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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 12 Jan 2014 (Sunday) 23:16
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Table top photography--What to buy????

 
skater911
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Jan 12, 2014 23:16 |  #1

Since I am home most of the time with my kids, I am looking to try some product or table top type photography since I can play while the kids are sleeping. The question is I haven't done this before so I am a little stumped on what to really buy. I have done some searching, but am really looking for more info from people who are doing it regularly. I don't have any monolights any more, (not opposed to getting some) and have one ex-600 (may end up getting another for other stuff).

What lightboxes are good ones to get? I don't need the best, just not something too cheap. (size i haven't decided, i am thinking 30-40 inches maybe)

I want to do stuff with white and black backgrounds and maybe also play around with plexiglass too.

Thanks for any feedback.


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dmward
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Jan 13, 2014 08:40 |  #2

I wouldn't bother with a light box. Much more flexibility using modifiers on the lights, reflectors etc.

Calumet makes a nice shooting table that can be disassembled. It is just the right size for a 2x4 foot piece of plexi. The thinner sheet available at Home Depot works well and permits curving the back

Umbrella softboxes (think westcott apollo knockoffs) are inexpensive and work well.

Here is a shot done on the Calumet table:

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This one was done on a kitchen island with a couple of speedlites, a piece of black foam core for the background, and a black granite cheese board as a base.

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Here is a setup up shot of the shot in the kitchen:

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Bottomline, you can start out with a couple of speedlites, light stands, and inexpensive modifiers. Then add pieces as they are required for your shooting.

Light boxes are easy but eliminate a lot of flexibility for lighting.

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dmward
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Jan 13, 2014 08:48 |  #3

This was also done in the kitchen:
Black on Black and white on white are probably the most challenging.

As you can see, cleaning the surface and the object make a big difference. Proven by my not taking the time with this test shot. This kitchen setup was motivated by wanting to do a quick test shot with the round two pop up modifiers to see how well they would work for quick setups to accomplish this sort of think.

Two 600EX-RTs in Gr mode, either ETTL or Manual, Canon 5DIII on tripod with 100mm F2.8L macro.

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I have a light box, but haven't used it in years. This approach, in my experience, offers much more flexibility and is easier to setup and shoot. :-)

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Aki78
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Jan 13, 2014 08:56 |  #4

Yep I even used the $1 white foam boards from the Dollar Store forever; one on the bottom and one on the back.

If you don't want shadows you can use glass from a coffee table or reflection achieved with opaque white or black plexi glass. eBay and other websites have them.

Or depending on the product you can use fishing line to suspend the product from a simple background stand with whatever background you want.

There are some really in-depth product photography setup used if you search on YouTube but this shot for example is with white seamless paper (Savage seamless on Amazon) and B800 on the right with 48" octa and white reflector on left. Probably an overkill for lighting but I just used what I had.

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PhotosGuy
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Jan 13, 2014 10:01 |  #5

skater911 wrote in post #16600909 (external link)
I want to do stuff with white and black backgrounds and maybe also play around with plexiglass too.

It would help if you said what stuff?
I agree with dmward & prefer to "build a set" for whatever I'm shooting. If you have 50 similar things to shoot, a light box is a handy thing to have. If only 1 or two, you'll get more control if you look at the knife & Browning threads here: FAQ - Studio Lighting


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Louis ­ solomon
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Jan 13, 2014 10:29 |  #6

This link may prove useful http://tabletopstudio.​com/ (external link)




  
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skater911
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Jan 13, 2014 11:59 as a reply to  @ Louis solomon's post |  #7

There wasn't really anything specific that I was going to shoot more to pass time, learn and have fun. Thank you the advice so far, I think I have much more reading and research to do. :)


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farmer1957
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Jan 13, 2014 12:09 |  #8

skater911 wrote in post #16600909 (external link)
Since I am home most of the time with my kids, I am looking to try some product or table top type photography since I can play while the kids are sleeping. The question is I haven't done this before so I am a little stumped on what to really buy. I have done some searching, but am really looking for more info from people who are doing it regularly. I don't have any monolights any more, (not opposed to getting some) and have one ex-600 (may end up getting another for other stuff).

What lightboxes are good ones to get? I don't need the best, just not something too cheap. (size i haven't decided, i am thinking 30-40 inches maybe)

I want to do stuff with white and black backgrounds and maybe also play around with plexiglass too.

Thanks for any feedback.

Buy the book Light science and Magic,

Farmer




  
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Scatterbrained
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Jan 13, 2014 12:27 |  #9

You can build a dedicated shooting table for less than any of the shooting tables out there if you don't mind using a saw and drill/driver. Simply build two sawhorses and put a sheet of plywood across the top; a roll or two of vellum for diffusion, some white and black foam core from the craft store for reflectors and flags, some lights and you're golden. Then it's a matter of what you want for backgrounds. You can get white and black plexi from a sign shop, or you can just put some clear plexi (or glass) over white or black paper/cloth/vinyl, etc.


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skater911
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Jan 13, 2014 15:46 |  #10

Scatterbrained wrote in post #16602095 (external link)
You can build a dedicated shooting table for less than any of the shooting tables out there if you don't mind using a saw and drill/driver. Simply build two sawhorses and put a sheet of plywood across the top; a roll or two of vellum for diffusion, some white and black foam core from the craft store for reflectors and flags, some lights and you're golden. Then it's a matter of what you want for backgrounds. You can get white and black plexi from a sign shop, or you can just put some clear plexi (or glass) over white or black paper/cloth/vinyl, etc.

I like it. I am pretty handy so that is a great option.


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dmward
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Jan 13, 2014 16:01 |  #11

I made my first shooting table using PVC pipe.
Later I found a card table that had an easy to remove top and it left just a frame and legs. That made it easy to use plexi. Got the Calumet collapsible table to take to client sites.

Advice about foam core for reflectors is a good one. Easy to stand up using the frogs that hold the stems of flowers in a vase. heavy with the prongs to hold the foam core.


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Scatterbrained
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Jan 13, 2014 16:03 |  #12

skater911 wrote in post #16602635 (external link)
I like it. I am pretty handy so that is a great option.

This is what my personal set-up looks like:

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The background stands are held up with 2x4s held in place by Timber Toppers ($45 at Set Shop). Most of the time I don't even use the background, I just use a light on the gray muslin to create a gradient. The great thing is it all breaks down and stacks in the corner when I'm done and then my girls have the space during the day to play. ;)

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Jan 13, 2014 16:05 |  #13

dmward wrote in post #16602679 (external link)
......Easy to stand up using the frogs that hold the stems of flowers in a vase. .......

Ok, now I'm curious, what are those?


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dmward
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Jan 13, 2014 16:14 |  #14

This: http://www.amazon.com …oral+arrangemen​t+supplies (external link)

My mother and her garden club friends used them when I was a kid.

It took me a while to find them recently. Try Michaels or a floral shop.


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Scatterbrained
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Jan 13, 2014 16:18 |  #15

Pretty neat, I don't think I'd ever seen one of those before.


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Table top photography--What to buy????
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