Make magazine-quality product photos with a cheap lighting setup

by Liam McCabe

posted Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 3:18 PM EDT


Fact: A camera can’t make a product look amazing. Even an amazing lens can't make a perfume bottle look worthy of a magazine ad. Lighting, though—that can make a huge difference, and doesn't need to cost very much, either.

This 8-minute tutorial from the Nikonian Academy in Malaysia shows off the tricks of the trade that product photographers use to create the iconic look of top-shelf cosmetics ads. The equipment isn’t very expensive. Instructor Andrew Boey gets the job done with not much more than a couple of cheap flashes, white cards, black velvet, and reflective aluminum. (NSFW Warning: There’s some brief cursing at the very end of the video, so close out or mute before the credits to avoid rough language.)


It’s eye-opening to see Boey turn a cheap-looking photo of a perfume bottle, riddled with hotspots and flare, into something near magazine quality. And watching it come together piece by piece, adding a flash here and a reflective card there, makes it much easier to grasp the purpose behind each part of the setup.

Plenty of other lighting tutorials from Boey are available through the Beyond Photography YouTube channel.

(Via PetaPixel)