LumberJocks

photography setup

  • Advertise with us

« back to Jigs & Fixtures forum

Forum topic by Muzzy17 posted 02-08-2016 04:25 PM 623 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Muzzy17's profile

Muzzy17

39 posts in 782 days


02-08-2016 04:25 PM

I’m looking to set up a better place for taking pictures of my work. Lookin to build a fold up booth covered with material. I’m thinking about a soft cloudy gray set up. What do y’all recommend for lighting?

-- Deep rooted Southern Boy and set in my ways!


16 replies so far

View derrickparks57's profile

derrickparks57

128 posts in 1332 days


#1 posted 02-08-2016 05:48 PM

My wife does photography, she bought a set of light stands off amazon, unsure of the brand, but they were pretty inexpensive. As for a backdrop I made her one out of pvc pipe that she can pop together for easy transportation, found the plans just searching google. She hangs fabric over it and holds it in place with some squeeze clamps.

-- Derrick, Florida, DP Woodwerks

View WillliamMSP's profile

WillliamMSP

734 posts in 1065 days


#2 posted 02-08-2016 05:55 PM

You can get really deep in to lighting if you want to, but honestly, I like the simplicity and results of shooting with natural light from a big window off to the side.

You didn’t mention it, but I would recommend a tripod for the camera, if you don’t already have one. It solves a lot of problems – the stability is great even at faster shutter speeds, but it also allows you to stop down for sharper, more detailed pics in less than studio-bright light conditions.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

View Pennington's profile

Pennington

4 posts in 302 days


#3 posted 02-08-2016 07:34 PM

Finally, a thread I can contribute something useful to! I’ve been a photographer for the past decade, and WillliamMSP is right, you can spend all sorts of crazy money on lighting.

But his answer regarding using good window light is a great starting point. If you’re looking to step it up from there, continuous lights – as opposed to flash units – are the next easy upgrade. Flash is difficult because you can’t see it as you make adjustments to intensity and position, whereas continuous lights let you see how everything looks as you go.

Some hardware store clamp lights (2-3) all with matching bulbs make a good, simple kit. A tripod is definitely necessary, as you won’t have enough light intensity for quick, hand-held exposures and especially as you go for deeper depth of focus.

Using three sheets of foamcore board is a fast and easy way to put together a little table-top studio. One piece forms the bottom, and the other two form the sides all meeting in a corner (like half a cube). Set your item in the corner a few inches out from it and direct the lights in – gives nice bounce/diffusion.

Google “inverse square law photography” – it isn’t important that you understand the math or formulas, but it is helpful to really understand how the intensity/falloff of light changes with distance, because it isn’t linear. And if you know that going in, you can save some headaches!

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7909 posts in 1841 days


#4 posted 02-08-2016 07:58 PM

I’ve been debating on building or buying a tent for taking photos. I’ve some that are white, some black, some reversible with both which is one point toward buying.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

270 posts in 304 days


#5 posted 02-08-2016 08:52 PM

The problem with tents it that they kill all the specular highlihts—those little bright areas in a photo. The net result is a very evenly lit object that looks essentially “dead”.

You are better served finding a window with north window light (indirect sunlight). Bring a table near to it and use a piece of white cardboard to reflect light into the shadow areas.

All you need is a table of some sort to rest the work on and a seamless background. White seamless paper is available in 43” wide rolls and is pretty inexpensive. You will have to cut away a bit of the paper after each shot as it will get dirty pretty fast. And the dirty stuff really shows up in a photo.

The nice thing about window light (aside from the fact that it is free) is that “what you see is what you get”. If it looks good to your eye, it will look good in the photo.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Muzzy17's profile

Muzzy17

39 posts in 782 days


#6 posted 02-08-2016 09:37 PM

Thanks for the replies fellers, these have all been very helpfull

-- Deep rooted Southern Boy and set in my ways!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3930 posts in 1954 days


#7 posted 02-08-2016 09:51 PM

Here’s Chris Schwarz opinion on the basics.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Drew's profile

Drew

304 posts in 2561 days


#8 posted 02-08-2016 10:13 PM

I would suggest a white backdrop. This will allow you to have a gray background by underexposing the backdrop and filling in your product. You can shoot from blown out white to black with the one backdrop. Heck, you can shoot any color background with white!

