Photos of Chrome/Polished Objects ?!?!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ccdan, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. ccdan

    ccdan TPF Noob!

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    I'm brand new to the forum looking for some help on photography! Guess I came to the right place..lol. Anyways, I work for a custom wheel manufacture doing there web/graphic work. I do have some decent photography skills in everyday outside photos but here at work I need to shoot some photos of new model wheels in a whiteroom. I spend time reading the camera's manual finding out how to adjust shutter speed, ISO, things like that and research what each did. Seems like finding out the ballance between them all is the trick to every great photo but take time. Anyways, we have a decent size white room setup here to take photos of the wheels. Since 90% of the wheels we produce are fully polished almost chrome looking reflections are a big deal. The white room seams to do the job with that but I think we need to spend some money on lighting to get it right. Also been taking photos in RAW format seems to help with editing WB etc and getting the wheels looking perfect.

    My Goal:
    - Take Stock Photo of Wheel(s)
    - Have Minimal Reflections
    - Solid White Background
    - Not Make the Wheel Look FAKE/Rendering

    Here are some photos of the most decent shots have I take here yet on a black background. Please give me your thoughts on them and what I can do to improve them. Finals will be taken on a white background which as I understand lighting is very important. http://www.ccwheel.com/misc/gm%20505a/

    Questions I have (taking photos on white background):
    - For a TRUE white background need the following correct?
    - white backdrop
    - wheel good distance from backdrop (how far?)
    - good lighting on background to overexpose it (what kind of lights, wattage, and how to do it with out reflecting on the polished wheel)
    - light on the wheel (what kind of lights, wattage, and position)

    Any suggestions comment or examples will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I haven't shot anything like that, so I can't offer too much advice...but I was thinking that maybe a light tent would be the way to go. A light tent is basically an opaque fabric that would cover the entire object...giving to very soft lighting...and getting rid of reflections from light stands etc. You only need a small hole...though which to shoot.
     
  3. ccdan

    ccdan TPF Noob!

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    Just did a little bit of research on light tents and they seem to be just a portable small white room. I saw examples of lights inside and outside the tent which outside would be cool almost like a softbox but inside would be the same thing we have. Thinking maybe it's just a lighting issue! We have 2 horrible 150watt white floor lamps like this (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=88542-77117-LS0169WH&lpage=none) and then another 300watt work light (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=26070-290-HCT300&lpage=none) that seems to work best faced away from the wheel and bounching the light off the white wall. The floor lamps seem to do ok there not REALLY bright but since there not directly pointing at the wheel te lights soft. Same goes with the worklight on the floor facing away from the wheel. If I face it twards the wheel it just gleems and refections of light are scattered everywhere. Here's my lighting arrangement:

    -----------------------------------------------
    Table w/backdrop behind and laying across table​

    Wheel​


    Floor Lamp__________________Floor Lamp
    (150watt)__________________(150watt)​


    Floor Work Light
    (facing up and away)​

    -----------------------------------------------​

    Floor lamps are about 1ft higher than the table with the wheel on it and the floor work lamp is on the ground facing upwards at the table but facing away and bouncing off the white wall.​
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Lights inside a tent :scratch: That would be very similar to what you have with a white room.

    What I was thinking was having a tent that just goes over the wheel...and the only other thing inside the tent would be the front of the lens.
     
  5. SaSi

    SaSi TPF Noob!

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    I think you need to experiment with diffusers on the lights or flash. Additionally, a circular polarizer filter will most likely enhance the contrast and show the details of the wheels by "killing" part of the reflections but not the shine effect.

    Haven't shot large objects as wheels, but with small brass and silverware the above worked wonders with me.

    Also, white balance is something best handled before shooting. Take a shot of the "white room", which is not exactly white due to the artificial light, and set custom white balance based on this shot.
     
  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The idea of the light tent is to surround the product with a white translucent material and then light the material from the outside so that the material lights the subject. That is the normal method for avoiding shadows and reflections. We used to shoot RV's for catalogs in a light tent made from a parachute so light tents can be pretty large.

    The alternative is to use large softboxes and get them as close as possible to the subject. If all else fails you can spray the reflective products with hair spray to tame the reflections. That's how these sorts of things are done.
     
  7. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

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    I was envolved in a car shoot last year in a white room.

    The photographer took a lot of time hanging various black cloths along the the side fo teh car in order to get a good end result. (I'm sorry I can't post any of the results as I don't have permission)

    We spent a good 75% of the day sorting these reflections out.

    I have also been involved in shooting chrome kettles etc and with your wheels and any chrome, it will be the black parts that give it the depth.

    The shots you have taken are very good in terms of tone and feel. If you shoot them on white or in a white room is there a danger thet you will loose this element.

    You may also struggle to hold the edge on the rims as they will be reflecting white and be on a white background.

    Would it be better to shoot how you have done them and then cut them out? This would give the best of both worlds IMO. I would suggest 10-15mins per CO if done correctly + 5 mins to burn of make a shadow to ground the wheel if required.
     
  8. ccdan

    ccdan TPF Noob!

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    Any suggestions on which lights to purchase for outside the softbox to light the subject with?

    Also has anyone used a lightbox in natual light outside? If so how's the outcome.
     
  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The best way to light anything indoors is with one or more flash units. Nothing else compares. Yes, light tents work the same if they are lit by sunlight as if they are lit my artificial light. On an overcast day, you don't a light tent. The great outdoors is a ready made one.
     
  10. ccdan

    ccdan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! What wattage lights should be used? Not experienced with flash units so I would rather stay with standard lighting. Also can I get certain Kelvin bulbs in the wattage I need? Just curious I like the look of natual daylight at sunset in a semi-shady area tends to have a light blueish coloring/tint and would love to simulate that with the lightbox lighting.
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    There have been a couple of long threads on this topic...comparing strobe (flash) lighting to continuous lighting. Try a search.

    Just to give you an idea, I read somewhere that a moderately powered strobe (The Alien Bee AB800) was equivalent to somthing like 100,000 to 150,000 watts of continuous lighting (I'd have to check that). So you can easily see that you would need a lot of regular lights to equal the output of strobes...which is why so many photographers use them.
     
  12. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Those numbers might be right if you compare continuous lighting to "continuous strobe," but, of course that's not the case. Flash is a short duration light. That's why incandescent lights are rated in watts and strobes in watt-seconds. If you have a flash duration of 1/5000 sec, in the studio you are likely to get the same exposure at any shutter speed at or below the synch speed of the shutter. So, with flash we only really adjust aperture to make the correct exposure. The flash duration is, in fact, the "shutter speed."

    Not so with continuous lights. Continuous lights can be just as powerful as strobes if you expose long enough.

    I think it's fair to say that flash is more powerful from a perspective of practicality but you really should add time to the equation when comparing them. Otherwise it isn't fair. ;)
     

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