Beginner having issues taking photos for my eBay store :(

Grizmix

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Hello!

I don't have the most expensive or best camera in the world and I'm just trying to accomplish crisp and clear photos of my products for my eBay store.

I bought ( 33" Photo Studio Soft Umbrella 2X 45W Bulbs Continuous Lighting Kit Photography | eBay ) and currently with my photos I'm having all kinds of problems figuring out which way the light posts are supposed to be facing for my products and how far they should be from the product.

Although I've gotten some half decent images, I've taken several images in one session and they all looked awesome on the cameras LCD screen but soon as I transferred them to my computer and opened them into Adobe Photoshop they all seem to look like this $IMG_0634.jpg$IMG_0649.jpg$IMG_0674.jpg


I honestly have no idea why this happens at all, It looks nothing like this in my camera after the photo has been taken. Any help for this beginner and noob would be very much appreciated!!

Thank you!
 

EIngerson

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Well, from this size photo sharpness seems adequate. If you are having color issues try adjusting white balance. What color is the wall behind the shirt?

Heres a quick exposure and white balance adjustment

 
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Dinardy

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Also try lighting the backdrop separate from the softbox if you're looking for a white background.
 
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Grizmix

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Unfortunately I'm unable to light the wall because I only have two lights, and the wall is an off white tone.

I've done the white balance over and over but the image does not look any different after holding the white card to it and pressing the button, I also noticed when i zoom in or get closer to the object the colors change drastically, like super over exposure or colors just get super bright.

I also notice with anything that's white or bright, the camera seems to exaggerate the white level so much that there is no detail to be seen, it also does this with some brighter colors, I'm guessing that i need a better camera?

Should I have my umbrellas facing at the object in question or away, should they be set at any specific distance from the said object?

Sorry if this is sounds real stupid but I don't want to give up with what i currently have available to me.
 

DanielLewis76

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You could probably dodge the background in post processing to brighten it up.
 

EIngerson

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What do you have the metering set on? It sounds like you have it set to spot metering. I recommend evaluative metering.Also mind how close your lights are to the subject.
 
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Grizmix

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What do you have the metering set on? It sounds like you have it set to spot metering. I recommend evaluative metering.Also mind how close your lights are to the subject.

Yes, I had it on spot and switched to evaluative metering and it looks better now.

I just need more light, but don't know what I should be buying on a budget. My setup consists of two umbrellas 33" with two 5500k 45w bulbs and I can only get the lighting fixed in the center of the mannequin, which leaves shadowing on the upper shoulder and lower torso portion and it's very aggravating.

Not sure what I should do! Would replacing the bulbs with 6500k 105watt bulbs give me more light? Or should I buy a third light?

I've seen soft boxes mentioned some where before, I've searched on eBay and have no clue nor idea what I'm looking for aside from a soft box and I'm unsure as to what size or what type of bulb should be placed into it or would a soft box even help my current setup?

Thank you guy's, I really appreciate the help!
 

tirediron

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What you should do is take that continuous light crap and pitch it out the nearest window, and buy something like this. That little strobe will put out WAY more light than your continuous set-up. Then buy a softbox like this for your key (product) light. Next move the subject away from the background. A lot; at least 6', and 8-10' would be better, then configure your studio like this:

lighting-diagram-1374921885.png


with, as I said, at least 6' between subject and backbround. Place one light directly behind the item being photographed aimed at the background. Initially, set this to the same output level as the other flash. The other flash, or 'key light' should be set just a bit off to one side of the camera (left or right, no matter) and angled so that it illuminates the item, but so that the light from it that doesn't hit the subject doesn't hit the background until a point where it's out of frame.

Run a few trial exposures, and adjust the power levels of each flash until the clothing is correctly exposed and the background is bright, pure white. Once you've got a formula you're happy with, then mark each of the three points (key light, background light, subject) and the flash power levels and you'll be able to set this up in [literally] two minutes, and will always get identical results.
 

