Keep It Natural: Get the Best Natural Lighting for Product Photography
January 13, 2019
Choosing the best lighting for product photography can be tough, but natural light is often best. Create the best natural light setup with these simple tips.
You might think that Photoshop can rescue any photos that aren't quite perfect from a shoot. But you'd be wrong. If you get the lighting wrong, there's no way to bring back a bad photo.
Choosing natural light photography is a great way to maximize your product shots. Global e-commerce sales reached $2.304 trillion in 2017. Getting the right product shots is your ticket to succeeding in e-commerce.
Keen to get the best lighting for product photography? Read on to learn how!
Why Use Natural Lighting for Product Photography?
It's easily accessible through any window. And you can control the direction of the lighting by choosing the right window.
Natural light also gives you natural shadows. That helps to add texture to products but also makes them look more 'real'.
Using Natural Light Photography
The weather plays a huge role in getting your lighting right for product shots. An overcast day gives softer lighting with fewer shadows. Direct sun can cause harsh changes in tone and disrupt your exposures.
That's not to say shooting in full sun is bad. It can add drama to your photos which might perfectly suit your products.
Remember that natural lighting changes throughout the day - and often within a short space of time. It's also different at varying points of the year.
Experiment to see which time of day and weather conditions give you the look you want. Alter your white balance to match the temperature of the light.
The light is often brightest between late morning and early afternoon so aim to shoot them. Morning light can be brighter, but afternoon light is often warmer. So try to shoot at the same time of day.
How to Use Natural Lighting
Create a sweep using a large white sheet. Prop it up on a chair or table beside a window. Secure the backdrop using clamps or tape for consistent results.
For larger items, tape lengths of white wallpaper together. Or hang white sheets against the wall.
Can't avoid full sun? Tape a thin white sheet over the window. This diffuses the light to soften the overall effect.
Light levels can drop if the sun moves behind clouds. Using a reflector makes the most of whatever light is left. They bounce light back toward the source, helping to fill in shadows.
If you don't have a reflector to hand, white foam boards will do the trick. (Check out our guide to what you need in your product photography setup)
To use reflectors properly, aim the light in the opposite direction to its source. You can set up your sweep at a 90-degree angle to your window. Then reflect the light back onto the product, filling in shadows and lighting up the object.
Remember to move the product so you get shots from all angles. This helps to tell the 'story' of your product. Add close-ups to capture detail.
Natural Light Is a Flattering Light
Now you know how to get the best lighting for product photography. Using natural lighting saves you money on lighting equipment. Setting up your makeshift studio is quick and easy.
Your photos are also 'truer' to life since natural light preserves the color and texture of your products.
Has this whetted your appetite for trying natural lighting in product photography? Check out our blog to learn more.