How to shoot professional-looking product photos with just one light
There are plenty of cheap, DIY product photography tricks (the one with a garbage can will probably forever be my favorite). If you’re on a tight budget, you can always use one of these and get professional-looking shot without using tons of expensive gear. In this video, Ed Verosky shows you how to take great product photos at home using just one light.
Ed suggests that you use a good constant light source instead of a speedlight. The reason is simple – this way, it’s easier to set everything up and get the shots because what you see is what you get. You can also use window light, but there’s a downside to it: you’re restricted to the weather conditions and the time of day. With artificial lighting, you can take photos whenever it works best for you, and maintain the consistent look
As for the light, it should provide you with adjustable power and consistent color temperature. There are some cheap options in the market, and you can make your own LED panel for about $13. For product photos, you’ll want to achieve soft light but still preserve some contrast and shadows. Ed uses a cheap shoot-through umbrella as a modifier. It gives him contrast and shadows, adding some depth and texture to the product.
In addition to the light, you’ll need three foam core boards: one in the back, one at the bottom, and on the opposite side of the light, as a fill light reflector. You can also add a poster board or seamless paper to create a sweep in the background. It can be white, but you can also go with different colors or even patterns.
When you have your setup, you can start shooting your products. Ed suggests that you use a normal or a telephoto lens, since shooting up close with a wide angle lens will make your subject look distorted.
As I mentioned, there are plenty of ways to shoot product photos and many awesome DIY hacks. You can also go with a light tent, but it’s also something you can make yourself. And if you’re on a budget, I believe Ed’s method is quick and easy to set up, and it can give you neat and consistent results.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.