Shooting Product Photos with a Single Speedlight by Painting Light

Here’s a 20-minute tutorial from Dustin Dolby of workphlo that looks at how you can shoot high-end product photos using just one speedlight by painting light. Dolby also looks at how to composite and enhance the shot to produce the final image.

Dolby starts out by shooting a base frame that he will use to composite different things into the shot later on.

Creating a selection from this, Dolby is able to mask out the background so that the base frame is perfectly white in the backdrop.

Using a simple diffuser, Dolby shoots a frame lighting the top of the product.

By using the mask to apply this lighting to the base frame, the background is completely irrelevant.

After that, Dolby then shoots at a variety of different angles to light the product using his diffuser.

Moving into post-production, Dolby uses Photoshop to start compositing the different angles of lighting together into one final image.

Selecting the best of all the different frames he shot, Dolby makes use of the “Lighten” blend mode to pull together enough shots to ensure the product has well-lit sides and top surface.

To add the final touches, he introduces a drop shadow and a gray background. These are details that he says are appreciated by a client in an “eCommerce setting.”

Check out the full video above to see all of the post-production techniques, as well as the process of shooting all of the different lighting frames. You can also find more of his videos on his YouTube channel.