Suggestions on upgrading product photo studio from lightbox to...

Started Dec 14, 2012 | Questions thread
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Chris Hamilton
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Suggestions on upgrading product photo studio from lightbox to...
Dec 14, 2012

Hi all, I'm helping a small cosmetics company with their product photography (painted tins, plastic tubes, small glass bottles, and some 'beauty' shots including beewsax, peppermint, etc.) Their current in-house set-up is a 4' light tent with 3 fluorescent continuous cool lights (Alzo 300 - image below has these lights but smaller box). This works fine for taking safe, but rather bland, photos.

I've been asked to help bring greater creative control over the product shots, and been given a modest budget. I've read through this forum and others, read "Light: Science and Magic", watched setshoptutorials.com videos, and sat in on a few 'high-end' product photo sessions in a local studio.

Here's my plan and I would love to hear any constructive feedback:

1) Ditch the light tent and instead use 4.4' wide sweeps of Savage Paper hung from wall and clamped to front of table.

2) Build diffuser panels ala SetShopTutorials suggestion (http://www.setshoptutorials.com/item/4-light-modifiers) to create a larger, rectangular, more controlable diffuse light. These will be held by light stands between subject and lights. One problem is that our lights (below) throw such a wide beam I'll need to build simple barndoors for the lights. (Attachments such as scrims, snoots, etc. are not available for these lights). I will also try to build a snoot for one of these to try some more focused lighting.

3) Build a rectangular softbox for the overhead light to allow for better control of uneven background lighting, mainly for a falloff effect.

4) I also plan to experiment with black and white fill cards, misc. gobos, etc.

so far so good, but this is where I become less certain...

4) We want to create some textured lighting patterns in the background of shots. I've seen someone use a narrow beam hard light shone through a homemade gobo (2'x3' opaque fiberboard with random organic shapes cut out) held halfway between the light and the background. From what I understand fluorescents are less controlable in this way (?) so B&H suggested a cheap Lowel tungsten (Omni-Light 500) with barndoors and a dichronic filter to help match the 5500k color of the fluorescents. Cost of light, accessories & stand about $400.

Total cost of studio upgrade about $750.

Any thoughts or better ideas?

Thanks,
Chris

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