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Thread: Advice for taking good object photos

  1. #1

    Default Advice for taking good object photos

    Hi Guys

    I need some advice to take nice photos of objects such as flowers and handbags, sharp with good color representation.
    I just started out on photography and recently just gotten a eso 450D camera with kit lens.

    What settings should I use? Do you need to get some lens like 50mm prime?

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foong Wei Qiang
    Hi Guys

    I need some advice to take nice photos of objects such as flowers and handbags, sharp with good color representation.
    I just started out on photography and recently just gotten a eso 450D camera with kit lens.

    What settings should I use? Do you need to get some lens like 50mm prime?

    Thanks
    If you are doing this for long, it will be good if you can get a light soft box. Then 2 day light lamps to give your items a shadowless well lit condition. You can also make yourself a seamless background using large plain colored paper. There are a lot of DIY information in the net for such product shoot,
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    For good color representation, good lighting is required. If you don't want to spend too much on this yet (if this is just a personal hobby), you can consider what I did for object shoots...
    You can use 1 or 2 pcs of white foam paper for the base and background (I got mine at Popular for $2 per pcs) I got 1 black and 1 white and my objects are pretty small..

    And for lightings, I suggest starting off with LED torchlights. I got 2 from the army e-mart for $10.xx credit and they can literally blind you..They come with colored plastic if you want special colored lights (Red, Blue, Green? and tactical light also)

    The position of the torchlights can be abit tricky, but nothing you can't do with a couple of clothes hanger.


    If you are shooting for $$$, please get some proper gear to ease your job alittle. sometimes the above setup can be quite troublesome.
    Too many great equipments but too little quality photos. [My Flickr] | [My Blog]

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    there's no one formula for all. it depends on each individual's preference.

    Are you shooting only indoors or outdoors? If indoors, how much space you have can determine the lens focal length. You can use the different lengths on your kit lens zoom to determine what is the best length for you.

    most people buy prime lenses for the large aperture (eg f1.4). For your product shoot you mentioned you need the product to be sharp, you you need to shoot between f8-f11. your kit lens is actually good enough for that. Shooting at f1.4 or f1.8 may blur out some parts of the product

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    @David: What is a light soft box?

    @Skystrike: I am willing to spend 10-20 for a good lighting. Can a table lamp (with white light) work?

    @photoart: I am shooting indoor. I read review that the 50mm f1.8 is sharper at close up shot as compared to the kit lens. Would that be better for object shooting? Maybe I do not need the blur effect as sharpness and color will be the main priority.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Foong Wei Qiang View Post
    @David: What is a light soft box?

    @Skystrike: I am willing to spend 10-20 for a good lighting. Can a table lamp (with white light) work?

    @photoart: I am shooting indoor. I read review that the 50mm f1.8 is sharper at close up shot as compared to the kit lens. Would that be better for object shooting? Maybe I do not need the blur effect as sharpness and color will be the main priority.
    - softbox is basically a white box where you put your product in and also from the sides, the lights can be shone in. The lighting created in it is very diffused (IIRC..I've never used a softbox before)

    - Any light, so long as you can control the direction and is bright enough, it's usable. the challenge I find in indoor product shoot is getting enough light, so make sure you have a good light source.

    - 50 f1.8 is a very sharp lens, but for the crop body, I personally find it very hard to use indoors (assuming HDB rooms). esp you mentioned that your products is bag (so, I'm imaging those big bags that females carry), not sure how far you want to stand away from the product

    Try to get the hang of the feeling of how to shoot a product and know what you need before getting more gear. You may even end up with a Sigma 30 f1.4

    frankly speaking, 18-55 kit lens, stopped down to f8 also relatively sharp...but also, at the end of the day, depends on the usage of the photo. If it's going to be shown online only, the sharpness quality is good enough. If you want the blurry background with the kit lens, it will be much harder to get that effect as compared to 50 f1.8. (of course the quality of the blur is different if you are comparing kit lens vs 50 f1.8 at wide open lar)
    Last edited by SkyStrike; 18th October 2011 at 11:49 PM.
    Too many great equipments but too little quality photos. [My Flickr] | [My Blog]

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Foong Wei Qiang View Post
    @David: What is a light soft box?
    SkyStrike has already explained this, but actually what I should have typed is a "light tent". Google for it.

    There again, 2 light boxes or one light tent depends on how big your product shoot is. I'm not the best fella whom should be advising on product shoot, for there are photographers in this forum whom do this for living. But for most small or medium size products shoot I have come across in advertisements and photos, I find they are mostly well lit (unless it's to show off silhouette of the object for some low key theme). They are mostly done against a seamless background and also shows mostly no shadow.

