Gradient Lighting For Product Photography

There are many different lighting techniques that can be used when photographing products, but one of the most powerful is gradient lighting.

This technique is not only used to make products look more luxurious, it’s also the best way to control reflections in glossy surfaces.

In this class Karl takes a closer look at gradient lighting, what effect it has on glossy and matte textured products, and how to create this lighting technique using diffusion paper and affordable DIY modifiers such as scrims and light cones.


  1. Hi Karl,

    Thank you for the video very very helpful, as Im planning to start tacking photography for food , (mostly pastry) I’m wondering if this rules can be apply to food for example , bread are mat, and some pastries with glossy chocolat glaçage are glossy and can reflect light???

    Another question, do I need to build a big scrim even if the product or food are small in size does it effect something I mean the size of the scrim??

    Thank you again

    1. Good questions Louna. There are lots of food like glazed tarts, glossy cakes and moist meats that really benefit from gradient reflections (or even an egg yolk in a bowl) so yes a scrim is always helpful. I always say make the biggest scrim that you can realistically use and stow away . If you have a large plain white ceiling this can also be used to create gradient reflections and we cover that in other classes. Scrims can also be used for matt subjects but they will look similar to softboxes but softboxes are often more convenient.

  2. Hi Karl,

    do I need the Lee diffusion material or can I use also fabric for softboxes?

    Thank you,


  3. So much of planning would have gone into making this video that you could fit it into 10 min.
    Nicely edited too, crisp and to the point.

    Good work team KTE!

  4. Hi Karl,
    What method would you suggest to arrive to a nice gradient lighting on a matt surface object? Or it is not really feasible?
    Thank you and keep the great videos coming

    1. Dear Karl,

      First of all, love your videos!

      What would you recommend for shooting aluminum foil pans on pure white background? Which lighting setup would work best for these 100% reflective items?
      It seems like no matter what I do I am a little off from the “sweet spot”. If I get the lighting to be uniform throughout the item then it usually looks a little too matte and the item loses it’s metallic feeling. Contrarily, if the item is brightly lit and feels right then I always get a few unwanted reflections.

      Thank you,

  5. Not sure what it is about this particular video—but I like the production and pace of this one.

  6. what kind of diffusion roll would you suggest for product photography like, frosty or normal diffusion for getting started with it ?

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