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Archive 2011 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting q...
  
 
tobycat
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p.1 #1 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Hello....I have been recently been hired by a local college to take "product" photography for their bookstore merchandise...t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, etc!.....

This will be an ongoing job and they gave me the go ahead to send them a list of what lighting equipment will be need to be purchased....Although vague on what I can spend...the sky is DEFINITELY not the limit!

I just need recommendation on a good solid setup..that also won't break the bank...

I don't know what is best strobes or continuous lighting?

Would the Westcott TD6 Spiderlite kits be a good choice? I like that they are easy to use..would they be enough power?

thank sooo much...



Nov 17, 2011 at 01:49 AM
khwaja
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p.1 #2 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


maybe with a sturdy tripod and no movement of product i.e wind/breeze...

http://strobist.blogspot.com/ is the place to start

3x vivitar 285hv
3x recievers and 1x transmitter cactus v5 radio trigger...
24x batteries eneloop rechargeable ~350$

or a d-lite 2 kit with two strobes with 2x softbox and 2x stands ~700$

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/674266-REG/Elinchrom_EL_20814KIT_D_Lite_IT_200Ws_2_Light.html



Nov 17, 2011 at 03:22 AM
tobycat
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p.1 #3 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


thank you soo much!

Do you think those softboxes are big enough to diffuse light for sweatshirts, tshirts, pants, etc?

ALso...could you recommend a good tripod with boom arm and ball head attachment?



Nov 17, 2011 at 03:44 AM
khwaja
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p.1 #4 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


tripod with boom arm, not too sure...

softbox is big enough

if not enough, bounce the light off a wall or a board of white thermocole...



Nov 17, 2011 at 04:02 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #5 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


tobycat wrote:
...Do you think those softboxes are big enough to diffuse light for sweatshirts, tshirts, pants, etc?


For shooting fabrics having too soft a light isn't a good idea bacause it won't reveal texture.

One advantage of the SpiderLites (and similar cool lights) is that they're always on, so you can see the effect of the light placement and modifiers as you're setting up. With a solid tripod you can make up for the lower light intensity relative to flash by using long shutter speeds.

On the other hand, monolight strobes that have built-in modeling lights can do the same thing plus having the advantage of short flash durations for really crisp, short shutter speed captures.

You can get good yet affordable monolights that may fit the school's budget, and that actually cost less than the SpiderLites.

Check out these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/674263-REG/Elinchrom_EL_20815KIT_D_Lite_IT_400Ws_2_Light.html

and these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/674861-REG/Bowens_BW_4713EURO_Gemini_200_2_Light_Studio.html

For product photography, accurate color representation is essential, so be sure to read up on color management and other related topics. You'll probably want to get a color control target such as one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/651253-REG/X_Rite_MSCCPP_ColorChecker_Passport.html

or these (which I have):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/740518-REG/Datacolor_DC_SCK100_SpyderCheckr_Color_Calibration_Tool.html

Without doubt, the most important piece of "equipment" I can suggest is this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0240812255

There's a lot to absorb here, but it's a start. Good luck.


Edited on Nov 18, 2011 at 07:43 PM · View previous versions



Nov 17, 2011 at 09:08 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #6 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


+1 @ Light: Science & Magic

There is one section alone that will absolutely be an en"light"enment regarding your thinking about lighting @ fabric / textures.
Get the book, overnight it, read it till dawn.

This will help you immensely with trying to make some decisions. Until you know your approach, you can't really hone in on your gear.



Nov 17, 2011 at 10:59 PM
tobycat
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p.1 #7 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Thank you RustyBug...I will do that!


Nov 18, 2011 at 01:37 AM
tobycat
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p.1 #8 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Brian the link..for the "most important piece of equipment" is not working!


Nov 18, 2011 at 02:17 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #9 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


tobycat wrote:
Brian the link..for the "most important piece of equipment" is not working!


Yeah, not sure what happened there; I fixed it in the post above, and here it is again:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0240812255

I have Light -- Science and Magic, Third edition; it's now in a fourth edition. I don't know what new material is in it, but I'll probably update my copy to the new one eventually.



Nov 18, 2011 at 07:48 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #10 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


The continous lights get costly and have limited use. I would go with average priced strobes and better modifiers like a soft box and grates to give more options. It is all in knowing how to use the light. Both can give the same results. I have been known to use both together to get a look I want for a shoot. Be sure to get a couple large reflectors or at least a large foam core in white to reflect and black to block light. Blocking unwanted light, especially in a small room is as important as adding light.