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If you need more light, just extend your shutter time, and you'll get more light. It's not like your subject is moving, so you don't need a fast shutter.

If you don't like where the shadows are, move your lights. They're continuous, so you can see where the shadows fall as you move them. You can add more light with a reflector or bounce card. An inexpensive way to go is to pick up a couple of white poster boards at the local Walmart and arrange them so that the light bounces off them and onto your subject where you want to fill in the shadow areas.

For what you're shooting, you absolutely DON'T need to throw out your current lights and buy strobes. You just need to learn to manage your current lighting and camera settings, which is common when starting out.
 

tirediron

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If you need more light, just extend your shutter time, and you'll get more light. It's not like your subject is moving, so you don't need a fast shutter.
Absolutely true, HOWEVER, let me explain further why I said what I did....

If you don't like where the shadows are, move your lights. They're continuous, so you can see where the shadows fall as you move them. You can add more light with a reflector or bounce card. An inexpensive way to go is to pick up a couple of white poster boards at the local Walmart and arrange them so that the light bounces off them and onto your subject where you want to fill in the shadow areas.
Good advice!

For what you're shooting, you absolutely DON'T need to throw out your current lights and buy strobes. You just need to learn to manage your current lighting and camera settings, which is common when starting out.
While I hope that no one actually thought that my use of the term "throw out" was meant literally, I do stand by my assertion that two 45 watt CFLs are insufficient for this work (and even the 105 watt versions would be lacking). If the OP has a high-end, FF body that can shoot clean at ISO 3200 and above, well, that's a whole different story, but assuming he/she is going to want to keep ISO low, then...

Of course you can move your lights around to control shadows, spill, etc, but 45 watts is so little light that you're going to require quite a long shutter speed, and I have found that long exposures, especially with CFLs (and even regular incandescent bulbs) tends to impart a colour cast on the image. Of course this can be dealt with in post, but why bother if you can get it right in-camera? Another issue is the fact that most CFLs are not dimmable, which means the only way you can control light output is to move your lights. While this does work, when you're trying to shoot high-key, or high-key esque, you will likely find that you don't have enough light when you move one light far enough away to balance background and foreground.

You can most definitely do what you want to do with your current set-up, but it will take longer, and be more difficult. The $300ish dollar investment in equipment that I have suggested, once you've spent a weekend practicing, will allow you to get it right in camera, first time, virtually every time.
 

Buckster

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If you need more light, just extend your shutter time, and you'll get more light. It's not like your subject is moving, so you don't need a fast shutter.
Absolutely true, HOWEVER, let me explain further why I said what I did....

If you don't like where the shadows are, move your lights. They're continuous, so you can see where the shadows fall as you move them. You can add more light with a reflector or bounce card. An inexpensive way to go is to pick up a couple of white poster boards at the local Walmart and arrange them so that the light bounces off them and onto your subject where you want to fill in the shadow areas.
Good advice!

For what you're shooting, you absolutely DON'T need to throw out your current lights and buy strobes. You just need to learn to manage your current lighting and camera settings, which is common when starting out.
While I hope that no one actually thought that my use of the term "throw out" was meant literally, I do stand by my assertion that two 45 watt CFLs are insufficient for this work (and even the 105 watt versions would be lacking). If the OP has a high-end, FF body that can shoot clean at ISO 3200 and above, well, that's a whole different story, but assuming he/she is going to want to keep ISO low, then...

Of course you can move your lights around to control shadows, spill, etc, but 45 watts is so little light that you're going to require quite a long shutter speed, and I have found that long exposures, especially with CFLs (and even regular incandescent bulbs) tends to impart a colour cast on the image. Of course this can be dealt with in post, but why bother if you can get it right in-camera? Another issue is the fact that most CFLs are not dimmable, which means the only way you can control light output is to move your lights. While this does work, when you're trying to shoot high-key, or high-key esque, you will likely find that you don't have enough light when you move one light far enough away to balance background and foreground.

