Apple product photographer talks tradecraft, gear and more

hero ipda mini shot

Apple is well-known for its minimal, yet seemingly flawless product shots. With their realistic lighting and signature white backgrounds, the images of iPhones and iPads scattered across the company’s website almost look like they were computer rendered.

But as photographer Peter Belanger can attest to, that’s definitely not the case. The longtime product-shooter spoke with technology blog The Verge recently about his experience working with Apple, and what kind of preparation goes into each photo shoot…

Here, Belanger explains how he sets up for a shoot to The Verge’s Michael Shane:

 “The biggest factor is how many photos need to be accomplished in a day. I try to keep the shot list reasonable so there’s time for me to light each product uniquely. Ideally, I consider the material of the product and how best to light it. Sometimes it’s easier to light the materials without a surface getting in the way (since it can be added later). When I’ve had ridiculously complex sets around a product it is a result of needing to light something very precisely and be able to control each highlight and shadow independently.”

And here he details what it’s like to work with Apple:

“The team at Apple always has a really well developed shot list and sketches of what they need. I work with their talented art directors to translate those sketches into photos. We start by getting the position of the product and then move forward on lighting. Because Apple products have such carefully selected materials it is incredibly important to light the product in a way that will showcase the various materials accurately.”

For all of you shutterbugs out there, Belanger says that the Canon 5D Mark III is his go-to camera and his favorite base lens is the 24-70mm. As for software, he says he uses Aperture to archive, Capture One to do RAW conversions and Photoshop for everything else.

The entire interview is really worth a read, even if it’s only for the Apple references. It’s always interesting to see how deep the ‘pay attention to the details’ mantra goes in the company.