You can get a backdrop and several lights on Amazon for under $100.

Here is a set up shot I just did last week.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1138 posts in 1135 days


#9 posted 02-08-2016 10:48 PM

I’m learning about studio lighting as well. At the moment I use two umbrella lights and natural light the backdrop from behind.

In the blog I went from an mdf backdrop to fabric.

http://lumberjocks.com/Texcaster/blog/58202

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7909 posts in 1841 days


#10 posted 02-09-2016 06:37 AM


The problem with tents it that they kill all the specular highlihts—those little bright areas in a photo. The net result is a very evenly lit object that looks essentially “dead”.

It’s only a problem if want reflections. In my case, that’s exactly why I want a tent, to avoid reflections and for even lighting, for product photos.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View WillliamMSP's profile

WillliamMSP

734 posts in 1065 days


#11 posted 02-09-2016 02:09 PM

Even lighting is unnatural and, often, not terribly interesting, so most product photographers (and portrait photographers, for that matter) will have a stronger light source off to one side and a weaker fill light elsewhere, if necessary (if the shadows are deeper than desired). Especially with products, side lighting helps to emphasize shape and texture which lends a more natural, tactile feel.

In terms of reflections, tweaking the camera and light positions relative to the product (this could include simply rotating the product a few degrees) is an easy way to mitigate unwanted glare. In extreme instances, I’ll pop on a circular polarizing filter as a last resort.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

View Wondermutt's profile

Wondermutt

69 posts in 317 days


#12 posted 02-09-2016 04:03 PM

With a glossy finish, I use some sort of diffuser (Light Cotton Sheets) or other in front of the light source. This tend to soften up the harsh reflections cause by an intense light source and reflective surface.

Another way to set your project apart is to set your work at an angle. In the example above, I would have propped the cabinet at a slight angle upwards or I would have orientated the lighting so that one source was at ground level pointing upwards.

If reflections are your end result, try lighting that offers different intensities. What I mean is use a CFL equipped lighting sources and one that has incandescence. Try different wattage bulbs and you will quickly get reflections and shadows.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5721 posts in 2829 days


#13 posted 02-09-2016 04:58 PM

For background, on small projects, I use a blue art sheet of paper.
Blue improves contrast and shows detail better as blue light has a shorter wavelength …. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View August McCormick Lehman III's profile

August McCormick Lehman III

1753 posts in 951 days


#14 posted 02-09-2016 05:04 PM

i might have to watch this forum i enjoy taking pictures also
heres one of mine

-- https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/114897950873317692653/114897950873317692653/posts/p/pub

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

270 posts in 304 days


#15 posted 02-09-2016 05:26 PM


The problem with tents it that they kill all the specular highlihts—those little bright areas in a photo. The net result is a very evenly lit object that looks essentially “dead”.

It s only a problem if want reflections. In my case, that s exactly why I want a tent, to avoid reflections and for even lighting, for product photos.

- Rick M.

A tent is essential to photograph sterling silver tableware and jewelry.

It is also an easy way to control lighting ratios.

But, as I mentioned before a little skill in direct lighting will result in a photo that will “pop” off the page. You wont’ get that from a tented photo.

I hired a professional studio photographer to photograph our products for a show. People were walking up to the images and touching them. They were not convinced it was a photo until they felt it was flat. That is what good lighting will do for a product.

I used to be a studio portrait photographer. I know and understand the lighting of products, but it takes a level of patience to do that I simply do not have. The studio product photographer took a half an hour per shot to micro adjust the lighting. I would be in a mad house if I had to do that. But even simple studio lighting has more pop than tent lighting.

My favorite is a main light that is above and behind the product and a reflector in front. This gives a nice lighting ratio, is easy to execute and provides some “pop” for the photo.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com