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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 Jun 2013 (Thursday) 13:42
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Product Photo Setup w/ 2 430EX Flashes - Advice?

 
Matrim33
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Jun 21, 2013 11:20 as a reply to  @ post 16050221 |  #16

Thanks Foodguy for that. I wish I had the equipment and space for a setup like that. I do have a Home Depot and a ceiling that I may try to rig something to at some point.

I tried a little bit different setup today. I think if I continue to play with it I can get what I need. It does not seem that I can get the white I want in the background without sacrificing the detail of the product. But I will continue to beat my head against that wall.

Here was the setup I used today

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-Sftw6bJ/0/L/i-Sftw6bJ-L.jpg

I took a few shots. The best I thought was turning the right flash off and using that white board as a reflector on the right side of the product. Here's the result.
IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-NL2DCBC/0/L/i-NL2DCBC-L.jpg

From here I tried two different techniques in post to get the white I wanted. This shot is using curves in photoshop to correct the color with no other adjustments.
IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-S3mfJdV/0/L/i-S3mfJdV-L.jpg

And here I used the lasso and put the product on a white background with no other adjustments.
IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-XRGRZBp/0/L/i-XRGRZBp-L.jpg

My goal here is to get a good system for setup and post that I can teach my employee. Any thoughts on this shot?

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Foodguy
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Jun 21, 2013 12:00 as a reply to  @ Matrim33's post |  #17

You're definitely moving in the right direction.

And is should be noted that despite seeming otherwise, to get a great product image (especially given the product here) is not the easiest thing to achieve.

Here's a little trick that I use from time to time, maybe it would help here. I take a small piece of foamcore maybe 5" X 20" and score it so that it will fold to make an upside down u. I take this little bridge and place it over the product. Specific dimensions will determine how big it needs to be to be out of frame, while at the same time flagging some of the reflected light. The purpose of this is to block some light from striking the sides and top of the product. It's easily moved and positioned to where it works best. When exposure is adjusted for this little bit of flagging, the background will become higher in value= white.

Best of luck-

EDITED TO ADD: Just to clarify that the 'u' flag that I make has square corners, not rounded...just couldn't find a letter on my keyboard that conveyed that!


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Matrim33
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Jun 24, 2013 12:07 as a reply to  @ Foodguy's post |  #18

Thanks again for the good advice. I tried using the foam board like you mentioned. Here is what I came up with.

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-kRttmJX/0/L/i-kRttmJX-L.jpg

The lighting on the product was good. There were more shadows but I can cut those out. What do you think?

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Jun 24, 2013 13:04 as a reply to  @ Matrim33's post |  #19

IMO, big step in the right direction. You might try repositioning one of your lights up, over and behind the product...as in on a boom arm if you have one available. Angle is so that it is illuminating the background angled toward the product...it should effectively eliminate the shadowing that you're currently getting....and will effectively silhouette the product against the background but remember that the value of the white seamless on the left side of the package is the value that's reflected in the product.

Plan B would be to use 'replace color' in PS...put the picker on the grey shadow area and you can change the lightness/density/satu​ration value. Be careful if it's a jpeg though as going to far will yield some funky artifacts. That's one way, there are others to dodge that out...but I do prefer the light on the product in this version as it's richer than the previous ones. One real clue to that is in the blacks on the front of the package...in the previous lighting scheme it would have suffered from the reflective qualities.

And lastly, don't be afraid to experiment with the size of the 'bridge', you may find that a small change will give you different (better/worse) results.

As I mentioned earlier, as simple as this may seam, imo, it's not really that simple to do in practice, especially given the qualities in the product you're shooting (reflectivity).


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Jun 24, 2013 14:41 |  #20

Your front light can be diffused with the umbrella to minimize reflections. You background light does not need an umbrella it needs directional control, and your background is still not deep enough to get good separation. Try a background at least 24" deep and position your background flash 12 inches behind the product and aimed at the background. Your side flags are too close and now creating their own shadows.


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Jun 25, 2013 10:39 |  #21

if the curve in the paper is farther back from the product, you will be able to light and flag that light to only hit the background a bit better.

But you may want to checkout this page, it is a case of finding a big enough box for the product, but this is pretty nifty:

http://strobist.blogsp​ot.com …0-macro-photo-studio.html (external link)


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
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Jun 25, 2013 11:57 |  #22

If you have a thousand products to shoot its critical to get a setup designed that will work for all the various sizes and shapes.

I've found that a clear plexi table with a large soft box as the background permits getting a clean white background without influencing the subject. Then, using the most complex product as your test, set the lighting, relying on large sources, flags etc. as Foodguy has been suggesting.

