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The Lighting Equipment You Need to Pull Off A Professional-Grade Product Shoot

Fashion photography can be challenging to nail without the right equipment. Studio photography requires proper lighting, whether you’re shooting a fashion lookbook, model portfolio, e-commerce product photographs, or Instagram photos.

The type of lighting you need will vary depending on the scale and scope of your project. Still, there are a few critical pieces of equipment that are essential for any professional-grade product shoot.

First and foremost, you will need a good quality camera. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth reiterating because your camera is the foundation of your shoot. Without a high-resolution camera with decent low-light capabilities, it is impossible to capture the level of detail and clarity needed for studio photography. 

This will give you the control to adjust settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to get the perfect exposure for your shot. You’ll also want a camera with a good autofocus system if you are shooting fashion or product shots, so your subjects are always in focus.

Next up is a set of studio lights. These can be either traditional incandescent light bulbs or more modern LED lights. Still, they should be powerful enough to illuminate your subject and provide consistent light throughout your shoot. If you’re shooting in a smaller space, you may only need one or two lights, but for larger shoots, you may need four or more.

Next, you’ll need one or more flash units. These can be attached to your camera’s hot shoe or used off-camera to provide extra light when needed. For fashion shoots, in particular, using an off-camera flash can help create dramatic lighting effects and add dimension to your shots.

Understanding Studio Lighting

Studio lighting is one of the best ways to ensure that your studio photography looks professional and polished. Using studio lights, you can control the amount of light, direction, and shadows in your shots. This allows you to achieve the perfect balance of light and dark, making your products look their best.

Setting up your studio lights doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Still, it does mean getting some dedicated lighting equipment to help you achieve the professional-grade results you are after.

Here is a quick rundown of the different types of studio lighting you might want to consider for your next product shoot:

  • Continuous Lighting Kit

Continuous lighting systems provide a constant light source, making them ideal for shooting in studios or other controlled environments. This is opposed to strobe lighting, which flashes intermittently. 

Continuous lighting is great for beginners as it is relatively easy to set up and use. However, one downside is that it can generate a lot of heat, so be prepared with some good ventilation in your studio space.

There are many types of continuous lighting kits on the market, ranging from small, portable units to large, studio-grade systems. The type of kit you need will depend on the type of shooting you plan to do. For example, if you’re shooting portraits or product shots, you’ll need a different kit than if you’re shooting video.

When choosing a continuous lighting kit, it is essential to consider the quality of the light output. You would also want to consider the unit’s power consumption and overall durability.

Continuous lighting kits can be a bit pricey, but they are an essential piece of equipment for any professional photographer or videographer. With a bit of research, you can find a kit that fits your needs and budget.

Here are a few things you need to consider when selecting a continuous lighting kit for your professional-grade product shoot:

  • First, you must decide what fixture you want to use. Common types include fluorescent, HMI, and tungsten, each serving a different purpose.
  • You need to determine the output of the lighting fixtures, measured in watts. The wattage will determine the light’s brightness. However, you must also be aware of power consumption and heat output when selecting high-wattage fixtures.
  • It would be best if you also decided on the color temperature of the light. This is measured in Kelvin (K) and will impact the overall look of your images. A lower Kelvin value will result in a warmer light, while a higher Kelvin value will produce a more relaxed light. Again, selecting the right color temperature is essential based on the look you’re going for with your shoot.
  • Strobe Lighting

Strobe lighting is a type of flash photography that uses an electronic flash unit to produce short bursts of light. This type of lighting is perfect for product photography because it can create incredibly smooth and even lighting, without any hot spots or glare.

A professional-grade strobe lighting kit typically includes two or more flash units, stands, umbrellas, and other accessories. You will also need a mechanism to trigger the flashes, either externally or using your camera’s built-in flash.

Strobe lighting is more advanced than continuous lighting, but it offers several advantages in terms of quality and flexibility.

  • First off, strobes allow you to “freeze” your subject matter in time, which can be helpful when shooting products in motion (think:spinning jewelry). 
  • Strobes typically offer more power and control than continuous lights, meaning you can direct the lighting to achieve stunning studio photography results.

