How to Shoot Stock Photography: Item Stock Guide

To continue the guide on stock photography, I bring you the next installment: Item Stock Photography.
Item Stock Photography is a pretty self explanatory type of stock photography. Basically, it is stock photography for various items or objects. This might seem similar to the concept of product photography, but it is not quite the same, even though they do share many different concepts. Item stock photography typically does not focus on selling an item, rather it focuses on displaying an item. What the difference you may wonder? Well a pretty big difference, actually.
A product shot is designed to highlight specific traits of an object that may be used as a good selling point such as a creative design or a special feature. An item stock image is set up as an artistic showcase or B section image. This means that an item stock will usually be an artistic look at a specific item, or a broad mundane look made to make an item look generic. Setting up an item stock is somewhat similar to setting up a product shot.
Arrange Your Items in a Generic and Unique Way
Image by Richard

This comes back to the idea of shooting both the mundane and unique aspects of a stock image. You will want to set up your item in a generic looking way first to get the boring shots over with. A good way to identify the best generic way to set up your object is to consider what would be the easiest to cut out in Photoshop. This means straight on shots with plenty of dead space. Afterwards, you should set up your item in a unique way. This can includes shooting your object at interesting angles, such as an upward angle. After the mundane shots just have fun and experiment with the item and how you shoot.
Setting up your lighting
Image by Fender5

Since item photography deals with smaller objects, you should use a light box when you are shooting. By using a light box you can create a canvas area that allows you to make a continuous background with a completely controlled lighting system. By placing your item into the light box you can adjust the way it sits, and the way the light diffuses over the object. Using this tool you have complete control over the what you shoot. You can create long or no shadows, or any other type of lighting scheme by placing your lights to illuminate different areas of the light box. To shoot an item with a complete whiteout (no shadow or defining lines in the background) all you would need to do is place a light shining in the top and on both sides. You can also create unique lighting effects by moving one of the lights to the back or only using a single light. For item stock it is a good idea to shoot several whiteout images before playing around with the lighting too much.
Composition, Angles, and Interest
Image by Cherry Sweet Deal

Since item stock does not require that you showcase an item, but rather capture both generic and interesting shots of and item. What this means is that you do not always have to show the entire item in each image. Try setting up the items in interesting ways and crop out some areas of the object to create a better composition. For example you can align or stack your items to create interesting versions of the item stock, or try changing the background of the light box. Remember that while you want to provide some generic shots, you want to make sure that you capture interesting images as well.

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