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Setting Up for Product Photography

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
I have way too many collectables gathering dust in my cabinets . Like an old style camera store . I need to photograph my gear first , take inventories and begin to sell of my excess lenses ,camera and watches .

As you know product photography makes a big difference in how fast gear sells and is a tremendous burden to do it right . Consider that I will be photographing more than 50 items . How should I approach this project .

I have all the lighting gear you could ever want with both BRON and Profoto heads but that seems a lot of work to set up .

Have been considering a lighting tent with built in light tubes . Set it up on table and roll through the gear . I know the best possible solution would be a combination of a tent and my existing strobes ..but it sure looks faster and easier to set up a light tent full solution . They are not expensive .
 

algrove

Well-known member
OK here goes from my end for shooting smallish photo gear meaning not shooting long telephoto lenses.

Even though I have large modifiers and huge lights I downsized for my photo gear shooting as follows:

-I use a 2 foot square white "tent" from BH. It also comes with felt inserts both in black and white. Black for chrome lenses for example. I have not checked, but I am sure larger options exist.

-I have used many different lighting setups over the years, but recently found the Lume Cube 2.0 Pro kit which comes in a small carrying case. I have 2 of these for lighting using 4 cubes. So I put 2 on each side. With one on a small tripod up a bit high and the 2nd one usually down low. These are nice since they are small (like 1.5" square) so one can move them at will and analyze the lighting changes instantly. These kits include modification devices a plenty-snoots, grids, barn doors, flat white diffusers, etc.

-Next I use usually 2 additional Lume Mini Panels that measure about 2x4" each. I just lay these on the flat top of the tent and move them at will until I get the desired lighting I need. They can be used with the included diffusers even though the tent itself diffuses lighting nicely. These panels can also be used down as low as power 1% in order to balance the lighting with the Cube products and they also allow color changes, but I use them at about 5600K. At each power level the LCD panel on the back tells you how many hours of battery are remaining which is usually several hours.

Good luck with all that gear to sell.

As an aside I am in no way involved with Lume Cube, but just like using their products.
 
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Shashin

Well-known member
Not sure it is really complex. I have found a simple soft box above the object with fill cards as needed around the front of the object a simple solution. Buying stuff in order to sell stuff seems to be a less than ideal solution. I would just experiment with what you have--I have used diffusion matterial off a large soft box to build a tent too. A top soft box with large white foam core around it can act very much like a tent as well.

But as you point out, once you get the lighting set, it is simple to go through a pile of objects. I usually start with the largest object and then go down in size--there is less rearranging the lighting setup. I also start with the most difficult to light, which tends to be highly reflective/polished metal. And before you start, just run through your image processing as well to get the process down from dealing with contrast to correcting color. You can also check how much retouching from dust and stuff you might need to consider, either in post or in the shooting. The good thing is you will most likely down rez the files and so a lot of imperfections get eliminated.

One other thought, if you blog about photography, think about using these photos for potential future blogs on photography and so you might want a few shots of the item that might be a bit different than what you need to sell an object.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
BTW, a member asked for some quick photos of photo stuff. This is from a simple 24x16 soft box mounted on an enlarger that makes a simple top light that I can simply adjust the heigh of. Note, there are OOC jpegs (no processing or adjustments). I did nothing to control the fill. This can be a very simple thing to do.



This is not a great picture and for a different project, but this is basically the same enlarger column with the soft box mounted. I find this an easy setup to take quick images fairly effortlessly. Note, I do not use a strobe with the soft box, but a continuous LED bulb. I usually take a custom color temperature setting with the camera with my Pentax, but with the previous images, I just let the auto WB take care of it.

 
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I won't show a behind the scenes picture because i don't know how to do small 😄 But one word - softboxes. Whether just using one like talked about above, or multiples... they wrap light around products really well. White paper, one softbox on the right, one on the left and "good enough". If wanting to get cute, use a large white reflective floor tile as the base for a reflection.

if you need to shoot on a dark color, I'd suggest blue paper only because black can be a real pain in there aas. Since you know it is black, you will want to see black. Positioning the strobes to light the product and not turn black paper to gray can be a major time suck. I shoot on white - get the lights dialed-in and then it's a production line.

The other mission critical step - one minute cleaning a product before its shot will save 10-20 minutes in post (cloning out dust, debris, fingerprints, lint --- sucks).
 

huyu

Active member
I have all the lighting gear you could ever want with both BRON and Profoto heads but that seems a lot of work to set up .
Use your strobes with softboxes, on white background. 2 lights is more than enough! It's quite a simple setup actually.
I'm looking to see what Broncolor that you got if they're in the FS section soon :D
 
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