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Taking photos of cases

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by Cyprio, 4 Oct 2008.

  1. Cyprio

    Cyprio G5 Supermodder

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    I could really do with some tips for taking some better pics of my case mod.

    Here is what i managed today with a light tent, some daylight bulbs and a small bit of black perspex i had left over from the mod. Pics were taken with my D80 (Sigma 18-50, f2.8mm Macro & Nikkor 35-70mm, f2.8) and my friend's Canon 40D (Canon 85mm, f1.8 & Sigma 30mm, f1.4)


    Thanks

    Cyp.
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2008
  2. Darkened

    Darkened What's a Dremel?

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    Cool photos Cyp, I'm actually in quite a similar position as you (need to kick off the OM again, but incorporate better photography in the mix :hehe:).

    I'd say that only the ones with the light tent on the background aren't that good. Too much photoshopping to get them right, though I haven't done any work like that, so it might work well.

    I think a seamless backdrop with 1-2 softboxes would be the answer here, though the backdrop must be quite large and also you'd have to invest in softboxes (there's always DIY though :D). Photographing smaller portions of your mod is much easier than shooting the whole case.

    If I have time tomorrow, I'll take photos of the product photography table that I made today. It's still a bit raw and I need a few things for it, but should turn out pretty well. It's based on this, but I'll try to take it to the next level (as always :hehe:).

    Darkened
     
  3. jezmck

    jezmck Minimodder

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    Should there be a lot more light so that you can't actually see the tent?

    Polish the case to the extreme - there are a few marks that are all too visible.

    Great composition though, and great use of focal depth.
     
  4. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Overall, some of the best case mod shots I've ever seen. Truth be told the standard tends not to be that high in general (not that I've followed modding in the last couple of years), but those were still good shots. The ones where you can make out the light tent bother me a lot - either a seamless backdrop or crank the lighting to blow out the background. Or, as you say that you were using daylight bulbs (rather than strobes), open up the shutter speed a bit while on a tripod. Can be a little tricky to balance that without overexposing the case itself - if you bring the lights in VERY close to the backdrop, I think you could make the distance ratios work out all right. If that doesn't make much sense, search a bit on Strobist in Lighting 101 and there are a couple posts that should explain it better.

    Some shots came out a bit darker or lighter than I think would have been ideal (as a "product" shot, you want fairly neutral exposure, with the exception of the lights-out shot of course) and I think the focus was a little weird on a couple (the front usb/fw ports come to mind), but on the whole they were solid.

    And great case mod, too. Like I said I haven't been following the scene much for quite a while (really since getting a real Mac :p) but it's clear that you've put a lot of effort and attention to detail into that thing. And it's certainly been going on for quite a while too, if memory serves!
     
  5. flibble666

    flibble666 sorry i am dyslexic

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    some rely nice shots there a few issues wit w/b but im sure you can sort that in pp i use to do shoots for an on line sk8 shop when shooting we had many problems you seem to have the rite idear maby grab a staple gun a pull you fabric tight on the base so if yo need to remove the bg its much quicker also on w/b if your using the same cam lighting and your mini studio setup you cud use a grey cad for getting the white balance setting perfict in pp
     
  6. AJB2K3

    AJB2K3 What's a Dremel?

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    Love the pics, the company should be offering to buy them from you.
     
  7. Cyprio

    Cyprio G5 Supermodder

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    Thanks for the ideas guys. I think i have been able to source a much larger piece of black perspex (1m x 1m) and will try again for whole case shots soon. I'll definitely read up on strobes.

    Darkened: is that table large enough to sit a case on? It looks rather small in the pic.

    The WB was tricky. Does it change when you change lenses? I had the sigma on my D80, took a shot of the white tent and used this as the WB preset. When i changed to the 35-70mm the WB had changed and i had to redo this.

    Who Apple??!
     
  8. flibble666

    flibble666 sorry i am dyslexic

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    @ Cyprio yer wb is tricky as i said u need a grey card there awesome add me to msn ill give u some advice but tbh the pics are pritty good and playing with the exposure setting in ps u shud be aable to sort it by eye
     
  9. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    I'm not sure where you see white balance issues. He's shooting a object that is basically monochrome. If he needs a white balance points; he has a white, a neutral gray and a black already in the picture. So why keep telling him he needs a gray card? You'd be better off telling him how white balance works, and how to find points in the image with which to work with.

    Tbh, with your inability to spell, I would have a hard time believing he would take your advice seriously.


