Product Photography Lighting Discussion

September 23, 2020

Let’s have a discussion about product photography lighting.

Product photography falls within a spectrum. Packshots at one end and lifestyle photography is at the other. There are gradients and variation between these two styles but to be clear this discussion is focussed on lighting the more standardised packshot style photographs.

The growth of ecommerce has been accompanied by product and packshot style images to show the uncomplicated basics of a particular product. Some of theses images are super sexy stylised creations and others are the simpler safer pictures that you’ll have seen with plain backgrounds.

Usually these standard images photographed against a white backdrop are light with three studio lights washing eliminating the products in their boxes.

Does studio lighting have to look like studio lighting?

There’s a good reason for treading this tried and tested formula. The products will be clear and visible to the potential customers, making it easier for people to decide, ‘yes’.es I want to add this to my cart.

One thing to consider here though is that natural light looks even better. Covering the product in the sun’s beautiful rays as they stream in through a window always looks so much nicer. The problem is that sunlight is too inconsistent. You don’t have any influence on how bright the sun will shine or when the clouds will pass, which is why lights will still win.

My approach is to sometimes ditch the tried and tested light washing three light setup in favour of replicating daylight. It’s not an exact match for natural light but I love using a couple of lights to create a light similar to daylight.

Reducing the lights down to two with the strongest light falling in from diagnollay behind the product I also setup another light source to hit the front of the product as if bouncing back in.

As with all things in photography the best approach comes down to taste. Personally, I like this look. It feels more honest and surely adding authenticity to a product is a win.


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