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comments on shooting products and reflections


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#1 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 12:25

I seriously pull my hair out every time I get stainless steel products to do -

 

the reflections is driving me nuts and everything reflects in the shiny parts.

 

If its not the softbox - its the black rim of the softbox or the reflector or the camera or what ever.

 

here I shot a stainless steel cylinder - and since its round - its even worse.

 

does anyone have a specifically good method of dealing with this ?

 

you can see I only got so far with doing a good job...

 

the second pic is what I often end up with - lines upon lines......

 

you can also see the shiny label on the blue product ......... ( I didnt edit this specific sample shot as I had one with less reflections but posted this one for reference)

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"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#2 RC51

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 13:04

Elsa,

A few years ago I took on a commission to photograph an expensive shiny watch..... a myriad of flags, lights, reflectors, and forty eight hours later I ended up with an acceptable image.

 

A few weeks later I was offered another commission..... easy I thought, and sorted out my lights and such. Forty eight hours later I produced another acceptable image. I could not believe it, for me hair pulling seems to be the norm with reflective surfaces. There must be short-cuts, but I have not found them, and have since declined further similar work.

 

Cheers


Bez

#3 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 13:19

Thanks Rags - it makes me feel better. If I didnt have half-passable Photoshop skills I would be dead in the water here.

I feel if the reflections are neat and tidy - you can get away with it.

At $25 per product I dont want to spend hours on it. (although I have as it's a regular client)

 

I once watched a pro (old time pro) try to throw shadows of leaves on a kettle for a product shoot. 5 hours later I left and he hadnt managed 1workable shot.

- for that shoot I would have plastered Photoshop leaves on it!

and wine bottles - omg thats another story.


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#4 RC51

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 13:34

When I did this shoot it was pre digital, so there was no photoshop to bail me out. I was using a medium format camera, and the polariod proofs did not show all the problems. So on both occasions I had to re-shoot the next day.

 

Cheers

Bez


Bez

#5 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 14:03

Well imagine how bad a pro I would have been in film days :)


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#6 Longhiker

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 14:07

These objects have always given me the most trouble, too. I've bought a bit of black velvet to use behind the camera and above the subject to help control reflections. Shooting this kind of subject seems to involve as much subtraction of light and reflection as the addition of light. Truly a test of your lighting skills. Maybe this is why I don't have so much hair as I used to.
There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept. - Ansel Adams

#7 Bjørn J

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 16:13

I haven't tried it myself, but what would happen if you put the things in a light tent, and only have an opening for the lens in front?

It probably would look flat, but it could work for this kind product shots. Or maybe not :)


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#8 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 18:08

thanks Longhiker and Bjørn

 

Bjørn - believe I tried it all. Obviously I am getting things wring still - or maybe by the pure nature of the beast its impossible to get right in camera.


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#9 willl

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 12:41

Hi Elsa, i think these links (on the topic of specular highlights) might be helpful for this:
- http://strobist.blog...-highlight.html
- http://strobist.blog...discussion.html
- http://strobist.blog...iny-things.html

#10 black_bird_blue

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 13:34

Elsa, I think you are beating yourself up a bit. It's difficult because it's difficult - not because you're missing something.

 

The problem with these type of things for me is that I usually don't start with a clear idea of what I want it to look like. If I knew that then I would just arrange (for example) a sky blue blanket high behind me and a sand coloured blanket below the horizon behind me and get that "artist's rendition" of chrome. Or whatever I wanted. A big part of the problem for me is that I don't know what I want, I just know it's something other than what I've got.

 

In the end a simple lighting setup and some photoshop time is where I end up - it takes longer to get it perfect in camera than digitally, and life is short.

 

But do keep in mind that for product shots like this nobody worries as much as you!

 

Damian


"The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations." - Sir Isaac Newton

#11 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 13:58

Will - thanks - I have checked the links and mostly it refers to specular highlights - which is only part of the issue. Also I shoot larger object at times - the cylinder was 3 foot long!

 

Damian - you are spot on - thank you :)


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#12 yunfat

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 16:28

I think every product photographer encounters this at some point and it can be frustrating.  So many wonderful products are shiny, small, and have glass.  Often, the more of said characteristics there are, the more expensive an item can become... this presents a dilemma for a product photographer, no matter how good.

 

Also, our society is largely made of plastic now, and packaging everything in plastic is hard for a photographer to work with as well.

 

For me I use a softbox of 64 inches and just surround the object in white poster board.  Usually, that works.  Photoshop is necessary for this kind of photography, and that is why I personally don't take product commissions.

 

I forget the thread, but I think it was on this site, that discussed Apple's setup for iPhone shots... anyways...

 

http://appleinsider....ecraft-and-gear

 

I imagine there aren't many things tougher to shoot than an iPhone. It is also nice to see Apple going the traditional route, rather than just render everything to look perfect.  I would think the setup used in the article above is a good starting point for any shiny object, but you need a pretty big studio and a shit ton of lights and equipment.



#13 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 16:57

Thanks Yunfat - I will go thru the tips and tricks on that page - much appreciated.


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#14 Luc de Schepper

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 17:07

Maybe the info in this link is helpful Elsa http://the-creativit...el-photography/

#15 Dallas

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 17:11

What's the client's name? I'll send them my number. ;) 


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#16 yunfat

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 17:13

Thanks Yunfat - I will go thru the tips and tricks on that page - much appreciated.

The actual article with video is here...

http://www.theverge....ger-on-shooting

#17 Ann

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 17:47

Briefly, (because I have to go out):

 

Just put strips of black, grey or coloured paper (gold and blue look nice in steel or chrome) or other objects so that they get reflected in different parts of the shiney object — and keep exposure levels down so that you don't kill your HLs.

 

For realistic Reflective objects, you have to "paint" the Subject with surrounding objects (which is why light-tents are not much help unless you have space to position the surrounding objects inside the tent!)

 

I have shot this way for years (long before Photoshop existed) when you simply HAD to get it right in-camera and wet darkroom!

 

Lots of luck with the shoot.


Edited by Ann, 23 June 2013 - 17:50 .


#18 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 19:37

Thank you to everyone who contributed - or just helped me feel a bit better about the shoot :)
 


"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#19 STS

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 00:41

Many years ago I was working on a machine vision system to grade potatoes (much more interesting than it sounds); we had a similar problem with circular rollers. We used a layer of water coating the surface, it worked like a charm. Our theory at the time was the refractive index of water, was enough to scatter the light, across the surface eliminating the center of high reflectance, thus balancing the image.


Edited by tigers@sprintmail.com, 24 June 2013 - 02:30 .


#20 Ann

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 01:05

Some photographers use Dulling Spray to kill reflections in metal but I don't like it because it destroys the intrinsic nature of the material.

Before Dulling Spray existed, another trick was to fill an airbrush with milk and spray that on the metal. Distinctly messy and it needed to be cleaned up before it turned sour and smelly.

By chance, I have a shoot for my Machine Tools client tomorrow to photograph some highly polished metal objects -- I am not planning to spray them with either milk nor Dulling Spray.




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