Nov 18, 2011 at 10:48 PM
 

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tobycat
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p.1 #11 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Thanks you jefferies1

quick question...for the grids and grates...for which lights do you typically put those on? The strip light? The lights for the background? sorry if it is a silly question!



Nov 19, 2011 at 12:57 AM
hugowolf
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p.1 #12 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Generally you wouldn’t want to use grids on background lights. Grids modify/restrict the angle of light. Hair lights are good example of when you would want to use a grid, whether that is a gridded reflector or a small softbox. You want the hair light to highlight the upper edge of the head, but do not want that light to add anything else or interfere with anything else.

With background lights you do want to prevent spill onto the subject, but you generally want an even spread of light onto the background, so you would be better off flagging the lights or using something like barndoors where you have some control over which part of the light spread is controlled.

Softboxes, IMHO, are overrated with regards to spill control. Flat faced soft boxes offer almost as little spill as umbrellas (bollies). Recessed front Softboxes have less spill, but gridded soft boxes even less, but there is still a lot of light flying around.

It comes down to where do you want to add light, and where do you definitely not want light.



Nov 19, 2011 at 02:22 AM
tobycat
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p.1 #13 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


thank you hugowolf

I was reading this zach arias tutorial...do you think this could be used in product photography?

http://www.zarias.com/white-seamless-tutorial-part-1-gear-space/

I will manly be just photography clothes on a mannequin or a on white foam core board...would I even really need a hairlight?

Could i get by with a three light setup? 2 on background and one main light?

thank you



Nov 19, 2011 at 03:07 AM
hugowolf
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p.1 #14 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


tobycat wrote:
thank you hugowolf

I was reading this zach arias tutorial...do you think this could be used in product photography?


I will manly be just photography clothes on a mannequin or a on white foam core board...



would I even really need a hairlight?

Not unless you have some hair you want to separate from the background.


Could i get by with a three light setup? 2 on background and one main light?

Sure. But you would be better with another light or at least a reflector. With two lights on the background you can get an even spread of light over the background. But with only one light source for your subject, you lose the ability control to the modeling using shadows and highlights. Especially with fabric, you need some side lighting to accentuate the texture, unless your plan is to lose the texture of the fiber.



Nov 19, 2011 at 05:17 AM
tobycat
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p.1 #15 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Thank you.......so if I started out with just three lights...where would I place my reflector in conjuction with the main light? I have a 45 inch 5 and 1 reflector kit...would that work?




Nov 19, 2011 at 02:40 PM
hugowolf
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p.1 #16 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


A lot depends on what you want as far as final output. With small products like mugs, and flat objects like t-shirts, you can get away with two lights and no reflector. Where are these images going to appear: on a website and/or printed?

What sort of background are you after? Hot white, jet black, another plain color, or in a more natural staging? What do you want from the images? There is more than one way to de-fur a cat.

There are also the products themselves to consider: shooting a mug can be different than a t-shirt or sweatshirt.

For example, shooting a mug with a white background: You can get a near shadowless, near white background using one light in one large softbox on white seamless paper (or even a sheet of white posterboard). If you then want hot white, RGB(255,255,255), this can be achieved easily and quickly in Photoshop (or whatever software you use for post processing).

If you want hot white without post processing, you can use a translucent stage and under light. Or you can raise the mug above the opaque white seamless, on a transparent surface (glass, plexi, lexan, etc).

With t-shirts and sweatshirts, frequently one is shot opened out to show the logo, sleeve length, and style, then a folded pile is used to show the available color range. With the flat shirt, you can use one large softbox and one side light to bring out the texture of the cloth.

An assistant with an ironing board and a steam iron is very handy; although if you look through this season’s clothing catalogs, it seems that a more crinkled look is in, but I can’t see that lasting. There are more shadows this year too. And there are also fewer shots with models and more clothes on hangers, but that could be more to do with cost cutting than a fashion statement.

If you look through clothing catalogs (Land’s End, Territory Ahead, Eddie Bauer, etc), you should be able to pick up lots of ideas. If you want to get out of the evenly lit plain background rut for straight on shots, you can use ply wood with different face veneers, wood wall paneling (real or fake wood), floor tile, etc.



