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The Best Lighting Setups for Apparel Product Photography on a Budget

Apparel Product Photography

If you’re managing an online fashion shop and need to take product photographs, sticking on a budget can imply that purchasing costly lighting equipment is not an option for you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. With a little creativity and some DIY spirit, you can create some great lighting setups for your apparel product photography without breaking the bank.

When it comes to DIY product photography, lighting can make a difference in the outcome of your photos. The key to great product photography is to have evenly lit products with no hot spots or glare. You also want to avoid deep shadows, as they can make your products look unappealing.

There are a few different ways you can achieve this, but we’re going to focus on three main lighting setups in this quick guide. We will also highlight the benefits of using a product retouching service and how you can take a poorly lit image and make it look amazing.

Let’s transform your product images!

Get started with a Free Trial of our product photo retouching service or if you have any questions simply click Ask A Question to get started.

Guidelines for Apparel Product Photography

Before we jump into the different lighting setups, there are a few general guidelines you should keep in mind when shooting product photos. These will help you get the most out of your lighting setup and avoid common mistakes.
First, always shoot in manual mode. This will give you full control over your camera settings and allow you to adjust them to get the perfect exposure. Shooting in manual mode allows you to control the aperture (which is the size of the opening in the lens), shutter speed (which is how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to light), and ISO (which determines how sensitive the sensor is to light).

Second, use a tripod. This will help you keep your camera steady and avoid blurry photos. The last thing you want is a blurry product photo uploaded to your online store. Not only does this look unprofessional, but it can also dissuade potential customers from buying your product.

A tripod is especially important when shooting with a low shutter speed, which is the most recommended when doing a product shoot. With low shutter speed, you will be able to highlight all of your product’s details and capture crisp, clear photos.

Third, use a remote shutter release or self-timer to avoid shaking. A remote shutter release is a cord that plugs into your camera and allows you to take a photo without touching the camera. This is the ideal solution, but if you don’t have one, you can use the self-timer on your camera.

Fourth, shoot in RAW format so you can edit your images later if needed. RAW format gives you the most flexibility when editing your photos. From your camera, you can usually choose between JPEG and RAW. You can easily find the settings by reviewing your camera’s manual.

Fifth, use a white balance card to get accurate colors. A white balance card is a small card that you can hold in front of your product to help the camera calibrate the colors. This is especially important if you’re shooting in artificial light.

In e-commerce product images, color accuracy is important to help your customers understand what they’re seeing. If the colors in your photos are off, it can discourage potential buyers.

Finally, take multiple shots of each product from different angles and with different lighting to give yourself plenty of options to choose from later. Also, shooting from multiple angles will help you capture any details that may be missed in a single shot.

Now that you know the basics, let’s jump into the different lighting setups.

Apparel Product Photography Lighting

Apparel Product Photography: Lighting Tips

When it comes to shooting products, particularly clothing, there are three main lighting setups that we recommend. These are:

  • Window Lighting for product photography

Window lighting is one of the most popular and simplest ways to shoot product photos. All you need is a window and a reflector (which we’ll talk about in a minute).

To set up, position your product near the window so that the light is coming in from the side. Then, use a reflector to bounce light back onto the product and fill in any shadows.

You can use a white piece of foam board, a gold reflector, or even a silver reflector. Each will give you a different look, so experiment to see what works best for your products.

One advantage of using window lighting is that it’s free. If you’re on a budget, this is a great option. Additionally, it’s easy to set up and you can do it anywhere.

The main downside of window lighting is that it can be unpredictable. If the sun moves behind a cloud, the light coming in through the window will change and you’ll have to adjust your settings accordingly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that window light can be quite harsh, so you may need to diffuse it with a sheer curtain or piece of fabric.

  • Single Mono Light Setup for product photography

If you want more control over your lighting, we recommend using a single light source. This can be either a natural light source like the sun or an artificial light source like a studio light.

When using a single light source, place the light directly in front of the product at a 45-degree angle. Then, use a reflector to bounce the light back onto the product and fill in any shadows.

One advantage of using a single light source is that it’s very versatile. You can shoot in both artificial and natural light, giving you a lot of flexibility. Additionally, you can control the intensity of the light by moving the light closer or further away from the product.

The main downside of using a single light source is that it can be time-consuming to set up. Additionally, you’ll need to have a reflector on hand to fill in the shadows.

  • Dual Mono Light Setup for product photography

If you want even more control over your lighting, we recommend using two light sources. This is known as a dual-mono light setup.

To set up, place one light directly in front of the product at a 45-degree angle. Then, place the second light behind the product and to the side so that it’s pointing towards the back of the product.

The advantage of using two light sources is that you can create a more dramatic look with deep shadows and highlights. Additionally, this setup is very versatile and you can shoot in both artificial and natural light.

As the single mono light setup, this type of lighting can be time-consuming to set up as well. You will also need two reflectors to fill in the shadows.

DIY Product Photography Lighting

Why is Lighting Important in Apparel Product Photography?

Lighting is important in apparel product photography because it can make or break your photos. If you don’t have good lighting, your photos will look flat, dull, and unappealing.

Good lighting will make your photos pop and give them dimension. It will also bring out the colors in your clothing and make them look more vibrant.

Additionally, good lighting will help you to create different moods and atmospheres in your photos. For example, if you want to create a feeling of sophistication, you can use softer, more diffused light. If you want to create a feeling of fun and excitement, you can use brighter, more intense light. The possibilities are endless!

This is essential especially when shooting dresses. The right lighting can make a dress look stunning, while the wrong lighting can make it look drab. For patterned shirts, the right lighting can make the patterns pop, while the wrong lighting can make them look muddy.

If you’re shooting footwear like sneakers, lighting can help to create different effects. For example, if you want to show off the detail of the sneaker, you can use a light that is placed directly on the shoe. If you want to create a more atmospheric photo, you can use a backlight.

It’s essential to take the time to set up your lights properly and experiment with different looks until you find one that you’re happy with.

Apparel Product Retouching Services by Pixel by Hand

Once you’ve taken your photos, it’s time to send them off to be edited! At Pixel by Hand, we offer a variety of apparel product retouching services to help make your photos look their best.

Photo retouching is the process of making corrections and enhancements to your photos. This can be anything from removing blemishes and imperfections to adding contrast and saturation. In terms of lighting, image retouching can help to even out the lighting in your photos and make the colors pop. We can also help to correct any problems with the exposure, white balance, or levels.

We also provide other essential product editing services for e-commerce images which include removing backgrounds, adding shadows, and creating Ghost Mannequins.

If you’re looking for help with your product photography, we’d love to chat with you! Send us a message in our chatbox below or give us a call today.

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Get started with a Free Trial of our product photo retouching service or if you have any questions simply click Ask A Question to get started.

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