Light kit for furniture shoots?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Remi 9, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Remi 9

    Remi 9 TPF Noob!

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    To start off with, this is the equipment I already have:
    Nikon D300
    D70s
    50mm f1.8 lens
    18-80 kit lens
    and 70-200 f2.8
    I also have a SB-800 flash unit,
    a couple of pocket wizards,
    umbrella with stand
    and a round reflector

    I'm starting a furniture company now and I need to properly shoot everything for the website.
    I have some quick shots on my flickr stream:
    Furniture - a set on Flickr
    But what I want is proper studio style shots of each piece, something I can repeat for a consistent look in the future. I will be shooting furniture twice a month on average.

    I was thinking of getting a proper backdrop stand and a big "infinity" style backdrop. Probably something dark so the mostly light shade of maple does not blend in with a white background. I will be shooting with my big lens from as far away as possible to cut down on geometric distortions.
    Now I know I need more lights then just my sb-800 with a umbrella.
    What should I get?
    A constant light or strobe? Big Softbox or something more focused?

    I don't want to go crazy on studio equipment as that is not my profession, but I will need to use it on a regular basis, so something of good quality would be preferable.

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Throwing money at it doesn't make your shots any better. You could take pictures better then you could have ever imagined with a camera and one flash.
     
  3. SrBiscuit

    SrBiscuit TPF Noob!

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    BEATUIFUL furniture!
    that coffee table is briliant. and i love that box shelf unit.
    really good stuff man.

    to save loot...why not set up a spot in your shop or something with a few worklights set up, and maybe the background like you suggested. your sb800 should offer more than sufficient lighting. perhaps you do need to diffuse.

    i think you could def do this rather cheaply. i look forward to more replies in this thread...im sure i could learn something too.
     
  4. Remi 9

    Remi 9 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Srbiscuit. :)

    I have some big halogen work lights but I get some white balance issues when mixing halogen light with the sb-800. I have a big CFL worklight as well, maybe I'll have better luck mixing the two.

    I will be setting up the "studio" at the back of my home theater room (which is painted flat black). The nice thing about it is the consistency of light once I set up. But one sb-800 alone is definitely not enough in that room.
     
  5. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    SB-800 is more then enough, especially indoors
     
  6. Remi 9

    Remi 9 TPF Noob!

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    Alright mister, without actual explanations, comments like that are not helpful.

    I know the SB-800 is powerful enough to light a piece of furniture. But only from one direction... with light fall off. That may be alright for "art" shots, but these are product shots for customers to see detail and wood grain, not stylized compositions. I'm sure there is a way of using multiple exposures and one SB-800, but I don't have the time for post processing work or multiple setups and reflectors.
    I need something I setup once, shoot and do a little cleanup in photoshop, that will have a consistent look when shot a year from now as it does today.
     
  7. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Why would you think an SB-800 isnt "Powerful" enough. Hang a white sheet from the cieliing in your theatre and shoot through it and you have a huge softbox. Or Get a big softbox and have it above/behind and then 2 large foam board reflectors for fill.
     
  8. Don Kondra

    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hi Remi,

    You are going to get the best results with a typical three light set up (main, fill, background) and a 9' paper backdrop.

    I worked with continuous lights for a while and decided to move up to strobes. FYI my continuous light set up cost me ~ $500. It was worth it just for the experience and I still use them once in a while for small product shots.

    Shooting my own work I prefer a "focus gray" background. I'm using 2 x Alien Bees B1600/640 w/s and 2 x Cowboy Studio 200 w/s lights.

    The Cowboy Studio lights are being phased out :sexywink:

    Here's an example..

    [​IMG]

    Your in situ shots definitely would benefit from more light and a little less clutter ;)

    I should mention that I'm partial to a studio/backdrop image, that is what has been required for jurying/grant proposals/portfolio/magazines...

    Cheers, Don
     
  9. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  10. jonas20

    jonas20 TPF Noob!

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    "Throwing money" at shoots may not automatically make your shots better, but good equipment is worth it. I would avoid Cowboy Studio lights like the plague for this type of shot.
     
  11. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    The trick is to use the same lights. If you use mixed lights then your going to have to get into filters and gels. You can use anything from CFL's, to 4' strip lights, to 500w halogen work lights. The trick is to use the same for all lights.

    Since your doing furniture. Using 'hot lights' will be just fine and easier to work with since you can see / control any shadows that may appear. And if you want to show maybe a deep gloss / reflective surface of the furniture. I agree with above with using a 9' paper background.

    As for the lights you can either get photo hot lights with softboxes or could be something as simple as your work lights turned around facing away from the furniture shoting into a white sheet or paper to reflect difused light back towards the subject. Or since your obviously handy. Make your own soft boxes to work with what ever lights you choose. Obviously buying ready made photographic lights and soft boxes would be the easiest option.

    Remember distance plays a role in the brightness of a light. Even though you may not be able to adjust the power of a hot light or even a work light. By just moving it further away reduces its effect as if your turning it down. Or moving it closer increases its effect as if turing up the power.
     

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