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Beginner’s guide to studio lighting for product photography

Studio lighting for product photography is key to a variety of online business. Great lighting makes a big difference to the quality of product photography. The more you learn about it, the better photography you can film. In this article, we will take you to dive into it and include the following topics:

  1. What kind of lights are used?
  2. Which is the best and what’s the difference?
  3. Tips to set up studio lighting for product photography.

What types of studio lights are used in product photography?

It is critical to ensure that the product's color remains consistent. Color accuracy is important in any form of product photography. Many buyers make purchases depending on the colors displayed in your product picture. Customers will be dissatisfied if the colors of the things they receive do not match.

The most effective solution is to utilize either continuous (always on) or strobe lights (flashes on and off). LED lights for product photography, fluorescent tubes, and tungsten light bulbs are examples of continuous lighting. Some are adjustable, allowing you to adjust the brightness.

It takes time to how to set up a photography studio with all necessary equipment. However, before you go for your wallet, make sure you understand which is the best light for your product photography. You don't want to buy too many lights and then not know what to do with them.

Which is the best studio lights for product photography, continuous or strobe?

As aforementioned, there are two options of photography light. What are they? What are their benefits in photography? What are their differences? Read on to learn more about them.

Video: Continuous Lights definition, benefits explained and lighting example

Continuous light for product photography will always remain on until it is turned off. The biggest advantage is that you can modify it while watching how the shadows are cast on your scene. As a result, you won't need to take several reference photos before dialing in the ideal setup. It can be used for both photographs and videos, which offers you more versatility.

It is an ideal choice for novice and a fantastic place to start. As phones now lack the technology to link to external flashes, it is also the best choice for phone cameras.

There are LED, tungsten incandescent, and fluorescent lamps available on the market. And LED stands out among them. It has a dimmer and produce less heat than an incandescent bulb. So you may change the brightness without having to place it farther away.

For example, the COLBOR CL60 is a choice for LED lights for photography studio. It features a CRI of 97+ to reveal the true color of product. The adjustable color temperature and brightness make it flexible to set up the ideal lighting. If you want higher power output, the PowerCube design allows you to combine several CL60 together to let out power up to 650W. For more information, check the video by YouTuber Keydrin Franklin.

Strobes definition and benefits explained

Strobes resemble continuous lights in appearance, however they are wirelessly connected to your DSLR and only flash when the shutter is clicked.

Its greatest advantage is the power. A high-voltage capacitor rapidly releases a significant amount of charge. With this capability, you may get the desired brightness without needing to adjust the shutter speed, ISO, or aperture size.

Strobes are fantastic when you need to photograph moving objects, such as water droplets, sugar sprinkled on food, or "freeze" fabric flying in the wind. A very quick shutter speed is typically required to capture the same action while employing a continuous light, which might result in gloomy pictures.

Differences between continuous and strobe lights in product photography

Continuous lighting has the benefit over strobe lighting in that you can utilize it for photographs, videos, and product styling. You can regulate the shadows and the amount of light you want to reflect back onto your products as the light enters your scenario.

Strobe lighting, on the other hand, is only available for use when taking pictures, and you have no influence over what happens in your scene either before or after you click the shutter.

How to set up studio lighting for product photography?

Below we introduce the basic setup in studio product photography and some tips to get high quality lighting. And we also have a guide to setting up lighting for real estate photography. Click the link to check the article if you have interest in it.

Three basic product photography lighting for product photography

There are primarily three forms of lighting in a studio. Key lights, fill lights, and backlights are terms that you may already be aware with if you have experience working in the photographic business. Understanding the 3 light setup in product photography and their purposes would make it easier for a beginner product photographer to comprehend how to put together a picture.

Key light: It is the main lighting source. The majority of studios have it pointing directly at the subject and off-axis from the camera. When photographing products, the focus is on the item itself.

Fill Light: It is also called the second diary light. It is undeniably the second most crucial light in studio photography. Always situated on the opposite side of the camera from the main lighting, it is low intensive. Filling in is its function.

Backlight: Never, ever consider the backlight to be unimportant. It helps distinguish the product from background. Light is used in photography in one or two different ways. Depending on the topic and the photographer's preferred method of using a backlight, the light placement will vary. It is usually positioned above or behind the product.

Tips for studio light setup for product photography

  • Take your time and get knowledgeable about studio lighting for product photography. Many photographers are unwilling to invest the time necessary to comprehend lighting. The only thing they want to do is take picture after picture. An picture may actually be made or broken by the lighting. It is simple to believe that changing the lighting during post-production is the proper course of action. You need to get the lighting correct from the beginning if you want to shoot high-quality product photos.
  • Lighting size determines the softness and other shadow qualities. Harder shadows will arise from using a tiny light source. Using a bigger light is the ideal choice when you want delicate shadows.
  • You must be aware of the distinction between hard and soft light in photography. Use harsh light to display a product's texture if necessary. On items with bright surfaces, it may result in reflections, which is a drawback.
  • Another significant contributing aspect is the location of the light. Should you aim the light from the top, bottom, back, or side? You only gain knowledge of it by practice and experience.
  • It also matters how close the light is. It appears harder when a light is farther away. Side lighting will cast more shadows, whereas frontal lighting will cast less.