We’ve covered lighting in many articles over the years and as a product photographer or packshot studio, it will form one of the most important aspects of every shoot. However, we believe the idea of using a top light delivers real benefits that other types of lighting simply don’t offer. This is particularly useful for product photos and we’ve summarised some of the reasons below.
Highlight detail and quality
As a product photographer, the number one reason for a client engaging your services is that they want you to create high-quality photographs that show off detail and features, attracting customers to their website and improving conversions for their products. A top light offers a way to achieve this far more efficiently than other types of lighting.
This is particularly useful when a packshot studio is shooting flat-lay images of clothing and accessories. It replicates the front light if you were shooting a model or mannequin. You have greater control with the top light and as a result, it will improve the quality. Likewise, if you want to take shots of the inside of bags or shoes, then a top light lets you showcase these features in greater detail.
Control reflections and shadows
A major challenge facing a packshot studio is that when working with products that have shiny surfaces are potential reflections. You will find that a light source from above helps to prevent negative reflections that can reduce the quality of the image.
Equally, a product photographer will often utilise shadows in order to create drama, emotion and make products stand out. This is particularly useful when working with plain backgrounds. A top light offers a different range of control over lighting and in turn, the shadows that will be available to you. The control includes determining the orientation and intensity of natural shadows and in turn, you will need to create fewer artificial shadows in the editing phase.
Feelings and emotions
Another impact of using the right kind of lighting and in this case a top light is the ability to create stronger feeling and depth of emotions. Every product photographer needs to deliver results and particularly when it comes to social media, these results must include an emotional connection between the customer and the image.
This can include making the image more fun or unusual or adding drama with the creation of shadow. Likewise, if you’re using models then a top light will allow you to highlight their hair and skin tone making it more real for the person viewing the image. If a customer feels a greater connection then they will be more likely to purchase or engage with a brand.
There are some fantastic advantages to using a top light as part of your packshot studio setup. They allow for greater control over shadows, detail and emotion even when the product is difficult to shoot or has angles that don’t work well with traditional lighting. A top light isn’t the cheapest of additions to the list of equipment a product photographer should have, but it is a worthwhile investment.