Nov 19, 2011 at 05:03 PM
tobycat
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p.1 #17 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


Thank you soo much hugo wolf

Yes..these images will appear on a website with a shopping cart!

Mainly all that will be photographed is sweatshirts, tshirts, mugs, pillow's, etc...

I am thinking of most of the items we want a white high key background...but I also have access to a very cool...exposed raw brick/stone wall in a building..that I thought also would be cool as a "backdrop" .....to stage the sweatshirts, tshirts on a "headless" mannequin.

another question..when photographing "flat" items..example with the tshirt/sweathsirt opened out and folded...does one get a ladder and shoot down on the item..or is there a way to prop the item up on something..say a 45 degree angle and still get that high key background? I know this is a silly question probably...but I am not going to learn unless I ask!



Nov 19, 2011 at 06:07 PM
tobycat
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p.1 #18 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


" With the flat shirt, you can use one large softbox and one side light to bring out the texture of the cloth. "

so where is the side light placed in conjunction with the main light? do you need some type of modifier with it also?

thank you!



Nov 19, 2011 at 06:09 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #19 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


tobycat wrote:
...when photographing "flat" items..example with the tshirt/sweathsirt opened out and folded...does one get a ladder and shoot down on the item..or is there a way to prop the item up on something..say a 45 degree angle and still get that high key background?


Keeping the item flat will prevent sagging and make everything easier.

If you only have a basic DSLR with which to shoot you may need a ladder so you can get your eye to the viewfinder when shooting downward, but if your camera has an articulated screen and live view, or better yet if you can shoot tethered to a computer, then you don't need to be looking through the actual viewfinder. A tripod with an extension arm/boom is a useful accessory, and better still is a camera stand if you have space for it.

The easiest way to set up is probably to use a shooting table with a translucent tabletop. You can light the background from below for a "blown out" background that makes placing the image in a Web page simple, and you can use colored light for other background effects.

tobycat wrote:
...where is the side light placed in conjunction with the main light? do you need some type of modifier with it also?


You'd place the side light so that it skims across the surface of the fabric, and you would use a "hard" light to maximize the texture. Adjusting the ratio of the main light to the side light would determine the degree of textural reveal.



Nov 19, 2011 at 07:06 PM
hugowolf
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p.1 #20 · Have product photography (clothes/merchandise) lighting questions


tobycat wrote:
Mainly all that will be photographed is sweatshirts, tshirts, mugs, pillow's, etc...


I am thinking of most of the items we want a white high key background...

OK it is pedantic Saturday, but you can’t have a ‘white high key background’, the shot can be high key and the lighting can be high key. A pure white background is most often referred to as hot white, but a hot white background isn’t a sufficient condition for a high key shot. Just because there is a hot white background doesn't mean the shot is high key.

but I also have access to a very cool...exposed raw brick/stone wall in a building..that I thought also would be cool as a "backdrop" .....to stage the sweatshirts, tshirts on a "headless" mannequin.

Once you move things away from the background, then you start to need more light sources. But with bricks and other surfaces, you may not need as uniformly even lighting as you would with seamless, so you may get away with one light for the background.


another question..when photographing "flat" items..example with the tshirt/sweathsirt opened out and folded...does one get a ladder and shoot down on the item..or is there a way to prop the item up on something..say a 45 degree angle and still get that high key background? I know this is a silly question probably...but I am not going to learn unless I ask!

I almost always use a tripod. Product photography can be very repetitive and once you get set up you want to move similar products in and out of the setup with the camera and lights set in position. Batch the items that will use the same or similar lighting.

You can use the floor and shoot over head – I use a lateral arm for this
Manfrotto Lateral Arm

You can hang some things on a vertical surface and clone out the hanger and/or pins. You could also use an angle – with rougher textured surfaces clothing won’t need holding, but you can use two-sided tape or tacky stuff.

tobycat wrote:
" With the flat shirt, you can use one large softbox and one side light to bring out the texture of the cloth. "


so where is the side light placed in conjunction with the main light? do you need some type of modifier with it also?

The position and angle varies with whatever you are shooting. It is a trial and error thing for me and another reason for shooting tethered.

Modifiers depend on how strong an effect you want and how much you want to avoid cast shadows from the side lighting. I have used small strip boxes, variously configured: with or without diffusing material, usually with a grid, sometimes with the inside covered with black material. I have used gridded reflectors and it is also one of the few times I will use barn doors.





Nov 19, 2011 at 07:16 PM
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