Product photos on black bg

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by the hank, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. the hank

    the hank TPF Noob!

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    I have tried shooting some product photos on a black back ground but the results vary incredibly from photo to photo...
    I use a tripod and remote and that seems to work the best, but most of the photos come out 'unusable' or need alot of photoshpping (the black turns out gray or hazy)...

    My product catalog comprises mostly of parts shot on a white bg, but i would like to try a little something different... Anyone out there have some advise or are into the same thing?

    Im hoping to achieve something like this >here<
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    If your camera see mostly black, it will think it's a dark scene and try to expose for that...and you end up with an overexposed shot. You need to compensate for that by reducing the exposure.

    Also, you can render just about anything black in a photo...if you prevent light from hitting or reflecting off of it. Of course, you need light for your subject. It will help if your subject is farther away from the background and if the lights are closer to your subject than the background.

    Of course, it's often easy to finish it off with a few tweaks in photoshop.
     
  3. the hank

    the hank TPF Noob!

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    Any idea how they achieve the effct in the photo shown in the first post? You barely see the surface its standing on.
    A cookie or diffuser of some sort- blocking out the surface?
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I think that one is pretty easy. The exposure is set to expose for the light metal parts, so all the black parts are dark. (lowering exposure as mentioned above). In this case, the photographer chose to expose for that. Actually, as a product shot, it's not really that good because the black parts of the product are also too dark to really see.

    What I mean by a simple tweak in Photoshop is that if your image is close but not quite dark enough to make the black look black, you can open the levels dialog box, use the black point eyedropper and click an area that should be black...that should do it.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The image yo upresented looks like a well done photo using multiple strobe units and modifiers for the lights. Images like this aer not something you are just going to do with a flash on your camera. The best place to start is what are you using for gear right now as this will be a big decider of wether you can even achieve an image like this. One place to start looking at lighting like this done a (relatively) affordable way is The Strobist http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/ but expect this kid of image to not be as easy as it might look.
     
  6. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

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    Multiple light product shots are very tough, and require a lot of light modifiers. Expect to use Snoots, Gobos, and Honeycombs...and all in the same shot. Expect to use 3-5 lights, sometimes more. You have to really watch your reflections. It's a tough thing to master, but once you do you can make some really cool shots. It won't happen overnight.
     
  7. the hank

    the hank TPF Noob!

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    word. thanks for the input.
    Im not far off though. Although (as mentioned above) the background needs to be a little way off- I got this right on my last attempt.
    but as for the closer, more direct shots i may need some practise...

    [​IMG]

    I am working on some studio lights which will probably give me more range/options. I am familiar with "the strobist"- its what gave me the inspiration to get into this sort of thing!

    oh and another question is what would you recomend for a bg? im using a black cotton sheet, would different materials make it more predictable? ie board or plastic?
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    It really depends on what you want to do and the conditions you are creating. Black velvet probably absorbs light better than most things, so it would easiest to use something like that...but that may not be practical for you.
     

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