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How to Shoot Group Product Photos with Only One Flash

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Here’s a helpful 6-minute tutorial by photographer Dustin Dolby on how you can photograph group product photos using only a single speedlight.

Dolby places a number of shampoo and conditioner bottles on a sheet of acrylic and then uses light to craft space.

Using a 8×36-inch stripbox and Yongnuo YN560 III flash, Dolby shoots photos while illuminating the scene from the left, right, back, and front. Here are the original 4 exposures that resulted:

Left main
Right main
Fill main
Background

These frames can then be composited into a single image using Photoshop’s Lighten blending mode.

The left main as the base frame.
Right main blended in.
Front main blended in.
Background blended in.

The fact that you’re blending in the background as a separate frame means you can apply a hue saturation to that layer to make it look as though you used a colored gel.

Here’s the final group product photo that resulted from using this technique with a single speedlight:

“I don’t think things should be shot with one speedlight like this typically or in a professional environment,” Dolby says, “but by boiling things down to the one light, we help people out who have [less] gear […] but also it forces us to understand each exposure.”

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