Product Photography Advice

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Jessica332, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. Jessica332

    Jessica332 TPF Noob!

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    It occurred to me that a better 1:1 comparison would come from a shot of one of their products. Since we have them, that's what I did - not sure why I never thought of this before. I attempted to emulate something like this: Orchid Facial Oil Roller only with our setup. I included two images of our setup. For the setup, the lightbox under the curve only has two of the four bulbs on, while the two front boxes have all four bulbs on.

    I'm starting to think that both the curve and the indirect lighting are the primary culprits. I was thinking of running to the store and picking up a foldable poster board (one of the ones kids use at the science fair) and putting it on its side, setting the product on one flap and using it to get a nice white 90 degree angle. Could that work?

    The second issue is lighting...I have no experience with direct lighting since I was always told product photography is almost exclusively diffuse light. I wouldn't know what kind of light to get, what temperature bulb, etc. Any advice? We're on a budget, but we would spend money to create a setup that produces decent product shots.

    For this product shot I used F22, ISO Low, and 1/2.5 shutter speed. This resulted in a "+1.3" on the light sensor. I could have gone to even longer shutter speeds and brightened it up even more, which would have washed out the imperfections you can see on the curve and made it feel more like a continuous "light" effect, but I'm confident this would not have benefited the look of the product much. Also, I have photoshop, but I'm trying to get as close as I can without using it.

    It was suggested that I use f/8, which I will have to try. I was led to believe elsewhere that f/22 was always the best thing for product shots. Any other advice is very much appreciated!


     

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  2. Jessica332

    Jessica332 TPF Noob!

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    I continued to experiment. I went out and purchased a posterboard and I seem to have improvement - at least it feels like I'm going in the right direction :D

    Also I know the cap is scratched up, try to ignore that if you can. I meant to use a newer one but forgot to do it.

    I'm attaching my recent shots with the posterboard. I shot two with ambient indirect daylight (just what's leaking in through the windows, didn't attempt to direct the shadow or anything yet), two with one Andoer lamp with the scatter shade removed and all four bulbs on, and three with the Andoer lamp, shade off, but with a 250W incandescence in place of the other four bulbs (they turned out really yellow).

    I've named the files with the settings. F22 = f/22, F8 = f/8, 4s = 4 second exposure, 1,6s = 1.6 second exposure, Andoer = Andoer with shade and 4 bulbs, 250 W = Andoer with single 250W bulb, etc.

    Feedback is welcome. Thank you!
     

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  3. Jessica332

    Jessica332 TPF Noob!

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    I took another set (ambient daylight only) and I'm attaching the best shot of that set. It was shot at f/14 on 5 sec, ISO 100. (This one has a clean cap.)

    However it still doesn't "pop" the way the product shot does at their website. At this point I'm not really sure what to do next. None of my shots really have a nice color pop. Which brings me full circle to my original post...
     

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Two sheets of poster board (I use foamcore) will work if you don't mind seeing the juncture of two boards at the rear. One of those shots is pretty good, but I didn't grab it out of the lineup for reference. Probably the only thing it needs is a little carful editing.

    I'll run through the series again to see if I can grab it out.

    This one is my pick:

    P9260090.JPG

    It needs straightening, and maybe a little touchup, but at least there is no shadow, and a reflection instead. I like it.

    For the health of it, here is an example of a shot using foamcore. You can easily see the joint, but for what this project was, I and the owner didn't care.

    WEZ_15037.jpg

    This project has over two hundred objects d'art that didn't look real great until I did some editing. My editing usually went like this; straighten (not needed for this), exposure, white balance, curves, crop.
     
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  5. Jessica332

    Jessica332 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the feedback! Your image is vivid and really pops. You chose the first shot taken on the plexi curve? That's my original setup. I did run out and buy the foamcore board (what I meant when I said "the boards kids use for science fair projects," didn't know the name). All of my other shots are token on that foam core material.

