Level: Beginner

8 Common Post-production Mistakes in Product Photography

After watching a series of our Studio Photography Insights G+ Hangouts I’ve noticed common mistakes photographers do, and created this post to highlight them and help to solve them based on eight examples. The images I have selected are from our weekly assignments submissions, done by our hangout and assignment participants.
These are very easy and fast fixes, but they change the final look drastically.

1. Not White Enough Background

If you choose to have a white background, it should be white, not grey. If you want a grey background it should be a more pronounceable grey, better with a gradient.

photo by Boris Matijasevic

2. Uneven Horizontal Line (not leveled shot)

Use levels to make sure your table and camera are horizontal. After the shot, you can use guides in Photoshop to check the horizontal line. It should be strictly horizontal, unless it was planned to be different.

photo by Chris Kryzanek


3. Not a Clean(ed) Photo

Make sure you clean all the dust, imperfections, sensor dirt spots, and uneven gradients. An image looks very unprofessional with all this stuff on it.

photo by Mike Broderick

4. Not Enough Contrast

Use Levels or Curves in Photoshop to add contrast to your subject. Contrast will make your photo pop.


photo by Amoringello

5. Not Bright Enough: Items that should be Bright and full of Contrast (text on labels, ornaments, watch hands etc.)

Use Dodge tool, or Dodge and Burn Technique to make part of the subject brighter where it is needed.

photo by C. Rodenius

6. Wrong White Balance

Adjust the white balance in Adobe Camera Raw or using Curves in Photoshop. I’ve added brightness and contrast to this image as well.

photo by whiskers2828

7. Not Correct Perspective

Unless you have the ability to tilt and shift your lens, use the transform tool to correct the perspective.

photo by Tim Kou

8. Not Realistic / Not good looking Reflection(s)

Unless you have a separate shot for a real reflection, it is better not to have a reflection at all. Example is below: I left just a little reflection from the stones to give an idea about the reflectiveness of the surface and removed the rest of the stones. Even though it was a real reflection (sorry, we though it was fake at first), it took too much attention from the subject.

photo by Kim Roos

Hope this will help you guys understand that post production is extremely important in product photography, and it is not wise to EVER post an images as-is, even if you got a pretty good result out of the camera.

Good luck!

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About The Author: Genia Larionova

I am retoucher, stylist and inspirer. I follow inspiration. I love design, photography, Photoshop, creative ideas, positive psychology.

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7 comments to 8 Common Post-production Mistakes in Product Photography

  • Great tips ! It’s always good to be reminded of this, maybe I’ll print it out and keep it on my wall :-) Thank you Genia…

  • Gee Ranasinha

    Great list.

    However, be careful when increasing contrast and/or white balance as shown in the photo examples if your images are destined to be printed (printed as in by a printing company, using either a digital or offset printing press).

    The contrast range of a monitor is vastly superior to the contrast range that the printing process can accommodate. Subtle details in shadows and highlights will almost always be lost.

  • d3vilm3

    Thank you for the great list of mistakes, one i make is the white balance but sincerelly i’m not sure of it because i don’t have a color calibrator and i’m post processing on my laptop. Toshiba Satelite 755 1-nw With nvidia GefORCE GT520 video adapter and my external 52” monitor LG has strange colours with his icc color profile. Can you give me some advice haw can i get around my problem?
    Thank you

  • shahid adam

    v good, i need to know more about hi end retouching for reflected jewelry, rings, watch etc. Could you plz let me about that

  • Jim Clarke

    Good tips.
    By the way I enjoyed the post production video that you did with the table top product photography 7 examples. It would be nice to see more post production videos like that, but thanks for sharing your insights Genia.

    Kind Regards

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