Preparation – Step Two
Getting your lighting arranged right
Lighting can be one of the hardest things to get right when shooting product photography. This is because new things tend to be shiny or wrapped in reflective packaging which can be a nightmare to get right because of glare. Ideally you want a product evenly lit across every surface without any bright spots or shadows that conceal important details and look amateur.
There are several tricks to avoiding glare and getting even lighting, one of them is ensuring your flash is configured correctly, which you can read more about here. When you’re starting out you needn’t spend loads of money on expensive lighting, positionable desk lamps will serve you well and mean you can practice and learn the techniques to employ expensive equipment effectively.
The first lighting trick for getting evenly lit product photography is to use multiple light sources from different angles. By lighting from both sides or above and below a product you can ensure there are no shadows. Where you position your lamps will be dependent on the shape product itself. Keep moving your lights and taking shots until the product is evenly lit.
Even with different angles you might still get glare and bright spots on your product photography. To avoid this you should set up your lamps indirectly so they aren’t shining light directly onto the product, but instead the light is reflected off another surface onto the product. The intention is make the light less intense much like the techniques we’ve outlined for using the flash. This is why whenever you see a professional model shoot they have those strange silver umbrellas on their lights. The lights actually face away from the model but the silver umbrellas bounce the light back at a more flattering intensity.
By far the most flattering light is natural light this can be hard to harness depending on the time of year and location of your shoot but never underestimate the power of opening up the curtains and shooting using sunshine. You’ll feel a lot better too! You will have to be careful where you stand so you don’t cast shadows onto the products though.
Learn more about product photography
All of our guides to product photography can be found here.
Or you can move onto the next guide on how to set up your camera settings.