The Basics of Tabletop Photography


In photography, there’s an approach that combines simplicity with creativity: tabletop photography.

As the name suggests, it involves capturing subjects on a table, offering a controlled environment.

Tabletop photography is perfect for businesses who are trying to take their own product photography.

So whether you’re a novice photographer or a small business owner seeking quality product shots, this guide is for you.

An example of tabletop photography

Why Tabletop Photography? The Advantages


Tabletop photography isn’t just about convenience; it’s a style that brings myriad benefits.


Control Over Environment:


Being based in a controlled setting, like my studio in Westminster, Maryland, means having the freedom to manipulate lighting, backgrounds, and props.




Perfect for e-commerce products, food items, or intricate crafts. The possibilities are endless.




Especially for small businesses and new photographers, setting up a tabletop studio is more budget-friendly than renting larger spaces.

Product Photography for small businesses taken on a tabletop

Lighting: The Heartbeat of Photography


In my journey through photography, one thing stands out: the power of lighting.

In tabletop photography, soft, diffused lighting often reigns supreme. For those starting out:


Natural Light:


Positioning your table near a window can provide beautiful, natural lighting. Diffuse it using white curtains or diffusers.


Artificial Light:


Invest in good quality LED lights or softboxes.

They offer consistency, especially vital for businesses showcasing products.


Crafting the Perfect Backdrop


A backdrop sets the stage for your subject.

While neutral backgrounds are classic, don’t shy away from getting creative.


DIY Backgrounds:


Use colored paper, fabric, or even textured materials to create depth.


Commercial Backdrops:


Available in various materials and designs, they’re perfect for those aiming for a professional touch.

Here is a link to some professional tabletop backgrounds.

This is an affiliate link, meaning if you purchase a backdrop, it costs you nothing more, but I will receive a small commission for recommending it.

I don’t recommend it because of the commission, I recommend it because I use these tabletop backdrops in my own studio and love the versatility and ease of use.


tabletop photography using background board backdrops.

This shot was taken on a tabletop using the background boards described above.

Composition and Props: Telling Your Story


Every photograph tells a story.

For beginners, understanding basic composition rules, like the rule of thirds, can be game-changing.

For businesses, props add context, making products relatable.


For Photographers:


Experiment with angles, distances, and arrangements. Let your creativity soar.


For Businesses:


Think of props that resonate with your brand.

If you’re selling tea, a beautifully crafted mug and some loose leaves can elevate the narrative.

An example of tabletop photography for businesses.

Venturing Beyond the Basics


Tabletop photography is both an art and science.

As you dive deeper, consider exploring advanced techniques like 360-degree imagery or stop-motion animation clips, some of my specialties.

Pictures with motion draw the eye and can keep people interacting with products for a longer period of time.

The longer someone spends exploring the product, the better chance of a sale.

Remember, each image should reflect your unique perspective or brand authenticity.

And if you ever need inspiration, my portfolio is just a click away.


Embarking on Your Tabletop Journey


Whether you’re a budding photographer or a business owner, tabletop photography offers you a world of possibilities.

As you head on this journey, remember that it’s not just about capturing an image but evoking emotions and telling stories.

Happy shooting!



Looking for a Tabletop Photographer?


If you are looking for someone to take product photos, or create stop motion animations of your products, let’s talk!

Just fill out the form below to start the conversation …

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