Product photos - Lights, tripods and tents?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by spitfirejd, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. spitfirejd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    #1
    I'm going to be doing product photography for my business and need some help on choosing equipment. I have a lot of photography experience, but zero studio photo experience. I'll be using a Rebel XTi and a Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro.

    1. I'm considering using a light tent and was looking at the Photoflex First Studio kit with a light tent, 2 ea 250w quartz lamps and stands. Anyone know if this is a good start or is there something better for a similar price (about US$265)? B&H also recommended a kit that includes Impact brand tungsten lights (2 ea 500w) and a light tent. Are Tungsten lights cooler than quartz?

    2. Keep in mind it needs to be simple and I have very little experience with flash. I think lamps would be easier to use than flash heads. Thoughts?

    3. I have a very sturdy, but old, Slik Universal tripod. I'm thinking a micro positioning plate would help getting the product in focus without constantly moving it (most products will be small and fairly fragile). Bogen has one but would it work on my Slik? Or would I be better off getting a tripod that has a lateral arm? Bogen has a pro tripod (http://www.adorama.com/BG3021BPK3.html) that can be converted from a center post to horizontal post. I'd also think the micro positioner could be used with it if necessary. Thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #2
    For lighting on the cheap, nothing can beat the advise of strobist.blogspot.com

    I think the light tent would be a great idea, with two flash heads on either side. You can get the sb-24 flashes on ebay for around 50 a piece if you are patient. But I wouldn't suggest running pc cords straight to them since I think they use a different trigger voltage and you could fry something. Radio slaves come cheap on ebay. just search for "radio flash."

    Or you could go with a light tent and then home depot work lights on either side, but they get really hot.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    Get a cardboard box. Cut out most of 3 sides and tape heavy tracing paper in it. Get some white and black foam core for reflections and shadow, put some more paper inside as a background. Put your main strobe on one side, a piece of white foam core on the other and a moderate light source pointing in the top. Do a white balance and shoot away.

    You can use hot lights if you prefer them to a strobe, but really a good desk lamp and a half-way decent flash unit will do just fine.
    It's cheaper, quicker and produces great results.
     
  4. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #4
    Hot Lights

    Quartz and Tungsten are both called HOT Lights because they get HOT...

    I'm saying that because shooting with a tent can be dangerous using hot lights. Get them too close and you can burn up your light tent. One phone call is all it takes to distract you and POOF, no more tent.

    Don't ask how I know this...
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #5
    Here's the reference site I used:

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html
     
  6. spitfirejd thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    #6
    Thanks for the great tips, y'all. I've been thinking all day about thoses hot lights and was having second thoughts even before reading this. I read about the box compuwar is talking about today as well. The Strobist website is pretty good. Is the modelling light on a strobe bright enough to get an good idea of where the strobe is going to fall through the tent? I suppose with digital media it doesn't really matter as I can take as many test shots as I need to, but I'll be taking photos of a lot of products in a day and want to save as much time as possible.

    Would remote flashes (ie camera mounted-type) be best or something like monolights? The flashes cost more and I don't think they have modelling lights. While I wouldn't say that money isn't a factor, I can buy pretty much whatever I need to get the job done right. I'd rather invest in whatever is going to give me the best bang for the buck, and be relatively simple and quick to use.

    I won't ask rjphoto how he knows about the hot lights, but thanks for the warning :eek:
     

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