In this post we look at a basic setup, for product photography, using an LED light. Working with a continuos light source, make things much easier, as we can exactly see what the light does while we make adjustments to it.
First things first, let’s dive right into the setup. A piece of 2m x 2m black fabric was mounted up against a wall, about 1.8 metres behind the product. Next a 900 LED light was mounted inside a 80cm reflective umbrella and bounced into it to give some beautiful soft light. This is a very simple setup as there is only one main light source, and if it is well contained, controlled and soft, then the rest of the shoot is so much easier. We had to make sure the main light does not create any spill onto the backdrop. The reason for the relatively large soft light source was to wrap the light around the product.
The main light was then positioned above and a bit to the side of the product, in this case a Canon C100, favouring one side a bit more. Next a reflector was mounted right underneath and in front of the camerap, to lift the shadows a bit. Another white diffusion panel was mounted on the right side of the camera, opposite the main light, with a 300 LED light shooting through it from underneath. This diffusion panel fills the shadows on the opposite side of the main light then. This is a really simple setup as you can see. A black flag was mounted on a flex arm right in front of the main light. This gave us even more control in directing the light when needed.
Next a 300 LED with a red gel was positioned behind the subject, at about a 45 degree angle. This light adds a lot of dimension and depth to the image!
The images coming off the camera sensor were quite pleasing. Further adjustments could be made with reflectors and black flags, either to add some edge or to block some of the light in certain areas. The main light setup basically stays the same though.
It is always important to get the main lights right, before moving on to other things. Golden rule: If it doesn’t look good on the camera screen, then it won’t look good on any other screen.
We would only start making individual final adjustments, after all the lighting were setup, to create a good balance between them. First getting the main light right was very important, as the purpose of the other lights are to support the main light.
The final camera settings were around f5.6 and f8, ISO 800, 1/50. We could quite easily go up to ISO 2 000 with the camera we photographed with, while keeping noise at a minimum. The simple light setup delivered some good images and we could get more creative as we didn’t have to concentrate on getting the lighting right.
Hope this tutorial gives you some ideas!