- Provide plenty of light. Quality light is absolutely essential to taking a good photograph. The best light is diffused natural sunlight. If a sunny window is unavailable, be sure to provide as much clear, artificial light as possible. If you can, try to use just one kind of bulb (incandescent, flourescent, or LED) to light the area. That will help keep the color being cast on your subject uniform and easier to balance.
- Soft light is your friend. Direct light (whether it comes from a natural or artificial source) can cast harsh shadows and create washed out areas in your picture. It's important to diffuse light by placing something sheer between your subject and the light source. Try using sheer white fabric, tracing paper, or vellum to diffuse your light source. The right kind of shade can sometimes do this automatically. Think of your favorite room in the house on a perfect Spring morning. That's the beauty of diffused light!
- Turn off your flash. Camera flashes cause harsh, direct light without any diffusion. Try turning off your flash, holding the camera extremely steady (a tripod would be ideal), and providing plenty of light from other sources instead. If you must use a flash, consider investing in a flash diffuser or a swoop. For more tips on diffusing your camera's flash, check out this blog post from Mary Makes Pretty.
- Play with the light. Sometimes even the best quality light can leave shadows in places that take away from the beauty of your photograph. Try using a reflective surface, like a sheet of white paper or aluminum foil, to bounce and reflect the light surrounding your subject. By manipulating the available light, you can change the finished image dramatically.
- Adjust your white balance. Almost all digital cameras come with an adjustable setting for something called "white balance". Often, this setting is accompanied by icons portraying different types of light, like lightbulbs, suns, and clouds. Different kinds of light can cast different colors on a photograph. Make sure to adjust the white balance setting to the kind of light your subject is in before taking your photos.
Here are some great examples of beautiful product photography from our Flickr Photo Group!
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