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    Mattrichards's Avatar
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    Default Product Photography Advice

    Hi all.

    I have been shooting for about a year and a half now. I own a a Canon 60D with a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, a 430EXII speedlite and an Interfit 32-inch 5-In-1 Reflector.

    I have recently started a job as a product photographer for a small furniture company in my town but I'm having some negative feedback on the quality of my images from my boss as of late. I have only been working with the company for about 3 weeks but I feel like I should be producing consistent quality work by now but I'm just not there yet. I have no formal education in photography, I am purely self taught.

    At the moment I am working with two Lastolite rayd8 heads with a tungsten bulb plus reflectors, usually facing towards the items, a standard white backdrop and my 430EXII on camera I usually bounce this off a reflector or the ceiling. The problem that I'm having is background lighting. The lastolites are not powerful enough to light the white sheet, so I often end up with shots that are supposed to have a white background but instead are nowhere near. Is there any body who works in the field that could give me some tips?
    There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.

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    Use your 430 to light the BG. (You'll need a way to trigger it and probably a short stand and hot shoe mount).
    Use the RayD8s to light the product and the reflector to add any needed fill.
    Use a tripod as your main lights don't put out a lot of power so your shutter speed will need to be slow enough to get you decent depth of field.

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    mottyboy is offline Banned
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    Have you calibrated your camera with a grey colour card in the same lighting conditions

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    idcanyon is offline dPS Forum Member
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    I agree that you need to put the flash on the background, as that is your powerful light source. You also have a color issue. The tungsten lights and the flash are a different color. If you balance to the tungsten lights then the flash will be blue. if you balance to the flash then the tungsten lights will be yellow. Put a CTO 3/4 gel on the flash to make it match.

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    Jim Bryant's Avatar
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    Post some photos so that we can get an idea and post some advice on just how to improve it.
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    Biomech's Avatar
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    Yeah can we see some examples?
    Also, did they hire you as a "product photographer" or are they getting you to do this because they know you like photography? If the former, did they see a portfolio or did they just "give the job to someone"? I only ask because if they just said "yeah he'll do", they can't really complain :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by idcanyon View Post
    I agree that you need to put the flash on the background, as that is your powerful light source. You also have a color issue. The tungsten lights and the flash are a different color. If you balance to the tungsten lights then the flash will be blue. if you balance to the flash then the tungsten lights will be yellow. Put a CTO 3/4 gel on the flash to make it match.
    his lights, RayD8s, are daylight balanced.

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    Mattrichards's Avatar
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    Firstly thanks a lot for the great responses guys, they have been really helpful,

    A grey card is the first thing on my list to get when I get my paycheque.

    Using my 430 as a backlight is also a great suggestion. As of yet I don't have any triggers, hence this is the second thing on my list. I always assumed that if I shot in RAW, I could just correct light balance afterwards via Lightroom or any other software? The fact that the temperature of the flash and the lights are different is an issue though, so the gels would definitely come in handy there. I don't think that these Rayd8s are daylight balanced, the bulbs im using are tungsten ones with a temp of 3200K I believe.

    The add was for an 'eBay photographer'. I figured that as I had uploaded things to ebay before and I knew how to work my camera, I might as well apply. Once I had the interview I realised that I might be in a little over my head if I eventually got the job. Their previous photographer used a much more sophisticated set than myself, so I'm just worried that I'm not not up to standard. Especially based

    I'l attach some examples, good ones and bad ones.

    Thanks
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    I wouldn't be too hard on yourself, ebay is ebay not Gucci. Personally, I rarely buy from sellers who have catelogue pictures - I want to see what I'm getting, not a stock image.

    Some of the issues you could fix with photoshop or even adjusting the white balance in post and then beefing around with the exposure/brightness settings (also "dodge highlights" in PS).

    What I personally would do, and what would also fix your issue, I'd scrap the white background and put the products in context/environment. That and maybe even be creative like you see in magazine ads.
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    i see they make both a daylight and a 3200k light kit. everythig IDcanyon wrote about color balancing is correct.
    fwiw, Easier to gel your flash than your d8s cause thee's only one and the surface is small.
    Rosco makes "Strobist" get kits... gels cut to fit a hot shot flash...

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