Have you ever wondered why some photos capture your attention immediately? Or, why a particular product shot stands out more than others?

There are many reasons why that could be the case. These include lighting, subject matter, timing, or an engaging composition.

In this post, we’ll focus on composition and three tips you can use to improve your product (or still life) photography.

So, what does composition mean?

Simply speaking, the composition of an image is the way all the individual elements within our frame combine to form the final image. There are many ways to alter a composition. This could be by zooming in or out, using different lenses, or playing around with the placement of the elements.

Let’s take a look at three of the most used techniques to improve your composition in product photography.

Rule of Thirds

One of the most commonly used compositional techniques is the rule of thirds. Note that this rule is just a guideline. You don’t need to abide by it 100% of the time but if you are a beginner it’s a great starting point.

With the rule of thirds, imagine your frame is divided up into nine equal parts. Most cameras will have a grid feature in their live view – including smartphones. The aim is to make sure your most important elements are placed at one of the four intersecting gridlines.

The theory is that it creates a more balanced photo and it allows the viewer to interact with the image more naturally. There are many studies showing that people’s eyes tend to go to one of these intersection points first rather than straight to the middle.

product photography - rule of thirds  


Lines help draw the viewers eyes from the frame to the product. These lines help to place emphasis on the most important element of the scene.

Lines can be diagonal, horizontal, vertical or converging and they all impact images differently.

Looking at the image below, you see that the spoon works as a leading line. Your focus is drawn to the product on the spoon as well as to the products shown behind the spoon. This is a simple way for you to draw in the viewer’s eye to your product or the hero of your shot.

You can use lots of different items to lead a viewer into your hero product. It could be the packaging itself, or one of the props such as flowers, plants, cutlery etc.

product photography - composition - lines

Rule of Odds

Studies have shown that people prefer odd numbers rather than even numbers when viewing images.

Odd numbers create harmony and balance, whereas even numbers can compete with each other and divide our attention.

When shooting products, aim to have three or five elements in your image. If you have more, aim to put them into groups of odd numbers wherever possible.

This rule is an interesting compositional technique as it works on a very subconscious level. You will also note that the rule of three is also frequently used by interior designers and decorators.

product photography - rule of odds

These rules are not the be-all and end-all to shooting products. They are simply guidelines to help you improve your shots and ultimately, to create scroll-stopping images.

For more tips about product photography, click here.

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mamabearcomms - composition tips

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