Most of my commercial photography clients require a high degree of image consistency for their product photography, adding new photos to their existing catalog of images each year. To maintain that consistency, establishing image standards for each angle photographed is critical. Even within a single project it’s common that some products arrive late, and a specific set will have to be re-created again so the final product images all match each other exactly.
A long time ago I discovered how frustrating and time consuming it could be to re-create a new shot that matched an older image exactly – even more so when I was the one who shot it the first time, and didn’t make notes for my future self. Lessons learned, the hard way.
Now when I think a particular product will need matching photography again in the future, I make a detailed set diagram, noting the position of each light, power levels, and light modifiers in use. Most important is the exact location of the camera relative to the product. I also keep a full online archive of past client projects, so when the next shoot starts, I can quickly pull up the old images and reference back to what we shot before. With the images I need to match on screen and notes in hand, I can quickly put the set together and be confident that the new images will be consistent with what we photographed previously.
These examples of my product photography were shot in multiple sessions, typically years apart. With established image standards, this kind of consistency is easy to repeat.