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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 25 Jun 2012 (Monday) 09:43
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Product Photography

 
scphoto
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Joined May 2012
Location: Houston
     
Jun 25, 2012 09:43 |  #1

Hi,
I am researching the set-up I need to get for product photography for my site.

I have some white vinyl bags with black webbing handles that I will be shooting.

I am planning on creating all the color variations for the body of the bag in photoshop. ( red, blue green, etc. )

I need some expert advice on what color backgrop to use.

My final images on the site will be on a white background- but will changing the color in photoshop be easier of I photographe the bags on gray background? ( then do the white background in ps? ) I am worried about the seperation of the product from the background.

Black background would blend with the handles and white with the body of the bag....so this brings me to gray.

I could try to attempt to seperate the white bag from the white background with lighting, but never having done this before- will that be very hard?

I thought about using bright green- but wouldn't the "glow" of the green reflect on my white vinyl bags?

Thank you for your help! :)


Atascocita Photography (external link)
Stephanie Clark Design (external link)
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nathancarter
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Jun 25, 2012 09:54 |  #2

[edited post after thinking about it a little more]

How many lights do you have? Generally, you'll want to light the background separately from the product.

I also try to get it all right in the camera. With my skill level in Photoshop, getting the lights right is way less effort than trying to mask out products/people to change the background.

If you need a white background for your final images, I would definitely start with a white background. The difficulty comes in making your white product stand out against the white background. For this, I generally prefer to have the product be darker than the background. Blow out the background to pure white, and properly expose the product - it's still white, but not blown out. This, of course, will usually require the product to be lit separately from the background.

The gray might work, it just depends on how good you are at masking in Photoshop. For me personally, GOOD masking is a hassle. It's easy to mask the product by itself, but getting it to look "natural" once you move it to a different background - there's the rub. Without a little bit of shadow underneath the product, the product is just floating in white space, and (to me) looks odd and unnatural.

However, I've recently become a fan of black-background product shots. With judicious use of rim and side lighting, you can photograph black products on a black background and get good results.

This is with three lights - inexpensive continuous fluorescent video/studio lights in small (20") softboxes.

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]



This is with three lights, on a white paper background. I've let the background fall to gray, then smoothed out the gray gradient in Photoshop. I could pretty easily move it to a white background from here, but if I did that I would want to make sure I brought some of the shadows with me.
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]

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scphoto
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Location: Houston
     
Jun 25, 2012 10:10 |  #3

Thanks for the quick reply! I don't have any lights yet, but am looking to purchase some when I buy my background. I was looking at the continuous lighting and background kits (external link)from cowboy studio on amazon. What do you think? ( I have one 430 EX II flash as well already.)

We actually hired an outside person to do this for us and we were not happy with the results. Blurry edges, hot spots, weird perspective... We are looking to improve on those shots. ( I think some of it was due to the PS masking...) Here is our site (external link).

I agree the more I can do In-camera the better!

Thank you!


Atascocita Photography (external link)
Stephanie Clark Design (external link)
Thank you for your constructive feedback.
My gear so far:
T3i/600D with 18-55 Kit lens, Canon 24-70mm L USM

  
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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
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Joined Dec 2010
     
Jun 25, 2012 10:31 |  #4

I edited my post above a bit, go check it out.

Right now, I prefer continuous lights for product photos - only because I don't have nice studio strobes with modeling lights. With continuous lights, you get the benefit of WYSIWYG - you can adjust each light ever so slightly to get reflections and shadows exactly where you want them. And you can use whatever shutter speed and aperture you like to get the proper exposure, as long as you have a decent tripod (and good tripod practices, such as using a timer/remote, mirror lockup, etc).

Flashes/strobes are way more flexible, but also more difficult to use for products, unless you drop a fair amount on coin on nice studio strobes with modeling lights.

That kit you linked seems like a pretty good deal - three lights and stands, plus a backdrop, for $135. I haven't used it, but CowboyStudio has a decent reputation for budget-minded gear. This is the one I got:
http://www.dayflolight​ing.com …e/pl-dayflo-ez-lite-1050/ (external link)
But I think I got it on sale for about $300.

You'll probably want to put away the muslin that comes with the kit, and get a roll of white seamless paper. Those kit muslins are more trouble than they're worth - they're so thin as to be almost transparent, and they really, really like to hold on to wrinkles. White seamless paper is SO MUCH more suitable for this sort of project.

The last thing I would recommend is a copy of Light Science and Magic: http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1339099​355&sr=1-1 (external link)

If your bags are coated in a rubberized weatherproof coating - or anything else that gives them a bit of sheen or gloss - then you're going to be struggling with reflections that cause hot spots. By positioning your lights properly, you can eliminate the hotspots (also known as glare or direct reflection) - or, depending on your product, you can capitalize on direct reflection and hotspots to enhance the shot. It's 1/3 theory, 1/3 experience and practice, and 1/3 experimentation.


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ajaffe
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Jun 25, 2012 20:10 |  #5

scphoto wrote in post #14628742 (external link)
Thanks for the quick reply! I don't have any lights yet, but am looking to purchase some when I buy my background. I was looking at the continuous lighting and background kits (external link)from cowboy studio on amazon. What do you think? ( I have one 430 EX II flash as well already.)

We actually hired an outside person to do this for us and we were not happy with the results. Blurry edges, hot spots, weird perspective... We are looking to improve on those shots. ( I think some of it was due to the PS masking...) Here is our site (external link).

I agree the more I can do In-camera the better!

Thank you!

Why did that photographer shoot in Aperture Priority at ISO 1600?


www.jaffe.photo

  
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KirkS518
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Jun 25, 2012 22:53 |  #6

ajaffe wrote in post #14631322 (external link)
Why did that photographer shoot in Aperture Priority at ISO 1600?

'cuz he was using a Nikon..... :D


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scphoto
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Mostly Lurking
11 posts
Joined May 2012
Location: Houston
     
Jun 26, 2012 11:47 |  #7

KirkS518 wrote in post #14632040 (external link)
'cuz he was using a Nikon..... :D


:) I don't know either. This person told me they knew what they were doing.... So I tried to get one thing off my plate... but if you want something done, do it yourself!

Thanks for your help. I purchased some lighting gear and it should be on its way next week. I'll post some pics so you can see the results!


Atascocita Photography (external link)
Stephanie Clark Design (external link)
Thank you for your constructive feedback.
My gear so far:
T3i/600D with 18-55 Kit lens, Canon 24-70mm L USM

  
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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
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