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Lighting advice

  
 
newyork
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lighting advice


I just got a Fuji x-S10 and a Godox light tent. It comes with 3 lights and it worked for some things but on others the glare was tough. Iím photographing knives so blades and some backgrounds were too bright.

Last night I tried one light and used a black foam card to block some light with one hand while triggering with the other.

Sometimes the light looks nice and others a little phony.

Decent



Meh




Jan 22, 2023 at 09:34 AM
newyork
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lighting advice


I could use any help I can get with controlling the light and eliminating shiny spots.


Jan 22, 2023 at 03:44 PM
ross attix
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lighting advice


These are continuous lights vs flash, correct? If so, you just have to tweak them for each shot.

Hopefully you are working someplace where ambient is not a factor, and you can see what the lighting is doing. Each surface is like a mirror. Not as reflective but still you have to treat it that way, and make sure you control what that facet is ďseeingĒ.

Trial and error!

For FM, try smaller files. These are way too big to see without scrolling left and right.







Jan 22, 2023 at 04:12 PM
KGKG
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Lighting advice


You are experiencing a fundamental law of light... the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflectance.

There are a number of ways to light your knife but it all boils down to positioning your light source(s) so as to eliminate spectacular light from bouncing directly into the lens of your camera.

If you think you'll be doing a lot of this type of product photography, the book "Light, Science and Magic" is your best friend.

Here's a few links to get you going in the right direction:

https://www.lighting-essentials.com/04-lighting-principle-four-angle-light-source-subject-camera/

https://www.photographytalk.com/photography-articles/1812-angle-of-incidence

https://youtu.be/vmKh-HWvQPw

FWIW



Jan 22, 2023 at 04:23 PM
cwebster
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Lighting advice


I suggest you find a copy of "Light - Science & Magic" https://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Magic-Introduction-Photographic/dp/0367860279/ref=asc_df_0367860279/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=475873418303&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2240624485836298403&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1014226&hvtargid=pla-972802327178&psc=1

it explains how light works, and how to light virtually everything, including shiny objects.



Jan 22, 2023 at 05:03 PM
newyork
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Lighting advice


Fantastic!! Thank you so much gentlemen! You are correct about no flash. Other than the light tent the room is black by the way


Jan 22, 2023 at 05:09 PM
newyork
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Lighting advice


Idk if itís this site but the links donít work.


Jan 22, 2023 at 09:53 PM
ross attix
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Lighting advice


newyork wrote:
Idk if itís this site but the links donít work.


It might be your browser. Although I have occasionally had trouble with links here, the Cwebster and KGKG ones both worked fine for me just now. You are on the right track.




Jan 23, 2023 at 06:53 AM
newyork
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Lighting advice


Youíre right! Thank you!


Jan 23, 2023 at 07:39 AM
ross attix
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Lighting advice


I just got a look at these on a PC (still huge files though). Not going to drill in too deeply, but some additional thoughts.
1-My preference on product photography is to have the entire subject (the knife incl. handle) sharp. You are missing focus on some of these. It can be a creative technique sometimes to have that limited focus, but it is a themed look, and these just look like you could not get them all in focus.

2-Unless you are going to spend time in post cleaning it up, your background covering has tons of lint which detracts IMO.

3-On the last photo, the knife has something on its handle. Also some lint on others.

4-The next to the last photo, the knife blade is very hot (bright). Sometimes with this type surface, you have to play with introducing some dark* into your light source to create modeling in those areas.

*You mentioned having tried some of that with your other hand, and it was the right thinking, but the exact location can make a huge difference in the look you create. Trying to hand hold such a device (gobo is the technical term) is too random. You can buy inexpensive lab stands and clamps from a scientific supply place so that you can set up such devices and fine tune them. Once you have them placed tp your liking, they stay put leaving your hands free.
Have fun!


Edited on Jan 23, 2023 at 09:39 AM · View previous versions



Jan 23, 2023 at 09:25 AM
 


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kaplah
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Lighting advice


newyork wrote:
I could use any help I can get with controlling the light and eliminating shiny spots.


Here's my standard photography advice for lighting:

- do the Lighting 101, 102, and now 103 exercises starting here: https://strobist.blogspot.ca/2006/03/lighting-101.html
- buy and read Light Science & Magic, trying some of the exercises
- then come back for clarification on various points.

It is impossible for a forum-based Q&A session, which of course re-hashes the same questions and opinions ad infinitum, to replicate the breadth and structure of a well-written book or online course, and asking it to do so will fail while wasting the time of all involved. The new photographer does not have a grounding in the basics, and doesn't know what they don't know, hence the helpful suggestion to read and practice first - to learn in a systematic manner. There aren't any shortcuts.

Also, for visualizing lighting before "pop", studio strobes with modeling lights are helpful. You can consider that later.



Jan 23, 2023 at 09:29 AM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Lighting advice


The Godox light tents are great for most product shots. I've had great results using mine. However, knives are like jewelry from a lighting perspective. Flat, perfectly reflective surfaces. In this case, the even and uniform lighting of a tent is your enemy. Contrast is your friend. You need to get your lights at a more obtuse angle to the primary metal surfaces of the knives. Try moving the light bars down lower so you are not lighting from overhead. It takes some imaginative cable routing, but you can put the LED light bars on the vertical box frames rather than the horizontals. Or you can put the horizontal light supports down low in the box so your light is raking across the objects rather than hitting them from above.

