Allison Earnest on Lighting for Product Photography

coverearnestproductWith the launch of in 1995, the online retail experience had arrived to stay. What the launch of that site also heralded was the decline of the tactile shopping experience. Without being able to hold a book or garden tool or necktie, the importance of excellent product photography was more evident than ever.

Allison Earnest has published a book with Amherst Media entitled Lighting for Product Photography. Many aspects of this critical area of photography are covered. The rear cover reads, in part:

Allison Earnest walks you through the process of photographing products for commercial applications, demonstrating how to light even the trickiest of shapes and surfaces for accurate, appealing images. Step-by-step images and ample setup shots show how theory translates into practice, making it easy to master each technique.

With no other book on the market quite like this guide, Earnest has clearly written it with a specific audience in mind. “It’s geared toward photography students and people photographers who wish to diversify their photographic skills and photograph products and ‘things’ for commercial purposes,” she says.

©Allison Earnest

©Allison Earnest

There are 24 case studies walking the reader through the process of how to photograph a variety of products or things, including as white subject matter on white backgrounds, black objects on black backgrounds, metal, embossing, fabric, glass, and much more. The latter part of the book is a step-by-step guide with many photo illustrations and set scenes for “putting it all together” when you have multiple products with props, each having their own photographic challenges. 

Gear is covered in this thorough guide, including the Sekonic C-500 and the L-758DR. Earnest also covers how lights can be triggered via the latter meter in conjunction with PocketWizard radio triggers. She writes, “You must use a meter to measure the light falling on the subject.”

Earnest is a fan of shooting, not endless postproduction tweaking in Lightroom or Photoshop. “Our goal is to make a usable image at the time of capture—a shot that is as close to perfection as possible,” she writes.

Learn how to both save yourself time and dramatically increase the quality of your product photography with this critical book on the subject.

Allison Earnest at work. ©Allison Earnest

Allison Earnest at work. ©Allison Earnest

You can find Lighting for Product Photography on Learn more about Allison Earnest on her site.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Allison Earnest, all rights reserved; story is ©Sekonic. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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