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Archive 2012 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)
  
 
tomasg
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p.1 #1 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


The long story short:

I got an assignment from my job (I work as a web developer in company who deals with clothing, and I have some experience as enthusiastic not-a-pro photographer, working mostly in natural light), to shoot some clothing (from kids dresses to all sorts of adult clothing) in a studio environment. They asked me to try it because I already have an experience dealing with cameras, framing, manual controls and so on. The problem is that I have more or less no idea how to shoot with studio lighting. Next week I go to the studio to try to make better, more alive (three-dimensional) captures than the people got which tried to make product photos before me, without any photographic experience.

Couple of weeks I've read some blog posts, watched videos about studio lighting and getting the three-dimensional look. And I get an idea, if I'd have to capture people. You have background, You have model at the distance from the background, you lit background and subject with a different angle, different power light, and the subject pops out automatically. The problem with my situation is, that the clothes have to be put on the background, so I don't have any distance between subject and background. If I put the subject on the background, I could light it from both sides at 45 degree angle to get rid of strong shadows, but I'd get the same images as my co-workers made before - they're completely flat.

Anyone have tips how to lit them to get more life-like, 3d-mentional images? I know I'll have to experiment, but I need to do some homework, to get some more ideas from more experienced photographers about it. Thanks.

The equipment I'll have:

Canon 40D
Tamron 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 XR DI II Lens
Elinchrom BXRi 500 Twin Flash Head Kit
Reflector Arm and Bracket with 110cm Silver/White Reflector
And a white and green backgrounds

By the way, shouldn't I change the tamron for a couple of fixes (50/1.8, maybe wider) to get a better rendition from the starting point?






Oct 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM
sleibrand
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p.1 #2 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


If you want a 3d look, start with a 3d subject. If you don't want to use models, use a mannequin. You can photoshop out the mannequin or just cut up the mannequins so that it's not showing past the clothes.

If you're wanting to shoot 2d apart from the background you could suspend the garment using wire or string so that it's not directly on the background Using white string to suspend a shirt on a hanger in front of a white background for instance.



Oct 11, 2012 at 08:47 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #3 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


tomasg wrote:
the clothes have to be put on the background,




Mannequin to give dimension, affords the opportunity for lighting to generate contour / modeling.

If you truly have to light it flat, then you could use some PP to emulate your dimensionality with dodging & burning, the same way a painter imparts depth.

Whether it is a 2-D photograph or a 2-D painting, the visual cues of depth are rooted in shadows vs. highlights. We use lighting, etc. to generate those visual cues. If you must go 45 flat for shadowless BG, you are essentially performing copy lighting intending to have even lighting across the subject. Even lighting across the subject is the opposite of imparting shadows to create modeling.

Typically, the distance to BG is to afford one degree of shadow control on the subject, and a different degree of shadow control on the BG. This variance in shadowing @ subject vs. BG also aids in depth cues. Having your subject on the BG and with 45 copy lighting is essentially the anti 3D approach.

That being said ... why must the subject be on the BG when lit/shot?

Edited on Oct 11, 2012 at 09:49 PM · View previous versions



Oct 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #4 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


As I have had many of these type of shoots to do. My constant "3D" look is a dummy with the clothes on standing in front of my Lastolite HiLite. Lit internally and either an umbrella or beauty dish in front.

Typically I don't shoot these clothes shots on a dummy. I lean the Lastolite HiLite on an angle of about 45 degrees against the wall, stand on a 4 step ladder, and shoot down on them from atop. It's almost fool proof and have always had great feedback from clients. This would give you the 'against the background' look I think you were asking about.

If all fails there. I would frame out a white scrim on that angle, and lay the clothes on the scrim, shoot elevated down on them... See how you make out.

Consider the Lastolite HiLite..... It's magic for so many things.



Oct 11, 2012 at 09:38 PM
rico
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p.1 #5 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


tomasg wrote
Anyone have tips how to lit them to get more life-like, 3d-mentional images? I know I'll have to experiment, but I need to do some homework, to get some more ideas from more experienced photographers about it. Thanks.

3D in this context will mean shadows. With shadow you define the shape, texture, and lay of the clothing. You also gain color saturation rather than creating a flat, low contrast result. Most clothing is low profile, and will not create a major shadow off the piece onto the supporting surface. Some pieces - like dresses - can be hanged on a mannequin and then extracted from a plain b/g. In all cases, you want on-axis fill and a key at 45, with ratio dictated by the degree of drama desired. Key can be hard or soft depending on amount of accentuation of texture.





1st pic used beauty dish as key, 2nd used softbox as key.



Oct 12, 2012 at 07:03 AM
 

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visualist
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p.1 #6 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


rico wrote:
3D in this context will mean shadows. With shadow you define the shape, texture, and lay of the clothing. You also gain color saturation rather than creating a flat, low contrast result.


+1
The Jacket is a verry nice example.

I'd actually suggest a large parabolic umbrella in Silver as main light.
And do yourself a favor and get a macro lens!



Oct 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM
visualist
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p.1 #7 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


Oh, and don't even bother testing these green backgrounds, unless you can put at least 1.5m distance between the subject.


Oct 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM
John Skinner
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p.1 #8 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


Not to brush feathers... But I'd be a starving guy if I showed up with either of those 2 examples. 1 is too busy, and 2 is poorly lit for the product. This is about consistent, even lighting. It's almost a formula.

You know when you've nailed it, it looks like a catalog.



Oct 13, 2012 at 06:51 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #9 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


John,

I think the images presented were to illustrate the lighting difference and how:

A) The shadows are critical for giving depth to the product
B) They can be achieved with a minimal of shadow cast on the BG, due to their slim profile (OP spec'd laying on BG)
C) The variance between using different "quality" of light at more specular vs. more diffuse.


As to "looks like a catalog" ... which catalog. I've seen plenty of catalogs with the same boring flat copy lighting the OP is trying to get away from, as well as catalogs that use more dramatically rendered shadows for more pronounced modeling.

I'd like to think Rico tossed up a couple pics to illustrate concept, moreover than to suggest they were THE WAY to go about it.




Oct 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
rico
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p.1 #10 · Shooting clothes on plain surface... not to look flat (?)


I know John Skinner will post his images shortly to show us how it's done. My 2nd image was commissioned by the artist of the piece, and she served as AD for the shoot. As measured by client satisfaction, the image is successful. I would have preferred a more neutral b/g, but the knockout looks fine. As for the "catalog look", I agree with RustyBug: what catalog? There's a world of difference between product presentation of Kmart and Barneys, and customers are clued into the class stratification. My favorite catalog is Nordstrom: creative use of props, gels, hard light, and always with snappy contrast. They also shoot outside, in the sun, which is always impressive.



Oct 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM





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