    I suppose you need to feedback on what kind of product shoot are you doing, or is it just that your hobby delight to show against still life products. Also you need to mention what is your target for your product shoot. If it's online, then I see your kit lens is more than sufficient to handle. At a small aperture with well staged lights, you can't differentiate between a high end camera and a low end camera output, same for lens. As long as your gears are functional, they look pretty much the same. It is even more true if your final image is a small at most 1024px at the longest end. A good image reduction using sharper mode in photoshop will give you a almost noise-free, sharp product image.

    The key to a good product shoot based on my limited knowledge is the following
    - good light stage (this applies to most photography works, but here we don't need the magic lights, we need a good positioning of light to create the necessary highlights and shadows, Bad lighting brings no feature to your product, and can also give a flat output)
    - knowing your product features well (this come from the need to know what product you're shooting and what is the feature of the product you would like to show. There are also some well know rules to how some products should be positioned)

    For small to medium size objects, I suppose focal length between 30mm to 50mm works. You can place your camera on a tripod. You can also shoot at any distance you wish as long as you have sufficient space to stand off. I don't recommend wide angles for product shoots because the perspective distortion will make products look weird. The longer focal is better I suppose with lesser distortion but you might need a further working distance which could be a hassle.

    I don't see how a large aperture lens comes to be useful for product shoot when their background is staged and seamless. Perhaps others can enlighten.

    Feedback before I comment further.
    Last edited by David Kwok; 19th October 2011 at 12:20 AM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    So I can just use my kit lens with f8 setting? Do I need to zoom in the lens?
    I am still having problem with lighting. Hope for some advices

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Foong Wei Qiang View Post
    So I can just use my kit lens with f8 setting? Do I need to zoom in the lens?
    I am still having problem with lighting. Hope for some advices
    What do you want to use these shoots for ? Online shopping cart images ?
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    you can get pretty decent and practically shadow-free images with the following cheapo set-up.

    1) A big sheet of white paper that goes continuously from floor to background in a curve. This way you don't see the 90deg intersection.
    2) A location with relatively diffused ambient lighting, e.g. near a big window, etc.
    3) Camera + kit lens
    4) tripod

    happy shooting
    Exploring! :)

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    Just to note some LED lights actually has a blue tint to it especially if you are saturating your colours by a little. Since you might not know how to adjust temperature setting I suggest start off with a table lamps or 2 and choose suitable light bulbs, around 5.6k temperature (colour)...You may want to go to LIGHTING photography section and look under DIY thread to have an idea.

    Just share my old post: my initial start up of DIY equipment just to play with continuous lighting




    You may want to google for more DIY ideas...search along the line "DIY strobes" or "Budget strobes", etc.
    Have fun.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    gundamseed84, very nice pictures.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foong Wei Qiang
    So I can just use my kit lens with f8 setting? Do I need to zoom in the lens?
    I am still having problem with lighting. Hope for some advices
    You use zoom if you do not wish to move your camera mounted on a sturdy tripod nearer or further to your object to get the framing right.
    Coolthought - 冷静思考 - クールだ http://xaa.xanga.com/0aba0666d143253.../t35917343.gif

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    @ David: Yes I want to shoot photos for online shopping cart.

    @Zerocool: Yes I tot natural light would be the best deal. But it is hard to standardize the photos, ie taking one photo in the morning and later in the afternoon.

    @gundamseed: Wow! that is really some nice photos! I try plying with my eso 450d with kit lens, and my pic are no way close to yours. Is it camera or techniques??

    @coolthought: Thanks for the enlightenment

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice for taking good object photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Foong Wei Qiang View Post
    @ David: Yes I want to shoot photos for online shopping cart.

    @Zerocool: Yes I tot natural light would be the best deal. But it is hard to standardize the photos, ie taking one photo in the morning and later in the afternoon.

    @gundamseed: Wow! that is really some nice photos! I try plying with my eso 450d with kit lens, and my pic are no way close to yours. Is it camera or techniques??

    @coolthought: Thanks for the enlightenment
    Then your kit lens will be sufficient. Just need the lightings as suggested by others. The whole setup shouldn't cost you a lot. Generally why you need is one or more light diffuser, 2 or 3 lights with stands. AnglePoise lamps as indicated here Anglepoise lamp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, would generally be easy. Along with the lights, you can also add on your flash, if you have one. Just meter properly with your camera if you don't have a light meter.

    That's about it. Try it out and see for yourself.
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