Lighting and Shooting a Guitar

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For many products, you can set up a simple lighting solution to make your detail and overall shots look professionally lit. With larger products, however, a simple lighting solution doesn’t always work and you must be prepared to modify or change your lighting for different surface textures or colors of your subject matter. This lesson examines the challenges and solutions to shooting a relatively large reflective object.

Topics Covered:

  • Creating wrap-around light
  • Creating a warm fill
  • The importance of shooting detail shots

For this shoot, I first set up a Small SilverDome (Small Starlite Kit) with a 500 watt bulb to the left of the guitar, up high and aiming slightly down.

Here’s my first result.

Next, I set up a Medium SilverDome (Medium StarLite Kit) with a 1000 watt bulb in it, in the same spot as the first soft box.

Here’s the result. As you can see, this larger soft box provides a light source that covers the size of guitar better.

I then added a Photoflex 39×72 LitePanel with Gold fabric attached for a warm fill on the right. The LitePanel was attached to a Photoflex Large LiteStand with a Photoflex GripJaw and Heavy-Duty Grip Swivel.

Here’s the result with the gold fill.

To get a detail shot of the headstock of the guitar, I placed the Small SilverDome with the StarLite and the 500 watt bulb overhead on a Photoflex Boom and BoomStand.

As you can see, you can effectively control the reflections on your products if you have the right lighting modifiers on hand.

Written and photographed by Ben Clay.

Product/Still Life,


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