April Flower Brooch in Honor of Earth Day
April Flower Brooch - Red UPC Flower in Honor of Earth Day

Simple lighting to photograph your work.

Sayumi Yokouchi wrote a letter asking two good questions.  I have paraphrased her questions and will answer the second one here.  (The first was answered in a previous post.)

Sayumi Yokouchi red coil neckpeice
Circle Drawing: Coil Neckpiece Red  © 2009
Found Wire, sterling silver
30 x 26 x 3 cm
Artist: Sayumi Yokouchi
Photo Credit: Ralph Gabriner

Dear Harriete,

Perhaps it is time for me to start my own photoshoot so I can get the images the way I like.  I'm ready to invest in a digital camera + lenses + a simple lighting system.

What would you recommend?

Sayumi Yokouchi



The photos that I take in my studio are limited to small less expensive items that aren't worth spending a couple of hundred dollars on for professional photography. In these studio shots, I use natural light from two translucent skylights with southern exposure and a window nearby. This provides bright, white, diffuse light in the middle of the day.

Flower PIN by Harriete Estel Berman in Hershey Red with peach centerDiffuse natural light avoids all the problems that can occur with photo lights. You can duplicate this situation for yourself by photographing your work in a location that would be in direct sun, but wait for an overcast day. This provides bright diffuse light. This is my super simple method.

The location for your super simple photoshoot can be inside near a window or outside in a location that would be in direct sunlight. BUT, it must be an overcast or foggy day to have diffuse light. (I said that twice because it is so important.)  Photographing work in the shade is NOT an alternative because this creates a blue cast which won't look good.


The problems caused by artificial photo lights include harsh shadows, blown-out highlights, and the need to color balance the light source for correct lighting. Using photo lights greatly increases the difficulty of getting a great photo especially when your work is shiny, glossy, or metallic. In addition, purchasing photo lights is a significant cost.

Do NOT use the flash on your camera to photograph your work. 


If you want more information on using artificial light sources,  Steve Meltzer has two books that can help you with your photography efforts. They are both shown in the right column of this blog. His information is always practical and relatively easy to follow. CLICK ON THE BOOKS Capture the Light: A Guide for Beginning Digital Photographersand Photographing Arts, Crafts & Collectibles: Take Great Digital Photos for Portfolios, Documentation, or Selling on the Web (A Lark Photography Book) to see if Amazon.com even has a used copy to save you some money.

The next blog post will be about how to use "bounce cards" to reduce deep shadows and improve the lighting conditions during your photoshoot. This blog post will be authored by my photographer Philip Cohen. He shoots all my work which you can see on my website.

Two documents in the Professional Guidelines may also improve your images.

     Guide to Professional Quality Images

     Working with Digital Images Effectively

  • The books in the column and shown above are affiliate links. Clicking on the links and buying through Amazon.com could possibly provide this blog with a few pennies to keep on going. Thanks for your support.

This post was updated on February 5 , 2022, to provide current links and update content.