3 Ways to Get the Best Lighting for Product Photography
Lighting is one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect, of photography.
t can set the tone, the mood, and create certain emotions if utilized properly. It’s all part of the visual storytelling process.
But if you are unsure where to start, natural light is the best light to begin with on your photography journey. To get things going, here are 3 ways to get the best lighting for your product photography.
Use a Filter
White curtains are a MUST-HAVE if you are using natural light. However, roll up the blinds all the way if you have them. Using curtains is an easy and affordable way to help soften shadows and make lighting more controllable. If you are doing a photoshoot at home, here’s what you should do:
- Pull your blinds up
- Tack up a white curtain to cover the entire window (I said tack because you might not want them permanently and that’s okay)
- Only use white, semi-sheer curtains to diffuse the light and avoid coloring issues
This setup works great for North/South facing windows AND windows that face the sun directly. The goal is to make your product photos look as natural as possible. Filtering the light can take away any harsh lines or shadows you may not want, but play around with them until you find your ideal shot.
Reflect the Light
Using a reflector can also reduce shadows, eliminate unwanted darkness, and brighten up an image where needed. You want to reflect the light where you can and this is why the L-shape set up is the most popular.
In low light situations, a photography reflector might be better than a whiteboard – this is the one I have in-studio and at home with me. A reflector can quickly bounce light back on the product and in a more intense fashion than the whiteboard. This is also a great tool for things like jewelry, diamonds, high-end pen sets, and shiny objects where you want controllable light reflection. Just be careful when using the silver side of the reflector when shooting on white! Silver tends to reflect more light.
Turn Off Overhead Lights
Every pro-photographer will tell you this is a must. Your indoor lighting for everyday use is not your friend and without the proper lighting equipment, it can cause lots of lighting issues and color problems. That’s because different types of light emit different types of colors. Some are cooler and others are warmer. For example, have you ever noticed that weird orange tint that makes your photo look too “warm” when taking a picture inside? This is because of the overhead lighting.
If you’re using natural light, turn off all other light sources – lamps, overhead lights, etc. Alternatively, if you are using artificial light – close the blinds and block off all other sources of natural light.
Pro tip – check your white balance, too. This is what distinguishes the color in your photo. If you mix different light sources, it confuses your camera and you end up with different colors in one photo.
Go outside when needed. A shaded patio is better than poorly lit windows (hence cute coffee shop flat lay photos!!).
These may sound like minor details, but they make ALL the difference when it comes to taking professional-like product photos. If you’re just beginning your photography journey for your product photos, keep it simple. Start with natural light until you become more comfortable. Then, you can step it up a notch and invest in the proper lighting gear needed to make your photos pop! You can also check out my blog where I list 7 Do’s and Don’ts of Product Photography.
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