product photography question

Started Aug 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: product photography question

tomoco wrote:

I'm shooting some small products on a white background (white paper sweep). I'm using 2 Ego lights on each side and a 100mm lens on a tripod. The shots look fine but I seem to get a little off-white, yellowish shadow around the product i'm shooting. Any tips for making the surrounding area a nice solid white? Thanks

Part of the problem is having all your lights as skim lights from the side. What is needed is a downward shining light from above. One of the Egos will do it, or maybe two. They are light enough to be boomed over the top of the set on a home-made lash-up arrangement of dowels (broomsticks?)...

.... although it will be a lot easier if you buy a proper boom lightstand with counterweight. If you do that, it would then be worth buying a proper softbox.

Ego lights are not bad, but they do suffer from being fixed height, and that height is a bit low... OK for a FILL light, not so good for a MAIN light.

A word about reflectors in product photography..

If necessary, the side light that is missing on re-allocating the Ego can be replaced with reflectors made of silver foil on stiff cardboard. Prop the reflector(s) tilted at about 45 degree angle such that the new 'toplight' is reflected forwards into the subject....

Anything makes a prop... block of wood, can of beans, whatever. Make the prop grip by putting blob of Blu-Tack on the contact point.

Note 1: Simple little cardboard reflectors are at least as much use to the product photographer as an actual powered light. Indeed, much professional product photography is done with nothing more than a soft overhead light on a boom, and two or three silver reflectors A4 size...

Note 2: A contact shadow underneath the subject adds a real sense of solidity to the product.... something which products hanging in complete shadow-free limbo do not have.

Note 3: Placing a spotlight beam in the back can also dramatically increase this sense of 3-D, a tactile quality which product photographers have called "pick-up-ability"... which is just what you want with a product shot. Your photograph is, after all, standing in for the buyer's chance to handle the item in a normal shop environment.

See below for some examples ... (these are a bit old, but the lighting point is made, I think.)

[Two from rollfilm scanned, and one from a humble Minolta Dimage 7. Which are which?]

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