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  1. #1
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    Product photography and that perfect white background

    I'm currently working on taking images of the entire inventory of my parents' shop because most of the images currently displayed on their website are out of date or simply do not exist.
    I've googled around and read up a lot on product photography but I can't figure out how to get the perfect white background (I can do it in photoshop but for 1000+ products that's quite tedious and the product looks blown out in my opinion). I've ordered the book 'Light, science and magic' yesterday and I hope that can shed some more light on (perfect) (product) photography.

    In the mean time I was hoping I could get someone a bit more knowledgeable than me to look at my set-up and pictures.

    This is how I have lights and the table set-up


    This is how the shots turn out after some color correction in lightroom


    And this is the result of a few minutes in photosohp


    I currently use my 18-55 mm EF-S lens to shoot these pictures



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    You will never get blown white backgrounds with the product sitting on it.
    You have to light each seperately and be careful of light spilling from the background onto your subject.

    Light, Science, Magic is a great book, and will teach you a lot!


    Are those pots made by Gibson?

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    What Bitter said! Light background first... anywhere from a .5 stop to 1.5 stops over ambient... then light the subject separately. you will need probably 4' to 6' between background and suject to prevent light spill.

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    Wow thanks for the quick responses, I'm used to waiting a few days before getting a reply : )

    What would be the best way to separate the object from the background?
    I'm also not sure how to figure out how many stops my background is lit over my ambient, is there a way I can figure this out with my camera or do I need a light meter for this, I don't currently have one, would it be a good tool in my arsenal?

    The teapots are actually made by Bunzlau, I'd be happy to send you a link to my parents' e-shop by PM if you're interested : )

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    I love that top one, but I collected antiques, and have 40 teapots and 80 tea cups, and forbid myself to buy any more LOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingdutch View Post
    Wow thanks for the quick responses, I'm used to waiting a few days before getting a reply : )

    What would be the best way to separate the object from the background?
    I'm also not sure how to figure out how many stops my background is lit over my ambient, is there a way I can figure this out with my camera or do I need a light meter for this, I don't currently have one, would it be a good tool in my arsenal?
    Have photoshop? Setup your gear.. take a shot of the background with the lights.... measure it using the color sampler tool. You want it at 255/255/255 across the board (the entire background that will show up in the shots). Write down your settings... once you have it set, it wont change.

    Once you figure that out... then add a subject and get it lit properly.

    Or you can buy a light meter... lol!

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    If you are shooting Canon, their Remote shooting app gives you a color picker tool that you can use to quickly check the exposure of the background and the rest - will save a few clicks getting your test images into photoshop.

    Also I feel you are over-diffusing it with the dome diffuser and that likely results in less contrast, sharpness and shine on your final images. These pots are not that reflective I believe?

    With the curvy shapes like these, I think you will have some light spill regardless if you keep trying to have it pure white on the background... I would also try to light it up from behind the background on the back (can't see if you have something there already) - this often helps with the white background control on light-colored objects like these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitter Jeweler View Post
    I love that top one, but I collected antiques, and have 40 teapots and 80 tea cups, and forbid myself to buy any more LOL.
    My parents' store started out as a hobby, my mum has over 200 teapots in her private collection but she won't stop buying, haha.

    Quote Originally Posted by cgipson1 View Post
    Or you can buy a light meter... lol!
    So you're saying a light meter is useful? I can't quite tell because you laugh at your statement ; )

    Quote Originally Posted by webrotate360 View Post
    If you are shooting Canon, their Remote shooting app gives you a color picker tool that you can use to quickly check the exposure of the background and the rest - will save a few clicks getting your test images into photoshop.

    Also I feel you are over-diffusing it with the dome diffuser and that likely results in less contrast, sharpness and shine on your final images. These pots are not that reflective I believe?
    I do shoot canon, so that's a nice tip that I'll look into : )
    Would that diffuser be the curve over the table? I do photograph shiny objects and that curve helps in killing off hotspots on the objects since I photograph in the store which means I do have some spots behind me but I could try removing that and see if that creates a little more pronounced lines between the teapot and the background.

    I think my on of my biggest problems also is that the light lighting the background is not big enough, the middle is pretty white but it falls off rapidly towards the edges.
    Light, science and magic was shipped yesterday so I look forward to receiving it in the mail tomorrow or Tuesday

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    A light meter is always useful... but not always necessary with Digital Metering (depending on your camera).

    As mentioned. many DSLR's will also allow you check it in camera..

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    After about a 100 pages of Light, magic and science I thought I'd give what I've learned so far a try.

    The following is what I came up with, I like the lighting of the teapot itself, but still not satisfied with the background.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingdutch View Post
    This is how I have lights and the table set-up
    I think you're almost there. I would suggest to.....

    1) drop the vertical height of your side lights to level with the product or at least the bottom of the soft boxes. I would probably try having the lights slightly closer to camera position and feather the light towards the background first and adjust as necessary. I would apply the feathering technique to the top light as well and have the bottom and back lights dead on center.

    2) add a background light (behind the backdrop) facing object. Similar vertical height as side lights.

    3) possibly start the sweep further back in the frame.

    4) move your lights right up to the difussion panels.


    They do make clear product stands you can purchase. I've used an upturned wine glass, piece of clear lexan, smoked and clear doors from old stereo cabinets, 12x12 floor tile, black to white gradient sweep, etc. It all depends on the effect you want to achieve. I think some items look better when not shown on a pure white background. Using the path tool should be a quick cleanup if some edge shows.
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    Yes I was referring to that curve diffuser which makes it all too diffused as the softboxes already have it diffused pretty well. This extra curve layer would help with shiny reflective metal, electronic screens, jewelry, but the teapots are not that reflective I believe and will not show much of your surroundings especially on small web images - but that is just my impression from the image. It feels a bit flat and too soft so some more pronounced light reflection would help I think.

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    I probably should've added that for the last images I removed the arc and used the boom right on top of the teapot angled slightly towards the camera.

    The other two lights I used to light the background although I'm not too happy with that, we have transparant acrylic stands in the store for display, I'll see if I can play around with one of those.

    I also have a light under the table which removes a lot of the shadow under the teapot although it does slightly wash out the contrast between the teapot and the table.
    I'll play around with moving the light from under the table to light the back and play with the side lights while the teapot is on a display stand, I'll be sure to post the results here : )

 

 

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