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Candle Product Photography – The Ultimate Guide

Why Is Candle Product Photography Important?

Candle product photography can help your candles to stand out in a sea of related products. It is so important to establish your aesthetic as a brand and pull these elements into your candle product photography. From colors to lighting and props, there are so many fun elements that you can use to define your brand and stand out from the crowd.

Investing time and thought into your candle product photography can make your images more desirable, ultimately leading to more sales. When a brand puts more thought and effort into their product photography, it helps to make them look significantly more professional and legitimate. Just think about it – if you were shopping around for candles on Etsy and saw a plain candle photo that looks like it was taken with a first-generation iPhone compared to a beautifully placed candle with props and soft lighting, which would you be more likely to buy? With that being said, let’s go ahead and get started!

Lighting: Synthetic and Natural Lighting

Natural Lighting for Candle Photography

Natural lighting is the most popular method for candle product photography when starting out. If you live in a location with a lot of sunlight, I’d recommend starting with this method! Natural lighting can be gorgeous, soft, and very flattering for your candle product photography. When using natural lighting, I’d recommend taking your photos at golden hour, which is the last hour of the day. This is going to provide you with the most flattering lighting, as it is much softer and the sun is at a lower angle. You could experiment with taking photos during golden hour both inside and outside.

Where to Position My Candle When Using Natural Lighting?

When it comes to utilizing natural lighting, you have the flexibility to position your candle in a variety of ways depending on the look you are trying to achieve! If you live in an area with an abundance of natural light, this will be easier. 

Here is an example of a photo that I took using natural light. I’m currently living in Washington state and unfortunately, there isn’t an abundance of natural light, but I did the best with what I have! Be sure to note where the light will hit on your candle. As you can see here, the light hits somewhat harshly on the product. You can also photoshop some of this out in post-production.

Lifestyle candle product photography with seashells

Continuous Lighting for Candle Photography

Continuous lighting is just how it sounds, really – the light is always on and is continuous. This type of lighting is typically really great for video, as you always need constant, steady lighting to get the shot. You may be familiar with a softbox, which is an example of continuous lighting. Ring lights are also continuous.

Here are a few of my favorite continuous light sources if you are in the market:

Strobe and Flash Lighting for Candle Photography

Flash lighting, on the other hand, is not continuous. This type of lighting occurs when a shutter is fired. This type of lighting is extremely useful when you want very bright images. The light that you get from strobe or flash photography is much brighter than what you would get from continuous lighting sources.

Here is one of my favorite strobe lighting options currently on the market:

Where to Position My Candle With Continuous and Strobe Lighting?

Similar to how you would position a candle when using natural lighting, you will want to be mindful of the glare that could result on labels and packaging. Natural lighting is typically softer than synthetic lights, so you may need to work harder to ensure that the labels are not overblown by the light. 

Candle product photography using continuous light

I think that there is a lot of flexibility regarding where you should specifically position the candle. Try a few different angles and positions and even try incorporating props!

Angles and Positioning My Candle

When it comes to photographing different angles of your candle, it is important to experiment as much as possible. You will eventually find what works best for you and what is most flattering for the product. I will also share a few ideas below to help you get started. I always recommend trying a few different angles when it comes to creating photos for listings. This will ensure that you have all of the bases covered and are including all of the possible photos that a customer may be looking for. This also increases your chances of including a photo that may potentially resonate with a customer.

Straight Forward Shot

This shot is as basic as it gets when it comes to candle product photography. This might be needed depending on the platform you are posting on (always check to see if stores like Etsy and Amazon have image requirements!). 

As you can see with this example, the straightforward shot is really as simple as it gets. I think this is a really important shot, though, because you are able to get the labels/packaging in the picture. This is important from a branding perspective.

Straight forward candle photo using continuous light

The Angular Shot

This shot provides more of a stylistic take on your candle product photography. I think this type of photo makes it easier for a customer to visualize having the candle in their home or office because chances are, the candle will be next to them or on a shelf and they will see it from an angle. Angle shots also help to provide more dimension to an image and make it look more high-quality and professional. 

I’m a big fan of the angled shot as it adds something a little extra to the photo. Take a look at the example I’ve provided below:

Candle product photo at a slight angle using continuous light

Lifestyle Candle Shot

Lifestyle shoots are my favorite when it comes to candle product photography! You can get super creative with styling a shot and making it your own. There are so many cool backdrops and props to choose from, the world really is your oyster! I also think that these types of shots are important for candle product photography because you are able to draw associations based on the props you use. If you have lemons sitting next to a lemon-scented candle, it is almost like you can smell the candle if you have ever smelled a lemon, making the image very powerful for sales.

