How Important is Lighting for Effective Product Photography?

Oct 31, 2017

Whether your images are going to appear online or in print, getting product photography right is vital. For your images to stand out from the crowd, represent the product accurately and be attractive to potential customers, lighting is of paramount importance.

Very few product photographs, whether of the packing, the product or both, will come out satisfactorily without using extra high-intensity light, which means a standard flash is rarely good enough. Even with a good camera, a built-in flash is too close to the lens and inflexible. You’ll have noticed this in your own shots – people at parties, for example, have stark, bright faces and background details are lost.

Professional photography outfits like Freshpack Photo know how to get the best out of the different types of lighting, from ambient, through flash to continuous lighting.

Flash equipment is very versatile and it’s not unusual to have more than one remote-controlled flash unit (also known as ‘speedlights’) dotted around the subject. They can be used to eliminate unwanted shadows and glare although it takes time to learn where to position speedlights in relation to the product, the surroundings and the camera lens. This is because you don’t see the effects until you’ve taken the shot, and experience is needed to shorten the amount of time spent on trial and error.

For this reason, continuous lighting is often used for product photography, either instead of or alongside flash. With high-powered lamps that are on all the time, you can move products and vantage points around and see the effects immediately. The downsides are that exposure times have to be longer, as the light isn’t as intense as a flash, and the light fittings can get very hot. Continuous lighting with LED doesn’t get so hot but these are more expensive than the more normal quartz-halogen variety, although that may change over time.

Of course, natural light is valuable too, with an outdoor shoot perhaps the most likely to use it effectively. Even then it’s not unusual to have flash lighting and reflective screens around the product to eliminate unwanted dark spots and obtain the best contrast and brightness combination.

If it sounds like it’s a complex area and one where expert help might be useful, why not take advantage of Freshpack Photo’s expertise? Get in touch today to talk through your options – there’s no obligation.

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