Using Natural Light Outdoors for Product Photography

  1. Product Photography Lighting
  2. Natural Light Photography Tips
  3. Using natural light outdoors for product photography

Product photography is an important part of any business’s marketing strategy. Whether you’re selling products online, in a store, or in a catalog, your photos must be professional, engaging, and attractive. It can be tricky to capture the perfect shot in a studio setting with artificial lighting, but you can also achieve excellent results by using natural light outdoors. Natural light offers a softer, more natural look that can make your product photos stand out from the competition.

In this article, we’ll provide tips and tricks for taking great product photos outdoors with natural light. Natural light is a type of light that comes from the sun, moon, or other sources in nature. It is a popular choice for product photography because it produces images with a natural look and feel, without requiring additional lighting equipment. Natural light is composed of different types of illumination, each with its own advantages and disadvantages for product photography. Direct sunlight is one of the most commonly used types of natural light for product photography. It produces bright, crisp images with good contrast and color saturation.

However, direct sunlight can also create harsh shadows and create lens flare, which can be distracting.

Soft light

is another popular option for product photography. It is created when the sun’s light is diffused by clouds or other objects, such as trees or buildings. Soft light produces soft shadows and can add a subtle glow to the image. The downside to soft light is that it may be too low in intensity to produce good results.


is another type of natural light that can be used for product photography.

This type of light is created when the sun or other source of light is behind the object being photographed. Backlight adds depth and dimension to the image by creating highlights and shadows. However, it can be difficult to control and may require additional lighting equipment to achieve the desired result. Finding the right location for outdoor product photography is an important part of creating great images. Look for locations that provide shade or diffused light, as this will help to create soft shadows and reduce lens flare.

If shooting in direct sunlight, look for locations with plenty of open space that will allow you to move around and adjust your position to minimize lens flare.


and diffusers are essential tools for controlling the light when shooting outdoors. Reflectors are used to bounce light onto the subject, creating highlights and filling in shadows. Diffusers are used to soften the light and reduce harsh shadows, creating a more even illumination. Exposure settings are also important when shooting with natural light. Make sure to adjust your camera’s exposure settings to match the available light.

If shooting in direct sunlight, it may be necessary to use a slower shutter speed or lower ISO to avoid overexposing the image. Conversely, if shooting in low-light conditions, a higher ISO or faster shutter speed may be necessary. Finally, here are some tips on how to make the most of natural light when shooting product photography outdoors:

  • Look for open spaces with plenty of shade or diffused light.
  • Use reflectors and diffusers to shape and control the light.
  • Adjust your exposure settings to match the available light.
  • Shoot at different times of day to capture different types of natural light.
Using natural light outdoors for product photography can produce beautiful images with a natural look and feel. With some practice and the right tools, you can create stunning images with minimal equipment.

Finding the Right Location

When it comes to taking product photos outdoors, the location is just as important as the time of day. You'll want to pick a spot that offers even lighting, with no harsh shadows or bright spots.

You should also look for a shaded area, as direct sunlight can create unwanted reflections or glare on products. Additionally, try to find a spot that won't be affected by passing clouds or wind—both of which can cast shadows or disrupt your setup. The time of day can also have a big impact on your product photos. You'll want to avoid shooting at midday, when the sun is directly overhead, as this will create strong shadows and bright spots. Instead, shoot in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky and the light is more even.

This will give you warm, natural-looking photos without any harsh highlights or shadows. No matter what time of day you shoot, always keep an eye on the sky and watch for any changes in light. Clouds can move in quickly and cast shadows on your products, so be prepared to adjust your setup accordingly.

Using Reflectors and Diffusers

Using reflectors and diffusers is an essential skill when it comes to product photography. Reflectors are used to shape and control the light, while diffusers help to soften harsh shadows.

Reflectors come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, such as white foam core boards or silver reflectors. When used correctly, they can help to create interesting and attractive lighting effects. Diffusers are also useful when shooting outdoors. They can be used to soften harsh shadows that occur when the sun is too bright.

They come in many different sizes and shapes and can be used to create more even light and reduce unwanted shadows. When using reflectors and diffusers, it is important to take into account the position of the sun, as well as the desired effect you are trying to achieve. As the sun moves throughout the day, it is important to adjust the position of the reflector or diffuser accordingly. This can be done by moving the reflector or diffuser closer or further away from the subject, or by changing its angle in relation to the sun. The goal is to create an even light that is flattering for the product being photographed.

Adjusting the Exposure Settings

When shooting product photography outdoors, adjusting the exposure settings on your camera is essential for getting the best results.

To ensure that your photos are well lit and properly exposed, you need to set the white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture for different lighting conditions. White balance helps to determine how colors appear in your image. Adjusting the white balance can help ensure that colors appear accurately, instead of having a yellow or blue tint. The ISO setting determines how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light.

Setting a higher ISO will allow you to take pictures in darker environments, but it can also introduce noise into your photos. Shutter speed controls how long the shutter is open when the picture is taken. A slower shutter speed will let in more light, but it can also cause blur if the subject is moving. Aperture affects the depth of field and controls how much of the image is in focus.

A wide aperture will blur out the background, while a small aperture will keep more of the image in focus. Understanding and correctly adjusting these settings will allow you to take better product photos outdoors. When adjusting the settings, it’s important to keep in mind the type of lighting you are working with and the desired effect you want to achieve. For example, in bright sunlight you may want to use a higher ISO and a smaller aperture to avoid overexposing your images. In low-light situations, you may need to use a higher ISO and a slower shutter speed.

Experimenting with different settings will help you find the best combination for different lighting conditions. Product photography with natural light outdoors can be a great way to capture beautiful images with a natural look. Finding the right location is key, as it can make or break your shoot. In addition, using reflectors and diffusers can help you to create the desired lighting effect. Lastly, adjusting the exposure settings of your camera can help you to get the best results.

With these tips in mind, you can create stunning product photography outdoors with natural light. If you would like to further improve your product photography skills, there are plenty of great resources available. Taking a course on digital photography or product photography can be a great way to learn more about the process. Additionally, reading blogs or watching tutorials on product photography lighting can help you to develop your skills and create stunning images.