Laws of Light: Lighting a Product

On this video, part of a series “laws of light” by photographer Jay P. Morgan from The The Slanted Lens looks at how to light products, combining lessons from previous tutorials (see below).

Morgan starts by talking about how to frame your shot. You should frame your image in a height that will let you see all the 3 sides of your product (for example in the case of a cube-shaped object), and you also need to decide if you want to view more of the light side of the product or the darker (shadow) side of the product.

You always have to remember that the name of the game here is creating depth in a two-dimensional image and doing this is done mainly by using highlights and shadows.

To play with shadows you can use a bounce card and get it closer or further away to give more or fewer shadows on one side. By moving the light source away from the background you can turn the background darker which will give you more separation of your product from the background.

Using a secondary light can give you a lot more options including creating some specular highlights to your product as well as the option to light your product and background separately (Morgan shows for example hot to create gradation in the background as well as more hard cuts using barn doors).

The first lighting option Morgan talked about was mostly with one or two lights when one comes from the side, the second lighting setup is where the light comes from above and behind the product. Here, again you can add fill to both sides using bounce cards as needed based on the same principles of creating depth by keeping one side in shadows while the other is more highlighted.

We collected all four of the previous videos on lighting a Sphere, a cylinder and a cube as well as all three of them together and you should watch them as well if you didn’t do so yet as they are quite helpful at understanding the basics behind product photography.

Laws of Light: Sphere

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Laws of Light: Cylinder

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Laws of Light: Cube

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Laws of Light: Three Objects

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You can check out the rest of the Laws of Light videos we published in the past from this series on this link.

You can find a lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid, and you can find all of Jay P. Morgan’s videos here on LensVid on the following link.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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