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Photography Question 
Alexa Meisler
 

Lighting Question


I am doing an interior shoot of a kitchen for a design firm. This isn't my usual type of photography. I have a nikon d200, but was wondering if anyone out there had advice, techniques for lighting and set up for this type of shot.

Thanks!


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2/10/2007 8:33:07 AM

 
W.    Alexa, please elaborate: what exactly are you supposed to shoot, what is it going to be used for, what atmosphere is/are the photo(s) supposed to 'breathe', dimensions, available light, so on, so forth?

If it's for print, you may need to allow for text or other graphics in the layout of your photo(s).

If it's a 'design firm' they oughta have designed the photos they expect. And if they haven't, they should if they're worth a damn. So get them to show you sketches, layouts. TALK to them. Let them explain to you in some detail what they want, what they expect. Get a 'feel' for it. And good basic info. Then you can focus on the REAL problems you may be faced with in this shoot instead of wildly guessing what these people MIGHT like!


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2/10/2007 8:56:39 PM

 
Alexa Meisler   Guess I should have provided a bit more into.

I have been hired by the interior design firm who worked on the home.

They have hired me to take some photo's of the kitchen for their website and possibly a print magazine.

The photos should bring to life the design elements and overall asthetic. It will be a daytime shoot, although it is in Portland, so that doesn't always mean sunshine.

I am looking for clean lines that showcase the detail they obtained. I have not been to the kitchen since the full remodel, so that is what I can add.

Any advice on lighting techniques?


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2/10/2007 9:20:58 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Alexa,

Lighting in this situation really is not the challenge.
The challenge in ANY architectural photo is shooting without distortion.
To capture the entire kitchen will require a wide angle lens...even MORE distortion being introduced.
35mm cameras are generally not used for a professional shot of this nature.

I see two options here:

1) Borrow a large format film camera with a wide angle.

2) Shoot with your Nikon two or three shots using the pan technique and stitch them together. The only problem with this technique is that you will have a odd size final image.

Lighting:

If you intend to shoot natural light, try to insure even lighting with just enough shadow to illustrate relief and modeling. Use reflectors to fill dark areas in the kitchen.

Above all, manually white balance.


All the best,

Pete


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2/11/2007 4:36:16 AM

 
W.    Pete's right: your biggest challenge will be to keep horizontals horizontal and perpendiculars perpendicular and still get everything in the image.

A Viewfinder grid can be very helpful there.

Obviously, you work from tripod. Try to do it with available light only (including the kitchen's own light points). if extra light is neccessary in some corners, try to fill it with reflectors. Not with studio or strobe lights.

You may want to experiment with HDR photography to get as much detail out as possible.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI and http://www.hdrsoft.com/).


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2/11/2007 7:35:25 AM

 
W.   
 
  Viewfinder Grid
Viewfinder Grid
© W.
Miscellaneous Does...
 
 
Pete's right: your biggest challenge will be to keep horizontals horizontal and perpendiculars perpendicular and still get everything in the image.

A Viewfinder grid can be very helpful there.

Obviously, you work from tripod. Try to do it with available light only (including the kitchen's own light points). if extra light is neccessary in some corners, try to fill it with reflectors. Not with studio or strobe lights.

You may want to experiment with HDR photography to get as much detail out as possible.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI and http://www.hdrsoft.com/).


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2/11/2007 7:36:00 AM

 
Alexa Meisler   Thanks so much for the response. So are you saying I can't get a lense that would be equivelent to what I would get on a large format film camera for my d200? Maybe I could rent or borrow a lense right? I would like to try to use the d200 as I don't want film, even though I like film myself I am not getting paid enough to go that route. The lense I got when I bought the camera was the 18-70DX lense and I thought it might work. I guess I could stitch the images. Are you saying shoot the images at like 50mm so I have little or no distortion and stitch?

Thanks much you guys


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2/11/2007 9:07:59 AM

 
Who Me? 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/19/2007
  wide angle, lens tripod, bracket, stich
HDR in PS, print it, frame it, get back to work.


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2/11/2007 10:16:04 AM

 
John Nunziato   Another possibility might be to rent a Canon ,with a tilt shift lense,24mm
jn


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2/11/2007 10:39:16 AM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Alexa;

TRy photographing your own kitchen first, you will soon see the pitfalls of using wide angle lenses on 35mm cameras.

Yes; you can use the D200 and a wide angle lens with acceptable but hardly professional results.

One poster suggests using a 35mm pan & tilt lens, and that is good advice if you must shoot 35mm. If you really want this done right, you shoot large format.
Large format lenses coupled with large format negs are properly formatted and size matched so as to avoid distortions we commonly see in 35mm architectural photography.
There are mathmatical reasons for this, but I think that will only bore you. LOL

Pete


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2/11/2007 10:51:13 AM

 
Alexa Meisler   Okay- you have prompted me to take the step to get into a 4x5 - I have found a used 2004 Toyo monorail 45C camera that includes

* 4x5 film holder (Riteway)
* Shutter release cable
Also included is Toyo’s standard 158mm lens board, for Copal #O lenses – plus a protection screen for the camera’s ground glass.

Any thoughts about this camera? Price for a used one (owned by one owner- has original box and all the manuals, etc)


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2/11/2007 11:22:39 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Alexa. Here's my 2 cents worth, or discount that to 1 cent.

My first thought after reading your last post is that while 4x5 is a great format, one that I love and use a lot and recommend, you can't really expect yourself to be able to learn how to use swings and tilts as well as you need to in short order and then use it on an assignment right off. This is not the same as just buying a new lens.

I know Toyo equipment pretty well and have recommended that to students too, although I think a 158mm for architectural work isn't sufficient. I prefer like a Shneider 90mm super angulon wide angle which takes some practice to use well. You ought to look into the cost of a 210 MM lens for every day work and a 350mm for portraits, plust spare lens boards, focusing cloths, a really really sturdy tripod like a Gitzo Studex, more film holders ( one just isn't quite enough) I'd get 20 for starters. A polaroid back, Graflok back with a ground glass screen, a focusing loupe, a case to shlep this stuff in, and a book by Leslie Strobel that'll help you learn how to use the camera. 4x5 is a big step. (It's never easy is it ) and can be pretty pricey.

I think for the time being to shoot this deal, you'd do well making sure your camera AND your tripod both, have a spirit levels to ensure they're plumb, square and level. If they're not, all the shift and PC lenses in the world ain't gonna help you much and probably worsen your problems and frustrations. The grid screen that Pete and W.S. recommended is an excellent suggestion to check for keystoning, etc. But as you'll quickly learn with a view camera, if your camera ain't level, your walls won't be or the building was built out-of-plumb. LOL !! The same principles apply to any format, not just 4x5.

Here's one place you can rent lenses from. http://www.rentglass.com/
Good luck in your new endeavor. ;>)
Mark



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2/11/2007 12:04:01 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Alexa,
This is the link to an article I did on this type of shooting, maybe it will help: http://www.siskinphoto.com/magazine2c.html. I have done this kind of shot with both 4X5 and digital. I like 4X5 better, but it takes a while to learn.
Thanks, John Siskin


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2/13/2007 2:36:09 PM

 
W.    BTW, I think you better save yourself the trouble of making a 'panorama' set of exposures and then stitch 'm together: the WA's perspective distortion will make the seams look horribly mismatched. No way will you be able to make that invisible. Useless for a "show photo".

Have fun!


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2/15/2007 1:49:24 PM

 
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