How to shoot Small product shots?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Picstudent, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Picstudent

    Picstudent TPF Noob!

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    Hai

    I am an entrepreneur from India and my products are small electronics Printed Circuit boards. I need to took beautiful close up photographs of our products for web and print.
    The below links are the types of images I like to capture.

    Clipart of Circuit Board bxp37761 - Search Clip Art, Illustration Murals, Drawings and Vector EPS Graphics Images - bxp37761.jpg
    Stock Image of circuit board rvb1155 - Search Stock Photos, Mural Pictures, Photographs, and Photo Clipart - rvb1155.jpg
    Pcb Images and Stock Photos. 643 pcb photography and royalty free pictures available to download from over 100 stock photo companies.

    Hope my intention is clear now.

    I have purchased a Cannon 1000D with no additional lens. The provided lens 18-55 is said to be a general purpose one (!). Additional supporting equipements like a tripod, white umberella and a halogen video light etc was also purchased.

    My dream of making PCB pictures like 'shutterstock' images was devastated in the first few days itself. However hard I tried with lights, daylight or exposure 'adjustments' ( I am shooting with a SLR for the first time in my life!!) I was never able to produce such pictures.

    I would like to know few things from experienced users.

    Is it, the lack of costly camera and lense is my problem? or
    my lack of expertise?

    If it is lack of expertise; I am willing to learn- because I love to make professional looking pictures.

    If it is lack of costly lens or camera, I am afraid my options are limited. I may be able to afford a macro lens. Is it the option for this?

    Please suggest what I can do in the present situation.
    Thanks
    Roy Thomas
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would look for a book on close-up and small product photography, to help you learn how to set up the products and the lighting. Knowledge of how to set up the lighting and the camera would probably help you quite a bit. A lens that focuses close, like a macro lens, would be helpful; however, skill and knowledge are very important.

    One needs to use small apertures, like f/11, f/13, or even f/16, to get enough in sharp focus, and that necessitates long exposures, or moderately powerful flash exposures,and careful focusing and camera placement.

    The 18-55 Canon kit zoom is not an especially close-focusing lens. SOmething like the Canon 100mm macro lens or Tamron 90mm macro lens would probably work reasonably well, but "just" a new lens will not make spectacular photos on its own--the lighting is also important.
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For small products such as the PC boards, I would also strongly suggest a good quality macro lens. You may not always need the 1:1 ratio, but close focus will be critical.

    On the lighting, just as, if not more important than the lens is the lighting. Since it is not a person as a subject, you could use constant lighting. Cool lights all the better for your comfort. With constant lighting you can always see where the deficeits are with regard to shadows and hotspots. Of course, strobes will give more options for other applications IMO.

    I would think that at least a three light setup would be needed, one on either side and one above. Possibly a fourth if you want to light from underneath.

    I am getting involved with corporate product shot at the moment. This was my setup.

    [​IMG]


    Good luck.​
     
  4. loosecanon

    loosecanon TPF Noob!

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  5. cyberwasp

    cyberwasp TPF Noob!

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    I hope the link works. is this something like you're looking for as you can see and read eeverything on the bored. Shot was hand held with a nikon D3000 with 18-55mm kit lenss

    [​IMG]


     
  6. Mustlovedragons

    Mustlovedragons TPF Noob!

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    I use a light box with 3-4 Lumedynes and a Canon 100mm Macro for my small product shots, which is primarily what I do, now. That lens you are using is not optimal, as was previously indicated. Light is your biggest friend (or enemy), though.
     
  7. o hey tyler

    o hey tyler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah, but the backdrop is a ziplock full of gummy bears and you can't read anything on the circuit board.
     
  8. cyberwasp

    cyberwasp TPF Noob!

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    Well on the original photo I can read the printing on the small ic chips let alone the circuit board. even the resistors color bands are clearly defined. Am not saying this is the way to do a pro shot, def not.


     
  9. Picstudent

    Picstudent TPF Noob!

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    Hi
    Thanks for all the info. I am trying different methods and getting closer to my target. I have fixed the camera on a tripod and increased the exposure time to almost 2 seconds and with different combinations - it is getting better and better. But now the depth of filed is to be handled. Actually i tried all shots with lens wide open. The entire parts of the board are not in focus. I think I need to increase the aperture number and take shots. Then to compensate I may need to increase exposure time and ISO. Let me see what happens.
    Anyway with more careful lighting and adjusting camera settings, I think I can manage without a macro lens, at least for my needs.

    Thanks- I will post pictures after taking satisfactory shots.
    Thanks for the tips

    Roy
     
  10. Geaux

    Geaux No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    lol @ the ziplock bag of gummy bears as a backdrop!
     
  11. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    With Photoshop (quite possibly with other photo editing software too) you can focus stack several images and merge into a final image. I would suggest to use an aperture that is your lens' sharpest. Since you're on a tripod and the subject is not going to move, exposure time is irrelevant.

    This was my first attempt at it. I used 9 separate images focused at different points along the device. I missed picking up the last image that had the back edge sharply focused.


    [​IMG]

    When I get the final image to my satisfaction, I will complete the cleanup to remove the background all together. This is still in prgress, but thought it might help.​
     
  12. Picstudent

    Picstudent TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for showing the technique. I got the idea even though I don't know how to do it.

    I tried by increasing the aperture number and my product area is almost getting in focus. Now my problem is the know-how to polish the image in photoshop.

    I have PS CS4 and I can stack different stock images, cut, paste, mask etc. That much know-how I have in photo shop. But I do not know how to polish a photo from my camera to give a tantalizing look to the images.

    There must be some sequence or strategy to apply different adjustments in photo shop. I simply adjust levels contrast etc and ultimately ruin the image. That is what usually happens.

    Any hints or resource or links or books on how to proceed?.
    Thanks
     

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