Product photography [Update]

samtliga mini
Latest update above – just to let you know I’m alive. ;) Can’t give you bigger for the moment (I want to give you the original at 12800px) but for copyright reasons I can’t. The biggest problem has really been to make these look ok on a white bottom and ina sort of square angle. You know, everything boringly straight. :)

[Edit: It’s easier to help if you know what I’m doing so here’s what I’ve done. I tried many different ways and I do have another flash that I can use if needed. The tent is 90x90cm. These examples are taken one by one with the 105mm lens. Can’t go shorter. Need them to be possible to place as seen on the picture and I tried 7 different lenses and found 105 to give the “right” feeling. Even tried the 120-300 hehe /Edit] .

Right now I’m currently working with product photography for a company that creates concept for modern interior design. Really nice stuff. Started today by buying tools needed for the task (Tent, glass table etc). There’s about 500 products that I’m going to take pictures of and they all need to have transparent backgrounds. Tricky to get it right. So I’ve been fighting to get the best possible light, with a background that’s easy to extract. (using PS CS3). Products are mostly quite small, pretty square and often white, some glossy. Which makes it a bit tricky. :)

If you have any tips and tricks I’d love to hear it. :)

About Carl Rytterfalk

Welcome to my blog! I'm Carl Rytterfalk, a swedish photographer who loves everything that is interesting in the world of photography. In 2002 I fell in love with the three layered Foveon sensor and has since then been an addicted user of Sigma cameras. Though I use Canon and Nikon as well. :)
This entry was posted in 105mm, All, Sigma SD14, Studio. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Product photography [Update]

  1. Scott Greiff says:

    I’m no pro at it, but I recently picked up a nylon tent that comes with a bunch of different color nylon sheets that you can swap out. The thing I don’t like about it is that you get a bunch of bumps and unevenness that can be distracting. I imagine you could blow out the exposure to “hide” the irregularities, but if your objects are white to begin with…

    I bet the Strobist (or one of his followers) would have something on product shots. I remember someone/him talking about black granite tile that you can pick up at a home products store.

    I also like using full spectrum fluorescent bulbs as they run cool and offer continuous light.

    Again, not a pro, but I like the results I get from this little setup.

  2. So a bulb would give continues light, no flash right? That would make it easier to “form the light” but also harder to get good shutter speeds, I’m using a 105mm and shutter speed is important. (need to make them very “square looking” (see picture) – what speed do you get and what Watt are we talking?

  3. Igor Panorowski says:

    Think you need 2 different setups one for the dark Objects (all white) and one for the white objects (all dark)
    To get more uniform light I would place a flash below the tent when the ground of the tent is out of milky plastic.
    On the left side where the Nikon flash is behind a sheet of paper I would use some reflective material like aluminum foil and dirct the light behind the objects on the white wall of the tent to get a uniform white BG. Placing the foil at the same position where the objecs are and reflective it back
    Dunno if it works, just an idea, as you need sort of uniform background for easy postprocessing.

  4. Hi Igor. That’s a very good idea. The foil would probably give more life to reliefs and the back light would give that window feeling thingi. I will definitely try it.

    And about the white and the dark. Yes. I think I need to do like that too. Right now I need to change light power each time I get a black / white product. and my memory is so short so I almost need to “test” once more. hehe


  5. Rickard Faivre says:

    Manual focus, use a tripod, set to aperature mode, use high aperature, play with EV, use continous soft lighting. Use three lights one on each side and on above and slightly behind the subject. Keep the side lights low. worked for me. shot over a thousand products. Didnt use a tent though and no glass table. Umbrellas, white sloping background and a canon 35mm digital hooked to the puter firing remote. GL

  6. Rickard! My good old friend! :D

    Thanks for the advice. My problem is that I don’t have any continues light that is of any good quality. They’re all very very yellow and hard to deal with. I’ll see what I can do with the flashes I do have. Wanna come down and play tonight?! :D

  7. Hi there “little pixel”.
    Continuous lighting is very important in good product shots. If you are going to use only flashes then you need three or four flashes that are synced. I played with Nikon TTL and pocket wizard some and its not easy to get even light and eliminate shadows. Contact me via email or call me. Email me for my number.
    Cheers M8

  8. hehe, Rickard! You surprises me with all this knowledge! I thought you were sitting with court stuff all days long. Didn’t know you had time for fun stuff! :D We can chat over skype – you have that don’t you?!

  9. Clive says:

    …good to see that Igor around these parts….



  10. I did a google search on “Igor Panorowski” and came up with one hit. To my page. hehe.. :D

  11. Mihai119 says:

    I’m not an expert (not even a good photograph) but I remember some techniques for that.
    I don’t remember where I read this.
    – a light in agreed with your DSLR & prisms
    – the object put on a wheel (round-table – with a motor to have some constant rotation)
    – the DSLR commanded at distance eventually by PC (remote connection to computer) to shoot at each step made by wheel – 1-3 frames
    – the frames can be delivered as a small presentation movie and / or can be superposed to have one photo of the object without shadows

    I really don’t remember where I read this technique – perhaps in dpreview sigma forum sd9-sd10 ?

    I also think they exists some small round-table motorized with a syncro by PC

  12. carl says:

    Hi Mihai!

    Thanks for your comment, I think you missunderstood my needs. :) I don’t need to take a 180 degree photo of an object – just one single very nice looking picture of 500 objects.

    And the trickiest part so far (after dealing with 150 or so obects) is that light is nice on ONE object and on the next one it’s off again. grrrrrrr. :D So I’m more into speed shooting now. :)

  13. Tesa says:

    Hur går det? Har allt löst sig?
    Jag är nyfiken på att se några färdiga bilder! :)

  14. hehe… jag kan väl just nu bara säga en sak och det är att jag är mycket imponerad av folk som är duktiga på detta. Det är inte enkelt. :) Får se när jag vågar visa något om jag får.

  15. BobNL says:

    Looks to me you got it figured out :) It is a small pic but it looks convincing!

  16. Carl at work says:

    It’s getting easier with time. Those online (the new picture above) are taken with the tent, now I’m shooting freestyle! :D no tent. I’m still using a tripod thou. I don’t have much time rigth now for other things, but I do have a wedding session coming up soon. :)

    Back to work..

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