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Product Photography Lighting: Why Does Lighting Matter?

Product Photography Lighting: Why Does Lighting Matter?


The lighting you choose says a lot about your photo's quality. Here's why product photography lighting matters and why you should be paying attention to it.


Did you know 75% of eCommerce shoppers say product photos have a significant influence on their purchase decision?

Most retailers know images that are too dark will hurt their sales, but images that are too bright aren't doing you any favors either.

There are many elements that go into creating effective images for your online store including product photography lighting, backgrounds, and image alignment. Read on to learn how to set up a DIY studio and shoot beautiful product photos that will help improve your sales.


Set Up Your Own Product Photography Lighting Studio


Don't worry if you have a small budget. Once you learn a few lighting techniques, you'll be able to take professional-looking photographs at home.


Choose Whether You'll Use Natural or Artificial Light


As a general rule, use artificial light for products that are meant to be used outdoors or if you're shooting the product on a person since people look better in natural light. It's best to use one type of light for all your product photography to maintain consistency across your website.

The benefit of natural light is that you get a softer light as compared to artificial light which can cast a harsh glow. Artificial lights, on the other hand, are better for showing the physical details of a product.


Use a Fill Light or Bounce Card to Eliminate Shadows


These are techniques to get rid of the shadows in your photos and you'll be amazed by their simplicity.

One option is to use a fill light. This is where you place a second light opposite your primary light source. Place your product between the two lights and you'll see that the second light removes the shadows that the product was previously casting.

Your other option is to use a bounce card. This is a card that reflects the light in order to reduce harsh shadows. If you're shooting on a DSLR with an external flash, you can get a flash diffuser which is a device that is placed in front of the flash and directs the harsh lighting upwards.

Our favorite solution, however, is to use a DIY bounce card with a smartphone. All you need to do this is a white card and something to hold the card in place. Position the bounce card across from your primary light and voila, you'll eliminate harsh shadows cast by the primary light.


Use a Sweep For a Perfect Background


This will depend on the product you're shooting, but a sweep is an easy and effective way to create a background that doesn't distract from the product. The reason you can't just shoot your product against a white wall is two-fold. There will be a horizontal line where the surface meets the wall and there may be marks on the wall that get picked up in the image.

All you need to create a sweep is a long, white piece of cardboard. Think of the poster board that you used for projects back in elementary school. The idea is that you can set the poster board against the wall in a curved "L" shape so that it is both below and behind the product.

You'll be amazed at the difference it makes versus just using a white wall. On camera, not only is the sweep invisible but your lightning set up will also help bring out the details in the product.

If you're looking for a more dynamic background, note that this technique also works with different colors of paper or even patterns like wrapping paper.


Get Creative!


Once you've created your DIY product photography lighting studio, the only limit is your imagination. Remember, the key to photography is experimenting and creativity. The next step is learning how to use a post-processing tool like Photoshop or Lightroom.

Of course, not everyone wants to spend the time setting up an at-home studio. If that's you, contact us about our professional photography services.


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