Product Photography – Beauty and Cosmetics

With the growth of social media, the world of cosmetics has boomed. Where before there were a handful of big brands, mostly designer names that had captured the market, now you have multitudes of online insta savvy startups and behemoths who have piqued our intrigue, captured our imaginations and filled our social feeds. 

Beauty and cosmetic campaigns used to be nipping at the heels of fashion shoots, always a tag along to the main event – but not now. New brands have embraced their own unique identities and with that have expanded a previously quite small niche in photography. 

Not every photographer is right for cosmetic and beauty work. Without wanting to sounds too much like Liam Neeson, it takes a certain set of skills…. a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career , skills that make me a nightmare for people like you….. oops no, I’ve gone full Neeson. My point being that as a client you need to choose your Cosmetic Photographer carefully.

Cosmetics Photography

Cosmetic Photography in itself is not wildly different from still life / standard product photography. However, there are a few seemingly minor differences which can be the make or break of a cosmetics photoshoot. 

Cosmetics are small, smaller than most still life products which you would shoot. They also more often than not, have some sort of shiny, or metallic finish somewhere on them. Cosmetics are very delicate and require precision handling. Cosmetic companies rely very heavily on the imagery being colour correct and often the shades and tones only have minute differences between products.

All of these elements add up to cosmetics being a tricky animal to photograph for a novice. 

The Cosmetic Photographer

The experienced cosmetic photographer understands the attributes of the products as laid out in the previous paragraph and knows how to use these to their advantage. Experienced cosmetic photographers will be comfortable using very small tight lighting setups, using flags and bounces to shape reflections on the high shine areas and will have the fine motor skills of a bomb disposal guy. 

Cosmetic Photography Kit

Cosmetics tend to be pretty small, and you need the correct kit to photograph tiny stuff. Macro lenses, decent resolution cameras, plenty of lighting to get those shaped reflections. These, along with a whole host of clips, drips, papers, crafting tools, paints, mica powders, pipettes, to name a few items for the styling and handling mean that its quite a niche product type to prepare for shooting. 

Cosmetic Photography Styling for Swatches

Styling swatches is not something which you can be naturally skilled at, it take time and practice to get smudges, crumbles and splodges to land in an appealing way. This is not something which just happens on it’s own. Now, yes, you have the option on a big shoot to hire a product stylist who will be adept at this, but what if you are just a startup and don’t have the budget for that kind of additional cost. Hiring a cosmetic photographer means that you can rest safe in the knowledge that your photographer has experience with creating aesthetically attractive shapes with powders and creams, all done (using the afformention tools and tricks) on transparent film so you can easily change the background. 

Cosmetic Photography UK

One of the great things about cosmetic photography is that the products are so easily shipped worldwide, so you can source a photographer anywhere in the world. If you’re looking to keep shipping costs down a little – Royal Mail do a small package 2nd class (its actually massive… not small at all) for only £3! No more expensive courier fees, or having to hire London studios for your photography. You can just ship them to a remote photographer and let them get on with it, no stress, no worrying – just images.

If you are interested in having a chat about Cosmetics Photography then please get in touch on the contact page or email me on, or if you’re feeling chatty then give me a buzz on Tel: 07792394034

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