Help With Lighting

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by JillJ, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. JillJ

    JillJ TPF Noob!

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    My daughter takes the product photos for our online catalog as well as the ones we send out for press requests. Some of the photos seem to have lighting issues (too dark or too light). I believe she's using the A setting (Digital Rebel XT) and she has 3-4 sources of light, including a flash, and several umbrellas and reflectors if needed. It's a bit difficult taking them on a white background since the jars/bottles are a natural frost. Sometimes we tend to lose the edges of the products a bit.

    Also the background and overall pictures tend to be a bit on the gray side. We are using a light box (homemade pvc with a white drape over the top) for smaller set ups but we would like to start taking photos in settings instead of just on the white backdrop.

    I have posted two photos below for reference. The first is retouched a bit and the second is raw. If anyone can give me some lighting suggestions I'd appreciate it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Jill
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It sounds like you've to all the gear you need, and the shots aren't bad at all, but white on white is, IMO, not a good idea. I would suggest complimentary pastel shades for the backdrop for the straight product shots, but I think the 'setting' shots are a much better idea. Given that the word 'Botanicals' appears on all of the containers, why not photograph them out of doors, in a garden scene? Perhaps in amongst the plants, or for those upper products, in a small stream or garden water-feature. Look through cataglogues and see what 'The other guy' is doing, there's nothing wrong with borrowing ideas.
     
  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Even pull the products away from the back ground a little bit. Underexposed white = gray. That will create some seperation.
     
  4. Soto

    Soto TPF Noob!

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    Try using the camera in manual mode and set the speed from 125 to 250... the aperture around f/8 and the ISO in 400... start from that and work around with the ISO value to see what happens... Also you can use a white balance disc to get the best WB possible.. I use Expodisc for that and works great...
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To get the background to be white, you will need to put more light on it, than on the subject. It's typical to have at least one light on the background without hitting the subject.

    As mentioned, take the camera out of A (Av) mode. That is meant for reading ambient light. When using studio strobes or even continuous lights, it's a lot better to be using M (manual) mode. If you are mixing flash with continuous lights, don't do that.

    Once you are in manual mode, it should be fairly straight forward to use a trial and error method. You can adjust the camera settings, the position and distance of the lights or the power of the lights, until you get what you are looking for. Once you find the right combination, you can probably use it for a lot of different shots with only minor tweaks.
     
  6. JillJ

    JillJ TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the information. We will try these techniques and see what we get. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my post.

    Best,
    Jill
     
  7. clawery

    clawery TPF Noob!

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  8. sfaust

    sfaust TPF Noob!

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    White backgrounds are very common in commercial photography for a number of reasons. One is to allow the graphic designer to drop the image onto a white page, and have the background blend together. Thus, the white background in the images needs to be pure white. If the product happens to be white, then you have a white on white situation, which isn't hard to do once you know the tricks.

    As others mentioned, first you need to be shooting n manual mode. You also need to be able to control the light on the products separately from the light on the background. That way you can expose the products for the best exposure, and exposure the background to get your pure white. Flags/Gobos are then used to further control the light to balance out the lighting as needed.

    As clawery also mentioned, using black cards as 'subtractive' reflectors work well in helping to define the edges of the white products against the white background. Whenever the white product starts to blend into the white background, a black card positioned such that it reflects in that area on the product will add definition between the two.
     
  9. JillJ

    JillJ TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the great information and tips! I've never used a black card for reflection. Does anyone have a picture or diagram I could see so we can set that up?

    Best,
    Jill
     
  10. sfaust

    sfaust TPF Noob!

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    The black card is nothing more than something black and of an appropriate size. Ie, you can cut out cardboard if needed, spray paint it black or cover it with black construction paper, etc.

    Then you just position it such that you can see the reflection of it on the product in the right places. Look up 'family of angles' on the web with regard to photography, and it will guide you in how to place it for the right effect.
     
  11. youbetcha1018

    youbetcha1018 TPF Noob!

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    Well, I'm new in photography. And it seems like lighting is also my problem here. I had several photos taken and some of them has this orb like thing in the pictures. Well, I guess it's the flash. The last photo I shot was in a party with friends, band playing, then just had an idea to shoot a photo while they are playing and people are going crazy. But when I reviewed the photo, my gosh, too many orb like thing appeared! I really don't know if it's with the flash or is it because the room is full of people smoking and it's the smoke. Please help, I want to learn about lighting in photography to avoid orb like things appearing in my pictures. Thanks
     
  12. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Well, post a picture in another thread and you might get to know what the, "orb like thing" is, n how to get rid of it, oh, and dont shoot into the light, orb like thing may get annoyed. H:lol:
     

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