    Many things can change the white balance from frame to frame. Your lens can be one, your shutter speed, angle of the camera... to many to worry about. Make sure you are shooting in RAW and learn to use the white balance dropper. Look for reflections in metal. They tend to be very close to neutral gray. Since what you are shooting is basically semi gloss metal, you have ample points to choose from. Assuming you have CS3, open the NEF file in ACR. Click on the white balance dropper in the upper left corner. When you use the white balance dropper, you'll see 3 numbers, the RBG channels. 0,0,0 is black. 225,225,225 is white. 112,112,112 would be perfect gray, but you won't find it. Instead look for 3 numbers that are relatively close, like 189, 181, 167. That will show you where your white balance is off- in this case the 167 tells me my green values are out of wack from my reds and blues. ACR will then try and match the channel most off to the other 2. Click around on various parts of the image to get an idea what the numbers mean and what the program is trying to do. Then pick the one that looks good to you.
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2008
  10. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Well technically it goes from 0-255 (not 225) with 127 at the midpoint and goes RGB not RBG, but close enough ;) Doesn't change the technique in the slightest.
     
  11. flibble666

    flibble666 sorry i am dyslexic

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    @ Jumeira_Johnny apologiess for the retardedness but im very dyslexic but your correct as i can't spell so that affects the way i take photos and people should not listen to any advice i give due to the fact i suffer an inability to spell i obviously know nothing about anything. For the record nice advice on using the levels dropper and good advice in general your correct i should of just done that in the first place.As Jumeira_Johnny advised you shuld shoot in raw i shoot everything in raw and use lightroom it seems very good at auto balance and colour correction way in advance of ps (this is simply imo others may disagree) as for where the white balance issues are on the second image the rear shot of the case the metal chrome has a definate yellow tint from lights or flash to fix this as im guessing you dont really want to reshoot it i'd suggest playing with the levels and exposure settings (photoshop cs3 has expsure setting im not sure cs2 does) on the levels pop up in cs3 use the first dropper click on some black on the casewith the middle dropper click the shadow under the front of the case and the third click on the metal work or backround (white fabric) then adjust the expsoure sightly and your image should be as good as you can get it
     
  12. Darkened

    Darkened What's a Dremel?

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    Hey there Cyp.

    I was saying that my table is kind of similar to that one in the picture, but you know me, perfection is the way to go :hehe:

    The measurements will be about 100x55cm, not too accurate or definitive at this point. Also it will be easily adjustable and expandable in almost every way.

    Basic idea is to make a stand where I can change the top material, the place of the backdrop stand, the backdrop itself (a panel, seamless with either paper or fabric etc.) or make the whole thing into a light tent. Also it's going to be "dustproof" in a way that I can store gear in it (like a box) and push it under my bed (curses of a small apartment).

    I might make a small DIY project log, but place it here under art & photography, since it's not going to be too special.

    Darkened
     
  13. Cyprio

    Cyprio G5 Supermodder

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    I still need to address my lighting issues (im thinking of using grease proof paper as makeshift light boxes) but i'm pretty pleased with this:

    [​IMG]

    The others ones i took with a light on the right were too harsh, even with it reflecting off a wall.
     
  14. Darkened

    Darkened What's a Dremel?

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    Nice lighting and I really like the reflection. Where was this taken, on a glass table? Also, what did you use as a backdrop?

    Darkened
     
  15. Cyprio

    Cyprio G5 Supermodder

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    In my kitchen. :D

    [​IMG]

    1m by 1m Black perspex (the protective layer hasnt been removed in the pic above so it's matt) and a black velvet backdrop that i borrowed from a friend. I had to get someone to bend it around the right corner to get no reflection at all. Not that you can see it as the right side is poorly lit.

    The only pp is using a gradient on the reflection.

    Cyp.
     
  16. Zorndar

    Zorndar What's a Dremel?

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    I prefer RAW format when taking images (in every situation). You can control everything, starting with WB, sharpness, contrast and so on. A good free converter ist RawShooter essentials. If you have problems with reflections a polarization filter can help a lot. Gives a much better control.

    Perhaps smoked acrylic is also a good alternative for light boxes?

    All in all i like the picture. Especially the reflection on the the perspex, but i would have choped the led reflections (green ones) they are a kind of distracting.
     
  17. Cyprio

    Cyprio G5 Supermodder

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    Thanks Zondar. I always shoot RAW and process in LR and PS. But when taking pics of a mod i feel you shouldnt PS stuff out to make it look better. OK, i might play with the exposure i bit if i dont think it's quite right but nothing else really.

    I never thought of using a polarising filter! Will give it a go with the next batch and see what it turns out like.
     
  18. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Nice (and yay for clean reflective surface!). I'd have brought in a little fill on the right as I'm not too big on silhouettes or being defined entirely by the rim-lighting used in product shots. I think that if you varied the angle in which it came in you probably wouldn't have had the harshness issues, or at least would have been able to minimize them.
     
  19. DeMoB

    DeMoB All of my Dremel wheels are broke!

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    Some really nice shots here. I really like the last one you did with the black background.

    Dan
     
  20. flibble666

    flibble666 sorry i am dyslexic

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