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Photography Question 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
 

Lighting setup for products


I am going to be shooting for a catalog for hats, gloves, mittens, scarfs, sweaters, etc... Everything will be with a white background, nothing to show except the product. I have a styrofoam head for the hats and scarfs, the gloves I am thinking can be put on a wedge type thing so they aren't laying flat, to show the details. The setup will on a piano bench covered with a white backdrop. I don't have shooting tables yet. Is there something I can do, with lighting or setting up different, so that I don't have to erase the bench out of every image I take? I have a very large amount of these, and am trying to find a way to shoot them without so much editing afterwards. I would appriciate any tips and suggestions you can give! I haven't done this without people wearing them before. Thanks, Sherry


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1/5/2008 7:17:20 AM

 
W.    Hi Sherry,

if you want nothing but the product to show in your image, and everything else white, you need a light tent. Search for "light tent" with the search box.

Once you've set everything up and calibrated your settings (manual) you should be able to shoot about an images per minute, so about 60 per hour (important for "production").

How about putting the gloves on "chopped off" mannikin's hands?

Have fun!


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1/5/2008 7:31:14 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thanks so much W.S. I appriciate that! For a beginner, I am getting swamped! LOL! I will have to try to find some mannikin hands. Fast. :) I appriciate your advise very much! Thank you! Sherry


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1/5/2008 7:33:57 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Sherry,
A light tent is a big help for reflected product, such as metallic jewelry. I donít think this sounds like what you are shooting. The thing that might concern you is the white background. You are aware that it will not be absolutely white? If you want your items to sit on a catalog page with out a box surrounding them you will need to clip them out of the background. Depending on the color of the original item this may be quite time consuming. I would use white seamless paper for the background, you can order this in 4.5X30 foot rolls from the large photo retailers. But no white background photographs a white unless it is overexposed. You will probably need one or two large light sources, and strobes would maintain better color. You can see some examples of my product photography, and other types of photography at my site: www.siskinphoto.com
Thanks, John Siskin


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1/5/2008 11:32:32 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thank you so much, John. I never thought of doing any kind of product photography like this until I was just asked. But, I am excited about the job. I use strobes, so that is good. I will order the paper! You have a great website! Thanks for your advice! I really appriciate it! :) Sherry


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1/5/2008 11:54:48 AM

 
W.   
John's approach is a high-key approach. That's also good of course. Many roads lead to Rome. John's can be applied to larger subjects than (single) hats, mittens, or gloves.

You may want to ask your principal about a couple of mannikin's hands, Sherry. I'm guessing they could get a hold of stuff like that much more easily than you can.


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1/5/2008 12:35:45 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Sherry,
One of the reasons to shoot outside of a tent is that is slow to load and reset everything in a tent. I just did a catalog last week where my assistant and I shot about 220 products in a day. I donít think we could have done anywhere near that many in the tents I have used. One of the problems with shooting products is that it is essentially boring; you do the same things over and over. It is important to remain alert, however, since the next product may actually require your attention.
Thanks,
John Siskin


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1/5/2008 1:29:14 PM

 
W.   
Bigger tent?


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1/5/2008 10:52:42 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi W.S.
It is just easier to move products in and out without a tent. However a tent does provide large flat even light which is essential for certain products. Say car parts.
Thanks, John Siskin


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1/5/2008 11:09:40 PM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thank you both so much for your replies. I will be doing it without the light tent, there is just too many items to shoot. 70 hat/glove/mitten sets, then many of hats, mittens, gloves, scarfs, that are not sets, plus ALOT of sweaters all sizes, ponchos, etc... Altogether over 300 items to shoot. All to be done today and early in the morning, as she needs the images right away. I couldn't find any manakin hands in time. So, I slipped a wedge type thing under the backdrop to lay the gloves/mittens at a slant, and Avaline stopped in my studio and looked at my ideas for the setups and was very happy with the display I showed her for the mittens and gloves. So, I really appriciate all your advise W.S. about the light tent, there is just too much to do too fast for me to use a light tent and build one this morning. John, thanks so much for your suggestions, I will do doing it like you suggested. I have been shooting these items with models wearing them, this will be my first shoot just displaying them. :) I hope you both have a great weekend! And, I will respond here and let you know how it goes! Again, thank you both so much!
Sherry


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1/6/2008 3:35:02 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Good luck Sherry! Be patient with your self. Thanks, John Siskin


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1/6/2008 4:11:39 PM

 
W.   
Good luck with the shoot.
This seems like a good time to shoot RAW+JPG.


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1/6/2008 8:05:30 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Mr. Smith,
You are right about shooting Raw and JPG. The jpg is quick, important on a fast catalog and the Raw is important back-up. Raw can save you from the dreaded re-shoot.
Thanks, John Siskin

Ps. By the way when I need a tent these days I use a clothes hamper from Ikea, cost less than $10.


