Lighting door slabs in a studio?

Started Feb 15, 2013 | Questions thread
OP kcrudolph New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Lighting door slabs in a studio?

Barrie Davis wrote:

kcrudolph wrote:

BAK wrote:

Art director, eh?

So you know that you need to have a layout for the ad, flyer, folder, brochure, catalog page, whatever.

And you know that you need to match the shot to the layout.

DOOR SLAB: I figure that a door slab is the "wood" part of a door, such as you would find on the entrance to a house, covering the front of a closet, blocking the view into a bathroom, etc., BUT WITHOUT HARDWARE. No hinges, no knobs, no locks, and probably no artistic or decorative painting.

But there may be raised areas, designs where some of the door is thicker than other parts, etc.

So you have a 3 foot by 7 foot flat, couple of inches thick, unaccented subject.

If this was my project, I'd get some good idea of how these door slabs are displayed at retail (assuming they are)

My bet is that they are on a vertical rack, similar to how many retailers display rugs, or art galleries display low-end pictures.

Bottom line, standing on their bottoms, vertically, on an agle, looking sort fo like they were half open when installed, so you can see both the front surface and the edge that will eventually hold the lockset.


I have multiple concepts for the brochure these will be used in already. Beauty shots and some slab and hardware shots already exist so I will be shooting at the same angle as those that already exist, which is straight on. No choice there really.

After consulting with a local photographer and going over the rental list I am using a 9' Foba Studio Stand to shoot from overhead with 2 Arri HMI lights with softboxes and 6x6 scrims to diffuse the light. I will start at 45 degree angles from either side and adjust to achieve the lighting I'm looking for.

Does this sound like a good setup for this shoot?

No. That is my idea of exactly the wrong lighting for the subject.

Well, put it this way... If the doors are flat, with no moulding or other 3-dimensional feature, flat copy lighting is acceptable, if boring.

However, if they have any texture, (as the panelled doors I linked to, have) then lighting them with large diffuse lights, and equally from either side, will take their main feature of texture and relief and kill it stone dead. (sigh) Why do you think I suggested using a skim light, if not to reveal the texture?

I think it would be a good idea if you showed us what has been acceptable to the client previously, so that we can see what you are actually trying to get.

In regard of vertical shooting, that is another no-no....

Even WITH full remote control of the camera through tethering to a computer, I think you would be making life vastly difficult for yourself by sticking the camera 9 feet up on a Foba stand. It just isn't far enough, (high enough) for a 6 foot subject.. The close working would necessitate a wide angle lens, which has multiple disadvantages in this application.

Firstly, it will be very hard to get truly square-on, even using the mirror... and any minor lack of squareness will be magnified by being close.

Also, a wide angle lens will increase the acceptance angle for reflection from the lights falling on the subject. Indeed, it may even be impossible to find anywhere in the studio that does NOT reflect in the subject.... especially if you insist on using those large light sources.

Don't make life difficult. Shoot from as far away as possible, horizontally along the length of the studio, and using the longest f-length that can be accomodated in the space... . 16 feet plus, if you've got it. Framing and lighting will be much easier, and that means done better, and done quicker.

Physically it iwill be easier, too. You can simply stand behind the camera and observe the subject through the viewfinder. You will NOT be standing on one leg at the very top of a stepladder and craning dangerously, in order just to get your eye to the eyepiece. Neither will you be performing this feat of acrobatics with the stepladder ITSELF straddling the subject, and obscuring all the lighting while it does it.

Believe me. My description is no exaggeration. I have been there. This mode of photography isn't fun. It always is worth finding ways to be able to shoot while standing on the floor .... and we have ALREADY told you how to do that.

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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Alright. All great points and things I was worried about. I'll shoot it straight on from the ground.

Only reason I was thinking to shoot vertically was because I'm flying to phoenix next Monday night and shooting Tuesday/Wednesday. I won't have materials or time to build anything to hold the doors upright and they need to be shot completely straight on.

Thanks for all your feedback and advice. I'm going to call the studio and see if they have anything there I can lean the doors against.

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5D Mark II

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