The Importance of Lighting in Commercial Photography
Many of those looking to get into photography will focus on features such as the quality of the camera, location and the subject in which they will be shooting. 
However, lighting is one of the most often overlooked, as many believe it’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ component in photography. Here’s why it should always be considered when shooting portraits and products coming from a professional commercial photographer with years of experience shooting portraits and products for businesses across many different sectors. 

What Does Light Mean in Photography? 

The use of light in photography is effectively where the chosen light source, artificial or natural, is placed in relation to the subject. Lighting is the truest way in which a photographer can portray the personality of the subject and their surroundings. 

How Light Affects Your Photography 

One of the most prominent aspects of photography is the use of light to really showcase the subject. In any instance, poor choice of lighting leads to poor-quality photos, regardless of the subject. By analysing the subject and the location chosen, you can determine which lighting works best. 

Types of Photography Lighting 

There are various types of lighting that photographers can choose to complement their subject and the setting. The types of lighting used in commercial photography relate not only to the light source but also the position of the lighting, which plays a significant role in how any product or portrait is perceived. 

Natural Lighting 

Perfect for outdoor photoshoots for those looking to showcase an outdoorsy product. The use of the sun and clouds can create as much or as little contrast as desired. As an experienced commercial photographer, Mike wouldn’t use natural lighting indoors in any of his shoots due to its unreliability. But when having to shoot outdoorsy products such as garden equipment and other large outdoor items, Mike will usually supplement the natural light with professional studio flash to control variables including contrast, colour balance and length of exposure to ensure consistently high-quality results. 
Using a controlled level of light allows for a reproducible setting, which is significantly better when future products need to be photographed and added to a catalogue or product list. 
The Importance of Lighting in Commercial Photography

Flat Lighting 

In commercial photography, flat lighting is primarily used for symmetrical photography. Flat lighting reduces the number of shadows in a portrait, therefore, decreasing the opportunity to bring a portrait to life. Flat lighting is usually used when photographing flat artwork like paintings and graphics where shadows and reflections are not acceptable in the final image. 

Back Lighting 

As the name suggests, backlighting refers to the source of light being placed behind the subject. Backlighting is capable of creating beautiful silhouettes but is likely to only have niche uses in commercial photography since it rarely captures the subject of the photograph adequately. 
The Importance of Lighting in Commercial Photography

Soft Lighting 

Soft lighting is formed when the source of light is diffused. It can be used on any subject and is convenient for those aiming for less harsh contrasts within their products and portraits. In a studio, photographers may use a diffusion panel to create this softer lighting, as it diminishes shadows and makes for more even lighting throughout the subject. 

Rim Lighting 

Similar to back lighting, rim lighting appears from behind or above the subject but at an angle. This creates a highlight or a glow around the subject. Ideal for creating definition from dark backgrounds. 
The trick to a successful product or portrait photograph is planning the lighting beforehand. Knowing which type of lighting would complement the subject can give a portrait much more personality than you ever thought possible! 

Experienced Commercial Photographer in the UK 

If you’d like help or advice from an experienced UK commercial photographer with knowledge of an array of different lighting choices and stylistic choices to enhance any subject or product, contact Mike Green Photography. 
Over his years of experience photographing in the UK, Mike has amassed a wealth of understanding of how to capture subjects in portrait and commercial photography. 
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