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How the position and direction of light in photos affect viewer perception

Do you sell things on Etsy or occasionally throw something up on Ebay or Craigslist? Would you like to know the secret to taking better product photos that help you sell your items, rather than hinder their sale? Well, rather unsurprisingly, a big chunk of it has to do with the position and direction of your lighting.

The easiest way to see this is with the Sun, and how different objects and locations can look depending on what time of day you happen to come across them. In the above video Matt Brasier, product photographer and host over at the StyleShoots Channel on YouTube, goes over some of the quick ways that you can affect the look of a product or object you are photographing by simply moving your light and changing the direction from which it is hitting your subject.

Related: How and why 3-point lighting can take images to another level

The example used in the video is a jean jacket, an item that you may be photographing for your new Etsy store, or an item you are trying to get rid of on Craigslist. You can see as Matt moves the lights around — utilizing StyleShoots Horizontal photo machine, which uses touch controlled (via the iPad) LED lights to move and change the light — how certain details and features of the jacket are highlighted or minimized.

You don’t need a crazy elaborate setup like this either, as simply moving your regular speed-lights or household lamps will have a similar, if not quite as easy-to-achieve, effect.

Pictures are how people view the world and your products/items online. Taking a few extra minutes to take some quality images can go a long way toward making you a few extra bucks or getting that item off your shelf sooner. If you don’t have the skill or gear to do it yourself you may be surprised that product photography is much more affordable than you might think, so consider hiring a professional with knowledge of these lighting techniques to help take your listings over the top.

You can get more great lighting tips like this over on the StyleShoots channel on YouTube.