Problem Photographing Plastic Box - Help!


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#1
Hi guys, I always have problem taking pics of plastic/clear containers and bags. I take pics during the day with natural lighting and when I post-process in photoshop, I use the auto contrast/level with no problem. But when it comes to things like plastic, clear containers, or when I use pastel (pink esp!) background and use the auto contrast, it becomes very very dark. I'm not sure what kind of info you need but I use an old Canon 450D, shoot in manual mode. What kind of adjustments should I make on the camera, or on photoshop? As evident from my blog and flickr, you'll realize I like bright pics, so how can I rectify or adjust to make it look like my usual pics? Would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

I'm attaching two pics, one is the original and the other with auto-contrast on using photoshop. Both look unsightly, one washed out and the other too dark. Hardly looks like I took the pic at 12pm!

$IMG_8931.jpg

$IMG_8931a.jpg
 

v0857

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#2
Actually I don't find the 2nd photo to be too dark. But seeing the photos on your flickr, I know what you mean.

Don't know if you had tried this: bumping the saturation on your original, apply sharpening and (don't know photoshop has it or not) small degree of contrast if you think it still needs it. Skip the auto contrast of course.

BTW, do you sell those cakes and macarons? Very nice pictures too.
 

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catchlights

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#3
first thing, you select a backdrop that make the box does not stands out, for light color products, can consider using darker backdrop instead of pastel tone. so there is contrast between your product and backdrop.

second, the whole picture is in very light tone, when you use auto correction, the programme will go to look for black point, so it will bring down the overall exposure.

third, the lighting is super flat, the top side and the front side is in same tone, we don't see any shape of your product.

forth, this is a box, and it has are six sides, you should show three surface of this box to make it 3 dimensional.


you can use a piece of mid tone gray card, large enough, place in front of the box, the care should be perpendicular to the camera lens axis.
than camera set to pre set WB, and manual exposure setting, adjust your aperture and shutter speed according to the camera meter reading, take a shot, check on the histogram, the spike should be at the middle of histogram. if it is not than adjust shutter speed till it shows up at middle.

than you remove the mid tone gray and start shooting your products, once you know the lighting changes, you can place the mid tone gray card and take a reference shot.

once you done, download and open the image with gray card, apply level adjustment layer, use the mid tone eye droplet click on the gray card, vola, your photos are optimise to neutral, you can adjust the white point and black point to your taste.

than you open up the rest of images, drag the level adjustment layer from the image with gray card into them, all of them will be corrected with the same setting. quick and easy.
 

Likes: Shizuma
#4
Actually I don't find the 2nd photo to be too dark. But seeing the photos on your flickr, I know what you mean.

Don't know if you had tried this: bumping the saturation on your original, apply sharpening and (don't know photoshop has it or not) small degree of contrast if you think it still needs it. Skip the auto contrast of course.

BTW, do you sell those cakes and macarons? Very nice pictures too.
ok, i did what you said - bumping up saturation, used the unsharp mask and +15 contrast. this is what i got :

$IMG_8931.jpg

still not what i wanted, its just more pink lol. oh well. and, thanks for yr compliments! i sell macarons yes, not cakes though :)
 

#5
first thing, you select a backdrop that make the box does not stands out, for light color products, can consider using darker backdrop instead of pastel tone. so there is contrast between your product and backdrop.

second, the whole picture is in very light tone, when you use auto correction, the programme will go to look for black point, so it will bring down the overall exposure.

third, the lighting is super flat, the top side and the front side is in same tone, we don't see any shape of your product.

forth, this is a box, and it has are six sides, you should show three surface of this box to make it 3 dimensional.


you can use a piece of mid tone gray card, large enough, place in front of the box, the care should be perpendicular to the camera lens axis.
than camera set to pre set WB, and manual exposure setting, adjust your aperture and shutter speed according to the camera meter reading, take a shot, check on the histogram, the spike should be at the middle of histogram. if it is not than adjust shutter speed till it shows up at middle.

than you remove the mid tone gray and start shooting your products, once you know the lighting changes, you can place the mid tone gray card and take a reference shot.

once you done, download and open the image with gray card, apply level adjustment layer, use the mid tone eye droplet click on the gray card, vola, your photos are optimise to neutral, you can adjust the white point and black point to your taste.

than you open up the rest of images, drag the level adjustment layer from the image with gray card into them, all of them will be corrected with the same setting. quick and easy.
i try not to use dark backdrops because light backdrops are kinda like my trademark. my style is more towards japanese where they use mostly checkered or striped linen fabrics as backdrops. so i wanted to see if there's a workaround.

$IMG_8921.jpg

i don't just take a single pic, of course i did try different angles as well. i usually take 30-50 shots. i will try the gray card method you mentioned, thanks.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#6
Clear objects have to approached differently. You need to know your lighting well. The thing that shows clear objects is the reflection on the surface of these objectes, and these reflections must be contrasted against the backdrop. Master photographer Catchlights have already given you a roadmap of how it is done. You need to shoot it right. PP cannot fix this.
 

G-man

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Mar 2, 2006
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#7
My personal take. As what master Catchlights and DD123 said. The background is too messy to work with your object (which already has prints on it).

May I suggest either a pure white or black background though in this case my personal preference is to go with white. Can just get a mahjong paper and tape one end to wall and another to the table to create a seamless sweep.
 

catchlights

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#9
i try not to use dark backdrops because light backdrops are kinda like my trademark. my style is more towards japanese where they use mostly checkered or striped linen fabrics as backdrops. so i wanted to see if there's a workaround.



i don't just take a single pic, of course i did try different angles as well. i usually take 30-50 shots. i will try the gray card method you mentioned, thanks.
do you notice the graphics on the gift wrappers causing so much distractions?

anyway, you want to keep you signature background, possible, but you need to have good lighting skills to give outlines, shape and dimension on your products.

and btw, the depth of field is too narrow, not able to get whole product in focus, beside, it also focus at the wrong area.


If I would to do this business, I will place a group of products on a custom made "signature" background, create a mood shot of all my products as the site front page, as for the individuals products photo just shoot in plain background so the customers able to view the products more clearly.
 

lewissac

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Sep 20, 2011
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#10
i try not to use dark backdrops because light backdrops are kinda like my trademark. my style is more towards japanese where they use mostly checkered or striped linen fabrics as backdrops. so i wanted to see if there's a workaround.

View attachment 2240

i don't just take a single pic, of course i did try different angles as well. i usually take 30-50 shots. i will try the gray card method you mentioned, thanks.
Not sure if it is about me. I feel looking at your photo slightly longer does make my eyes discomfort, kinda strained.
 

catchlights

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#11
when other members offer advice or answers to your enquiry, they have taken their time and efforts trying to help you, if these are not you are looking for, simply thank them and move on.
it is very rude to delete whole the thread, so what you are try to tell everyone who read your thread?



thread restored and closed.
 

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