The best lighting setup for photographing products in small spaces

Category: Product Reviews     Photography    

How to set up a basic photo studio in a small space to take great photos of products and small objects.

I have been doing photography for the last few years, and recently much of it has been product shots and photo set ups as you will see below. The challenge has always been that I have very little space in my office and I have white walls, fluorescent overhead lights and windows (ahhh, a lighting nightmare!) It’s challenging to get rid of shadows and get the best lighting for my images to make sure they are well light, clear and bright without wash out. I have tried my hand at a variety of set ups to get my little mock photo studio just right – so I wanted to share what I currently use to shoot my product shots.


What I use to photograph:


My current camera is a Canon 60D and as a back up I have a Canon Rebel XS.

The Canon 60D is great because it also takes video in case you need that for additional content creation and capture.


I have a collapsing tripod to take with me on sets when I want to make sure I have no camera shake, or if I want to use a very slow shudder speed.

My external flash that I use on my Canon is a 430 EX with a diffuser attachment to bounce light off the ceiling or walls when needed in low light situations.


For lenses I keep a Canon 50mm lens on my Canon Rebel XS at all times usually and for my Canon 60D I have the SIGMA 17-50mm lens.

CowboyStudio 85 Watt Daylight Balanced Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb – click here to buy or learn more

Impact Softbox Light Stand Monolight Set Up: click here to buy or learn more

Targus Tripods: click here to buy or learn more


When it comes to photographing products indoors this light offers a ton of light power and doesn’t ruin my white balance. It is larger than most and bigger than I expected when it arrived but it is what I was looking for. Regular light bulbs, even at high watts, were not lighting my products enough. This one I highly recommend for your soft box. This is the 85 watt bulb by Cowboy Studio which I bought on Amazon. I love that these daylight bulbs don’t make my images yellow and offer a great color against my white backdrop.

5000k daylight compact fluorescent standard spiral bulbs are an excellent choice for digital camera photography. it generates a close match to natural daylight and a crisper view of the items being illuminated.

FEATURES: Average Life: 8,000 Hours; Approximate Incandescent Equivalent: 300 Watts; Save 90 Watt in Energy; Flicker-Free; E26 standard screw-in base; CRI (Color Rendering Index) > 84; Designed for 120V/60 HZ; UL listed; Bulb size: 13″ Length, 4.00″ Diameter, 4.00″ Base Height, 2.95″ Base Width, 5600 LM output. Do not use with timers, dimmers, or exposed to the weather.

As you can see they offer a great bang for your buck with the lighting and then I add the diffuser over the lamp to soften it up. I built a white backdrop by taping two pieces of white foam core board together and slant the back one so I don’t get any real shadows. I have two lights but I usually only need the one for most product shots. In the small space I have I just can’t do a 3 light set up.


When you shoot products it will take some trial and error to make sure you get the right lighting, white balance and contrast. I still have to use Photoshop after to edit the images but with the lighting I am much closer than I was without this set up. I hope this post helps as you begin to buy items or set up your own small space studio.

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