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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 13, 2013 13:42 |  #1

Below is the setup and the photos. I am playing with the intensity of the flashes in the pics below. I want the white in the background, white, and the product not to blow out... It seems like the shots that the products are well lit aren't bright enough for the background and the background is greyish.

I'm completely new to this. I can cut out the product and add it to a white background in Photoshop but it doesn't always look great and it is a bit tedious. I just lowered the back ground sheet so it won't be in future shots. All the shots are unedited.

Any thoughts on my set-up would be greatly appreciated.

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-Hvb6TGS/0/L/i-Hvb6TGS-L.jpg

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

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-TDF4wB7/0/L/i-TDF4wB7-L.jpg

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

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-Vm5ZrFk/0/L/i-Vm5ZrFk-L.jpg

Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T4i
Exposure Time: 0.0333s (1/30)
Aperture: f/7.1
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 65mm

6D - 50mm f/1.4 - 85mm f/1.8 - 24-105mm f/4L - 16-35mm f/2.8L II - 70-300mm f/4-5.6 - 600EX-RT

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jun 14, 2013 08:22 |  #2

lights are probably too high, particularly the one on the left which is causing the reflection on the front of the box in the brighter shots.

your table and sweep are too small. you'd to better with the table turned the other way, and your paper needs to be twice as long so you can put the product farther away from the background and have more space in front.

ideally you'd have one light on the background to make it white and other lights on the product.

you might be able to get away with one light on axis above your camera, and one on the background.

no reason to be shooting at 1/30 with flash photography in a dark room.


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Jun 14, 2013 08:24 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #3

you should rig up some kind of grey card above and behind the box to keep the reflection on the top from being too harsh.


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drvnbysound
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Jun 14, 2013 10:08 |  #4

BTW: Adjusting the BG to be white can be done with a simple levels adjustment. To remove the adjustment from the product, add a mask.

That said, to get it right in camera I'd do as suggested above... provide more separation between the product and BG and light them separately.


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gonzogolf
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Jun 14, 2013 10:13 |  #5

Use the flashes in manual mode. ETTL makes white things gray, thats how its designed. You need an actual white sweep so you can get the subject farther from the drop. Then use the second light up higher so you get an even spread on the drop, and the light from the front needs to be a bit lower.




  
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sspellman
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Jun 14, 2013 10:39 |  #6

You need much more space behind the product, so change the orientation of the paper to be deeper. Use the umbrella only on the front light. Remove the umbrella from the background light to give you more directional control and place it behind the product pointed back at the background. It will be much easier to use M mode only and not eTTL.

You will still get some small shadows near the product. For shots with no shadows, pros use acrylic plastic sheeting with a light underneath.


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Jun 14, 2013 12:11 |  #7

For sure need more space behind the product. It is possible to get decent results using a single shoot through. I have tried several ways with this and lately this seems to work the best.

A shoot through umbrella when the flash is attached in the hotshoe tends to be hotter at the top. So I will angle it down and over over what I am shooting so the hottest part of the flash is right behind the object, while the rest is still covered by the rest of the umbrella that is less intense. I shoot with sheets of foam core so I have to clone out a seam, but the idea is the same.

Not the best example of what I am talking about because the umbrella is farther away than is used (I put it as close as I can without getting it in frame. Most of the time I end up holding and tilting it by hand to get it directly overhead), but you get the general idea.

IMAGE: https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-TmHGmyt7fIs/URBdY9ko6-I/AAAAAAAAI9A/UjXgj7MRAYs/s800/20130204-IMG_6847_wm.jpg

Resulted in: (again not the best example as it isn't 'pure white' but just illustrating since that is the only setup shot I have with a single flash I think)
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8090/8446600976_cb3bd08485_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …visiondigital/8​446600976/  (external link)
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Most of the time however I have a third sheet of foamcore setup as in this picture. (Ignore the flash thing I built for the rear light, it was an experiment that sort of worked) It also is an example of the hotter top of the flash in umbrella.

IMAGE: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-A8bdHK7eDAE/UT6sUN-vCjI/AAAAAAAAJ7g/CnAq4XwS4KM/s800/20130311-IMG_7609_wm.jpg

This example was done using the three sheets, single umbrella overhead as described above originally. Get the photo, play with the white, black and contrast levels and it normally turns out pretty well. The only time I run into some issues is shooting something white on white, then I have to tweak things.

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8395/8691704750_250c77e53b_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …visiondigital/8​691704750/  (external link)
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Pitches Love Vibrato

Use manual settings on the flash, shoot in raw which helps the tweaking part. I typically shoot these at 400iso, mostly 4-5 clicks up on the flash (no idea what level that equates to), around 1/160 and between f/4-16 depending on how much DOF I need, I typically start out at F/8 or so.

