This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

How to set up lighting for clothing photography?

Photos dominate the whole apparel world. An attractive product photo leads to a higher conversion rate. And setting up lighting for clothing photography is the key to attractive images. It helps you create the ideal mood, aura, and style and makes the clothing pictures appear more professional. In this article, we will go through how to set up lighting for clothing photography at home and studio. Read on to get some tips and take your clothing photography to the next level.

How to DIY lighting for clothing photography at home?

If you want to film clothes or apparel product photography at home for your own brand or your online store, here are several tips for setting apparel product photography lighting that best catches your clothing products.

First, locate a wide window that allows enough light into the room and is at a 90-degree angle to your goods. If the light flowing through the window is too harsh, hang a sheer, white sheet as a curtain to soften the light and equally disperse it upon your clothing product.

Second, use a white background for the clothes. It doesn't have to be too broad, but make sure there's enough room around and above your goods to fit your frame. Don't have a white backdrop on hand? It's not an issue. Try some simple solutions below:

  • A huge white sheet or canvas works well and can be cleaned and reused again and again.
  • Plain, white walls are usually cost-effective and time efficient.
  • White seamless paper rolls or large white foam boards are great choices since they reflect part of the light back onto your goods, but they will most likely be more expensive and will need to be replenished on a regular basis.

You may also want a stand to secure your background. You may buy prepared backdrop holders or be a little more frugal and attempt a DIY version.

Finally, utilize a tripod mount with your camera. Using a tripod can maintain your clothing picture compositions consistent from frame to frame. This is helpful whether you're employing a model or a mannequin to model your clothes goods, even as you spin your product to exhibit different perspectives. Tripods also assist to reduce camera shaking and increase the efficiency of your post-production processes, saving you time in the long run.

How to set up studio lighting for clothing photography?

Doing clothing photography in a photo studio enables you to fully capture the details of a clothing piece, such as ornaments, shapes, fabrics, and colors. Here are some tips to set up lighting for clothing photography.

[We also offer guide to furniture photography lighting. Check the article Furniture photography lighting: What lights to use and tips to setup to get your lighting ideas.]

Build your lighting kit for clothing photography

You need the following lighting equipment to build your clothing photography kit so as to film professional photos of the product.

Invest in continuous light for clothing photography to use in studio

Many photographers use continuous illumination while taking photos of clothes. It offers several benefits. You can control the color temperature more easily. When it is adjusted to 5600K color temperature, which simulates the daylight, it can reproduce the colors of the clothing accurately in the photo.

Furthermore, continuous illumination does not need to be synced with the shutter speed of the camera. Many higher-end versions provide 0-100% brightness control and wireless App control. This makes them perfect for use in a studio setting especially when you need to control more than one studio light at one time.

The COLBOR CL220, for example, is an LED constant light for clothing photography. It offers constant 220W at each color. The bi-color version features adjustable color temperature from 2700K to 6500K and 0-100% brightness control. Moreover, the CL220 can be controlled via the COLBOR Studio App and physical controller CTRL1. This gives you convenient lighting adjustments when you are distant from the fixture.

Buy light modifiers according to your photography needs

Modifiers are essential in clothing photography. They help shape and direct the lighting for clothing photography. Here are some common items that you may use.

Light box for clothing photography: In general, a softbox is a box-shaped light modulator that is rectangular in shape and has one (or more) diffusion panels covering its face. If you plan to attach your softbox to a light, make sure to choose a model that is compatible with the speed ring. Softboxes generate a very soft yet directed light, which makes them very useful in studio settings.

Light umbrella for clothing photography: Photographers may use umbrellas to create a wide, soft light source that nearly resembles outside illumination. Umbrellas offer a more unconstrained sort of lighting that will essentially move wherever, as opposed to softboxes, which give you directional control.

Standard reflector: A standard reflector is a compact, narrow bowl-shaped, metal object with silver inside. Standard reflectors have a port for using umbrellas at the same time. The typical reflector creates a strong, slightly harsh quality of light when used without an umbrella. It may be a fantastic on-location rim light or photography background lighting, even if this style of lighting may not be ideal for most main light portrait needs.

Adopt suitable clothing photography lighting techniques to create ideal effect

Here are some lighting techniques that involve using one, two or three LED studio lights for photography. Pick a suitable one according to numbers of lights you have and the effect you want to achieve.

Overhead light

This lighting for clothing photography is the greatest choice if you want to produce a dramatic impression in your clothes picture. To make your photography subject's shadows lighter, this method also involves adding reflection. Use the bounce board to throw the light up and away from your subject. For the intended results, a white piece of cloth or a darker, or even more reflecting material should be used. The softest light or a softbox should be used to soften the light and add even more emotion to the scene.

Direct front light

This involves using one light for clothing photography. It is used to minimize shadows and give your subject a neat and polished appearance. It is extremely useful for photographing mannequins or fashion models since it gives them and the clothes they are wearing a more engaging and genuine appearance. The clothing on mannequins or the faces of your models will appear more lovely and antique if your light is placed close to the camera.

Two-light setup

It is better to use a fill light that is 45 degrees away from your objects. Start by positioning your second light a little bit closer to your merchandise on the other side. It is necessary to physically or wirelessly connect two lights so that they turn on simultaneously.

Three point lighting

This is the common method to use for setting up lighting for clothing photography.

The main light source, known as the "key light," is usually positioned with a softbox at a 45-degree angle from the subject. To ensure that there is enough light falling on the model or mannequin, it is advised to set the light output between 80 and 100 percent.

On the other side of the main light, with a softbox or light reflector connected, the fill light is positioned to assist minimize shadows and is set to around 50% brightness.

Back light for clothing photography is the last one to position. It works well behind the subject since it gives drama and sharpness.

It's vital to experiment when placing these lights to see what works best for the specific subject. To produce a halo effect, the main light should, in general, be positioned just above eye level. The fill light has to be at eye level or slightly below.