This might seem like a strange one to talk about – especially for number two on the list (not that the order of the post indicates any particular ranking, mind you). But product photography was my bread and butter for a good chunk of my photography career.
In my mid-twenties (eight years ago now) I worked full time as a product photographer in a large London studio. I stuck it out for about a year before chucking it in. The work was hard. Well, all photography work is hard. But eight hour days shooting up to fifty products in a dark studio without natural light and a long commute on the train and tube each day was killing me.
The work just wasn’t creative. It was working mostly for department stores and clothes designers. In fact if you log on to any large e-commerce shop or that has products shown on white backgrounds, that was what I was doing. It killed my love for photography.
I never stopped photographing commercially, although after leaving that job I moved almost entirely to journalism and stock agency work. It was much better for me; I had the freedom to work on projects that I really wanted to work on and that instilled a sense of self-worth in what I did.
But it’s only recently that I’ve ventured back into still life and product photography (or “stuff on tables” as I have been known to call it). A new camera and lens combo gave me a new kind of freedom to work with this kind of photography and I’ve been really enjoying flexing my creative muscles in a relatively niche area. It’s the fact that I have to shoot product photos for my shop on Etsy where I enjoy flexing another set of creative muscles. Keeping up on Instagram with what’s cool in the world of Etsy style has been the kind of research I’ve been genuinely enjoying.
So that’s the story of how I went full circle back to almost where I started in photography. It’s taken the best part of a decade, but I got back there eventually.
(For the photographers – just natural light and shot at roughly 50mm f1.4. That’s all.)