Help! Interior Shots of Large Products - Adverse Lighting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Strawberrie, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Strawberrie

    Strawberrie TPF Noob!

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    I humbly plea for your advice and wisdom...:angel:

    I am not a professional photographer, but I do understand some of the very basics of photography - exposure, aperature, et al. Somehow I found myself in a position where I desperately need high quality product shots for my design work at an office furniture (cubicle) company. :chatty:

    The only problem is that our "showroom" is set up in a warehouse with awful overhead lighting that overpowers my umbrella lights and causes color casts. I have the option of setting up outdoors, but I'm worried about time limitations (not being able to shoot when the sun is harsh).:-|

    My challenges are:
    1) Creating attractive lighting for large block shaped objects...
    2) Combinations of dark light absorbing fabric panels and light somewhat reflective work surfaces in close proximity...
    3) Setting with no natural light and flourescents...
    4) Composing dynamic images from square and somewhat symmetrical set ups.

    My tools are a SLR digital camera (Canon E-300), 2 umbrella lights, and a backdrop. Oh - and repsectable Photoshop skills. I have a small budget that would allow me to add things if they would help.

    Before I arrived at our company a professional photographer was hired and produced the following (this is the nicest of the images)::thumbdown:

    [​IMG]

    Again, I'm no expert, but to me this picture is attrocious. It is completely lacking "draw", the props are out of place and oogly, and is not how I want our products portrayed.

    I would like to reproduce the essence of the picture below (not ours). It is warm and well lit yet not harsh with enough shadows to be interesting.:thumbup:

    [​IMG]

    Is there an easy way to set up some kind of simple to construct/deconstruct "studio"?

    I would greatly value any input, suggestions, tricks, guidance, or outright condemnation. :mrgreen:
     
  2. mentos_007

    mentos_007 The Freshmaker!

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    canon E-300? I never heard of it! but never mind...
    I think that to produce a shot like the second one you posted you don't need any special and sophisticated lights... it looks like there was only one light used, you have pretty harsh shadows and wider angle that's why it looks someho "bigger"
     
  3. Strawberrie

    Strawberrie TPF Noob!

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    I apologize, I meant an Olympus E-300. I must have been smoking the funny stuff yesterday... I have no idea why I wrote Canon.:shock:

    My camera is equipped with a wide angle lens. Of course, probably nothing like the one that was used to take the second picture!

    If the nice pic only used one light then I suppose they must have it cleverly placed.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Hi "strawberrie" I will try to help you if I can. It is always difficult to critizise some one elses work, but if your description of you showroom is correct with different light sources, you won't get an accurate colour [Australian for color] if you aretrying to balance the colour. The first shot is obviously distorted as the camera was pointing down, whereas the photographer chose a lower angle on the second shot so he/she could keep the camera level and remove any distortion. In the first shot, two lights [probably umbrellas] were used, the stronger one from the left. They would have better more front on to reduce the shadows, though he/she could have been concerned about relections on the picture and the monitor. probably a slow exposure was used to pick up the image on the computer screen, though that would be relatively easy to strip in with Photoshop. In the second shot a harder light was used quite a distance away from the subject [notice sharp shadows] and maybe a reflector or softer light from the right to fill in the shadows and balance up the shot. Interestingly as well, I would suggest the lighting used was tungsten as the light in the windows is blue. Then again, without being there, it could have done with electronic flash, but in the late afternoon to balance the flash with the window light.
    I wouldn't suggest trying to set up outside in sunlight for many reasons which would become obvious if you tried, but won't go into that now.
    I must agree, the first shot lacks "draw" whatever that is, and it's definitely "oogly" [another American term I imagine]
    When you say you have a backdrop, unless it covers the whole scene and looks natural, I would forget it.
    I would therefore use a main light from one side and an umbrella fill from the other and shoot at various shutter speeds to balance up the background, download your images and go from there.
    Obviously the perfect way is fly me to the U.S [Virginia, I believe], put me up in a 5 star hotel] and I will spend a week with you free of charge.
    Philip.

    www.philipweirphotography.com
     

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