Sometimes we have to shoot boring stuff. And that can be really easy.

Sometimes we have to shoot boring stuff and make it look really cool, or awesome, or inspiring – at least inspiring enough to lead to a purchase.

And THAT can be really hard.

So this portfolio building shot will be quite a challenge

A Product Shot… one of the staples of a commercial photographer, and something we all must master to keep the cash flow positive.

The product I want you to shoot is a surge protector / multi plug outlet. One of those things that we plug other plugs into. They can be picked up most anywhere for a few bucks.

Amazon has them… do NOT make a shot that looks like Amazon products.

This is a note from the Art Director…

Hope things are going well. Look – we have to pull a rabbit on this one. The client is launching this multiplug thing in about 30 different stores and we need something to catch people shopping. It has to stop them and make them look at this thing. Endcap placement means high visibility. The image will be used large (about 30″ x 50″ or so) and will be above the rack of items.

This image has to rock. Let me know budget and can we shoot this next week?

If you want to use a model or talent – that’s cool, but we will need a one year buyout and exclusive on the model. Run the ideas by me before you shoot – and remember these are for Walmart and Target… heh.”

There are many ways to make this photograph, but I want you to concentrate on making it a stylistically true image, and also make it interesting. It must be interesting, as it is the kind of “solution” oriented image that can really make it a good portfolio image.

Want to really impress… shoot a black on black or a chrome on black or white on white.

There are no issues with each, the AD is fine with black or white because they come in both colors. His only need is to show the unit in use and some cords that must be introduced. If we have them all plugged in, we cannot see the way it works, and if they are all out, it may not make sense.

Make the most stylistically, creatively awesome photograph you can of a totally mundane, and obviously uninteresting product. Use a model if you want. Try different angles, different POV’s, different lighting. Try to tell a story with the image.


  • Cords: They can be a real headache, and they must look good if they show.
  • Plastic discoloring: Work the surface with your light and if you need to take the discoloration out in Pshop, then that is what you do.
  • Power switch. Can you illuminate it?
  • Story: How can you tell a story with the powerstrip saving the day, providing the solution, doing its super powerstip thing to make life so much easier?

I know you can make this a killer shot of a mundane, nothingburger of a subject. You just have to bring YOUR work to life.

Cause that’s how we roll.

Good luck.

(cover photo: Tammy Bogestrand)