How to Build Your Product Photography Lighting Set Up

If you want to start your own studio photography, you need to pay attention to lighting. The correct product photography lighting setup can make your online store images look professional and trustworthy. 

We manage thousands of orders for both small and established online businesses. And as professionals in the sourcing industry, we interact with product images regularly. So, we know how lighting can massively improve the quality of product photography and the brand image of a business. 

Read on to know how you can create your product photography lighting properly. 

How to Build Your Product Photography Lighting Set Up

Why is lighting important in photography?

Lighting is important in taking product photos because having enough light will make your images pop out. Well-designed lighting can even turn shots from a phone camera amazing. So, it’s essential to pay attention to light as much as you pay attention to your camera and lens choice.  

Here are the benefits of lighting in photography: 

  • Highlights the Details 

If you don’t have enough lighting, your photos can turn grainy, and you’ll lose some details. But with proper lighting, the important elements of your product can pop out, and you’ll attract customers. I have got that BAD experience. You should not compromise on that. 

  • Improves Shot Quality

Even if you forget to use a white background in your shot, your product can still pop out with proper lighting. The lighting dims the environment and brings focus to your subject. 

Why is lighting important in photography
  • Expresses Mood 

You can control and reflect light to express the mood you want. To get more creative with colorful lights, you can pair light with a slow shutter speed in your camera settings. 

  • Easier Marketing

Professional product photography means easier marketing. You will draw people to your images, so you don’t need to make more effort to grab their attention. 

Suggested reading: Amazon Product Photography for Your Website

What lighting equipment do you need?

lighting equipment

Here is the equipment you’ll need for your photography lighting setup. 

  1. Continuous Lighting Kits: Continuous lights are lights that constantly light up your shooting area. The advantage of this type is you can visualize how your images will turn out even before taking the shot.
  2. Strobe Lighting Kits: Strobe lights won’t light up until you trigger them. This is often used in portrait photography. The main advantage of a strobe light is that it uses less electricity. 
  3. Light Tent: This tent diffuses light softly throughout its whole interior. Often, it comes with its own set of lights, so all you have to do is place your product inside and shoot. 

How to set up lighting for your product photography?

Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to optimize product photography lighting setups. 

Step 1: Use even lighting

Some photographers struggle to avoid light reflections in their products. And this usually happens because they’re using just one light source. One light SOURCE can affect the photos potentially. I always recommend having multiple sources. 

The key to having a balanced image is to place light sources in different lighting positions. Place your light or led panels at different angles. 

Even if your product has reflective surfaces, you’ll still craft compelling product photography if you have enough fill lights. 

Step 2: Utilize Overhead Lighting 

Overhead lighting has a lot of benefits when used with other lights. And on its own, it can even provide unique value. Overhead lighting can create moody images for products like alcohol and beverages. It can make the product pop out from the background. And it can also create exciting shadows that hide labels from product shots. 

Step 3: Implement a Light Modifier 

In eCommerce photography, it’s crucial to control your light. Light modifiers are efficient tools to make your product photos have steady and soft lighting throughout. 

Umbrellas are a great example of efficient modifiers of light. You’ll often see a professional photographer use them, especially when taking portraits of other people. They help create images with fewer shadows and make post-processing easier. 

How to set up studio lighting for your product photography

Step 4: Add Off-camera-lights

A single light is rarely enough to take a product photo. I use at least two lights. Setting up the positions, in that case, is CRUCIAL. It’s best to have at least two lights and pay attention to their positions.

Doing this will ensure that your entire product will be illuminated throughout and show the details that your target market would want.

Set up your side lighting on the opposite side of each other but make sure you’re getting soft and not hard light. 

Step 5: Reduce shadows 

When light falls into your product, shadows will be present. And although sometimes it’s fun to play around and be creative with them, shadows can overwhelm a product’s presence in the shot.  

To reduce your shadows, use multiple lights that you can move around. And use foam boards to bounce light coming from your lighting source. This way, you can control your shadows, ensuring that your shot won’t be filled with them. 

It’s also possible to remove shadows in post-production. But as this process has a steep learning curve, it’s best to prevent them in the photo studio from the get-go.

Step 6: Use Front and Back Lighting 

Having both front and backlighting will improve your image quality. The front light, or your key light, will showcase the details of your product. And, your backlighting, or your fill light, will balance the other light and prevent overwhelming shadows from forming.

From my experience! 

Using one LIGHT can distort your images. You should be considering everything in this case.

Looking for the Best China Sourcing Agent?

Leeline Sourcing helps you find factories, get competitive prices, follow up production, ensure quality and deliver products to the door.

Studio vs Natural Light

There are two types of light in product photography: Studio or artificial light and natural light. 

Studio light refers to artificial lighting or light that doesn’t come from nature. Examples of studio lights are LED and fluorescent lights. On the other hand, natural light is light that comes from natural sunlight. In product photography, it’s often referred to as window light as it is where sunlight comes from when shooting indoors. 

Studio vs Natural Light

Artificial Lighting


  • You can shoot any time you want. 

In using artificial lighting, it’s possible to shoot anytime you want. It doesn’t matter if it’s dark or sunny outside. You can always have the perfect lighting you need in artificial lighting. 


  • It can be expensive.

Studio lights can cost you more than natural lights. You’ll often need more than one light, so the cost can add up.

Natural Lighting


  • There’s no learning required. 

In natural lighting, all you have to do is wait for the right time of the day and shoot. You don’t need to adjust anything, so it can be easier to use for beginners. 


  • You can’t shoot anytime you want. 

You can only shoot products when it’s bright enough outside when using natural lights. This means that you’re at the mercy of the weather. Rainy seasons can mean long days of being unable to shoot your products which can delay your project. 

FAQs about Product Photography Lighting Set Up

What’s the best lighting setup for my apparel product photography?

In apparel photography, it’s best to use continuous lights. You can see how your product interacts with your lighting setup even without taking an image with continuous lighting. 

Is LED lighting good for product photography?

Yes, LED lighting is suitable for product photography. They’re practical, cheap, and easy to control. LED lights also have continuous lighting, which is the recommended setup for product photography. 

Can you use ring lights for product photography?

Yes, you can use ring lights for product photography. Just make sure that your lights are enough to brighten up the area. Adjust the distance between the lights and your product and experiment with what creates the best image. 

What’s Next

Don’t be intimidated to learn how to do a proper product photography lighting setup. With the right mindset and a clear goal, you can have your dream online store portfolio in no time. Feel free to come back to this article if you forget something. And we still have more product photography articles that can guide you thoroughly on your eCommerce product photography journey. 

We can help you find reputable suppliers for your soon-to-be successful business. Contact us today! 

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Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing , pls feel free to contact us.