In summary: More distance between background and item and make sure more light on background. Maybe that will help some, it is still a learning process for me to find the easiest way to setup, take the shot and tear down. Strange how the wife doesn't want all this to stay set up in the bathroom. Haha

(that is a manual YN-460ii and a cowboy studio umbrella/stand if it matters)

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Jun 14, 2013 15:13 as a reply to  @ toolman21's post |  #8

It should be pointed out that what you're looking at in the surface of the box is the white seamless reflected in it's surfaces...front,sides and top.

If you want true density in the box, you'll struggle with this set-up. Elevate the box off the surface, use dark 'reflector boards' to eliminate the white that's being reflected, polarizing filters etc. and drop it onto white with a soft shadow in post, imo.


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Matrim33
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Jun 17, 2013 12:08 |  #9

Thanks for the input guys. I'm going to read over everything and get back to you with questions.


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Matrim33
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Jun 17, 2013 13:16 |  #10

I will definitely go longer and deeper with the background.

I will dedicate one light to the background.

The umbrellas double as shoot through too if need be.

I'll wait on acrylic and raising the item.

Question, would a 3rd light help alot? I do have the onboard flash. Also, should I use one of these 18% gray cards I'm seeing online?


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Matrim33
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Jun 20, 2013 12:59 as a reply to  @ Matrim33's post |  #11

So I turned the table and increased the length of the paper by about double. I directed one of the flashes at the background. I also tethered the camera to live view on my computer which is a much faster way of playing with lighting.

I'm still having trouble getting the bright white background with a properly exposed product. Again, would a gray card help with this?

What I ended up doing was taking a few photos with the product looking good and adding a white background in post. See below.

The magic wand tool worked well on the swedish fish and I was able to edit it pretty quick. It did not work on the snickers so I had to lasso it which took a bit longer. It might get a bit tougher and time intensive on items that are shaped funny. I have about 1000 products I need to photograph.

Thoughts? Should I just post process the background? I can get more equipment and figure out this background problem but if you guys think these look good for a website it might be better to just leave it alone. Here are the pics.

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-Cszv38H/0/L/i-Cszv38H-L.jpg

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-7JC4pcZ/0/L/i-7JC4pcZ-L.jpg


IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-p7cgNQx/0/L/i-p7cgNQx-.jpg

IMAGE: http://reubenjames.smugmug.com/photos/i-384t3pJ/0/L/i-384t3pJ-L.jpg

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Jun 20, 2013 14:40 as a reply to  @ Matrim33's post |  #12

you can set the white point of any image quickly using the curves dialog and the highlight dropper.

open image,
choose curves from edit menu,
double click the eyedropper on the right,
set the white point HSB values to 0,0,94
exit the color picker,
click in some area of your background,
boom.

notice the RGB curves in the below image. that is what changes the white point. so not only is it brightening it, but it is setting it to a neutral color (so long as you have a neutral color selected in the eyedropper color picker).

depending on where you click, your image changes colors more or less radically.

i'm sure you'll have to play around with it a little to get the hang of it.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jun 20, 2013 14:42 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #13

oh, to me it looks like you are lighting the backdrop too high.

make sure you are lighting it in the area that is directly behind the product.


might want to try f/8 too.


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Matrim33
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Jun 20, 2013 15:57 |  #14

Cool. Thanks for the info. I am now playing with it. Seems very quick which I like. I will play with the lighting some more and using curves. I'll let you know how it goes.


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Jun 20, 2013 21:57 as a reply to  @ Matrim33's post |  #15

What you're seeing in the front of the box is the white seamless reflected on the surface of the box. That's why the bottom of the Sweedish Fish is lighter in tone and less saturated color than the top half. This reflection is more clearly evident in your first example (Odwalla) as the box is darker and shows the clear line of the seamless in it's front surface.

As far as the top of the box, that surface is reflecting the light from the background. Take a short boom arm with a black card attached (flag). You can position it so that it's out of the shot but at the same time stopping the reflection. It will be behind the box and above it, exact placement depending on the camera placement. Remember "angle of incidence equals angle of reflection..." By flagging the top, you can keep the background illuminated to whatever degree you prefer. These reflections are not as evident in your Snickers as you've let the seamless go gray and the reflection isn't as strong on the package surface...but it's still there.

Even without a boom arm, you can hold a card to see with your eyes the effect of moving it around.

Not a great example but all that I have at the moment, you can see the black card doing exactly this for the top of the drink.The white rectangle behind the drink is a bank light. Without adding the flag I'd get exactly what you're getting on the top.

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