Here’s how you can choose a strobe lighting kit for your fashion photoshoot:

  1. Ensure that the kit includes all necessary components, such as light stands, umbrellas, and softboxes.
  2. Choose a kit with lights that are powerful enough to give you the desired effect. 
  3. Make sure that the equipment is easy to set up and use.

Once you have your strobe lighting kit, you will be able to take advantage of some great features that will help you take better product photos. For example, the softboxes will diffuse the light, making it softer and more flattering on your products. And the umbrellas can be used to create different lighting effects, such as backlighting or side-lighting. 

Other Accessories to Elevate Your Lighting Setup

If you’re serious about product photography, you’ll need to invest in some quality accessories that will help you get the best results.

Softbox: A softbox is an essential piece of equipment for diffusing and softening light. It will help you avoid harsh shadows and create a more even lighting effect.

Reflectors: Reflectors help bounce light into dark areas and can be used to fill in shadows. They’re essential for creating even, flattering lighting in fashion photography. It can be anything from a large piece of white cardboard to a specialized reflector panel. 

Umbrella: Umbrellas can be used to create both direct and indirect lighting, making them versatile for any fashion shoot. Using a white umbrella will reflect light back onto your subject and help to brighten up the shot. If you want to add some drama to your photos, try using an umbrella with a colored gel for a creative effect.

Portable Lighting: Portable lighting is excellent for on-location shoots where you don’t have access to studio lights. Many portable lights come with built-in diffusers, which help create soft, flattering light.

Light Stands: Light stands are necessary to hold all your lights in place and direct focused lighting on the product(s). 

Gels: Gels are color filters you can place over your lights to change color. You can use gels to create different moods or effects in your photos.

Beauty Dish: If you’re shooting fashion, you’ll want to create a soft, flattering light that accentuates your subject’s features. One way to do this is with a beautiful dish. Beauty dishes are round, shallow dishes that reflect light onto the subject. They create a softer light than a direct flash, making them ideal for fashion photography.

Diffuser: Diffusers help to soften the light and reduce shadows. Many different types of diffusers are available, so finding one that works well with your particular setup is important.

Backlights: Once you have your beauty dish and diffuser in place, it’s time to add some contrast with a backlight. Backlights create separation between the subject and the background, which can be especially helpful when shooting against a busy environment. They also add an element of drama to the shot.

Creating Your Two-Light Setup

Depending on the look you’re going for, you may want to consider using a two-light setup to ensure even lighting across your product. This can be especially helpful if you’re shooting against a white background, as it will help to avoid any shadows or hot spots. 

This setup requires two light stands, two reflectors, and two flash heads. Position the lights so that they’re at about a 45-degree angle from your product, and adjust the power levels until you’re happy with the results.

Here’s a rundown of the must-have lighting gear you’ll need to recreate this look:

  1. Two light sources: You’ll need two separate light sources to create this lighting setup. Ideally, you will want to use one softbox and one reflector.
  2. A light stand for each light source: It will allow you to position your lights exactly where you want them.
  3. An adjustable arm for each light source: It will allow you to modify the angle of your lighting, giving you more control over the final look of your image.
  4. A tripod: It is essential for getting sharp, blur-free images. It will also help keep your camera still when shooting with long exposures.
  5. A remote shutter release: It will let you snap shots without touching the camera, so you can rest assured that your photos will be clear and in focus.

Conclusion – Your Lighting Setup Can Make Or Break Your Ecommerce Photoshoot

We hope you now have all the necessary information to pull off a professional-grade product shoot for your e-commerce store. Compromising your lighting equipment is never a good idea if you aim to create high-quality studio photography. It is a fact that good lighting can make your products appear high-quality and appealing, and bad lighting can do just the opposite.
This is the reason ecommerce fashion photography studios place particular emphasis on using the best lighting equipment. Platforms like FlixStudio lead the way for quality eCommerce product photography using AI. FlixStudio is an end-to-end AI-enabled, modern photography studio that helps brands create impeccable on-model product images that convert.

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)