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E-Commerce Product Photography: The Home Guide

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Selling on Amazon? Tim Butler-Jones tells you everything you need to know to get the right shot at home.

Product photography by Tim Butler-Jones for Studio-4 Photography

When it comes to e-commerce photography, lighting is key to creating high-quality images that accurately represent your products. In this article, we will discuss how to light small products for e-commerce photography shoots on a white background using cheap speedlights.

Step 1: Gather Your Equipment

To get started, you will need a few pieces of equipment:

  • A camera with manual controls

  • A tripod

  • A white background

  • Two or more cheap speedlights with adjustable power settings

  • Light stands or other supports for your speedlights

  • A way to trigger your speedlights (either with built-in wireless receivers or a separate trigger system)

Step 2: Set Up Your Background

Start by setting up your white background. This can be a sheet of white paper, a large piece of foam board, or any other material that will provide a clean, bright background for your photos. Be sure to iron out any wrinkles or creases in your background material to avoid distracting shadows in your images.

Step 3: Position Your Speedlights

When I light anything that involves a multi-light setup, I usually like to work from the background to the foreground, so position your speedlights so that they are angled toward your background from either side. You will need to adjust the power on both of these speedlights so that the background is almost completely over exposed, and angled so that the light is even across the background.

To light your subject, feel free to experiment but I would suggest angling your light at 45 degrees both in angle of direction and elevation. You may also want to experiment with diffusion. There are many ways to do this that I will cover in a later article, but you can use softboxes, reflectors, shoot-through umbrellas or even rig up a bedsheet in front of the speedlight, or even bounce the light off a wall or ceiling. You can use light stands, tripods, or any other supports to keep your speedlights in place. Be sure to adjust the power settings on your speedlights to achieve a correct exposure of your products in your photos.

Step 4: Adjust Your Camera Settings

Set your camera to manual mode so that you have full control over your exposure settings. Start with an ISO of 100, a shutter speed of 1/125 second, and an aperture of f/8. Take a test shot and adjust your settings as needed to achieve a well-exposed image.

Step 5: Take Your Photos

Once you have your speedlights and camera set up, it's time to start taking photos! Be sure to experiment with different angles and compositions to showcase your product in the best possible way. You can also adjust the power settings on your speedlights to create different lighting effects and shadows.

Step 6: Editing

Once you have your shots, import everything into Adobe Lightroom. Use the graduated filter and the "whites" slider in the "Basic" tab to bring your background to "full white" and use the other tools to add contrast, clarity and sharpness to your shots.

Product photography by Tim Butler-Jones for Studio-4 Photography

In conclusion, lighting small products for e-commerce photography shoots on a white background using cheap speedlights can be done with just a few pieces of equipment and some basic photography knowledge. By following these simple steps, you can create high-quality images that will help your products stand out online.

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