Should I Choose Flash for Product Photography?

do you need flash for product photography
Product photography location with multiple flashlights

One key factor in getting the perfect product photos is lighting. So, as a product photographer, you might wonder if you should use flash or not.

Flash captures images that are moving quickly. Also, the objects in the picture look brighter when using flash in photography.

Let’s dive in one by one.

Do You Need Flash for Product Photography?

There is no right answer to whether or not you need to use flash for product photography. This is because it depends on the kind of picture you want to capture.

  • If you want a low-heat image that also captures fast movement, using flash is not negotiable.
  • If you want to create a more natural photograph, you should probably lay off the flash. 

What Lighting Do I Need for Product photography?

To attain the best results in your work, proper lighting technique is essential. Lighting shows the quality of your product photography. Lighting can be of two broad types. 

  1. Continuous lighting: It is always on.
  2. On and off lighting: It is connected to your camera. Thus, it turns on only when you click on your camera in order to take a picture. 

You can use either type of lighting. However, people usually use continuous lighting. This is because it is easy to control and understand. Since continuous lighting is always on;

  • You can understand how your product looks with the rest of the background.
  • You can also adjust your product so that it looks its best.
  • You can change the way it interacts with the light. 

You can also do all these things with the lighting that goes on and off. However, you would need more practice. This is because;

  • The only feedback you would be getting would be from your camera.
  • You would not be able to directly see how your subject looks with the light on.

Thus, if you do not have a lot of experience, you can use continuous lighting for product photography. To make your pictures even better, you can use more than one source of continuous lighting.

However, if you only have one source of continuous lighting;

You can use a tip. Instead of buying another light, you can use white foam. This will make light bounce on your product and make it look like you have two lights!

On the other hand, if you need to freeze motion, you must use flash lighting. It would also help you get sharper images without using a stand. Further, flash renders more power and has a higher output.

Flashlights are powered by batteries, which vary from price to price. However, most of them are rather affordable. 

Once you have picked what sort of lighting you want, you need to also pick the actual source. There are three kinds of lighting sources. These are: 

  1. Fluorescent Lights
  2. LED
  3. Tungsten

1. Fluorescent Lights

These are efficient in terms of the energy they consume. However, they are not very bright. If you want to play around with colors, these may not be the best choice. 

2. LED

These lights do not heat up and also do not consume more energy than needed. They also have a good lifespan.

Further, they make good ring lights in case you want to enhance your product in creative ways. 

3. Tungsten

These produce the brightest lights. That said, you can adjust their brightness as per your needs. Thus, you can control the temperature in your pictures!

Further, you can also explore natural lighting for your product photography. However, in this case, you should be sure to use a great camera. Also, ensure that you use a white background. This will ensure that your product grabs all the attention in the picture. 

Is Flash Necessary for Photography?

A camera setup with a flashlight for photography
A camera setup with a flashlight

Flash is a great tool when it comes to photography.

  • It helps you arrest motion with your camera.
  • If you are clicking in the Sun, you need flash to take care of the differences in colors and shadows.
  • If you are clicking at night and want to create some special effects in your pictures, you can use flash.

That said, if you are not outside, you can do without a flash. Also, if you are taking candid pictures, you are much better off without a flash. Thus, while the flash is not necessary for photography, it can help you go much further with your camera.

How Do You Use Flash for Product Photography?

Many photographers who wish to make a good impact on their prospective consumers are expected to have two things in their bags- continuous lights and flashlights for various scenarios. 

You would need a couple of extra accessories for a flash unit, to make the most of the unit. For a standard portrait, camera flashes provide the best results. You can also use continuous lights to accompany the whole setup. 

Some Tips to Use Flash for Product Photography

Image of a ring flash light for photography
A ring flash light for photography

Sometimes, using flash can be a tough job for anyone. So, here are a few tips to make you better at using flash for product photography 

1. Don’t Use Flash Directly on the Product

Are you familiar with that white haze and weird shadows in photos? Well, using flash directly on the subjects causes them. You should ensure that you bounce the light instead of flashing it on your product.

This will make sure that the light which falls on your subject is not too harsh. Further, you should pick what you bounce the light off of. You should not pick a surface that is too brightly colored for this purpose. 

Thus, you can use your wall or ceiling to this end as long as they do not pose any problems with their colors. Further, you can also use artificial products to make your light bounce the right way. 

2. Use a Diffuser

This also allows you to control the light your product interacts with. Diffusing light means spreading it out. Thus, it creates more even lighting. It also makes the light that falls on your product a whole lot softer.

Hence, if you use it correctly, it has the potential to make your product look more attractive. There are several types of diffusers available in the market.

3. Use the Surrounding Lights

Sure, flash can help you do a lot of things. However, this does not mean that you ignore the lights in the surroundings.

This is because using flash would mean that the focus is on your product. While it sounds like a good thing, it can quickly make the tables turn. Too much focus on your product is also bad. 

It can make your background disappear completely. Thus, it will make your product look odd and devoid of any context. Hence, you should find the right balance between focusing on your product and giving the background a chance to tell the right story. 

Using ambient light would help you achieve exactly that. 


Using good lighting is essential for clicking the right product photographs. You should ensure that the light interacts well with your product. While using flash can help you achieve your objectives, you should keep the tips in mind. This will help you get the best results.