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Old 12-22-2013   #31
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

The best way I've found to shoot highly reflective products, like jars, tableware, plates, food, wine bottles or glassware OR black plastic laminate trays with gold inlays is to use the softbox above and behind the subject, shoot it with a view camera like a 4x5 at a very small aperture like f16-f 32. That helps get you the depth of field you need to carry through the shot. Take a white chunk of fomecore or posterboard and cut a hole in it for the camera lens mounting on a separate stand so you can adjust it without adjusting the camera or lens position. Block either side of the product with more white fomecore or posterboard. Use clamps, gaffers tape hinged or modeling clay to hold your side panels in place. Set them about 30 degrees or so to the product to bounce white light from your softbox into the sides. Take some black gaffers tape to block off the back of the jar so your product in the jar won't glow or wash out.

Shoot from just slightly above the product to get the top of the jar in and plumb up the camera to avoid distortion and secure your depth of field. Then, use a flash meter to meter the shot from the front of the product back towards the lens. Use that as your point of reference and bracket your exposures 1/3 of a stop each to a full stop either side of your reference. The objective is to light from behind and bounce it back into the foreground while softly filling the sides of the jar with a little fill light from your side reflectors. You can also use black cardboard to create shadow on one side or place a scrim, gobo or flag to block light on one side.

If you do try this or using variations of the bounce fill technique post your results. Bet you'll like what we see.
Mark
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Old 12-23-2013   #32
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

Mark' suggestion is my favorite lighting for reflective surfaces- it is simple, dramatic and effective. Here is a typical result. One soft box and 2 reflectors- that's all! This shot shows both light field and dark field effects.

Ed
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Old 12-23-2013   #33
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

In the eighties and early nineties almost every look-down table top shot was done with a single soft box overhead and fill cards around the front. It was THE LOOK in advertising and product photography. I have a decade of Black Books from that era to prove it!

I also used that lighting technique a lot and the 4x5 format was the predominate format for over 80% of my commercial work. Been there and done that.

The issue with using just that single light overhead light on subjects that have strong reflectivity, such as the coins in Ed's photo, is that by the time you decrease the exposure to cut through the specular highlights and show the color and detail of the coins anything else in the shot is under-exposed.

Adding a second light from the side or rear of the set so that it doesn't reflect in the top surfaces of the coins allows you to separately control the general illumination of the other items on the set, such as the map or the edges of the coins in Ed's photo.

Once the overall set illumination is provided by this second light, the overhead light can be dialed up or down to control those broad highlights on the top surfaces of the coins.

The end result, in Ed's photo for example, could be the same brightness on the top of the coins, a lighter map if desired and brighter edge highlights on the coins.

No need to shoot with a 4x5 view camera as tilt-shift lenses for DSLRs and MF digital cameras allow most of those same image controls today.

Here's a shot done with just an overhead soft box above and reflectors around the front of the subject. Good times!
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Old 12-23-2013   #34
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Shapiro View Post
Mark' suggestion is my favorite lighting for reflective surfaces- it is simple, dramatic and effective. Here is a typical result. One soft box and 2 reflectors- that's all! This shot shows both light field and dark field effects.
Ed
Nicely done, Ed. Great shot ! And those round springy things that Brooks did is also a really neat, well-lit shot of objects that look, well, strangely familiar to me . . .wait ! . . . it's coming back to me. . . something for dipping and dunking in the dark with wheels for roller transport?

BTW Brooks, did you know the guys from Black Book in New York got ripped off in the 90's by some clowns masquerading as their law firm? THAT was a really weird tale.
Mark
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Old 12-23-2013   #35
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

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Originally Posted by Mark Feldstein View Post
BTW Brooks, did you know the guys from Black Book in New York got ripped off in the 90's by some clowns masquerading as their law firm? THAT was a really weird tale.
Mark
Mark, no I didn't know that story. I do remember that the page rates for inclusion In their yearly book were criminal!
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Old 12-23-2013   #36
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

I do like my spotlights, grids and Fresnels too! Sometimes I just use my large overhead soft box as a fill light source- the main light being a kicker brought in from a steep angle of incidence. This is great where rendering texture is important.

Ed


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