The Power of Light
A general motivation for me when lighting things to be photographed is 2 fold. First, I tend to like things to be lit in a way that seems natural to the scene and continues the mood the client is looking to portray. Obviously, if the subject is in a studio, well then that doesn't matter as much. Secondly, I like to highlight certain aspects of the subject. If it's a portrait, I like to highlight the best features of the face. If it's a product, I need to show off the form and logo.
When I start off lighting a product in a way that I'm trying to compliment the lighting in the scene, I look at many factors. First, how is the scene being lit to begin with. Is it soft light from a cloudy day, is it reflected soft light bouncing off something outside and coming through a window or is it harsh direct sunlight? Of course, there are plenty of other types of light, I just need to know what I'm trying to match so that I can use my tools to create a similar style of light for the subject.
Why do I do this? First, I just think that it's jarring for viewers to see products where the lighting on the product doesn't match the scene they are in. The viewer starts thinking somethings off, and at that point the viewer isn't thinking about the product any longer. Commercial photography is all about presenting products in the best possible way that focuses on the product. The quality of the images is crucial when it comes to selling products. Getting the right balance of natural and artificial light can make all the difference in the final result. Below we will explore the benefits of using artificial light to balance natural light for commercial photography, and how it can help highlight the product. Below are 4 things that I consider when creating product photography with mixed lighting.
1. Control over Lighting Conditions
Even though natural light is often unpredictable, and it changes throughout the day. It can also be affected by weather conditions, such as cloud cover, which can cause variations in the amount of light and shadows. Using artificial light allows you to have more control over the lighting conditions, regardless of the time of day or weather. This control can be particularly useful for shooting indoors or in low-light conditions.
2. Consistency in Image Quality
Another benefit of using artificial light is that it provides consistent image quality. Natural light can change quickly, causing variations in the image's exposure and color temperature. Artificial light, on the other hand, remains constant, providing uniform lighting throughout the shoot. This consistency in image quality makes it easier to edit and retouch the images later, ensuring that they all have a cohesive look and feel.
3. Highlighting the Product
One of the most significant benefits that I love the most when using artificial light on a product in commercial photography is the ability to highlight the product. By using directional lighting, you can create shadows and highlights that accentuate the product's features and make it stand out. This technique can be particularly useful for products that have cool shapes, intricate details or unique textures, such as bottles, clothing, or food.
4. Creating a Mood
Lighting can also be used to create a specific mood or atmosphere in the images. Artificial light allows you to adjust the color temperature and intensity of the light, which can affect the overall feel of the images. Warm lighting can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, which I tend to use a lot in restaurant settings, while cool lighting can give the images a more modern and sleek look.
Using artificial light to balance natural light in commercial photography has many benefits. It allows for more control over lighting conditions, consistency in image quality, and the ability to highlight the product's features. By using directional lighting, you can create shadows and highlights that accentuate the product's details and textures. And lighting can also be used to create a specific mood or atmosphere in the images. Ultimately, using a combination of natural and artificial light can help create stunning and impactful images that can make products stand out in a crowded market.