What/Where to buy for Product Macro Shot?


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ronwong

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Apr 13, 2006
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#1
I do a lot of MAcro shots for products and items like watches that needs clear pictures and closeup and an uncluttered background. I am not a photo pro, I use a cannon G6 in auto mode. I usually take my pictures in white daylight and a white paper background. Sometimes the natural lighting is not good and the pictures are dull. What is the photographer's way to do the lighting?
 

glennyong

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May 2, 2004
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#2
check consumer's corner. PPCP got light tents... very good buy...

u'll need a macro converter on ur G6, a external flash if possible.

other than that... very limited to what i can recommend too... ;)
 

ronwong

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#3
glennyong said:
check consumer's corner. PPCP got light tents... very good buy...

u'll need a macro converter on ur G6, a external flash if possible.

other than that... very limited to what i can recommend too... ;)
But how is the set up roughly like? I mean I am really a rookie. My camera already has macro functions, and I can really take some ok closeups. See one of my pics:

But I do them all with flash off, in daylight. So I get shadows. I seen some people do with artificial lightings and stuff, how is the set up like? And what's the additional macro lense when I already have a macro function?
The other thing I cant solve is with reflective surfaces like reflection of my own camera off the crystal of the watch. When I use the camera's flash, it will just blow out everything.
 

solarii

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#4
Are these shots up to yr standards?

http://solarii85.multiply.com/photos/album/25

Haha not trying to promote my gallery or anything... just that if you want higher standards, u must seek better shi-fus. But if you're ok with them I'll share my 50 cents worth. Product shots acutally follow a few general guidelines to deal with the various problems... up to the photog to adapt and make the set more creative and the lighting more dynamic.

Haha my set-ups are quite basic actually... still trying out different ways to make the subjects stand out. I don't do true macros... but studio macros techniques are quite similiar to still lifes.
 

solarii

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#5
But first piece fo advice I can give which definitely applies to shooting watches... try not to shoot the watch face head on like you did. Angle to the side so your reflection doesn't show.

If you must shoot head on (very rare) but don't want to see your reflection, cover your entire front with a black piece of paper so that only the len pops out. That way the watch face will relect the entire sheet of paper so you won't see your lens being reflected.

Second piece of advise is not to use flash. I doubt you'll want to get studio strobes with soft boxes, so cut the flash and use continuous lighting instead. You'll be able to control the light (and hence relections) better since you can actually see how the light interacts with the scence. Diffuse the light (various ways to do it) to get softer shadows and prevent/reduce hotspots.
 

ronwong

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Apr 13, 2006
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#6
solarii said:
Are these shots up to yr standards?

http://solarii85.multiply.com/photos/album/25

Haha not trying to promote my gallery or anything... just that if you want higher standards, u must seek better shi-fus. But if you're ok with them I'll share my 50 cents worth. Product shots acutally follow a few general guidelines to deal with the various problems... up to the photog to adapt and make the set more creative and the lighting more dynamic.

Haha my set-ups are quite basic actually... still trying out different ways to make the subjects stand out. I don't do true macros... but studio macros techniques are quite similiar to still lifes.
any sort of advice or sharing is definitely appreciated. I understand the direct head on shot issue, so in fact I take head on as well as angled shot. I see that your shots are using artificial light? I can never get artificial light to look good, it makes my picture yellow and stuff. I dont mind investing to do macro shots, its my business, and nothing speaks more than great pictures for my products. What I achieve is always on a dummy auto camera, over 5 years of picture taking, and experiencing, so its time I should look more into the photography aspect. I dont understand terms like still-life, really. To me is just Auto, and get the best picture out of a dummy camera.
 

glennyong

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May 2, 2004
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#7
since solaris recommended the use of strobes rather then flash. the setup rather cheap i must say...

ParkerK is selling the light tents and 2 strobes at $85. very very affordable...

those more complicated setups using flashes are maybe too complicated...

use strobes continous flash on the product, and use ur camera and shoot lor... maybe u might wanna use a black or blue background to bring the item's contrast out.

and if u wanna do those arty-farty background lightings, its very simple. use a mahjong paper, cut a few holes inside n put on the strobes.. den u will have nice background lighting..

solaris is right about tiliting thou... cut the reflection down and yah...
 

ronwong

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Apr 13, 2006
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#8
glennyong said:
since solaris recommended the use of strobes rather then flash. the setup rather cheap i must say...

