Product photography is key to making your online store look professional and generating sales. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started – all you need is a camera and some basic knowledge about how to take good photos. In this post, we’ll explain the importance of product photography and give you some tips on product photography lighting so you can take great photos of your products.
Keep on reading for some tried-and-tested product photography lighting techniques from a professional product photography studio.
Product photography lighting: why does it matter?
Product photography lighting is important for a number of reasons. It can help make your products look their best, and it can also help you avoid taking bad photos that will reflect poorly on your business.
On top of this, properly lit product photos help you capture your products correctly. This includes showing the right colors, showcasing textures and patterns, and can even help your potential clients get a better idea on your products’ shapes and sizes.
Product photography lighting is an essential part in capturing your products as they are and giving your potential clients an accurate representation of what you are selling.
Basic product photography lighting tips
1. The Goldilocks rule
First, you want to make sure that the light you use in your product photography shoot is not too harsh or too soft. When you’re taking pictures for web content or product marketing, it’s important that the lighting is just right. We recommend using an HMI (hand-held light box) to produce natural looking images without any harsh shadows from overhead bulbs and bright spots.
This is especially important for products that are soft, such as clothing. If the light strikes an item in just the right way to create a beautiful shadow but produces no highlight whatsoever then there won’t be much detail visible when viewed up close and personal with your laptop screen.
2. Light it up
Make sure the light is bright enough. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think about it. If the light is too dim, your photos will come out looking dark and grainy. But if the light is too bright, it can wash out the colors in your photos and make them look flat. The best way to avoid either of these problems is to use a light meter to measure the light before you start taking pictures.
If possible, shoot your product photos in natural light. This will give them a softer, more natural look. Basic product photography lighting is quite easy to achieve. To do this, simply set up your product near a window where there is plenty of natural light coming in. You may need to experiment with different angles and positions to find the best lighting for your particular product.
3. Angles matter
When you’re shooting product photos, it’s important to make sure the light is hitting your product from the right angle. If the light is too harsh, it can wash out the color of your product. If the light is coming from the wrong angle, it can create shadows that make your product look uneven or distorted. The best way to avoid these problems is to experiment with different lighting setups until you find one that works for your product and your camera. Once you’ve found the right lighting, you’ll be able to take beautiful, professional-looking photos that will show off your products in their best light.
4. Avoid direct sun
If you’re taking product photos outdoors, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight. The harsh light can cause glare and make your products look washed out. The best time of day to take product photos is during the Golden Hour, which is the hour just after sunrise and just before sunset. The natural light during this time is soft and warm, giving your photos a beautiful glow. If you must take photos during the daytime, try to find a shady spot where there’s less direct sunlight. With a little trial and error, you’ll be able to find the perfect lighting for your product photos.
5. Be careful of shadows
Shadows can be your friend or your enemy, depending on how you use them. If you want to create a moody atmosphere, shadows can be helpful. But if you’re trying to take a picture of a product, shadows can be a pain. They can make it hard to see the details of your product, and they can also make it look like your product is floating in mid-air. If you’re having trouble with shadows, try using a diffuser to soften the light.
6. Use reflectors
Use reflectors to bounce light back onto your product. This is a great way to avoid shadows and to add some extra light to your product photos. Reflectors come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find one that’s just right for your needs.
Pro-tip: You can DIY a reflector by using any type of reflective material. Some common materials that can be used are aluminum foil, white paper, or even a mirror! Just keep in mind that the bigger the reflector, the more light it will bounce back onto your subject. Experiment with different objects and see which one you’re most comfortable using.
7. Get a diffuser
A diffuser will help to soften the light and reduce shadows. This is especially helpful if you’re shooting with artificial light.
Pro-tip: You can DIY a diffuser by using any type of translucent material. Some common materials that can be used are tissue paper, a sheer curtain, or even a white t-shirt. Simply hold it over the flash or have someone do it for you. This blocks some of the light from the flash while still allowing a bit of it through, making the lighting less harsh.
8. Be aware of the background
The background of your photo can make or break the shot, so it’s important to pay attention to it. If you’re taking a picture of a white product, for example, you don’t want to put it in front of a bright, busy background. It will just distract from the product. Instead, look for a plain background that will complement the product.
A plain white backdrop is often used in product photography, as it makes the product stand out and look clean and simple. You can buy a white backdrop online or at a photography store, or you can make your own by painting a piece of cardboard or hanging a white sheet.
9. Experiment with different angles
Sometimes, the best way to get a great shot is to experiment with different angles. Take a few pictures from different angles and see which one looks the best. You might be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.
10. Have fun with it
Product photography doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Sometimes, the best shots are the ones where you let your creative juices flow and have fun with it. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things!
A final note
Lighting is important in product photography because it can help to make your product look its best. Good lighting can make a big difference in the quality of your photos, so it’s worth taking the time to experiment with different product photography ideas and lighting setups until you find one that works well for your particular product and style of photography. The best lighting setup for product photography will vary depending on the type of product you’re shooting and the style of photography you want to achieve.
We hope these product photography lighting techniques and tips have helped you shoot better product photos. Now that you know how to light up your product photography, it’s time to go try it! If you need any help, don’t be afraid to reach out to Stellar Studios.