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| p.1 #6 · Product shot lighting recomendations? |
Peter Figen wrote:
Will - Have you been to Milltek's website and looked at their shot of various exhaust products? What they've done is a prime example of how NOT to shoot shiny and semi-shiny metal. The photos there are mediocre at best.
If you're just going to be shooting the smaller pieces, like exhaust tips and mufflers, you can get by with a fairly simple setup. A couple of 4'x8' sheets of Fomecore and some tungsten lights to bounce off of them. These subjects aren't going anywhere. You don't need strobes here if you're on a budget. You just need to think about what those parts are reflecting.
I shoot a ton of highly reflective metal. It's one of the most difficult things to get right, and a lot of photographers won't even attempt it because of that. You're basically photographing a mirror for the polished pieces, but a mirror that's curved and sees every damned thing in the studio. That's why you need to thing about what it's reflecting and control that.
Whatever you do, please, please, do not use a cheesy cloth like the examples in the previous post. It looks so amateurish and cheap. A white seamless or a sheet of white plex or white formica would be more appropriate - and for website images, white is always a good choice, particularly after you've knocked out the background and left just enough shadow or reflection to ground your subject.
You're also going to have to consider whether you want to have just part of the pieces in focus or have everything from front to back in focus. Two different looks, but often for these kind of products, full, complete depth of field adds a hyper realism to the shots that is a plus. Unfortunately, you can rarely get that with just f-stop alone. Either a tilt-shift lens or using focus stacking methods give the best results.
Start with the smaller pieces and work your way up. You'd be surprised how good some of that stuff can look with a very simple setup with one or two lights and two or three reflectors. And remember that on chrome or chromish surfaces like these, the background surface being white is a huge help, as it's a reflector too.
Thanks a lot! Great info. I never considered the bare tungsten bulb approach but if I put a gel on my flash I could definitely do that, or at least try it. I have all day, he's a friend of mine, so I'm willing to experiment to see what I can do with the parts and so that he has a few different styles of lighting to choose from in the final pictures. And I agree about them being difficult to shoot because they are going to reflect everything. And I also don't like the photos on Milltek's website, way too harsh.