You can most definitely do what you want to do with your current set-up, but it will take longer, and be more difficult. The $300ish dollar investment in equipment that I have suggested, once you've spent a weekend practicing, will allow you to get it right in camera, first time, virtually every time.
"Longer shutters". Six questions: Yeah? And? So? What? How long? And who cares? His subject isn't moving.

Dude, imagine if he left the shutter open for 45 minutes at ISO 100 and f/16, just for example. Would he have enough light then? Ya think it might be overexposed at that point, even with "only" 45 watt lights? WTF part of the exposure triangle don't you get?

It doesn't matter that they're only 45 watts, and white balance is best controlled in post anyway, no matter what. He should set up a simple white paper background to use for a WB sample in post, or include a white balance target on the edge of the shot and then crop it out in post after using it to achieve white balance if, for some reason, he wants to retain that off-white wall color, but correctly white balanced. That way, it simply doesn't matter if he gets any color shift from the lights.

None of your "reasons" make his current lights unmanageable for this kind of shooting. It's pretty obvious he's on a budget. Help him work what he has if you want to be useful.
 
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tirediron

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I "get" the exposure triangle very well Buck! I do! Honest!! BUT... this person is talking business. Time is money; is the $300 investment worth the ability to create the image in 1 second as opposed to 45 minutes? I can't speak for the OP, but I know it would be for me. And,as I mentioned, there is often a problem with colour casts forming during prolonged exposures with CFL and incandescent bulbs. There is also the issue of camera shake/subject movement during long exposures; this can be as simple as someone walking across the floor in the next room!

I'm NOT trying to argue with you, nor am I saying you're wrong. I am saying that I think perhaps there is another route that the OP can take which will lead to more consistant, and better results in a shorter time. You approach the problem one way, I have another... we'll let the OP decide which is best for him or her.
 

Robin_Usagani

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the bulb that came with that kit is nothing special. Just buy another light from home depot that takes similar bulb. It can be just lying on the floor or put it on a desk lamp. Put the light on the floor behind your subject. I probably get higher wattage light for this background.
 

Buckster

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I "get" the exposure triangle very well Buck! I do! Honest!! BUT... this person is talking business. Time is money; is the $300 investment worth the ability to create the image in 1 second as opposed to 45 minutes?
I knew you'd go there. I knew you'd actually think that this shot will take a 45 minute shutter speed if I used that as an example, because you don't seem to know even the basics involved with shooting a static product like this. Amazing.

I can't speak for the OP, but I know it would be for me. And,as I mentioned, there is often a problem with colour casts forming during prolonged exposures with CFL and incandescent bulbs. There is also the issue of camera shake/subject movement during long exposures; this can be as simple as someone walking across the floor in the next room!
It's a simple matter of learning white balance and as for camera shake, maybe NOT SHOOTING WITH A 45 MINUTE LONG SHUTTER SPEED while people are bouncing around in the same room!!! LOL!!!!

Again, it's just amazing to me the things you actually say, and the lame justifications you make for those ridiculous notions that come flying out of your head when called into question.
 

rexbobcat

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I "get" the exposure triangle very well Buck! I do! Honest!! BUT... this person is talking business. Time is money; is the $300 investment worth the ability to create the image in 1 second as opposed to 45 minutes?
I knew you'd go there. I knew you'd actually think that this shot will take a 45 minute shutter speed if I used that as an example, because you don't seem to know even the basics involved with shooting a static product like this. Amazing.

I can't speak for the OP, but I know it would be for me. And,as I mentioned, there is often a problem with colour casts forming during prolonged exposures with CFL and incandescent bulbs. There is also the issue of camera shake/subject movement during long exposures; this can be as simple as someone walking across the floor in the next room!
It's a simple matter of learning white balance and as for camera shake, maybe NOT SHOOTING WITH A 45 MINUTE LONG SHUTTER SPEED while people are bouncing around in the same room!!! LOL!!!!

Again, it's just amazing to me the things you actually say, and the lame justifications you make for those ridiculous notions that come flying out of your head when called into question.

Who pissed in your coffee this morning?
 

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