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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 08 Aug 2005 (Monday) 20:25
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Help shooting Grandpa's Beers

 
Goondockjeff
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Aug 08, 2005 20:25 |  #1

Hiya folks, im needing some help.

I recently inherited a beer can collection. Strange? Nah, they are all too cool! From the 40's, 50's and on. Some really neat old cans. Most are 60's and 70's but all in all 150 of them.

I washed them all up, hooked them together to stand them up in rows of ten and im trying to recreate a poster many of us have seen called "Beers of the world." only of course im using my grandpas old can collection.

Heres the deal, I have 3 strobes....

All are Alien Bee units...

1- b400 with a 20 degree honeycomb grate on it.
1- b800 with a shoot through metallic lined umbrella
1- b800 with large rectangular softbox.

Shooting this with a Canon 20d and either my Tamron XR DI 28-75 or my Canon f4 70-200 L.

SO! I want to make this as nice as possible so that I can make large print copies for the grandkids that didnt get the collection but wanted it and other family members.

Problems so far have been in stacking the cans and keeping them tight together so that you have no see through points. Tried water to weight them down, no luck, ended up taping the bottoms together but its not perfect yet. "this is all minor though and prop work/subject work anyhow."

The real issue I need help with on this is in the actual lighting. I want to get that flat finished/poster look. Instead, I am getting major glare and reflection issues off the aluminum cans and dark spots near the edges of the photos when I crank down the 800's to compinsate for the glares.

One other factor you may want to know about is I am doing this in the living room of my apartment so space is definately limited. Can barely move around in here right now LOL>

So, any of you folks that have had similar issues with varried subject matter and solved it, I would appreciate some tips and input. Thanks! Jeff


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tim
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Aug 08, 2005 20:37 |  #2

Lighting highly reflective objects can be tricky. I've never tried what you're doing, but i'd want as large a light source as I could get, maybe a huge softbox, slightly above and slightly to one side of the camera. That way the cans will have a little depth, but there won't be small strong highlights. Another option is to bounce the flash off the wall behind you, assuming the wall's white or light colored.

I'll be reading what more experienced people recommend with interest.


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Goondockjeff
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Aug 09, 2005 01:26 |  #3

Thanks for the input Tim. Im gonna work on this til I get it right! lol. Til the end of time if need be. Its going to make the rest of the family awfully happy to see the prints next month. Anyone else able to offer some words of wisdom?


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Red
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Aug 09, 2005 03:07 as a reply to  @ Goondockjeff's post |  #4

Hey Jeff,

First thing that springs to mind is a polarising filter. This will let you crank up the lights with less reflections.
Second thing is using the L lens. If you want it flat you will need to take a step back to avoid any lens distortion.
Third thing (as has been said already) bouncing the light off the walls and ceilings. Effectively makes your softbox a lot bigger.

Those 3 things should make a difference. If it's still not right, show us where it's at and we'll try again.
What are you using for a backdrop? In the poster you're replicating I'm sure it's an open shelved cupboard.

Good luck

Red


Digital Rebel/300D, 18-55mm kit lens, 24-85mm USM, Nifty-Fifty, 70-210mm f2.8, 70-300mm APO Macro, Passion

  
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Goondockjeff
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Aug 09, 2005 03:10 |  #5

Hey Red, thanks pal, gonna try again and work on it all day tomorrow, er, today here in Oregon I should say only later lol.

The shots I have seen of the open cupboard wood shelves are so cool! But they are used for the bottle style shots and the ones of the cans are just the cans stacked up alone. Its a pain. I may even end up just setting them on the floor and climb a ladder above them shooting down, my apartment has cathedral ceilings so I can crank the strobes way up high if need be. Going to try your idea with the filter first thing though. Thanks again! Jeff


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tim
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Aug 09, 2005 03:48 |  #6

To me, a polarizing filter helps mask a problem rather than solve it. I don't see how an L lens will help either. This book (external link) would be invaluable to you, and to anyone lighting difficult objects.


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Timm
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Aug 09, 2005 06:54 |  #7

Can't off any help on the lighting, however have you thought of a lightweight wooden frame for holding the cans?

