052BAC Compact Stand
  • 45MP full-frame sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (IBIS) with up to eight stops of compensation
  • Advanced autofocus system
  • DIGIC X image processor
Check Price (Amazon)
Impact Air-Cushioned Light StandImpact Air-Cushioned Light Stand
  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS full-frame sensor
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD UHS-II card slots
  • 3.6m-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
Check Price (Amazon)
K&F Concept 67 inch Camera TripodK&F Concept 67 inch Camera Tripod
  • 33MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 3″ 1.03m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD
  • 3.68m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate
  • 759-Pt. fast hybrid AF, real-time eye autofocus
Check Price (Amazon)
Amazon Basics Aluminum Light Photography StandAmazon Basics Aluminum Light Photography Stand
  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
Check Price (Amazon)

7. Reflectors for Product Photography

V flat reflector for product photography
V-flat reflector

A reflector is a must-have item in your product photography toolkit. A reflector is used to bounce light onto the subject to create an even illumination.

Reflectors come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, so it is important to choose the right one for your needs.

For product photography, I recommend getting a V-flat reflector, which is foldable cardboard with a white, black, and silver background. The white background is used to bounce back light from the light source on the subject to reduce shadows and create an even illumination. The black background, on the other hand, is utilized to absorb light and create darker shadows, giving your product photos a more dramatic appearance. The silver background works similar to the white background and it increases reflections and bounces back light from the light source.

Pro tip: If you are on a tight budget, you can always create a DIY photography reflector from a simple foam board or cardboard. To create a silver background, you can use aluminum foil to wrap around your cardboard and tape it.

For my product photography work, I frequently use 3 in 1 Photography Reflector Cardboard. It is very a very compact reflector that is suitable for small to medium-sized products. If you need to shoot larger products, such as furniture, I recommend you get a larger 5-in-1 collapsable reflector. Apart from the most common white reflector, there are also silver, gold, and black surfaces as well as a scrim (s semi-transparent material) that is used to soften the light.

8. Additional Product Photography Equipment (Nice to Have)

Light Modifiers

Profoto OCF Honeycomb Grid Light Modifier
Profoto OCF Honeycomb Grid & Profoto B10X flash light

There are many different light modifiers apart from a softbox that can help you take your product photography to the next level. There are umbrellas, grids, gels, snoots, scrims, gobos, flags, etc. If you are interested to learn more about various light modifiers, I highly recommend you to read the following article: 5 Must-Have Light Modifiers for Product Photography.

C-Stand

C-Stand for Photography
Product photoshoot scene with C-stand, scrim and Profoto OCF Softbox

A C-stand is a heavy-duty stand that is used to support various photography equipment such as lights, reflectors, and backgrounds. C-stands are very versatile and they allow you to mount your gear in many different ways.

For product photography, I recommend getting a C-stand with an extension arm and knuckle. The extension arm is used to mount your lights or reflectors, while the knuckle allows you to adjust the position of your gear in any direction.

I personally use a Kupo 40in Master C-Stand with Turtle Base Kit. It is a very high-quality C-Stand that I frequently use for my product photography work.

Photography Clamps

Photography Clamps

Clamps are another essential item in your product photography toolkit. Clamps are very versatile and they can be used to mount lights, reflectors, backdrops, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

For product photography, I recommend getting a few different sizes of clamps such as mini clamps, A-clamps, and Gaffer’s clamps.

A Hot Glue Gun

Hot glue gun

A hot glue gun is a very versatile tool that can be used for many different purposes in product photography.

One of the most common uses of a hot glue gun is to secure small objects such as jewelry or coins onto a background. This is especially useful if you are shooting products that are difficult to keep in place, such as round objects.

A hot glue gun is an essential tool in my product photography kit and I use it all the time.

Air Blaster or Compressed Air

Air blaster for photography

An air blaster or compressed air can be used to remove dust, lint, or hair from your products and backgrounds. This is especially useful if you are shooting products with shiny and reflective surfaces (prevents you from leaving your fingerprints on a product and saves time during the photo retouching process).

I personally use an air compressor to blast away any dust or lint from my products and backgrounds. It is a very handy tool to have in your product photography kit.

Tether Cable

Tether cable for connecting camera to computer

Tethering is a technique used by photographers to connect their camera to a computer or laptop in order to view images on a large screen during the photo shoot.

Tethering is very useful for product photography because it allows you to see the image on a bigger screen and makes it easier to make sure that the product is in focus and properly exposed.

I recommend getting a tether cable that is long enough to reach from your camera to your computer (I use a Tether Tools USB-C to USB-C Cable 4.60m).

To Sum Up

That’s it! I hope that this article was helpful for you and you now have a better understanding of what product photography equipment you really need.

Just to recap, here is the list of the essential product photography equipment:

  • A digital camera (DSLR or a mirrorless camera)
  • A macro lens (or a standard lens with an extension tube)
  • An external flash or a speedlight
  • A tripod
  • A softbox
  • A light stand
  • A V-flat reflector (or 5-in-1 collapsable reflector)

P.S Don’t forget to join our weekly email update, where we discuss product photography tips and marketing suggestions on how to attract new clients for your product photography business.

Disclosure: OHMYCAMERA.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to companies from affiliate programs at no additional cost to you.

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Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

Aleksandrs Karevs OHMYCAMERA Founder & Author

Hi, my name is Aleksandr and I am a full-stack digital marketer from Riga, Latvia. In 2018 I became obsessed with photography and decided to create this blog to share my knowledge about both photography and marketing. In my free time, I enjoy taking photos with my everyday companion – FUJIFILM X100V.

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Disclosure: OHMYCAMERA.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to companies from affiliate programs at no additional cost to you.