Kodak has re-released TMAX P3200TMZ film and seeing as I shot the images you’ll probably soon see at various online retailers, I though I’d give a brief walk through of a product shoot lighting setup. It’s not as sexy as shooting people, however, if you do it right, a lot of people see it and steal it.
I keep it extremely simple. It’s really easy to go wrong. The point of most product shoots is to accurately depict the product without anything distracting the viewer from looking at the image of the product.
For this particular shoot, it’s mostly for online catalogs, so the overriding concern is that product be on a white background and not have any weird shadows or reflections happening. Some retailers, like Amazon are pretty specific about what constitutes a valid product shot.
With that in mind, it was shot on Savage Universal super white seamless paper with one light. The light used is a Paul Buff X1600 White Lightning in a LumoPro 36 inch Octo-box placed overhead and slightly behind the subject. The super white paper acts as a light source so you don’t want to get the light too far in front of the subject otherwise the reflected light tends to wash it out a bit.
That’s it! It really is that simple. You can do a similar thing for less cash outlay by using a speedlight in an umbrella placed overhead and replace the seamless white paper for white poster board, but again, the poster board tends to have a more glossy reflective finish, so keep that in mind.
A walkthrough of how a still life composition of an egg is lit with studio strobes.
It’s been a while since I’ve shot anything in the studio outside of film profiles, so I thought I’d spend a couple of hours today and shoot a proper fine art/still life in black and white.
This was shot digitally, however, I also went ahead and shot a number of images on Ilford HP5+ 120 roll film.
This is obviously lit, so as a learning exercise, lets walk through the lighting set up.
I used two lights. The first and most important was the base fill light. I took full advantage of the super reflective white wall behind the camera and turned it into a giant fill light by pointing a Paul Buff White Lightning X1600 strobe at it with an umbrella reflector that throws light 180 degrees. This was metered to f/2.0.
With that done, I then took another Paul Buff White Lightning X1600 strobe, mounted a 36 inch Octo-box on it from LumoPro and placed it camera left. I positioned and rotated it until I had the light feathering right across the background and then metered it to f/8.0.
For the composition, I kept it simple. A basic white egg cup, an egg, and a seamless white paper backdrop from Savage Universal.
Once that was done, I shot it at f/16.0 on a tripod with an APS-C camera and a 50mm prime lens. The camera/lens system make is pretty irrelevant as you can do this with pretty much any camera that has a flash hot shoe and interchangeable lens.
If you want to do almost the same thing on the cheap, you can substitute the real studio strobes with smaller and significantly less expensive portable speed-lights. Put the main light behind a nice big photo umbrella, though you’ll still need a white wall. For the seamless backdrop, you can substitute a white poster board for a significant cost savings, however, it tends to have a shinier almost glossy finish than the matte finish of a real backdrop paper from Savage, so keep that in mind. You may need to use a flag (black foam board) to feather the light on the backdrop.
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