    I'm really focused on trying to emulate what Herbivore achieved with the same product. In other words, they have a distinct shadow, nice color pop, crisp look, shimmer without excess glare, etc. We have a similar line of products (same industry etc) and if it's worked for them (they are a very successful company) then my reasoning is that it should work for us.

    My plan is to try a few more shots tonight when the sun is down and I have full light control (the room I shoot in is full of windows on three walls). I'm going to try to use a single point source and see how that looks.

    I did a little touch up work to one of the previous images (attached here). I basically followed this guide: 3 Easy Steps Using Photoshop to Making your Images POP

    I wouldn't say it's a huge improvement but it's a little better.

    I also attached another one of their shots. It's bright and airy but the blue pops, you get a sense of shadow and light refraction - all effects I'd like to achieve.
     

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  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't think shadows help in all cases. The well-defined shadows from the other website look rather amateurish to me, and I prefer no shadows at all if you can do it.

    IMO, for product photography, the most important parts are focus, white balance, and exposure. Whether there is a shadow or not is not terribly important.

    Focus, white balance, and exposure. That's what will inform your customers about the product.

    To some degree, scale is kind of important, but for a bottle of fluid that has the volume measurement, maybe less so. For some products, scale is very important.
     
  7. Jessica332

    Jessica332 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again for your input. I agree that in a sense they do look amateur. Certainly compared to well manicured images on AliBaba they are - at least per conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, these images garner sales. Is it because a less manicured image looks more trustworthy? Is it because shadows add drama? Is it because direct light adds texture? I have no clue. I just know that in this product category they are selling product.

    What I really want to do is learn to emulate them as a starting point, and then improve from there. At least at that point I will know that I am improving off something that already sells product in this category. From there I will be in a position to A/B test different kinds of images.

    I will work on focus, light balance, and exposure as best as I can. White balance seems to be my biggest challenge (if I understand the meaning properly). My background should be perfect white in this case. The label should as well. I shot another round, this time with a single light bulb. Please let me know if you think any of them are superior to the others (I've done no editing yet).

    Things I know I need to improve on: reflections off the cap are in odd colors. I need to move my shoot location or cover objects with a black sheet. Also, the shadow is fuzzy, so I need to move the light source back. This one taken with the light approximately two feet from the object.
     

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  8. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You now need to start reading about flags. the reflections on the lid aren't great in any shot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Your camera lens is getting some flaring from all the light bouncing around at close range...your lens front is being struck by a lot of scattered light,and the lowered contrast is killing your so-called " color pop ". THis is pretty common in setups like the one you have: the lens front MUST have a very,very good shielding from stray light! A compendium lens shade, or a cardboard with a ghole cut out for the lens to peep through, and the card suspended or propped in front of the lens is a good idea.

    Overall, you've made a big improvement I think. If you WANT a crtisp shadow, you need a crisper light! Those softboxes you have a BIG, compared to the small bottles, so the light is "soft", anbd the shadowing is fairly controlled, yet, I think it's okay...
     
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  10. Jessica332

    Jessica332 TPF Noob!

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    Great idea! I hadn't considered that. I need to see what I can make at low cost. I'll try to get creative!

    Thanks! I took the cover off the softbox so now it's just one bare bulb. I think that's why it's not too bad. But I will try to move the light back more to see if I can get crisper light as a result. Two feet is probably too close.
     
  11. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't understand the desire for the shadow, but if you want the shadow to be sharper, use a smaller light source. If you had a speedlight, then use just one speedlight without any diffuser. Using a CFL, you can use the ol' "hole in a cardboard" trick. Cut out a smallish hole (size of an orange, ?) in cardboard, and let the light shine through the hole. Turn off/shield all other sources of light in the room.

    FWIW: I looked at the most recent 6 shots, but with all the variables in the shots and not knowing what you are going for, I won't try to select the "best" one. I saw variances in exposure and the white balance, but I don't know what will be acceptable to you.

    Having that shadow right there is my problem with all of them.
     
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  12. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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