How Can I Use Natural Light to Improve My Product Photography?

When working on a project outside, natural light is a powerful tool that can both challenge you but also deliver outstanding results when used correctly. We have a top tip for all readers who ever wondered about how to best use natural light in product photography.

So what is this top tip? Put simply, every commercial photographer should search for the brightest part of the photo and ensure that the subject is placed there. Whether that is a set of models showcasing clothing for your client or the latest products they are launching, it makes sense to use this tip.

This works for a commercial photographer working outdoors, or indoors but also using natural light as the primary light source.

Viewers are naturally drawn to the light

Research shows that our eyes will be naturally drawn to the brightest point on a photograph, no matter if it is product photography or any other type of image. This has the potential to result in an improved photo or a potentially distracting one.

If you place your products or models away from the brightest point, then the viewer is likely to be distracted and fail to focus on the most important aspect of your image. However, if you make sure that your subject is at that brightest point then it not only makes sure the attention is on the product benefits from the power of natural light in product photography.

An example

Let’s take a pair of models that are wearing your client’s new range of clothing, or drinking the latest drinks they wish to promote. The location is a beach and you have a beautiful setting sun to use as a focal point. By placing them in front of this, you not only benefit from the viewers focus but also the natural simplification of the background to enhance the product even further.

More options at the editing stage

By making the most of natural light in this way, you will find it easier to enhance your images with your editing software. By adding in a radial filter that helps to darken the image around your product or subjects, you increase the focus placed on them. What we love with this is that the changes look incredibly natural and you won’t end up with that over-edited look that lowers the quality of your product photography.

Another editing approach involves lowering the exposure on an image and then using retouching kits that add light back onto the model or product in question. This can help ensure any brightening to the subject will continue to look natural. You can combine this with using radial burn and other editing features that you feel comfortable utilising.

Summary

In product photography, you will likely work in a wide range of locations and natural light can make or break your product photos. Finding new ways to harness the power of natural light as a commercial photographer will help you deliver effective images that will deliver results, whether that is greater engagement on social media or more product sales on an e-commerce store.