Check out this lifestyle example that I’ve provided below. Even something as simple as shells really makes a huge difference when it comes to candle product photography:

Lifestyle candle photo using continuous light, decorated with sea shells

The Burning Wick Shot

I always think it is important to include a shot with the candlewick actually burning. This shows the candle in use and the burning wick helps to conjure up the cozy, fragrant atmosphere that candles provide. In short, these types of photos help the customer envision what it would be like to use the candle because they are able to see how it burns.

Even though it isn’t much effort to light a candle, something about seeing a candlewick burn makes the photo more interesting. Check out the example below:

A Few Additional Tips:

  • You can gain more depth in the photo if you pull the candle away from the background
  • Avoid having a very high wick as this will throw the photo off balance if the wick is lit
  • Be careful with how you position your candle in relation to the light source. Ensure that there isn’t too much glare present on the candle’s label/packaging.

Brand Aesthetic and Style

Prior to conducting your candle product photography shoot, it is important to consider your brand aesthetic and style. Please be sure to have this mapped out and documented prior to shooting your candle photos. This will ensure that your photos are on brand and align with the theme of the brand. When you do product photography at random and have no central colors or themes, this will make the brand look misaligned and disjointed at best. 

When determining your brand aesthetic and style, consider the following six elements (99Designs, 2019

  • Brand color(s) 
  • Brand typography
  • Logo
  • Brand story
  • Voice of the brand
  • Relevant imagery

All of these elements together will help you to create a more consistent brand moving forward, which is critical when creating marketing assets.

Backdrops

I think that it is worth investing in a few different backdrops for your candle product photography needs. Being able to choose from a few different backdrops will help to create some variety in your photos. Also, depending on the backdrops you choose, it may help a potential customer to be able to envision the candle/product in their own home.

A few ideas could include solid color backdrops, more rustic, wood-like backdrops, or even a backdrop that represents kitchen tile. The options here are endless!

Here are a few places to look for candle product photography backdrops:

A Few Tips When It Comes to Selecting the Right Backdrop:

  • Avoid backdrops and surfaces with significant shadows as this may distract from your candle
  • Consider selecting a backdrop that you will be able to use with multiple photos
  • Also consider selecting a backdrop that really matches the theme of your candle. For example, if your candle has a tropical scent, you may want a fun, bright, or natural-looking background and not something that is really dark and edgy.

Styling Your Candle and How to Use Props

Props can truly make or break your candle product photography. It is really important to consider props that are relevant to the theme of the candle. For example, if the candle has a tropical fragrance, consider adding a pineapple in the background or a mango for some added decor. Props can really help potential buyers to visualize the fragrance and how it will make a difference in their day-to-day.

What to Do and Not to Do When Using Props

  • Include props that are relevant to the theme.
  • Props should add to the image, so what could you add that would make the candle more enticing? Help the customer visualize using the dancle in their everyday life.
  • Be sure to not overload the photo with too many props. Props should add to the photo, not take away from it.
  • Be sure to style the props in a way where you can still tell that the subject of the photo is the cande and not the prop.
  • Be sure to avoid props that have any type of branding. Remember, it is allll about the candle!
  • Consider experimenting with complimentary colors, textures, and plants!

Here Are a Few Great Places to Check for Props:

Editing Your Photos

As you get more experienced with candle product photography, you may become interested in editing your photos! Editing is a lot of fun but also takes time to develop and hone in on the skill. If you are brand new to photo editing and want to dip your toes in the water, I’d recommend starting with Canva. There are so many fun, easy ways to edit a photo, especially if you sign up for the Premium version of Canva.

If you want to get more detailed with your editing like the professionals do, I’d recommend investing in Photoshop! You can do some really cool things in photoshop, such as replace backgrounds, remove imperfections and add other props and objects.

A Few Tips When It Comes to Editing Your Candle Product Photography:

  • Less is more! The goal is to keep it natural and high quality
  • Avoid presets (especially Instagram presets) at all costs! These will take away from the professionalism and quality of your photos.

Candle Product Photography Summary

When it comes to candle product photography, it is important to develop the fundamentals and build a solid foundation for your photography skills. Once you have done this, you can get very creative with your photos. Be sure to experiment with different styles and aesthetics and try different things! Photography is all about trial and error, so be sure to practice!

Also remember that oftentimes, less is more. While you could add in ten different props when photographing your candle, it likely isn’t necessary. It is also important to remember that adding in different components to your photo, like lighting, angles, and prop, all work together to create the final aesthetic.

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below 🙂

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:

Reel Ideas for Photographers

The Best Product Photography Props