Insights – Photography

In Insights by Elliot

We’ve put together a series of dedicated Insights into our work at LaserLines Creative.
This issue gives details of the processes behind our Photography work.

If you would like to know more, or have a project in mind, please Get in Touch

Do I need professional photography?

Rapid advances in technology mean that smartphones and compact cameras capture images that compete with much more extravagant equipment from a few years back.

But here lies the problem. Sure we can all take photos and once we have deleted the “finger on the lens” shots, some are even quite good! But if you want high quality images that will form an important part of your brand, there is a lot more to photography than a simple point and shoot.

Just a small technical point: manufacturers of cheap cameras advertise features such as “24+ Megapixels” but a high megapixel count on its own won’t capture great images. In fact on cheap cameras, quite the opposite is true. The more megapixels your camera captures the higher the “noise” on your images, especially in dark scenes.

Picture quality comes from a balance of a few components including a good quality lens and image sensor (the part that captures the light). Generally, the larger the image sensor the better because it will result in less noise, a shallower depth of field and better light sensitivity in dark conditions. A 24+ megapixel image shot on a high end digital SLR / mirrorless camera with a full frame 35mm sensor will be of a very high quality. But take that same 24+ megapixel image on a cheap compact camera with an image sensor a quarter of the size and the resulting image will be generally softer with a lot more noise in dark areas.

Sometimes our clients take a few snaps themselves, and when the picture was needed yesterday there’s sometimes no other option. But with a bit more time, a professionally taken photo is one of the best investments you can make. Any image looks OK on its own, but when you compare it to the same subject shot under decent lighting you realise how big the difference is.

Below is a quick shot taken on a compact camera under normal office lighting. Once cut out in Photoshop and brightened up the results would be a bit better, but still not great.

Typical photo taken on a digital camera under normal office lighting

The key to good product photography is lighting, preferably using daylight balanced lights which make normal lights appear very yellow. This produces images that need minimal Photoshop work because the colours captured are extremely accurate. Below is one of the light tent set-ups we use for quick product photography: three 600w daylight lamps and an 800mm light tent. The light tent helps control any unwanted reflections and softens the shadows giving a nice even light. Look further down to see the resulting image taken on our DSLR.

Photography Booth
This is our standard setup for small products. 3x 600w daylight lamps. light tent and DSLR Camera

Finished Photography
This is how the image looks when taken in our light tent

Using a Professional Photographer will guarantee great pictures, right?

Unfortunately not. The image below left was taken for one of our clients. They used a photo studio local to them to avoid posting the products to us. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of the photo but the lighting throws the front fascia into shadow. These photos were destined for a product catalogue so they need to pick out the detail and look bright on the page and consistent with the other shots in the catalogue. The photographer they used was clearly not a specialist product photographer. Compare the image on the left to the one on the right that was taken in our light tent and you can see the difference.

The image on the left was taken by another studio but the lighting is all wrong.

Our photography samples

Bike Photo Finished

If you would like to know more, or have a project in mind, please Get in Touch