What Is The Difference Between Product Photography And Still Life?

There are two types of still life photography which include product photography and the product created in real life.

Product photography can also be called product commercials. The photos are basically any pictures of a product that is up for grabs, that’s product photography.

Still life is documentation of the pictures, an easier form of photography. Still life photography is also used commercially, but it’s also more informal.

However,  still life means the importance of color, life, and most importantly the reason why the objects are in the picture. 

But the question is, what is the difference between product photography and still life?

In short, it means product photography use to show off a product. It’s more about what’s inside the picture whereas still life photography is about the inside contrast of the picture.

But this can get a little confusing, which is why this article will help you out. Let’s get started.

What Is Product Photography?

Product photography, also known as commercial photography is a photograph of the picture that’s showing off a product. 

Product photography can also be an ad for a product in general. Can be anything, the main goal is to encourage you to purchase the product without saying much.

But nowadays the pictures include product descriptions for the buyer to understand better. For example, the details of the product, price, condition, etc. 

To help understand the product by a picture and a brief description is the prime purpose.

Product photography doesn’t have to be the picture and captions, of the newest sports car. It can be a picture from your local shops trying to sell you something too.

What Is The Purpose Of Product Photography?

The principal purpose of product photography is, well, you guessed it- to make you buy the product. 

Let’s take the last time you shopped online, why did you make the purchase? Was the picture put up was more thrilling to you? Or was it just a blank caption of the product? 

Above all, why would you purchase something you haven’t seen yet? Exactly, this is why product photography is so important. Especially, if you have an online business. The picture of the product can easily boost up your sales. 

Although the picture is crucial, the quality of the picture should be given thought to. Make the image seem interesting, yet sleek. And give your audience a reason to click on your product, be interested enough to read the description of the product, and make a purchase. 

Now, you might be wondering which tools are best for product photography? Don’t worry, I have already shared my product photography tools with you.

Is Still Life Photography Easier?

You are probably more familiar with still life photography than you think you are. All the times you were around the paintings, and canvases, those are some of the biggest examples of still life. 

Unlike product photography, still life photography focuses more on dead or still objects. Most still life photographed objects are household items, like consumer products, clothing, etc. 

still life photography
An example for still life photography

To be real, still life photography is easier to capture than product, portrait, or landscape photography. In product photography, the picture helps with the caption. But in still life, you are the one in control. 

Although still life is less difficult to photograph, but taking an ordinary object out of the blue and turning it into a big piece of art also takes immaculate skills. 

One fun fact is, there are lots of different types of still life photography, and product photography is one of them, crazy right?

What Equipments Do You Need For Still Life Photography?

You need a giant studio or a $1000 camera to start with still life photography professionally. Do NOT take pictures with the phone you have in hand for professional purposes. 

But mobile phone and good lighting is enough for a beginner.

However, while doing still life photography, one thing that really helps out in sunlight. So your studio can be just a table that has a window beside it. The seating order of your objects is very important in still life. 

Again, if you are just thinking about starting still life photography, your smartphone will do just fine. But if you are thinking about making this into a professional or upper level, you might need some new gears.

Still Life Photography & Lighting

Lighting is a must-have in still life photography. 

For starters, you may be thinking about what exactly you should purchase to take your photos to the next level without breaking the bank, and the answer is light reflectors. 

A light reflector fixes the shadows and puts them into place. You can check the average price of a light reflector first.

Whilst still life photography yet needs other things like softboxes and strobes, none of them are too expensive. 

For product photography, the things needed are not really costly, however, arrangement and systematic order are very important here. 

Take a look at the table below for a better understanding of what is needed in which criteria:

Everything Needed In Still Life PhotographyEverything Needed In Product Photography
Light ReflectorWhite/ Solid Color Background
Equipment need for still life and product photography

The only common ground both of these parts of photography hold is, both still life and product photography need good lighting.

I have a complete guide about product photography lighting. you can read and adopt the techniques to both these types of photography

You may watch the following video to get to know some tips to improve your still life product photography.

Product Photography vs. Still Life (Final Verdict)

Before getting into any details, it’s more product photography AND still life, than versus. 

In product photography, you are most likely using the objects and subjects in the picture for a more diverse commercial use. In easy words, an ad. In still life, the picture is the voice of the photograph itself. The still life picture should be able to explain what’s going on in the picture easily.

If you can make the consumer or person understand the meaning of the picture without really saying much, that’s when it’s a good photograph.

During product photography, you can edit the picture and put in logos, stickers, or even other pictures, etc. if you are doing it for commercial purposes or even have a business yourself. 

In other words, you can use the mentioned things and a caption explaining what you are trying to sell to the consumer.

But in still life, you can’t really insert a logo or sticker, neither a description. While a description can always be handy but it’s not practiced much in still life. The photo has to speak for itself, basically.

Still life photography is photographing the environment, and for product photography, it’s taking an object for business uses.

Neither still life or product photography requires expensive devices to start working with. Still life is known to be easier to work with as all you need is a camera and lighting.

Still life requisites for lighting, lightbox, speedlight, strobes, etc. but none of these are necessary if proper lighting is there. Product photography needs tripod, camera, table, solid backgrounds, etc.

Therefore, the final verdict is that, while both of these types of photography is not an easy job. There is still art in both of them, it just serves different purposes in this world.