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Old 03-18-2011   #11
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

Thanks!
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Old 03-18-2011   #12
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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Originally Posted by DAVE PROUTY View Post
1 light source and a brain to figure out the rest.
What is the minimum brain power required for product photography?
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Old 03-18-2011   #13
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?
Open shade on the north side of a building (or the south side if you're below the equator).

What sort of "products" are you looking to photograph, and how big are they? What sort of background and/or "environment" are you looking to photograph them against/in? Are the "products" hard and shiny, or soft and/or dull? What color(s) are they?

Without a bit more info, it's hard to give specific advice.

If you're looking to do tabletop photography of small non-reflective items against a simple background for something like eBay sales, then you can get by very simply:

Set up a card table against a north-facing wall, and tape a piece of white posterboard to the wall, curving it down to the table, so that it acts as a miniature "infinity cyclorama" (curved wall to make it look like your floor runs out forever). Use pieces of posterboard or foamcore as reflectors.
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Old 03-19-2011   #14
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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What is the minimum brain power required for product photography?
If you don't know, you ain't ready for doin' it!
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Old 03-21-2011   #15
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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Originally Posted by RocketRick View Post
Open shade on the north side of a building (or the south side if you're below the equator).

What sort of "products" are you looking to photograph, and how big are they? What sort of background and/or "environment" are you looking to photograph them against/in? Are the "products" hard and shiny, or soft and/or dull? What color(s) are they?

Without a bit more info, it's hard to give specific advice.

If you're looking to do tabletop photography of small non-reflective items against a simple background for something like eBay sales, then you can get by very simply:

Set up a card table against a north-facing wall, and tape a piece of white posterboard to the wall, curving it down to the table, so that it acts as a miniature "infinity cyclorama" (curved wall to make it look like your floor runs out forever). Use pieces of posterboard or foamcore as reflectors.
Hey Rocket!

I was thinking about tabletop photography.
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Old 03-21-2011   #16
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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Originally Posted by DAVE PROUTY View Post
If you don't know, you ain't ready for doin' it!
this was very smart....
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Old 03-21-2011   #17
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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This is very smart...
^ fixed
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Old 03-21-2011   #18
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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Daylight and reflectors are useless at night or in a location without windows. He asked for lighting equipment, not wishful thinking.
Awesome!!
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Old 03-22-2011   #19
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

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Originally Posted by haring View Post
Hey Rocket!

I was thinking about tabletop photography.
Are you looking to do this on an ongoing basis as a business specialty, in which case you may need more than just a "minimum" of equipment to be able to work efficiently and handle all sorts of assignments in a timely fashion?

Or, are you looking to "get your feet wet" with a few self-directed projects with no set timetable or budget, in which case you can probably get by with a much more Do-It-Yourself approach, scrounging and building needed equipment as much as possible?

No matter what, you'll need:
  • A tripod, to allow you to hold the camera in position as you make changes to your lighting and setup.
  • Various light sources. You'll probably want several large light sources, such as softboxes or diffusion panels, to help control specular reflections, and a few snoots and grids to allow you to provide hard "spots" of light when desired.
  • Assorted stands, holders, and supports for your lighting equipment, modifiers, gobos, and backgrounds. A lot of this can be improvised inexpensively if you don't care what it looks like.
Tabletop photography seems to fall into three rough categories:
  1. Super high-key white backgrounds: the subject is isolated and seems to float in a sea of white.
  2. Super low-key black backgrounds: the subject is isolated, and seems to float in a sea of black.
  3. Environmental settings: the subject is seen in context, against some sort of background that makes sense for whatever object you're photographing.
For objects against white backgrounds, you'll generally need:
  • The background. Typically seamless paper, but poster board and cloth backgrounds can also work, as can a light source such as a diffusion panel or softbox, depending on what you're trying to accomplish. Avoiding wrinkles is key, as you want to be able to get a pure, even white without cranking up the power level to where you throw too much reflected light where you don't want it.
  • A "floor" surface. This can be an extension of the background material, or something else. White tile board (aka dry-erase marker material) can work well if you want a diffuse reflection of your subject, and glossy white plastic sheets can give a clearer reflection. Clear glass or plastic can be laid over a piece of white seamless, as well, but that tends to give you two reflections, one from each surface of the glass.
  • Black cards or other "dark sources" to position just out-of-frame at the sides to help provide dark specular areas that give you edge definition against a blown-out background. Black foam core can work well for this.
For black backgrounds, you get to invert the setup from white:
  • The background. Typically seamless paper, but poster board and cloth backgrounds can also work. It needs to be positioned far enough back that you can avoid hitting it with spilled light. Black is the bast color to use, but any color will work if you keep it far enough from any reflected or spilled light.
  • A "floor" surface. This can be an extension of the background material, or something else. It may be useful to support the subject on a rod with no floor, so you won't have to try to get something to read as black in close proximity to something you're trying to light. Shiny or matte black plastic sheets can give a clear or diffuse reflection under the subject, if desired. Even if using a floor, it may also be useful to lift the subject off the floor with some sort of support, just to help control light spill on the floor.
  • Gobos will be very useful to keep light from falling places that you don't want it.
  • White cards and reflectors can add specular edge reflections to give definition against a black background.
For environmental settings, you can treat the setup a lot more like a miniature portrait, setting up props (such as table settings, flower arrangements, jewelery boxes, etc.), and generally arranging things to show off the object in the best possible light (so to speak).
  • Shiny objects will require large, diffuse, light sources (and black cards) to tame specular reflections.
  • Simple settings are generally best: you want your subject to be the "star" of the show, rather than receding into the background and competing with textures and colors that surround it.
I hope this gives you some ideas about how you might be able to improvise setups for various types of objects in each of the setting categories.

