Lighting is by far one of the most important factors in photography, and even more so when shooting product images. Capturing all the details and features is essential for an effective product shot. So in this article we have some techniques used by the photographers at Digital Exposure.
Set the Stage
Keep the product at the centre of attention. The entire composition and lighting should help put the focus on the product.
Think about the colours of the product and background. Getting the contrast between the colours right will result in a clean and clear image. The aim of the background should be to enhance the product, not to draw attention sway from it.
For beginners, you don’t necessarily need any specialised lighting equipment. Use natural sunlight from a window and a white reflector card. This is an inexpensive method of achieving beautiful product images with proper lighting.
For a more flexible option, use a light box (or light tent) to achieve softer lighting. This gets rid of harsh shadows and allows all the product details to be seen. Initially aim two light sources at the product. Then it is a matter of experimenting with the level of brightness, distance and angle of the light. Continue adjusting the lights until you get the desired effect.
The texture and material can make lighting more challenging. For some products you may need more than two light sources to avoid hard shadows that hide the details. Giving a sense of depth can help bring the image to life.
Think about the overall look you want to achieve. You might want to highlight a reflective surface. To correctly show the shininess of the product, adjust the height, angle and brightness of your light source to get the optimal setup, without an ugly glare.
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of reflections. For some product shots you may want to completely eliminate shadows and reflections. But other times, a well cast reflection will give the image a natural and realistic look. So always take into account the context and purpose of the product images.
Product photography can be as simple or complex as you make it. In this field, creativity and experimentation are highly valued. So why not use lighting in different and unexpected ways?
Instead of shining light down on the product, you could try lighting it from below. A light box can be used for this technique. Think about the size and shape of the product in question, and what interesting ways it can be shown off.
By following all the best lighting practices, you can take some stunning product images. Though there is always room for improvements, tweaks and corrections. After shooting, editing the photos allows you two perfect the lighting and look of the image.