Better LuLaRoe Product Photography Part Three- Lighting

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Part 1- Choosing a Camera

Part 2- Camera Settings

Lighting has a HUGE effect on your images. In order to show the product flatteringly you need a well-lit image without harsh shadows or highlights that showcases the pieces colors accurately. This can be achieved in many different ways and at many different price points. The crucial ingredient is having enough light. When you are shooting in low light conditions it is difficult to get an accurate photo without excessive grain. I’m going to list a few different lighting scenarios and products for you to choose what works best for your LuLaRoe business.

LuLaRoe Product Photography PArt 3- Lighting | Smithsquad.com

Outdoors Using Available Light

The key to getting great outdoor shots is to either a) shoot at the right time of day or b) find open shade. If you shoot early in the morning or late in the evening the light is coming from the horizon and is softer and more diffused. My facing the front of your product towards the light you get nice soft even lighting. Be careful that you are far enough back not to cast a shadow when you are taking the picture. If you just have to shoot during midday then you need to find a spot with open shade. You want to put your product as close to the edge as you can while remaining in the shade then stand outside the shade to shoot the image. In both of these scenarios you can use a reflector to bounce additional light onto your product to counteract any undesirable shadows you may have. You can get a large reflector for under $30 on Amazon. You will want to use the white side of the reflector.

Indoors Using Available Light

Indoors with available light is a little more of a challenge because there is usually less light available. Indoors you also tend to get mixed colors of light, which makes it very difficult to get an accurate white balance to show your colors correctly. When shooting indoors you need to either a) choose a room with large windows and extinguish all other lighting, b) use daylight balanced bulbs in any indoor lighting to match light coming from outside or c) overpower the available light with additional lighting.

If you are choosing to use a room with lots of outdoor light you will want to position your product so that the front of it is facing the greatest light source. You may also want to add in a reflector as discussed above as you are more likely to get harsh shadows from indoor lighting, especially if you only have one large window in the room.

Using daylight balanced bulbs is a great way to get adequate indoor lighting without dealing with mixed light color issues. When using additional lighting in the room it is best if it can be placed in a lamp that is an equal height as your product and diffused with a soft cover. If you have the type of lamp that sends very directional light from under a dome try to aim it at the wall opposite of your product. The light will then bounce off the wall and give a nice even light to your product. If you are using the bulbs in an overhead light you are likely to get shadows along the bottom of your product. You can even these out with the reflector.

Indoors Using Additional Lighting

The simplest form of additional lighting available is your on camera flash. I would NEVER recommend this route unless you truly have no other option. The on camera flash washes out colors and gives harsh lighting with dark shadows. If you absolutely have to use it try putting tissue paper, tracing paper or white gauzy material over your flash. This will help diffuse it a bit making it less harsh.

The next step up from there is a speedlight. This isn’t an option with a phone or most point and shoot cameras, but is a great inexpensive choice if you have an interchangeable lens camera. I personally use Yongnuo flashes, which you can get on Amazon for only $70. When using this flash once again you do not want to point it directly at your product. Instead you want to bounce it. Turn the flash up and behind you to approximately a 45 degree angle. This will cause the light to bounce off the opposite wall and ceiling to give you some great soft light over the entire product. However, if your walls are brightly colored this can cause a weird color cast to be on your product. In this case grab an assistant, or do a wild one-armed reach if you can’t find an assistant, and hold the white side of your reflector as far in front of the flash as you can. The light will then bounce off the reflector instead of your funky colored walls.

If you want even more controlled and even lighting the best option is a lighting kit. There are all sorts of options out there in many different price ranges. Since you are just doing product photos of clothing, not portraits, you don’t need to spend too much to get a decent kit. I would recommend two lights on stands with either shoot through umbrellas, parabolic umbrella with diffusers (note these ones do not include the stand or lights which you would have to purchase separately), or soft boxes. Place these lights to either side of your product at about a 45 degree angle. You want them to be just slightly higher than your product and angled down to point at the center of the product. If the two lights are the same brightness then they will work together to give you a very flat light that minimizes shadows. With all of these you will want to shut off any additional lights in the room and use daylight balanced bulbs to make sure you don’t get mixed lighting from whatever light is leaking in your windows. Check out this awesome blog post to see some great example images from this two light set-up. You can also use this two light set-up outdoors to shoot at any time of day without harsh shadows.

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Do you have any other questions about lighting? Please ask away in the comments and I will do my best to answer them all!

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