Tips for Overhead Tabletop Shot

If you want to shoot products or food – especially videos of any of those from above you are faced with a dilemma. How would you get your camera just above your target and how would you see what you are shooting and control the image.

There are quite a few ways of doing this – one is to put your camera on a tripod with horizontal bar – we did a review of one – the Photek TRI-X-2500 Tripod Extender about a year ago (it useful but it has it’s limitations especially with heavier cameras).

The video above (from Benro) suggest using a jib or crane or just a monopod with a light stand and a holder (which is kind of strange).

You can also have a fixed setup like the DIY one we built (you can have similar versions from a wall or even the ceiling – but this means that you are stuck

The main trick that this video suggest is using a mirror. We have heard this concept from people in the commercial industry a few times – it has several advantages – you have much more control of your camera (it is not high up), you can zoom in and out easily this way (if you use a zoom lens or even move physically closer) but there are also disadvantages – you need the mirror to be 100% clean at all times. If you are using to down lighting the mirror might be in the way and if not – light reflected into the mirror might be a problem. It is also not super simple to setup and requires a large and long pipe – so it isn’t portable.

Since we are recording food videos almost every week for our vegan food channel Veggies, our setup is evolving all the time. We are currently using the Photek TRI-X-2500 Tripod Extender on a Manfrotto 028B tripod legs and a light stand with a boom holding a flexible light facing downwards. We are also using the super useful software/app called dslrdashboard to control our camera wirelessly.

We are in talks with a number of manufacturers to try and create the ultimate overhead camera rig setup – this might take a while but we hope we will eventually come up with a solution that will help other users with this challenging shooting scenario.

You can check out many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid. You can check out all of our overhead related videos here.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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