Have fun!
__________________
Cameras: Yes.
Lenses: Yes.
Lighting: Sometimes, depending upon needs.
Misc.: Other stuff, as needed.

Web: Los Angeles area photographer Rick Dickinson: CrayonPhotos.com.
Twitter: Follow photographer Rick Dickinson.
Facebook: CrayonPhotos.com.
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Old 03-22-2011   #20
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Default Re: What is the minimum lighting gear required for product photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketRick View Post
Are you looking to do this on an ongoing basis as a business specialty, in which case you may need more than just a "minimum" of equipment to be able to work efficiently and handle all sorts of assignments in a timely fashion?

Or, are you looking to "get your feet wet" with a few self-directed projects with no set timetable or budget, in which case you can probably get by with a much more Do-It-Yourself approach, scrounging and building needed equipment as much as possible?

No matter what, you'll need:
  • A tripod, to allow you to hold the camera in position as you make changes to your lighting and setup.
  • Various light sources. You'll probably want several large light sources, such as softboxes or diffusion panels, to help control specular reflections, and a few snoots and grids to allow you to provide hard "spots" of light when desired.
  • Assorted stands, holders, and supports for your lighting equipment, modifiers, gobos, and backgrounds. A lot of this can be improvised inexpensively if you don't care what it looks like.
Tabletop photography seems to fall into three rough categories:
  1. Super high-key white backgrounds: the subject is isolated and seems to float in a sea of white.
  2. Super low-key black backgrounds: the subject is isolated, and seems to float in a sea of black.
  3. Environmental settings: the subject is seen in context, against some sort of background that makes sense for whatever object you're photographing.
For objects against white backgrounds, you'll generally need:
  • The background. Typically seamless paper, but poster board and cloth backgrounds can also work, as can a light source such as a diffusion panel or softbox, depending on what you're trying to accomplish. Avoiding wrinkles is key, as you want to be able to get a pure, even white without cranking up the power level to where you throw too much reflected light where you don't want it.
  • A "floor" surface. This can be an extension of the background material, or something else. White tile board (aka dry-erase marker material) can work well if you want a diffuse reflection of your subject, and glossy white plastic sheets can give a clearer reflection. Clear glass or plastic can be laid over a piece of white seamless, as well, but that tends to give you two reflections, one from each surface of the glass.
  • Black cards or other "dark sources" to position just out-of-frame at the sides to help provide dark specular areas that give you edge definition against a blown-out background. Black foam core can work well for this.
For black backgrounds, you get to invert the setup from white:
  • The background. Typically seamless paper, but poster board and cloth backgrounds can also work. It needs to be positioned far enough back that you can avoid hitting it with spilled light. Black is the bast color to use, but any color will work if you keep it far enough from any reflected or spilled light.
  • A "floor" surface. This can be an extension of the background material, or something else. It may be useful to support the subject on a rod with no floor, so you won't have to try to get something to read as black in close proximity to something you're trying to light. Shiny or matte black plastic sheets can give a clear or diffuse reflection under the subject, if desired. Even if using a floor, it may also be useful to lift the subject off the floor with some sort of support, just to help control light spill on the floor.
  • Gobos will be very useful to keep light from falling places that you don't want it.
  • White cards and reflectors can add specular edge reflections to give definition against a black background.
For environmental settings, you can treat the setup a lot more like a miniature portrait, setting up props (such as table settings, flower arrangements, jewelery boxes, etc.), and generally arranging things to show off the object in the best possible light (so to speak).
  • Shiny objects will require large, diffuse, light sources (and black cards) to tame specular reflections.
  • Simple settings are generally best: you want your subject to be the "star" of the show, rather than receding into the background and competing with textures and colors that surround it.
I hope this gives you some ideas about how you might be able to improvise setups for various types of objects in each of the setting categories.

Have fun!
Hi RocketRick! You ROCK!!!
thanks a lot!!!!!!!


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