Struggling with LED lamps and DOF...

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Mr_Chris, Aug 22, 2016.

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  1. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Soooooo......i decided to rip the whole setup down and start again from scratch - i moved the cube to one side as i have never had much joy with them myself on previous projects and set up the basic paper backdrop with the two LED panels and tried to block as much surrounding light as possible (im in the back corner of open mezzanine floor with huge ceiling lights nearby) and the photos have definitely improved.

    [​IMG]
    Gives this: (35mm - ISO 100 - 1/25 sec - F18)
    [​IMG]
    BUT(!) i am not happy with how 'grubby' the white fittings look...im obviously talking about the shadows - while this helps give some contrast and realism this is not what the company wants. In order to make the product 'whiter' i find im just over-exposing the WHOLE image....a real head scratcher this one! can anyone spare any more advice please?!


     
  2. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I explained it earlier. Shoot the product against a dark background and then remove the background in post process.
     
  4. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Ouch! ok i will try that as well
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Why add extra steps? Why not shoot it against the correct background to begin with? I don't dispute that it's easy to swap out a monochrome background, but if you can save yourself the step, why not?

    OP: Since it seems you essentially want a 'high-key' (Bright, even, shadowless) look to these, then here's how I would approach it. First, you're going to need different gear. Two LED panels won't cut it except for the smallest items. Start by getting the right colour blue sweep and set it up essentially the way you have above, but increase the separation between the item and the background. I would probably also use a clear, Lucite stand to elevate the item as well. Use two lights to cross-light (left light illuminates the right side, and vice-versa) the background. Place those lights so that they are about even with the item, and then use two lights close in with large-ish modifiers to evenly light the product; 45 degrees either side of lens axis and angled down at about 45 degrees. Some small bits of card in white and black will serve as flags and reflectors to fill in or remove light from small areas as needed.
     
  6. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Thanks John, interesting reading - i will skip the blue backdrop as im not convinced it would remain a consistent colour, plus we sometimes need the background cut out for other markets outside the UK. Are you saying the LED's are a waste of time? this is my first time using them and im not impressed at all - as you say they are better for smaller items or video work im guessing...my managers were keen on them as there is much less fire risk if left on over the weekend / someone knocks them over by accident etc. Can you suggest what kind of lighting would suit these products better? I will also have to shoot black rubber parts plus stainless steel and chrome plated pieces up to 1 metre in length at times. So two lights on the backdrop and another two lights on the subject? I was considering an extra lamp to hang overhead to throw light across the top of the parts to catch rims etc......
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would go for inexpensive strobes such as Godox, Neewer, etc. These aren't high-end units, but as long you're careful and aren't shooting 500 full-power pops a day, they should be fine. While it seems counter-intuitive to many, using strobed light makes everything much, much easier, and once you get over the initial learning curve (one day of practice and you will be fine), you'll wonder how you did anything without them.

    Shooting reflective metal such as chrome, nickel or polished SS can be very challenging however due to the highly reflective nature of the surface (especially round).
     
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  8. Mr_Chris

    Mr_Chris TPF Noob!

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    Yes i was considering strobes - i have battery powered off camera flashes at home but wasnt convinced this would be workable due to unreliable power source.
    I found these for example:
    GODOX 250DI Photo Studio Strobe Flash Light 250W 220V Lighting Lamp Head 【IE】

    would i need some kind of soft boxes / diffusion to go with these? or can i shoot with them straight like a flashgun? you discussed 4 lights - im guessing that means 4 strobes? Would have been nice to make SOME kind of use of the LED as i dont think we can return them now...

    I am not sure the flash would be allowed as the mezzanine is above the area where a 100 people are assembling parts and i think it could prove too distracting...i guess if that is the best solution i could ask the powers that be to put some black-out curtains up in the corner to help for example...hmm food for thought - thankyou!
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You will definitely want modifiers; shooting bare-tube is not appropriate. I would look for something in the area of a 30" softobx, and ideally one that has double diffusion (an extra, internal diffusion layer as well as the main face). It's unlikely that people will be bothered by the strobes once you have the modifiers on.
     
  10. unpopular

    unpopular Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Scheimpflug.

    While in the digital age of tilt means making things blurry, the true advantage, at least in my opinion, is making things sharp by "reversing" the 'make everything look like a blurry miniatures' gimmick. Perhaps this is beyond the budget or skill level of the OP; though this is the "correct" way to handle this situation.

    There are, of course, a few tilt/shift lenses, some of which can be found for under $1000, such as the Samyang and Russian-made options, or pre-owned older T/S Nikkor lenses. Because you're in studio, compatibility shouldn't be a issue provided that it can physically mount. The Samyang is probably your best option and provides ample tilt.

    There are other options, such as t/s bellows systems from Nikon, Minolta or Contax, as well as a number of chinese-built SLR adapters for view cameras. Though these would exclude the use of anything wider than 135mm at the shortest.

    Stay away from toys like Lens Baby or weird "plunger" type adapters. If it's made out of plastic, it will get only in your way.
     
  11. unpopular

    unpopular Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Or get a 30" panel.
     
  12. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Sure, sorry I just took a screen shot with my phone. That one is the RG depth of field calculator, I don't think it's the best out there right now being a bit clunky and others have a better interface with no ads. But here you go

    DOF Calculator – Android Apps on Google Play

    That new setup looks better as you've got a larger camera to subject distance.
     

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