The Role of Lighting in Product Photography: Exploring the different lighting setups

The Role of Lighting in Product Photography: Exploring the different lighting setups

The key to successful e-commerce is a professionally executed photo, which will reveal the beauty of your products and attract customers. At first glance it seems simple - put the object on any surface and take a photo, because with modern amateur equipment everything is simple. However, in this case, it is almost impossible to achieve the ideal result - snow-white background, blurring, accurate transfer of color and shape without shadows, and clarity of the image. To make the product look great in an online store's catalog, it must use professional lighting and techniques, considering the product's features being sold. In this article, we will consider the most critical issue that determines photo-lighting quality, its role, and what techniques can be used to demonstrate the goods effectively.

The role of lighting in product photography

Properly selected lighting equipment has a key role in creating photos of your goods:

  • It can be used to control the delivery of a light beam of the right intensity, warmth, and direction.
  • Playing with "soft" and "hard" light, photographers manage contrast and shadows.
  • Applying professional lighting can convey the real color rendition of the product in the photo, so the buyer will see what it looks like in person.
  • In addition to color, the decision to buy a product is influenced by its detail. The smallest and most essential details, textures, and elements of clothing and complex jewelry will not be hidden from the camera lens if illuminated from a certain angle.
  • By controlling the lighting, it is possible to modify the background, making it accentuated, blurred, or invisible.
  • The desired mood can also be created by lighting devices, soft home-like or sharp and bright youth, depending on your product.
  • Clean image reproduction is another vital role of using professional lighting in a photo studio for rent. By adjusting it correctly, you can avoid unnecessary glare reflections, emphasizing the attractiveness of the goods.
  • Along with the atmosphere of the goods must be given a compositional position. It can be the composition itself separately goods or together with props, as well as giving corporate identity and attracting attention to the elements that make up the goods.

As you can see, professional lighting in the studio and knowing how to use it is critical to better showcase products.

What lighting equipment is helpful for product photography?

It is impossible to take a picture without the right lighting to produce the right mood and high-quality image free of flaws, glare, or shadows.

  • Softboxes are designed to create soft, diffuse, and uniform lighting, which opens up the details of the goods with a minimum presence of shadows and reflections.
  • Umbrellas are necessary when photographing large goods and when it is necessary to create an ultra-soft effect. They are used to diffuse light over a wide radius.
  • Reflectors control the flow of light, help avoid shadows and glare, and emphasize the details of the product.
  • Backgrounds provide a neutral background that does not take attention away from the product.
  • Strobe lights with flashes are used for the right light intensity and dynamic shots.
  • LED lights - to provide steady but adjustable light with low color temperature.
  • Tungsten lamps give higher heat output and a warm yellowish tone of light.
  • Fluorescent fixtures create a cold type of light with a blue tint, making a natural daylight effect in studio photography.
  • Luxmeters serve for measuring the light intensity to best direct it.
  • Diffusers are also needed to soften the glow and diffuse the light.

Main lighting options and their impact on product visualization

Professional photography performed in a photo studio for rent is not only high-quality specialized equipment but also the use of a variety of special techniques. Each of them influences how the product will look in the photo as a result.

Three-point lighting

It is thought that three-point lighting is the most widely used and adaptable. Use three-point lighting for large quantities of commodities, such as apparel, interior furnishings, machinery, car components, and merchandise. Three light sources are used as the main, filling in the gaps, and background (to create depth). Finding the balance is crucial to preventing the fill light from being stifled.


This kind of lighting creates the effect of the glow of the object, and emphasizes its contours. Especially counter lighting advantageously visualizes objects of unusual shapes, with interesting details. These can be glass and decorative objects, elements of art or jewelry, shoes, electronics, dishes, food, leisure goods, and clothes on the model. To recreate this type of photography, the light stream is directed from the back of the subject (from behind). Diffusers and reflectors are used for dynamism and the special mood of the image.

Side lighting

Side lighting is the ideal solution if you want to emphasize specific characteristics of goods, highlight complex details of the product, give a specific effect to the composition, and create an exciting contrast. Side lighting will produce the best studio photos of glass, liquids, textured surfaces, art objects, textiles, jewelry, and models. To realize it, the main light source is directed from the side. It is necessary to "adjust" the angle of the light to the features of the object itself, showing its depth.


This kind of lighting is used to give the object a special silhouette and to emphasize its contours with shapes. Use backlighting in combination with other light sources so as not to plunge any sides of the item into darkness or shadow. Take a photo with transparent and translucent products, stones, mirrors, art objects, lamps, and automobile parts.

Natural light

It is also used for photo shoots. It can be sunlight or sources from windows - ideal if you want to emphasize natural tones in fabrics, plants, furniture, appliances, and baby products. Natural light creates soft natural shadoand ws, even tones, but it is worth considering that the source is not constant and changes position during the day. Therefore, to avoid the sun light, it will be easier to create a suitable atmosphere in the studio for rent due to fluorescent lamps or LED grid.

Diffuse lighting

A technique that allows you to use lighting fixtures and tools to create a soft and even light that minimizes reflections with shadows in the process, yet subtly highlights details. It is ideal if you need to photograph jewelry, glossy surfaces, metallic elements, children's toys, food, cosmetics, or photography. In order to recreate this method in a rental photo studio, the light stream must be made to diffuse or reflect off of other surfaces, such as ceilings and walls. In this case, using reflectors might be the best course of action for professional work.

Butterfly technique

Most often, this option is used in portrait photography, but if you want to give expression to small objects, this technique is the best way to do it. To do this, a bright light source with minimal filters is placed over the subject, which is placed on a special stand. Thus, the accent shadow will be directly under the item.

Common lighting mistakes in product photography

Despite the desire to show the buyer the goods in all their glory, many remain dissatisfied with the result because of the mistakes made. Let's dwell on the more common ones:

  • Lack of professional equipment: most businesses find this to be challenging and costly; thus, renting a picture studio is preferable.
  • Using unsuitable shooting techniques. Try different options or trust a professional photographer.
  • Improper white balance, light intensity, and directionality.
  • Using the built-in flash in your camera.
  • Using lamps with a low color rendering index makes the subject look far removed from the real thing.
  • Failure to use reflectors and fill light will result in unnecessary shadows and sharp contrasts.
  • Ill-advised use of lamps, for example, with different color temperatures, unsuitable diffusers will lead to uneven light.
  • Incorrect angle of light placement can create glare and reflections that hinder visualization of the goods.


The purchase is directly influenced by the quality of the goods' visualization. The customer should be able to imagine the product's features, benefits, quality, and usefulness just by looking at the photo. This can only be accomplished by applying skilled lighting strategies and high-quality, relevant illumination. Do you want a stunning product catalog that draws in clients and makes rival businesses envious? You won't regret taking care of the lighting when taking pictures!

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