Something the looks like \__________/ when laid flat and viewed from one end. This would enable you to either stand the cans up, lay them down flat, or with a base on you could tilt it at an angle to suit the lighting you choose. It wouldn't need much depth, just enough to stop the cans rolling apart.


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glenhead
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Aug 09, 2005 08:50 as a reply to  @ Timm's post |  #8

How about a real high-tech solution?

Thumbtack a white sheet to the ceiling or wall behind you, and fire the strobes at the sheet. If you can bring the top out a couple of feet and tack it to the ceiling, then tack it to the wall a few feet down (to make an angled reflector) it'll really spread the light around. Then mess with the angles of the strobes pointing toward the sheet. I had a buddy who did graphic art many, many moon ago, and he used this technique on a collection of chromed exhaust parts. It works especially well in a smaller room, as you get a nice containment of a humongously wide flood of light. My buddy said that the most important part of shooting reflective surfaces is to make sure you don't have any direct light hitting the subject.


Glen
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Red
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Aug 09, 2005 11:20 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #9

tim wrote:
To me, a polarizing filter helps mask a problem rather than solve it. I don't see how an L lens will help either. This book (external link) would be invaluable to you, and to anyone lighting difficult objects.

Polarisor to illiminate or at least reduce the reflections and also bring out the colour depth which may be faded on old cans.
The L lens because it's a 70-200. Less lens distortion


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DavidEB
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Aug 09, 2005 14:25 |  #10

I shoot my wife's pottery, and also face glare problems. I second the advice about the polarizer, but it won't help for the metal beers, just the glass.

Basically though to eliminate glare requires that the lighting be absolutely even, with no direction much brighter than any other. I took a large cardboard box, cut out 3 sides and the top, and replaced the sides and top with those 4 foot plastic panels that cover flourescent light fixtures. I lined the bottom and back with black velvet. In the front panel I chipped out a hole for the camera lens. I shoot in a well-lit room that has diffuse light.

A box like that won't eliminate all glare from very reflective surfaces, but you can fine-tune it by taping dark paper on the panels to shade out individual problem spots.

good luck,


David
my stuff - [URL="http://www.pbase​.com/davideb"]my gallery - [URL="http://photograp​hy-on-the.net/forum/showpost​.php?p=3928125&postcou​nt=1"]go Rats!

  
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PetersCreek
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Aug 09, 2005 15:03 |  #11

Have you considered hairspray? I can't say for sure if it'll harm the finish on bear cans...so a little testing would be in order. I've used it to knock down some of the glare on metal. It usually doesn't elimninate them completely but does diffuse them quite a bit. The residue left after pressing a piece of modelling clay onto metal works too, but I'm pretty sure that's not practical for beer cans...and so many of them, at that.


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Goondockjeff
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Aug 09, 2005 15:03 |  #12

Wow! Some great ideas here folks! Much much appreciated. I would do the cardboard box thing, but this is 150 cans in one shot Im trying to do. "I may have to size them down into two different shots now.

As for the bouce idea, I just so happen to have two large sheets of bright white poster board here sitting next to me. I will give this a run for sure. Thanks again!


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PhotosGuy
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Aug 10, 2005 07:47 |  #13

stacking the cans

Tried clay or putty?

When you have time, read through these for a few more ideas:
Lighting Set-Up Links –illustrations of real world examples


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
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Goondockjeff
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Aug 11, 2005 02:31 |  #14

Well folks, this is where im at with is right now. I have sunk countless hours into this project at this point trying to get just the shot I want. I think im getting closer. When I started, the reflection from the gold and silver cans was so bright you could barely read them.

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Red
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Aug 11, 2005 02:43 as a reply to  @ Goondockjeff's post |  #15

Hey, that's getting there. I can see something vertical reflectin a lot. It's easy to see in the black and gold Brahama Chopp can on the right and blue Carlsberg can at the bottom

Is it your lighting stands? Or a door frame? Covering whatever it is in white paper should help a bit

Now go to bed dude! It's nearly 2am!


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