Is there a complete kit for product photography?

Started May 15, 2013 | Discussions
dpyy
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Is there a complete kit for product photography?
May 15, 2013

I'm looking into getting into product photography just for my own hobby collection items (small things like lens etc). I see there are kits out there that include lamps and tents etc. But is there a kit that does both black and white backdrop? Most of these tents are white. Also, is there a kit that can help me make the reflection? I'm not sure I need the lamps as I already have a few expensive speedlights and diffusers?

Sailor Blue
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Re: Is there a complete kit for product photography?
In reply to dpyy, May 16, 2013

dpyy wrote:

I'm looking into getting into product photography just for my own hobby collection items (small things like lens etc). I see there are kits out there that include lamps and tents etc. But is there a kit that does both black and white backdrop? Most of these tents are white. Also, is there a kit that can help me make the reflection? I'm not sure I need the lamps as I already have a few expensive speedlights and diffusers?

My advice starts with buy a copy of "Light Science and Magic" and study it.

Light Science and Magic, Fourth Edition: Amazon.com

For small products you can use continuous lighting. Continuous lighting has the advantage that you can "see the light" so you know exactly what the highlights and shadows will look like before you press the shutter button.

CFL lighting is cooler and more energy efficient than incandescent lighting but unless you are willing to spend the money on high CRI CFL bulbs made specifically for photography you can get some bad color shifts caused by the lumpy/spiky spectrum from "home lighting" CFL bulbs.

I suggest you start with cheap bell reflector shop lamps from your local home improvement store and some 100W incandescent light bulbs.  Set you camera WB for incandescent and you should be good colors.  Get a WB card and use it to nail your WB perfectly.

Robin Myers Imaging: Digital Gray Card

To diffuse these lights build simple frames of PVC piping and fixtures and cover them with white Dacron fabric.  You can also use stretcher frames for paintings or needlework that you get at art supply stores.

Buy some wood and white tileboard to make a sync wall shooting stage.  Bend the tileboard into a smooth curve with a flat floor and wall.  Objects placed on the floor will have a nice reflection so they don't appear to be suspended in space and the background can easily be lit to go pure white.

Place any color of fabric on top the tileboard for colored backgrounds & floor.  If you want pure black use velveteen fabric and suspend the object above the floor with monofiliment fishing line.

You can get some good ideas on DIY photography sites like these.

43 Photography Hacks, Mods And DIY Projects | DIYPhotography.net

Diy Photography Stuff | Diy Lighting | Diy Photography Tips

News: A collection of DIY photography projects

Technology - Photography - How to Make Instructables

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dpyy
Contributing MemberPosts: 815
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Re: Is there a complete kit for product photography?
In reply to Sailor Blue, May 17, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

dpyy wrote:

I'm looking into getting into product photography just for my own hobby collection items (small things like lens etc). I see there are kits out there that include lamps and tents etc. But is there a kit that does both black and white backdrop? Most of these tents are white. Also, is there a kit that can help me make the reflection? I'm not sure I need the lamps as I already have a few expensive speedlights and diffusers?

My advice starts with buy a copy of "Light Science and Magic" and study it.

Light Science and Magic, Fourth Edition: Amazon.com

For small products you can use continuous lighting. Continuous lighting has the advantage that you can "see the light" so you know exactly what the highlights and shadows will look like before you press the shutter button.

CFL lighting is cooler and more energy efficient than incandescent lighting but unless you are willing to spend the money on high CRI CFL bulbs made specifically for photography you can get some bad color shifts caused by the lumpy/spiky spectrum from "home lighting" CFL bulbs.

I suggest you start with cheap bell reflector shop lamps from your local home improvement store and some 100W incandescent light bulbs.  Set you camera WB for incandescent and you should be good colors.  Get a WB card and use it to nail your WB perfectly.

Robin Myers Imaging: Digital Gray Card

To diffuse these lights build simple frames of PVC piping and fixtures and cover them with white Dacron fabric.  You can also use stretcher frames for paintings or needlework that you get at art supply stores.

Buy some wood and white tileboard to make a sync wall shooting stage.  Bend the tileboard into a smooth curve with a flat floor and wall.  Objects placed on the floor will have a nice reflection so they don't appear to be suspended in space and the background can easily be lit to go pure white.

Place any color of fabric on top the tileboard for colored backgrounds & floor.  If you want pure black use velveteen fabric and suspend the object above the floor with monofiliment fishing line.

You can get some good ideas on DIY photography sites like these.

43 Photography Hacks, Mods And DIY Projects | DIYPhotography.net

Diy Photography Stuff | Diy Lighting | Diy Photography Tips

News: A collection of DIY photography projects

Technology - Photography - How to Make Instructables

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Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

Thanks that's really helpful but I'm not sure I can blend the back drop to the flat surface. What I'm planning to do is use one of my black glass shelve to use as the floor for the product. It'll give me a nice reflection on top of a black surface. But what about the back drop? If I use a black velvet fabric at the back it doesn't exactly connect smoothly to my glass shelve. Any ideas?

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Is there a complete kit for product photography?
In reply to dpyy, May 18, 2013

dpyy wrote:

Thanks that's really helpful but I'm not sure I can blend the back drop to the flat surface. What I'm planning to do is use one of my black glass shelve to use as the floor for the product. It'll give me a nice reflection on top of a black surface. But what about the back drop? If I use a black velvet fabric at the back it doesn't exactly connect smoothly to my glass shelve. Any ideas?

The reason for using velveteen is that it is very strongly light absorbing and won't produce any shadow or reflection.

Using a clear glass floor on top of black fabric can result in a double reflection of the object placed on it, one from each surface of the glass. Since black glass isn't transparent I would assume it should work fine.

Larry Becker gave a Cheap Shots solution to the problem of double reflections with clear glass.

Buy a cheap poster frame and remove the thin clear acrylic plastic sheet that is the "glass".  Buy a can of black spray paint intended for plastics and paint one side of the acrylic sheet.

IMPORTANT the paint must be "FOR PLASTICS" since some of the regular spray paints can melt the plastic.

Once the paint is good and dry you now have a black floor that will give a single reflection of any object placed on it.

Another way to go for small items is to go to an art supply store and buy thin sheets of white, black, or colored acrylic for the floor of your box.  I bought a 14"x14"x1/16" sheet for one project for less than $3.

Looking back I didn't write what I meant to write about using fishing line.  You use it with a white or colored background if you don't want a shadow or reflection.  With a black velveteen background shadows and reflections don't show up in most cases, but if they do then you can always suspend the item from fishing line.  It only takes a minute to get rid of the fishing line in the image during post processing.

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