Providing Direction For Lighting

How We Approach Our Lighting

Most of our clients allow POW to decide how to light their products to some degree. This gives us the flexibility to pick a lighting style that is suited to the product shape and type.

We light every product differently to try and enhance:

• The texture of the product.
• The shape/dimension of the product.
• The true color of the product.
• The label to ensure that it is clear and legible. 

Default Lighting If None Is Provided

If lighting direction is not provided then the product will be lit with "Even Lighting" on the product, with defined edges so that it separates from the background & a 255 white background.  

Below are some examples of even lighting.


Challenges With Lighting

When it comes to lighting, it's not uncommon for a customer to say something like "you're the professionals, you decide". But complications can arise because what looks good to us might not look good to the customer. The issue could be technical like the customer is viewing images on an uncalibrated monitor or had expectations in their mind that they weren't able to convey to our Photographers.  

The challenge for most people is lighting in a photo is something that is subliminal and it's not easy to recognize the differences that we as professionals see as obvious.  Studies have shown that typically, a person cannot see the difference between lighting and they will instinctually pick the better one.  

Since we spend 10 - 20 min per product photo lighting and retouching, we want to limit the number of reshoots and try and get it right the first time. That is why we've provided 4 ways for you to communicate lighting direction to our Photographers.


Provide Flexible Guidance for Lighting

Ways to Provide Lighting Match Example

  1. Request to have us match lighting from a previous order with POW.

  2. Reference an example on our portfolio.

  3. Find examples of similar products that have lighting you like on other websites.

  4. Request to have us find a lighting example online that we think you would like.

  5. Let us decide and we'll use Default Lighting (see below).


Tips For Providing Lighting Examples
If you want to provide your own match examples, be sure to find images that are similar to your products. In the example below, if your product is the mascara and you provide a match image with mascara in similar packaging with a metallic shine, that is helpful. A "bad" example on the right is square & transparent and doesn't relate to mascara or have similar packaging.



Lighting For Reflective Products

You can ask for standard lighting for reflective items

We have a standard way that we like to photograph reflective items. Though it’s not required to choose this option for your reflective items, it sure makes life easier than hunting through images to find a matching image that may or may not work. The camera angles that work best are “Straight-On” or “Slightly Above”.


POW Standard lighting examples

All the above are examples of how our standard lighting affects objects of differing shapes and colors. This look is characterized by a black line where the camera is in the center and 2 graduated highlights on either side to show shape and indicate the product’s reflective nature. It even looks great on semi-reflective objects like the Argan Oil.


Reshoots because of lighting

We rarely receive requests for re-shoots due to lighting. Occasionally there are minor adjustments that can be corrected in Photoshop and these are unpaid. Examples of what we can adjust after the fact are: darkening a specific area that was too bright, a specific color was not correct, or maybe text was not legible. 

If no direction for lighting is provided, products are photographed evenly and the product cannot be adjusted in Photoshop to suit the customer then the lead photographer will choose if the product can be rephotographed for free or not based on the circumstances surrounding the request.