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1/7/2008 5:51:10 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I'd for sure use a light tent, a must when shooting car parts....but...you are going to do 300 products in a day in a half! I'd say go to the photo store and buy High Key White photo paper. You'll have to blow out the paper or buy a photoshop plugin that allows easy product extraction from the background. Good luck...that is WAY to much for such a short period of time so I hope you're able to charge them for overtime...there will be A LOT.


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1/7/2008 9:55:16 PM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thanks so much Mr. Smith, John and Oliver. I got the shoot done yesterday. A little editing to do, but not bad. I really appriciate your help and advise.

Oliver, if I need an extraction program for anything in the future, do you have one you would recommend? I did order the white photo paper, the closest photo store to me is about 6 hours away. Thanks again! Sherry


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1/8/2008 6:40:39 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  I know people that use Fluid Mask and love it. I wouldn't invest in expensive plugins unless you can justify the expense. You've already finished this job so don't spend the $$ unless you get future work.


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1/8/2008 8:24:09 AM

 
W.    For the next big production shoot you may want to get

[IMG]http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i319/RokcetScientist/forallyourgloves.jpg[/IMG]

The "Photosimile 5000" (what a tacky name!)
announced today at 2008 International CES, Las Vegas:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08010901photosimile5000.asp

From the press release:
" [...] This PC-controlled desktop photography studio integrates a 28 x 28 x 28Ē light box (featuring 6500K daylight bulbs, an automated camera positioning system and a built-in 3D turntable) with a Canon digital camera and powerful workflow software to simplify and automate business photography. With Photosimile 5000, anyone can create professional, shadow-free pictures ideal for web, print and daily business communication. No experience necessary. [...]


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1/9/2008 4:34:47 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Awesome, can't wait to pick one up cheap when that, "Anyone" buys it thinking they can create professional quality photos and realize they should have hired a professional.


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1/9/2008 5:07:16 PM

 
W.   
I think you are confusing high volume production table top shoots that aim to all look identical and require hours of tedious but un-inspiring repetition of moves, with the photographic creation of unique image, "one-offs"...


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1/9/2008 5:31:17 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Product used to be a good business for me. Digital made it easier and cheaper. So now I donít shoot as much product as I used to, have to make money elsewhere. You donít have to be an artist to shoot product well, just a good craftsman. I miss the work, but thatís the way it is. I am sure this latest piece of gear is mostly hype, but thatís marketing. I think it is strange that the color temp is set at 6500ļ, my experience is that you have trouble with fabric colors at a temp that high, optical brighteners create color shifts. Since I wonít buy the thing I donít suppose Iíll have to worry about it.
Thanks, John Siskin


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1/9/2008 9:43:24 PM

 
Dolly L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/10/2007
  I finished the assignment in time, and it all went well, and I actually got more production shots here in town. The company I did the shoot for that was high volumne, was very pleased. I have the white roll backdrop paper, and will be looking into a good light tent, or making one, for smaller items and smaller jobs. What should the color temp be approximately for a light tent? I really want to do it right. One of the jobs I just got is for jewelry, and I will need a light tent for that one. I really do appriciate everyone's advise and input! It has helped me a lot. :) Sherry


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1/10/2008 12:49:38 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  OOPS! I was uploading Dolly's image for her today, and forgot to log back in under my own name. (She is in BP, she is recovering from an illness, and emails me a group of images at a time, and I upload for her some. Sorry about the mixup. Sherry


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1/10/2008 2:13:04 AM

 
W.   
 
  Fake sparkle
Fake sparkle
© W.
Miscellaneous Does...
 
 

That's good, Sherry.
Imo, the ideal light temperature would be daylight: 5500ļ K.

For jewelry you will want specular highlights. That'll require point-shaped un-diffused light sources. Which you will somehow have to fit into the light tent setup. That's not going to be easy.
OR Ė my favorite Ė you fake the specular highlights.


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1/10/2008 5:27:08 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thanks, W.S. I appriciate it. I will probably have to fake the specular highlights! LOL! Beautiful ring capture you did. Thanks for sharing it! It is gorgeous! Thanks so much for your help! I will also have to learn abuot those point-shaped un-diffused light sources with soft-boxes, I want to know it myself anyway in case I ever use it! Thanks again!


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1/10/2008 6:53:24 AM

 
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