Set up for simple product photography


TPF Noob!
Jan 11, 2008
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I am looking for advice on the lighting, background, and setup to shoot some very basic product photos for a website. The products are window blinds, and the shoots will be close ups of the parts (not the entire blind - not a gallery type picture). How many, and what types of lights will I need? I have a Nikon 5400 - is this sufficient? I am fine with editing the pics in photoshop to tweak and clean them up. I can post a link to the type shot I want if it will help. Any advice will help. Thanks!
Well, there are many variables here. What are the blinds made out of. This will effect reflection from your lighting. Usually you can get by with 1 or 2 lights, but that all depends on how big the item is, what type of reflection it kicks off (polarized, diffuse, etc). You may need a reflector (white or aluminum foil works well). As far as background goes, sometimes all you need is some white paper and you can frame your shots to make that work. If not, white/black poster board can work nicely. I'd say the best would be seamless paper though. Please post the link to the type of shot you want, we may be able to reverse engineer the bad boy.

Polston, I'm not sure that would work for what he's trying to shoot and emulate here. He's wanting blinds, which photograph best in their natural state...hanging. For other small items and product photography what you showed is how a lot of people do it and it works quite well.

Background could easily be any neutral color wall, or any wall that will allow enough contrast between the background and the blinds. It looks like if there is more then 1 light in those pics, then the fill light has a pretty decent ratio (3:1) because you can still see the shadows of each blind on the next one. This could easily be done with one light camera left. If yours doesn't look like theirs, I'd add a fill light camera right at very low power to keep a 3:1 ratio (somewhere in there at least). Shouldn't be too difficult at all.
..............\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ ----blinds
..........................................>---rim light
......L --source .........V----camera

Note- I used the periods so the icons would appear in the correct places in my post. the dashes are to indicate the items
This should look something like the setup that the photographer used for those product shots. The light source was heavily diffused, you can use drafting vellum, a white sheet, a silk, foam core etc etc. like nic said it ultimately depends on the surface of the blinds. If the blinds are specular (reflective) then generally soft light works well. If the surface of the blinds is diffused (matte/non reflective) then maybe go with a slightly harder light source.
If you don't already know softer diffused light has a soft shadow whereas harder light will have a sharp, clean shadow on the blinds and or the wall from that distance. All of these things need to be taken into account and you need to decide what look you want. Good luck!

I hope my awesome diagram doesn't confuse you too much:confused:
Well, that is a reference point. If he does not put a top on the "box" I think he can pull it off. My first thought was a shoot through light box that the blinds can hang through. My other concern was the budget and lack of studio equipment they have to work with. This is a $25.00 studio.

This is just the basics, they'll have to play with it to get that ideal and specific lighting situation. < to KNOW how to take pics right with off camera lighting.

However, you more than likely do not need to purchase anything if you work in ambient light and set up the shooting area properly. So, as far as additional equipment for blinds, I personally do not think you need to invest in anything more than a camera and some time in a well lit area with lots of daylight.
Thanks for all the advice. I am going to build a light box out of a washer/dryer box, some sheer material, and use 4 large lights. I will start with this and see how it turns out!
I think that a light tent or box with no top, so the blinds can hang into it would work well, can you get short pieces of the blinds so you can set everything up on a table? That way your not trying to lay on the floor and take pictures. Hang the blinds directly in the center of a well lit box so there are no shadows or surfaces in the photo, just blinds surrounded by soft even white.

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