Once the lighting and staging are setup, mark the spot for the product to be positioned. This permits making a single image per product. I shoot tethered with a STE-90mm lens. The objective is one well exposed raw file that is imported into Lightroom, during the tethered shot with a preset applied that applies a tone curve, etc.

In one session I did about 800 products in about 5 hours, including cropping and resizing for the client so they could be directly placed on the web catalog. The 5 hours was after spending time designing the shooting setup. The actual shoot was done at their location since that's where the products were located.

Here is a sample, of white with metal on white, shot using the method just described.


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Jun 25, 2013 16:09 as a reply to  @ dmward's post |  #23

^ That's great advice. No need to reinvent the wheel as you move through the project (with the exception of minor tweaks as necessary.

I typically shoot from the largest to the smallest as going the other way has always been an issue for me having to enlarge the set.

I have a bunch of acrylic blocks that I use for marking the set. They're heavy and less likely to move as new products come in. I've also used salt and pepper shakers in more restaurants that I can count when we've forgotten to pack the blocks.
You can see the blocks here. (this is also my 'white' set, fwiw and happens to be plexi)

Plexi and soft box are good suggestions...I was trying to work with what you had, but as you've seen, 2 umbrellas are less than ideal for this kind of set-up. It can work, it just may need more playing around with.

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Jun 25, 2013 16:16 as a reply to  @ Foodguy's post |  #24

You keep showing the same 2 photos of of your set up. Stop teasing me!!!


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dmward
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Jun 25, 2013 16:28 |  #25

Here (external link) is a table I use. I found a piece of clear plexi at Home Depot that will slide into the frame to replace the white translucent that comes with it. That's what I did the sample posted above. I've used this setup with 4 or 5 speedlites for small products. If space is tight, bouncing a speedlite off a piece of white form core for the white background works. Just takes some trial and error to get it positioned properly.

As Foodguy said, large to small is much easier. :-)

Umbrella frame softboxes are light and make it easy to position a speedlite in a large diffused light source. They can be positioned using a 10Ft stand and a 20" grip arm. The "frogs" used to hold flowers in arrangements are handy for positioning smaller pieces of foam core. Crinkling up aluminum foil and then wrapping it around a piece of foam core is useful if you want to create some lit texture.


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Jun 25, 2013 17:31 |  #26

pyrojim wrote in post #16064398 (external link)
You keep showing the same 2 photos of of your set up. Stop teasing me!!!

They're the only 2 I have!

<guess I need to take more>

:lol:


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Matrim33
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Jun 25, 2013 18:58 |  #27

Thanks for all the great advice guys. I have a friend who has a 24in light cube/tent. I'll grab that and see how well that works. I can get some plexi too.

If I throw some money down for a lighting system I could use for the long run, what would you suggest I buy? I was told the speedlights won't work with softboxes. But if need be I could sell one and put it towards new lighting. One constraint I have is a 7ft ceiling.

I work with some online vendors and have played with the idea of setting this up and selling my services, if I can ever figure it out. dmward, I find the 800 products in 5 hours very inspiring :-)


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Jun 25, 2013 21:53 |  #28

Matrim33 wrote in post #16064786 (external link)
Thanks for all the great advice guys. I have a friend who has a 24in light cube/tent. I'll grab that and see how well that works. I can get some plexi too.

If I throw some money down for a lighting system I could use for the long run, what would you suggest I buy? I was told the speedlights won't work with softboxes. But if need be I could sell one and put it towards new lighting. One constraint I have is a 7ft ceiling.

I work with some online vendors and have played with the idea of setting this up and selling my services, if I can ever figure it out. dmward, I find the 800 products in 5 hours very inspiring :-)

What you are trying to setup is a basic small product lighting booth.

Its not rocket science but it does take some planning.

As mentioned, for smaller products speedlites would be fine. Just to be on the safe side, I'd use the newer Cheetah Lights. They are kind of super speedlites power wise, but still offer remote power control.

The project I did with the large number of products was with Einstein monolights. Given the power settings I could also have used Cheetah Lights or speedlites. The sample I posted was done with speedlites.

Presuming you can get enough illumination, its the size of the modifier that has the most impact.

The attached image was shot in a kitchen with 4 speedlites; two in Westcott Apollo type softboxes and two with 9" Lastolite type soft boxes. Since these were on a gray background the plexi and back light were not used.

I don't want to sound rude, but what you are struggling with is bread and butter for a competent professional.


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Aug 20, 2013 02:47 |  #29

Check this thread


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Product Photo Setup w/ 2 430EX Flashes - Advice?
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