As with any genre, setting up the right lighting is crucial when it comes to product photography. It’s what elevates a setup for professional results. The right lighting depends on the mood and look that best fits your product. For starters, it pays to be familiar with some of the most effective and go-to techniques for the craft, such as top back lighting.

In the video above, Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens talks about the advantages of top back lighting as part of his Laws of Light Tutorial series. He explains why the technique is the foundation for all kinds of product photography, compared to placing light sources on either side of the camera.

To demonstrate his points, he made a simple spread of food items with a hero product in the middle. His dominant light source is the top back lighting created by a large soft box placed at an angle behind the background. He also placed a directional hard light on the right side to soften the shadows a bit and add some highlights. For the final touches, he propped a mirror on a Platypod Gooseneck to bounce some of the light and create a more concentrated highlight. He also added a bit of diffused light pointing towards the background to add some horizon in his shot. Lastly, he used some v-flats to control the light and shadows as necessary.

Do you have your own tried and tested lighting technique for product photography? Share it with us in the comments below, or in our group discussions if you’re already part of the Photofocus Community!