Product Photography Tutorial using tabletop continuous lighting

hello I'm Gavin Hoey and in this video I'm going to show you how you can take product photographs right there in your very own home now photography is all about lighting and product photography is no different so for the lighting in this video we're going to use these two lamps here now this is the tabletop kit from Mick and Sue you can find out more details about them from their website at WWE COO you Kay now with the lighting on this I've gone with the hundred and five watt continuous lighting bulb it's a great big bulb it kicks out about 500 watts of normal light just over so with two of those we've got just over a thousand watts of light because they're a continuous light as well they give a lot of brightness but not a lot of heat so they're much more comfortable to work with they come with these nice little tabletop stands which are really kind of chunky and durable but don't take up too much space so we've still got plenty of room on our table to take our pictures now speaking of pictures I could just plunk my product right down here on the table but to get the very best look I'm actually going to set up a little miniature studio with a little miniature curved background as well let's look at the equipment we're going to use for that so to set up our little mini studio I've really got nothing more than a couple of bits of cardboard that I've pinched out a bit of packaging I've got a couple of clamps as well now these might be the only things you haven't got hanging around these I got from a DIY store they cost about a pound for a whole set of them they're perfect I've also got some little tiny clips just for holding things together these are mini ones you can get from a stationary shop and whilst you're there pick up some paper as well I've got some white paper and some black paper and I'll show you how you can photograph against both the white and the black because it's a slightly different technique with both so with my background setup and my product in place I'm ready to start taking the pictures but hold on a second you need to set your camera up for the best possible quality of photographs so let's just run through the settings you're going to be using now I'm using a digital SLR to take these pictures so I'm going to set my camera to work in aperture priority mode that's the a or AV setting on your camera I'm going to set an aperture of f/8 now that's a really good aperture to use because it gives a nice depth of field in other words you get a good range of focus from the front to the back of the product I'm also going to set my ISO to a nice low number 100 ISO should give me the best quality but as a result I need to watch the shutter speed now even with a thousand watts of light hitting our product it's still possible to get a very low shutter speed so if you're hand-holding make sure your shutter speed doesn't drop so low that you end up with camera shake anything below a 50th of a second and you could be in trouble better still is to pop your camera on a tripod that way you don't have any worries about camera shake at all now we also have to think about the background as well because we're using the pure white background it tends to make your camera get a little confused it'll try and make this pure white a sort of gray color and the end result is normally an image that's a little bit underexposed so to get this right in camera I'm going to dial in a stop to a stop and a half of exposure compensation okay let's turn the lights on and start taking some pictures now as you can see these lights are really pumping out the power it really is very very bright on our teapot there in fact on the video you can barely see it at all thousand watts of light is very very powerful and it's giving us a good shutter speed as well 80th of a second but that's with the exposure compensation set to zero let's have a look and see what happens when I take a picture with that setting okay so as you can see it's really dark it's underexposed the white background has gone well a bit of a muddy gray color let's change the exposure compensation we'll add in a stop and a third extra exposure and we'll see how that looks now as you can see this time it's a much cleaner whiter background and it looks so much better of course it's not absolutely perfect we are getting a little bit of shadows coming either side of the teapot and that's caused because we're using just the bare bulbs on our little table top lighting setup here now we could get around that by using one of the Mick and Sue lighting cubes and we'll look at that in another video or you could get around it by changing the background color to black that's what we're gonna do next okay so we've gone for the black background and that has a couple of advantages the first one is those shadows the shadows are no longer a problem because you had dark shadows dark background well you can figure that out for yourself that works really well secondly we don't have that white background confusing the cameras meter so we can use our standard exposure compensation you could even set your camera to program mode or use a compact camera and still get a pretty good result one of the word of warning though if you are photographing a dark object against a dark background you may run into exactly the same problems but reversed then you had with the white background in as much as you get a picture that's just too light but black backgrounds are generally much easier to work with okay let's take a picture and see the result okay so then we are product photography in your own home that's really simple to do for more information and to have a closer look at the products we've featured here have a look at the Smith website at WWE kou K I'm Gavin Hoey thanks for watching

27 Replies to “Product Photography Tutorial using tabletop continuous lighting”

  1. There's no way you took those example photos with that set up. You can see in the video that light is so harsh that it's blowing out the product. Any picture taken with that set up would be horribly over exposed. The example pictures you show are lit with soft diffused light. Just horrible.

  2. So you have to set up this up everytime you have to shoot?? and what about products that don't fit in??? ever tried online editing tools— which one is your favourite? If you are searching for them one of them I would recommend is ZenFotomatic ( for editing product photos! would like your views on that!!

  3. I've been spending time with the help of my son researching into earn cash with your camera and discovered an awesome resource at Hartlyn photo pro (check it out on google)

  4. ok i like your tutorials but everytime i see you lean on the flucken camera i expect it to break and broken cameras are bad #don'tleanoncameras

  5. I have been looking for awhile for a video like this. I'm new to product photography and the things I have been looking at before this tended to confuse me even more. But this video was great and very helpful, thanks!!!

  6. Gavin, don't mind telling you that you come across extremely well. Hugely likeable and engaging. Thanks for the video. You've inspired me to take better photos and set up a selling account on Ebay.

  7. Wow! That's a young Gavin Hoey!

    Question: can those lights be used to photograph paintings?

    I hope you see this message.


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