ParkerK is selling the light tents and 2 strobes at $85. very very affordable...

those more complicated setups using flashes are maybe too complicated...

use strobes continous flash on the product, and use ur camera and shoot lor... maybe u might wanna use a black or blue background to bring the item's contrast out.

and if u wanna do those arty-farty background lightings, its very simple. use a mahjong paper, cut a few holes inside n put on the strobes.. den u will have nice background lighting..

solaris is right about tiliting thou... cut the reflection down and yah...
Hi, when you say strobes, do you mean some sort of floodlight type of stuff? So its a continuous switched on light instead of a flash. Then what's the diff if I use 2 flourscent table lamp to do the job? Let me know if I am wrong, but I believe the light tent is meant do have a translucent membrane to difuse and change the direct light from the light source? I am just trying to understand the physics. What do you mean by background lighting?
 

solarii

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#9
ronwong said:
Hi, when you say strobes, do you mean some sort of floodlight type of stuff? So its a continuous switched on light instead of a flash. Then what's the diff if I use 2 flourscent table lamp to do the job? Let me know if I am wrong, but I believe the light tent is meant do have a translucent membrane to difuse and change the direct light from the light source? I am just trying to understand the physics. What do you mean by background lighting?
Continuous lighting comes in two forms, photofloods, aka hot lights which are basically high wattage tungsten bulbs balanced for 3200K. The other is daylight balanced fluorescent which is what I'm using. These are basically energy saving bulbs of high wattages.

Studio strobes are basically "flashes"... most popular is the mono bloc unit though you can use the cheaper, low output slave option (around ~50 WS output).

These are the two main types of indoor studio lighting, and are not the same. Studio strobes have a low output modelling light, but they are not for photo taking.

glennyong said:
since solaris recommended the use of strobes rather then flash. the setup rather cheap i must say...

use strobes continous flash on the product, and use ur camera and shoot lor... maybe u might wanna use a black or blue background to bring the item's contrast out.
So there's no such thing as "strobes continuous flash" as when glenn mentioned. Its either continuous lighting or strobe. Continuous lighting is NOT strobe. And no I did not recommend the use of strobes. In fact I recommend you don't use them cos they're expensive. I think Glenn should read carefully. I don't think he did cos he didn't even get my nick right!

For your use I recommend continuous lighting cos its cheaper and you can see what you're doing. A strobe system typically costs around $300 without accessories for a no brand 300 WS model. A daylight balanced fluorescent system can be assembled for around $100.

I don't buy ready made kits cos I find the output too low... unless you're taking about the professional kits Cathay sells for around $700 which work great but are too expensive.

If you want to know more about light tents, I have a short introductory at my gallery:
solarii85.multiply.com

Go to the bottom, click on the free tutorials link.

And FYI in the world of studio lighting, there are 3 main categories of lighting:
1) Continuous lighting systems (photofloods or daylight balanced fluorescent)
2) Studio strobes (mono bloc or power pack+heads)
3) Dedicated/automatic flash units (thyristorised or dedicated TTL flash)

They are not the same... so the term "stobes continuous flash" is acutally quite off.... .its a frankenstein term!
 

ronwong

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Apr 13, 2006
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#10
wah lao. let me try to understand first. will ask again.
 

solarii

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#11
ronwong said:
wah lao. let me try to understand first. will ask again.
Not to worry... professional studio lighting can be quite daunting at first... but its just a whole load of fancy terms which refer to different things. U'll get used to it. :)
 

glennyong

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May 2, 2004
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#12
sorry for the confusion thou... its continous lighting and not flash. flash is short burst of lighting rite...

i not very into studio lightings. because haven acquired any of the items yet.. so when i've got hold of them i will share...

:embrass:
 

dragos

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Jan 17, 2002
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#13
use a light tent...personally, i prefer continuous lighting to strobes as i can control the lighting better....

some product shots i did with a light tent for a commercial shoot.






Invest in a light tent, definitely worth it.
 

ronwong

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Apr 13, 2006
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#14
another thing, how do you guys remove the background. I mean, the beer, the background is still off white. You know what I mean? For internet purpose.
 

ronwong

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Apr 13, 2006
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#16
Er yes, Photoshop, but what is the technique? I know there is some magnetic lasso or some other funky functions, but I dont seem to get it right...
 

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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Feb 15, 2003
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#17
ronwong said:
Er yes, Photoshop, but what is the technique? I know there is some magnetic lasso or some other funky functions, but I dont seem to get it right...
depends how well u shoot... and the subject matter... u can use the magic wand... then just hold on to shift to click and slowly get the whole group selected...
 

solarii

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#18
For your case simply cut a slot in a white card and place the watch in it so the face is almost flush with the card. Of course you'll have to adapt the technique as you shoot depending on the angle.

Personally I have no issue with slightly off white backgrounds. Looks natural.

Hey! You're using our advice for commerical work? Tsk Tsk must charge for consultation!

Only fellow ethusiasts who shoot for the love of photography get free advice!:bsmilie:
 

simon80

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Oct 8, 2004
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#19
set a table . push it against the wall and use mahjong paper
is cheap to get a white background
 

espn

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#20
simon80 said:
set a table . push it against the wall and use mahjong paper
is cheap to get a white background
You should come to the Nikon Workshop and see for yourself how Peng Eik sets up his product shoot ;p
 

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