Also, remember that those knives are acting like mirrors. They are just reflecting the highly reflective silver or white surfaces in the box. So be careful what you put opposite those metal mirrors. Making "flags" from any flat black materials can help control reflections. Find some black mat boards or DIY with some cardboard and matte black paint.

Edited on Jan 23, 2023 at 02:46 PM · View previous versions



Jan 23, 2023 at 01:06 PM
newyork
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Lighting advice


Some great critique and advice from all. Iíll definitely be reading that book and eventually taking a course if possible. Iíll try those exercises as well.

Iíve been using black foam mats to block the light but Iíll certainly try moving the lights too and look into those stands for holding the pads.

My wife commented on the lint and that the handkerchief is not ironed.

I discovered the setting for the size of the area to be focused yesterday and have seen improvements.

I feel like I do need to pick up the things Iím totally clueless about asap. Iíve made a few mistakes like having the knife take up more room than what was afforded by my base prop and have been trying to not do that again.

I hope this looks like progress.




Jan 23, 2023 at 02:46 PM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Lighting advice


Try using some less reflective background materials. Fabric, wood, matte finish plexiglas and paper can be easier to deal with. They won't show tiny lint flecks and won't create additional reflections to manage.

Also, don't tear down your product setup until you've reviewed you images on a monitor (not just on the back of the camera). I cannot tell you how many times I've broken down my setup thinking I got what I needed only to notice something when reviewing on the computer monitor I hadn't noticed reviewing on the camera. Then setting the whole kit back up again to re-shoot.



Jan 23, 2023 at 02:53 PM
newyork
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Lighting advice


I made that mistake a few times so far.


Jan 23, 2023 at 02:55 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Lighting advice


The first "meh" photo is also over exposed because of the black/dark background material. It would probably look better with the exposure pulled down a fair amount. Sounds like this light setup is continuous light and you're therefore using the camera's meter to set the exposure. If so, it sees all that black and wants to make it brighter, thus blowing out the knife blade.

Not sure how you're shooting these (in-camera Jpeg vs. raw) or if you're doing any work in post. At the time of capture you generally want to keep everything in the scene within the dynamic range of the sensor, thus not clipping black or white areas. If shooting Jpeg, it would help to dial down the contrast level of the Jpeg profile you use to the lowest setting. Then in post you can selectively work on areas to bring back contrast where needed, while still preserving highlights in the knife blade, for example.

It would be good to work in manual exposure mode and use the histogram as a reference for correct exposure. If the camera has a setting to show clipped shadows and highlights when reviewing images, turn this on so you can immediately get an idea if anything in the image has been clipped.

Back when I was in a college applied photography program, in the first-year studio lighting class, the reflective subject assignment was towards the end of the term (or year - it's been a while!). If you have little experience in tabletop product photography, and you're starting with reflective objects, you're basically jumping in at the deep end. Could be worse though. You could be trying this with strobes.

I took the liberty of quickly tweaking your photo (this is my subjective interpretation for screen display, not necessarily the 'right' interpretation for other outputs):





Because the shadow areas were quite bright, there was a lot of leeway to work with those. But because the highlight on the knife blade was already blown out, nothing could be done with it other than set it back to close to white (looks like you applied a lot of highlight recovery and brought the 'white' value down too far).

It also helps to work with a calibrated monitor if you're working WYSIWYG.



Jan 23, 2023 at 10:07 PM
newyork
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Lighting advice


I admittedly havenít checked whether jpeg or raw. Is there a better way to go?

Iím told dull gray backgrounds or dark woods are more forgiving.

Iíve been editing on Snapseed which I know is as meh as my meh photos lol. Whatís a good app program that isnít too expensive monthly?

We donít have a computer at the house so I use my iPhone 12. We do have an iPad I could try.

Iíd love to take a course.



Jan 23, 2023 at 11:21 PM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Lighting advice


Raw files offer many advantages over JPEG. However, you will need an appropriate editor supporting whatever raw format you're using. I believe iPhone can save in raw DNG format. I'm an Android and Windows guy so not much help in Appleland. You may get more responses if you post a specific question about iPhone raw processing in the Post-processing & Printing forum.

Adobe Lightroom fully supports DNG. You could try a monthly subscription. Lightroom has a free mobile app too but I don't know if that offers everything you need as far as editing. A good place to start though.

You could work strictly in JPEG but that really requires you to get exposure exactly right in the camera. Investing in a lightmeter and colorchecker could help there and potentially save you time and effort in the long run by reducing post processing work.



Jan 24, 2023 at 11:22 AM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Lighting advice


If you are using continuous light/LED, the best way is to move the light or object around while looking at the LCD screen, until you get the look you like (there will be angles that itís not reflective). Start out with one light then add more if needed. Typical knife shot would have the knife itself well lit, so no hard shadow. Check out the typical shots on Blade Show or Art knives in general.


Jan 24, 2023 at 08:33 PM
newyork
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Lighting advice


Iím going to get the package listed in assignment 101 as soon as I can. Should be able to in a week or two. Iíll also grab the book and get going on both.

Hereís one I did last night





Jan 25, 2023 at 05:46 AM







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