How to light shoes for e-commerce photo shoots and video content


Learn how to light your products to get stunning content


In this tutorial, we’ll show you different techniques on how to light photos and videos of shoes for your e-commerce web store. Mainly, the focus of this tutorial is to show you how to deal with lighter products compared to darker ones.

The importance of treating each product differently when it comes to lighting based on its features is essential. It’s good to keep in mind that with different colored shoe products and lighting, one size does not fit all.

When shooting video of footwear, make sure to keep the lighting consistent if you shot stills before that. Your visuals should match. Also, when making video don’t be afraid to experiment and give your production more of a cinematic vibe to it. That will separate you from the crowd and could make your product more appealing to the potential customer.

In this post we cover:

  • Lighting for darker footwear products

  • Lighting for lighter footwear products

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Lighting for Darker Footwear Products

The problem with shooting darker shoes is that oftentimes, when the lighting is not setup correctly, it becomes difficult to bring out the details on the product that make it special. It’s common to overlook small elements. Here’s how to avoid all that.

Choose the side for your light
If you have a darker product, like a black shoe, you really want to showcase the detail of it. You want to emphasize the heel of the shoe.

That’s why you should choose which side your light will be coming from (left or right) and then also don’t forget to light your background. This will help you separate the shoe from the background.

It will also add texture. However, make sure that it’s not too dark for your product, otherwise your customers won’t be able to see any of the details of the shoe.

Try the 3/4 angle
If you have your light coming from the left, you can really start to see the texture and the other details from different angles on the shoe itself. This can be used as a reverse detail shot. Experiment with a nice heel shot that showcases a different angle of your product so you can show more to your customers.

Experiment with light
When you start playing with the light a bit more and you still have it coming from the left side (for example), if you spin your shoe the right way, you can show the backside of it and its logo on the back. Don’t forget to focus on the right spot so you get a crisp, sharp image.


Check the size of your product for video

If you’re shooting a video with bigger or taller products, make sure that your light is in the right place so your product doesn’t cast a weird shadow on the background.

When it comes to e-commerce video, we all know that it has been found to help conversions significantly. That’s why you should feel free to also experiment with the shots you take and see what works best for your brand. However, keep in mind that creating video can be costly and being efficient when shooting is essential.

That’s why with StyleShoots Eclipse e.g. you can shoot all your video clips in one go. Best part is, the machine will do that for you. It will also put the clips together and edit them automatically so you will end up with a finished end result. That way you save valuable of resources like time and money.


Lighting for Lighter Footwear Products

There are some important lighting setup differences when it comes to shooting lighter products compared to darker products. We outline the most important ones.

The biggest difference is exposure
First thing you need to do when switching from darker products you shot to lighter ones, you should change the amount of exposure. The exposure in this case needs to be lower. That’s because it is easier to see detail on a lighter product than on a darker one when doing a photo shoot.


Balance out the light
To make the image even better, adjust in terms of soft light on the right and the left. You’re aiming for balance here. That is purely down to the fact that you don’t want to emphasize “shiny“ like you did before with the dark product, rather you want to show that it has a different texture to it.

Get the lighting right
Reduce the front light by a bit compared to what you had before when shooting the dark product and slide down your exposure. It should be about two thirds darker than it used to be with the darker product simply because of the tone of the shoe.

If the color of the pair of shoes you are shooting is contrasting with the background, you might want to watch out what happens to the second shoe in line in order to avoid any unwanted shadows.

Mark down where everything is

Once you’ve positioned your lights and you got the exposure down, make sure to mark down where your lights and tripods have been standing just you can make sure that every image will be consistent with all the other ones.

That way you can repeat result over and over again. Consistency in e-commerce visual content on web store has been found to increase sales quite a bit. With StyleShoots Eclipse, you can lock all your settings for every shoot and save your presets. The machine will save the exact light positions for all your shots so you can repeat them, achieving true consistency throughout all your shots and videos.

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In summary:

  • Use lighting direction to emphasize detail of the shoe.

  • Make sure the lighting is suitable for both stills and video. Be consistent.

  • When shooting light and dark products, make sure to change your exposure. Your exposure should be toned down for the lighter ones compared to the darker ones.

  • Mark the exact positions of your lights and cameras so you can repeat your results over and over again to maintain consistency.


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