Finding the best lens for product photography is all about knowing what kind of products you’re going to be shooting. I’ve shot small products such as wedding rings, cuff links and bow ties, and large products up to floor cushions.
Product photography can be a challenging beast. It is only recently that I’ve started to dip my toes into this style of photography, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how rewarding the work can be and the financial incentive to shoot it!
At the bare minimum you’re going to need:
- A decent tripod or boom (trust me, don’t cheap out on this)
- A lens suited to your products
- A lightbox or lighting
There’s plenty of different types of lighting and backdrops you can use to achieve your desired outcome, I’m not going to touch on them in this article, nor the tripod, but I’m going to dive straight into the best lenses for product photography.
So what makes qualities are in the best lenses for product photography?
This is one you really need to gauge before you buy the lens.
Do you need product photography for something small like wedding rings? Or are you shooting large products like cushions?
I’ve shot both of these before and it’s practically impossible to use the same lens to get a decent quality shot on both products (unless you use something like the 70 – 200mm f/2.8L but even then it’s still a bit of a stretch).
Rings require a macro lens with a large focal length (think minimum 100mm) whereas cushions require something smaller, probably around the 35mm-50mm mark (I preferred the 50mm for the shots I took).
Ideally you want to be able to cover a focal length range of 24mm – 200mm
Ideal lenses for Canon
24mm – 70mm f/2.8L
70 – 200 f/2.8L
Ideal lenses for Nikon
You can also get a macro lens and some extension tubes for cheap which will give you greater versatility in your set up.
Nikon AF-S FX Micro-NIKKOR 2177 60mm f/2.8G ED Standard Macro
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f2.8G IF-ED
For Sony – Rokinon 100mm F2.8
The Rokinon 100mm f2.8 was my choice as a product photography lens, it’s a great focal length for small products like rings and pendants.
You’ll find there’s plenty of budget options that fall in the under $500 category. This can be a great starting place for a lens when getting into product photography. Personally, I opted for a manual focus Rokinon 100mm f2.8 that came in at just a touch over $500 and it performed very well. The only downside with these is that it can become laborious if you have thousands of products to shoot like I did. I really started to curse manual focus after the first couple hundred and wished I had gone for an autofocus macro lens. Usually you can get a prety decent entry level lens through Rokinon, Tamron or Tokina.
I’ve been photographing for 13 years and have a penchant for 35mm and medium format film. Black and white street photography is my go-to. My work has been featured in online and print media through a few publications like Shutterstock, Brooklyn Resource Mag, Off The Rails and Collective Quarterly.