Lighting

May 10, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

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My previous spotlight on white backgrounds proved to be really useful, not only for clients when making choices about the sorts of backgrounds they may want to use in their product photoshoots but also for me as a reference when educating clients on the different forms a white backdrop can take, so continuing right on from that I thought writing up a post focusing on lighting would be useful too.

Without light you can't have a photo, but the ways in which we choose to use light and shadow have a huge impact on the overall impression a subject gives and so the more deliberate we can be in the ways we light a subject or object, the more we can use lighting as a tool to make your images stand out and reflect your brand aesthetic.

 

Single Light Set-Up

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1. Soft Light

Soft lighting is the one that most closely replicates indoor daylight, creating an even light on the subject with soft shadows. 

2. Hard Light

Hard light creates hard shadows which create a dramatic contrast with the background. This lighting most closely replicates direct sunlight and is a really popular lighting style at the moment.

3. Flat Light

Minimal shadows with even lighting across the entire subject, flat lighting can be a bit boring for product photography, but the most flattering for portraits and modeled shots because it softens any lines on the skin.

 

Creative lighting

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4. Rim Ligh

Another dramatic choice, rim lighting is great for separating the subject from the background, creating silhouettes, and adding colour without lighting the entire scene in one hue.

5. Mixed Light

Using a mix of ambient light and artificial light (in this case daylight from a window and a rim flash) is brilliant when adding a little extra to an otherwise 'naturally' lit shot. In the above image, the window light creates a smooth, bright, even lighting while the rim light throws a highlight onto the label and adds extra highlights to the ripples in the water.

6. Backlight

Lighting a subject from behind makes for a glowy, ethereal look which I personally love using when the opportunity arises.

 

Natural Lighting

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Using natural light is an obvious choice for lifestyle images, though when working with a large number of products or where a large number of images are required, ambient light alone is guaranteed to create consistency issues as the clouds move across the sun and the sun moves across the sky. It is very pretty though.
 

7. Window light

Perfect for food photography, window light is often enough on its own, though factors such as the weather, time of year, and the space being worked within must be kept in mind as all of them will have an impact on how the light will behave in shot.

8. Outdoor light

Typically more reliable than indoor light but again is more suitable for small numbers of images or shots where lighting consistency isn't important.

9. Widow light pt2

A perfect illustration of the unreliability of sunlight in photography. This shot and image 7 were taken using the same light source, but from a slightly different angle and with a different background. But the time I'd changed the set-up, the sun had moved, the clouds had gone and the lighting was dramatically different. Had I been relying on sunlight alone, the 7th should have been near impossible to recreate should I needed to have gone back to it, and with so many clients coming back to add to their ever-growing collections of products months after a previous session and requiring identical photography to keep their shopfront consistent, natural light just wouldn't be an appropriate choice. HOWEVER it can be recreated beautifully. So if you like the look of natural light, that's okay! We just may need to fake it.


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Christina-Clare Photography | Business and Product Photographer Bridgnorth ShropshireChristina-Clare Photography | Business and Product Photographer Bridgnorth ShropshireChristina-Clare Photography Bridgnorth, Shopshire

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