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Advice for test shots
Nov 1, 2019 19:07:41   #
Plieku69 Loc: The Gopher State, south end
 
These two are the first of what will likely be many test shots. I have four of these tools to photograph showing how they are used for publication in a magazine article. There will be several pictures of each showing how to set them up for use.

So, the first problem is how to stage them.

The first is with no background, I know it won't work in this state without adding something like cedar boards behind the tool.

The second is my current preference. Yes, I could use white, green and blue. Somehow the black draws my eye right to the tool.

There is glare, I am working on getting a more efficient filter for the lights hoping to cut it back some.
Dust bunnies too. Please, Ignore them.

Thoughts or ideas?


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Nov 1, 2019 19:23:29   #
John_F Loc: Minneapolis, MN
 
In #1 get rid of all the back and side clutter. As it is a tool of some sort, stage it in the working mode. The wood background works well.

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Nov 2, 2019 00:32:52   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
I am going to recommend a very simple but effective lighting setup that works well on a wide variety of product shots.

It consists of one lighting unit, either electronic flash or LED continuous sources. You will need a 24 to 36 inch softbox and a couple of reflectors. Attached is a lightg diagram and a shot of the actual setup in my studio along with a selection of images made with this system.

A light stand with a boom arm would be very helpful.

The light is placed over the product and slightly from the back and aimed so that the edge of the beam strikes the reflectors. The overhead unit is the main light which provides dimension, highlights and shadow and the reflectors provide fill light. If your exposure is correct you will get good specualr highlights but no unwanted glare.

If you decide on electronic flash, use a monolight that has sufficient power to deliver enough light for working at about f/11 so as to provide sufficient depth of field. If you go with continuous lighting, you can reduce the shutter speed to accommodate stopping down. Keep the IOS around 200 to prevent noise. It is best to work with a tripod.

You can use seamless background paper in a cyclorama type of configuration or use any material such as wooden planks that are compatible withthe subject illustration.

It will work well with a white, colored or even a black background and if the highlight are placed properly, you can even shoot black on black and get good separation.

If you need to show a tool or device in use or in a work kind of setting, you can do so by clamping it to a workbench or set it up as it would be used on a table or otere support.

In the shot you posted as a test it is hard to define exactly what item looks like or what it is used for. Shoot from an angle from which an operator with view and use the tool. Try various views and see which ones best illustrate the features of the tool or device.

Be careful not to clutter the background and only include props or accessories that apply to the item you are shooting.

You can suggest a workshop environment with wooden planks, sheets of pegboard, or other material that pertain to the item.

Dust and clean the item thoroughly before shooting.



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Nov 2, 2019 09:28:18   #
lsupremo Loc: Palm Desert, CA
 
Thanks for your response, it will help a lot of us


It consists of one lighting unit, either electronic flash or LED continuous sources. You will need a 24 to 36 inch softbox and a couple of reflectors. Attached is a lightg diagram and a shot of the actual setup in my studio along with a selection of images made with this system.

A light stand with a boom arm would be very helpful.

The light is placed over the product and slightly from the back and aimed so that the edge of the beam strikes the reflectors. The overhead unit is the main light which provides dimension, highlights and shadow and the reflectors provide fill light. If your exposure is correct you will get good specualr highlights but no unwanted glare.

If you decide on electronic flash, use a monolight that has sufficient power to deliver enough light for working at about f/11 so as to provide sufficient depth of field. If you go with continuous lighting, you can reduce the shutter speed to accommodate stopping down. Keep the IOS around 200 to prevent noise. It is best to work with a tripod.

You can use seamless background paper in a cyclorama type of configuration or use any material such as wooden planks that are compatible withthe subject illustration.

It will work well with a white, colored or even a black background and if the highlight are placed properly, you can even shoot black on black and get good separation.

If you need to show a tool or device in use or in a work kind of setting, you can do so by clamping it to a workbench or set it up as it would be used on a table or otere support.

In the shot you posted as a test it is hard to define exactly what item looks like or what it is used for. Shoot from an angle from which an operator with view and use the tool. Try various views and see which ones best illustrate the features of the tool or device.

Be careful not to clutter the background and only include props or accessories that apply to the item you are shooting.

You can suggest a workshop environment with wooden planks, sheets of pegboard, or other material that pertain to the item.

Dust and clean the item thoroughly before shooting.[/quote]

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Nov 8, 2019 12:58:56   #
Plieku69 Loc: The Gopher State, south end
 
I am getting closer to what I like. I have to use available room lighting and that has been a problem. As much as I like the black background it really doesn't work in this application. Wood does, but finished wood does not as it gives too much reflected light. Digging around in the garage I found some unfinished boards, cedar for the base and white oak for the back that seem to absorb light with out bouncing it around.
Re-positioning the work stand and moving several lights works.
As each tool is different in how it appears in the light it will take some fine tuning, but the basic set-up will work. I may try a different lens also, swap out the Sigma for a Canon.

Thank you Mr. Shapiro for your suggestions. While I cannot implement all of them they are a great foundation for stimulating thought to solve the problem. My studio room is currently under re-construction for water damage from last winter when the furnace stopped working.

Ken


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Dec 5, 2019 17:34:22   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
Hi Ken!

Thanks for the feedback and your latest image.

I think the plan I suggested in my last post will serve you well, which is an overhead softbox with either an electronic flash (monolight) or an LED light source. and some reflectors made of aluminum foil and cardboard. It is important to see the light and direct the reflectors accordingly.

I wanted to illustrate how the method works on an antique mechanical device. So I found this old tripod tilt head in my old gear bin and shot a few angles. As you can see, the detail in all aspects of the item is sharp and well-rendered as to texture and detail. With the home-made reflectors, you can direct light into any of the crevices or important parts of the item. Shiny metal parts show detail but do not glare or pick up unwanted reflections or glare. The lighting provides dimensionality. You can use a plain background or set up a wooden workbench kind of set- the light will work equally well in both scenarios. You can show different angles, points of view and/or the item in use and not have to change the position of the overhead ligh very much- just move the reflector around, tilt them accordingly until you see the light you like on the part of the item you wish to highlight.

Once you establish the exposure, you are good to go with all the various angles.

Let me know what you think and post more images as you progress.









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