What equipment would I need...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hovik, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. Hovik

    Hovik TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone,

    New to the forums... amazing site, great source of info.

    I was recently asked to take pictures of some baby furniture products. I'm not used to indoor or object photography, I shoot 99% outdoors - cars, girls etc...

    The products (cribs, strollers, toddler beds etc...) need to be on white background and showing everything well. Basically pictures that would represent the product very well and be used on major retailer websites - walmart, target, toys r us etc...

    I have been given space in the warehouse to set up studio for the pictures, so now I need to get the right equipment - lighting, background etc...

    I'm asking for the help of the pros and the knowledgeable people here - what is the most inexpensive and easiest way to set this up. What kind of lighting and background solutions would you recommend?

    I appreciate all the help!
     
  2. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    Is this something that will be on going or a one time job?

    If it is a one time job, just rent a good set of lights for a day or 2.
    If it is ongoing and you want to keep doing this kind of work I would look into a set of lights, something like Alien Bees or similar.

    As for the background, white seamless paper would work well, and does not cost a fortune.
     
  3. Hovik

    Hovik TPF Noob!

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    Cheers SpeedTrap thanks for the help!

    It will be an ongoing job with new products arriving constantly. Will definitely take a look at the Alien Bees product line.
    Where can I get seamless paper?
     
  4. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    You can get seamless papaer at almost any high end photo store.
    Because it is in large rolls sometimes it is not kept on the sales floor, so you may need to ask for it.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I get all my seamless from B&H Photo Video. They have their Superstore right there in NYC.

    They will be more than happy to help you put together your product shoot set-up.
     
  6. Hovik

    Hovik TPF Noob!

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    Oh great, thank you very much! Will head there the next couple of days and buy everything needed.

    You guys were a great help thank you!
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    They won't be open again till Monday. They are celebrating the Succos holiday till then.
     
  8. Hovik

    Hovik TPF Noob!

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    So far I've gotten this far guys...

    [​IMG]

    Have white floor, white background and 2 fluorescent lights overhead that were there before we started this...

    I also put a toddler bed in there so you can have an idea of the biggest thing I'm going to shoot there.

    Now I'm only allowed to spend money on some basic lighting... so I was thinking to order this. One on each corner of the object, camera in the middle...

    I understand some of the whites don't match, so will need to do some correcting work on photoshop later...
     
  9. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    If you are trying to isolate the object against the white background, you will need to use those two lights, behind the crib and to the sides, aimed at the backdrop to blow it out and make it "invisible".

    Yes you can use the pen tool and outline and crop the subject out later, but it's much harder to do that, than it is to shoot it isolated in camera.

    Then you will need proper lighting from the front and above to light the subject, without shadows. Something called a soft box, or a couple of umbrellas would work. If the ceiling is a nice white, you can just bounce the flash units (or continuous lighting) off that and get some good results.

    Then there's the issue of color balance. The florescent tubes in the ceiling are not the same color as a flash, or the spiral tubes in those fixtures. If you make everything balanced to flash color temperature, it makes life easier.

    One way or another, you need to have the back wall much brighter than the object, if you want it to be standing out by itself. The methods are varied, which means you can do something as simple as bouncing lights off the ceiling, or adding reflectors on the sides to fill in the shadows even more.

    Four of those lights on stands, that you linked to, plus the camera flash, would be a good start. :D

    ------ (wall)
    V.. ..V (back lights)

    ..I--I.. (bed)
    /......\ (front lighting aimed from 45 and slightly upwards)
    ...0....
    ...-.... (camera with flash that has a diffuser on it)

    Just one starting example. Camera is slightly to the left of center so subject it lighted left to right.

    You can use the overhead lights to get the focus and things set up, then turn them off, because of the color balance problems they will cause. Now you control all the light and can creatively adjust until you get what you want.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If I were to produce product photos with just the run of the mill florescent lights, I would replace all the bulbs with the same model and manufacturer. The idea is to get them close to the same temperature. The position would be as described in the previous post. You want even lighting across the subject and enough on the white backdrop to blow it out. Then take a properly exposed photo of the blank back drop... set your white balance against that frame. I would then avoid introducing any other light sources including flash as it would make color balance a nightmare.

    Light output is going to be abysmal compared to studio flashes but that's ok. It is a non-moving subject so a good tripod, low ISO, and a normal aperture with long exposures should work just fine.

    I did something similar with regular incandescent bulbs and work lights from home depot.
     
  11. Hovik

    Hovik TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys!

    So following the advice I put the 2 lights behind to blow out the background. After playing with camera settings this is the best result I could come up with.

    This is with flash, lowest ISO and +2 exposure:

    [​IMG]

    I found out that the color temperature of the overheads are 4200K while the ones that came from B&H are 5500K giving it blueish tone. Will be looking into replacing the B&H ones with 4200 or the other way around.

    I think I'm going to have to convince them to get 2 umbrella lights for 45 degree angle from the front to get rid of shadows and maybe not have to use flash...
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
  12. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Looking pretty good. I would get a 9ft wide roll of white background paper and use it vs. shooting on that floor. If you can get rid of that yellow in the front of the pic, you'll be doing pretty good.
     

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