Product photography is one of the components of marketing for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Lighting in photography is often considered the most difficult part of photography. In this article, we’ll discuss how to effectively use natural light to showcase products, starting with choosing the right lighting conditions, product and background settings, and techniques and equipment that can help.
Choosing the right conditions
Find the right place
The location where you conduct your photo session is crucial to the quality of your photos. The ideal place is one that offers plenty of natural light, but still allows you to control its intensity and direction. For example, it can be a room with large windows that can be covered if necessary.
Protip: check out pinterest’s use of mirror and sky in product photography – it gives spectacular results and you don’t even have to leave your house – just a windowsill 😵
Time of Day and “Magic Hours”
Lighting changes throughout the day. The best results can be obtained in the morning and late afternoon, when the light is soft and diffused. Noon light can be too harsh and create unwanted shadows. That’s why it’s a good idea to pay attention to the diurnal cycle and adjust the timing of sessions according to lighting conditions.
It is also worth noting the so-called. “magic hours”, or “golden hour” and “blue hour”. “Golden hour” is the period just after sunrise and just before sunset, when the light is warm and golden. “Blue hour” is the period just before sunrise and just after sunset, when the sky has a deep blue hue. Both of these periods offer unique lighting conditions that can add a unique touch to product photos.
There are apps and websites on the market that show when the aforementioned hours occur in a particular area
The background (in theory) should be neutral and uniform so as not to distract from the product. For example, you can use white cardboard, fabric or even a neutral wall. It is important that the background does not introduce additional reflections or shadows that can distort the appearance of the product. However, don’t limit your creativity. Perhaps an intentional shadow on the product will create a little story that will hold the eye for longer?
Techniques and equipment
Use of reflectors
Reflectors can help disperse light evenly across a product. You can use professional reflectors available in photo stores or improvise, using white cardboard or aluminum foil. Reflectors are usually placed on opposite sides of the product to minimize shadows.
Using a tripod will allow you to keep your camera in a fixed position, which is crucial for getting sharp and well-balanced photos at longer exposure times. This allows you to focus on adjusting other elements of the shot, such as composition or lighting, without worrying about camera shake.
Once you’ve taken the photos, you’ll probably need to fine-tune them a bit. Photo editing programs offer tools for correcting exposure, contrast and white balance. This allows you to refine details that may not be visible in the raw images, and thus enhance the quality of the product presentation.
Protip: Use AI photo editing, which does a great job with basic corrections.
Natural light is a powerful tool in product photography, but it requires skillful use. The key is to understand how different light conditions affect products and how they can be controlled with techniques and equipment. Each product is different and may require a customized approach, so it is worth experimenting and adjusting the settings to suit your specific needs.