As Christmas is a major gift-giving holiday, there are plenty of products in the market during December that add a taste of Christmas to their product shots by including festive props or lighting that provide a sense of what the season is about and encourage buyers that the product would be an ideal addition to any gift box under the Christmas tree. Photographers can choose to portray different aspects of the holiday in their product photography shoots, but we'll be listing some common methods of achieving the perfect Christmas gift product shot.
Setting the Scene
Christmas has multiple interpretations as the holiday can be used to portray comforting and homey feelings such as warmth, joy, and laughter, or feelings of excitement associated with the glamour of the holiday, including decorating, present giving, and lavish meals. As a photographer, you need to understand what you want to achieve with your final short and ensure it aligns with what consumers associate your product with or what would encourage them to purchase the product.
Christmas product photos cannot be the same as classic product photos as they target a specific niche. Therefore, they must incorporate any relevant features of the holiday. The scene can be moody and dark, requiring limited lighting equipment and modifiers to produce a dimly lit image that captures the essence of the product. For a more festive scene, you might prefer this set to be brightly lit with multiple light sources and diffusers to prevent harsh shadows while also highlighting details of the product. Setting the scene sets the tone for the entire shoot, and it is an essential requirement to create the set.
Creating the Set
For Christmas product shoots, the set is as important as the main product as they have to work together to produce a harmonious image that depicts the true spirit of Christmas. The first thing required for the set is a background which can be a simple and cost-effective way to add the element of Christmas to your product shoot. Backgrounds such as Christmas Design 1 and Christmas Design 2 are ideal for creating a holiday vibe without overpowering the main product. They are made of crease-resistant polyester, which can last for years, making them easy to re-use every Christmas season.
Another important component to add the Christmas spirit for any product shoot is by using holiday-themed props. These items can be inspired by the traditions associated with Christmas, including Santa depictions, red hats, Christmas trees, fairy lights, holly, candles, snow, and even spices such as cinnamon depending on their association with the main product and their size along with the intended mood of the set.
When using light sources such as candles or fairy lights on the set, ensure the primary lighting on the set is adjusted to incorporate their effect, including brightness, tone, and warmth, as it can produce unwanted shadows or reflections if not managed properly. The set can also be enhanced by using luxurious, coloured, or Christmas-theme patterned fabrics such as silk, wool, crepe, etc., to add some texture and make the product stand out more.
Creating the set can require a significant time investment as the better the composition, the less the need to adjust, which cuts into shooting time. When you begin setting up the scene, start by placing the background or base fabric pieces and ensure they are arranged carefully to provide the desired effect, whether that's smooth and neat or textured and casual. Place the primary product in the foreground and add the props around it while keeping in mind the closer they are to the product, the sharper they will be, which can be manipulated to add depth to the shot. Set up your primary light sources, which can include ring lights and LED panels, and keep checking the set through your camera so you can have an idea about the composition and rearrange the items as you deem fit to achieve the desired effect and produce a balanced shot that ensures the props do not overpower the product.
Capturing the Image
As this is not a typical product show, there is some leeway as the focus is not completely on the product as the main purpose of a Christmas product shoot is to capture the entire scene. When shooting, start by focusing the camera on the product and take shots from multiple angles so all the elements of the composition can be visible, and you can make any adjustments once you have an idea about how to final shot appears.
If you're going for a more creative shot, you can also play with the depth and framing by bringing some props closer to the camera to add perspective to the shots while keeping the main product in focus. Experimenting with overhead images can also allow you to capture unique angles of the product with the props as long as the main product is still recognizable. While capturing the image, you can even play with the lighting by adjusting the intensity, especially if you have additional light sources such as fairy lights being used as props to create more authentic and artistic photos without losing the essence of the product.
Once you have the final shots, you can select your favourites and edit them to enhance or reduce any details and effects to add the Christmas vibe to any shot.