Appealing Product Images

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    EM23332-1024x768.

    First things first. This is my 50th tutorial posted to the MU43 forum.
    Woohoo! :yahoo:

    So, moving along.......

    In a previous blog post post, I discussed the problems of triggering studio flash when using the E-M1 mkII in HiRes mode, and the fact the Elinchrom HS trigger actually worked fine. This image is part of the high resolution portfolio for a client, and the reason I needed to find a solution to the issue of non firing studio heads. This issue has since been resolved with the firmware update 1.2

    The client manufactures specialist aluminium parts for cars and aircraft, and whilst their products will be shown on their website, they are also exhibiting at a trade show later this year, where extremely large images would be used on their stand. The 80Mp raw files from the Olympus E-M1 mkII are absolutely ideal for this.

    The images are also for use for their new website.

    The image above is the converse of the usual product shot on white, and allows far more input from me for the final image. An “on white” image was also shot, and can be seen below. However. Lets deal with the coloured image first. The product is an intricate aluminium casting for a car suspension part, and my main area of interest is to show the shape, form and texture of the product. I placed it on a piece of black plastic to provide a little reflection, as well as a nice deep black as the support. Four feet beyond the edge of the “table” (A wooden pallet, sat atop two wooden horses), I have an aqua blue paper backdrop. I wasn’t interested in lighting the whole backdrop, as it would no doubt receive some illumination from the spill of the other lights. However, I did want to provide a halo of light that would draw they eye to the product. To do this, I had a 200Ws head on a low floor stand below the table. It was set to fire at 1/8th though a standard reflector. I also fitted a 40° grid to restrict the light from illuminating far beyond the framed area.

    The key light is a 600Ws head, boomed directly over the product and firing at 1/16th through a honeycombed 150cm Octa. I placed a 300Ws accent light frame right, firing at 1/16th through a 100x100cm softbox. To accentuate the texture, I placed a 200Ws head firing at 1/8th through a gridded 40cm beauty dish frame left. This was to increase emphasis on the aluminium ribs and recesses.

    E-M1 mkII 1/50th sec ISO400 12-40mm f2.8 @ f8

    Four heads in total, and the positioning and height etc. is easiest understood from the BTS.

    EM13519-1024x768.

    The E-M1 mkII takes several images, and then interpolates them to create the 80Mp Raw file. Obviously, you don’t see the remarkable detail obtained here, because the image is resized for the tutorial. There are download links to the Raw and full jpeg in the blog post mentioned at the top of the post.

    EM23344-1024x768.

    For completeness, I’ve included the “On White” image, which I find lacks the attraction of the coloured background image, but that might be just me.

    The three main lights (Key and two accents) are in the same, or at least very similar positions and settings. The only light no longer required is the background light, as it’s a white “scoop” rather than a separate backdrop, and close enough to be fully illuminated by the overhead main light.

    E-M1 mkII 1/50th sec ISO400 12-40mm f2.8 @ f8

    In fact, you can see the identical positioning of the heads in the BTS below.

    EM13524-1024x768.

    Photographing on white isn’t particularly difficult, although easy to get wrong if you over light the white background, and then you simply lose contrast on your subject. I don’t light the background more than one full stop above the subject. In this case, the background is actually being lit by the same overhead and accents as the subject, and was to be cut out out anyway.
    The coloured background stuff is always far more interesting to look at. And dare I say it, far more interesting to create.

    Below, I'm just adding a few none white product images, and see if they have more of an appeal for you.

    _d4a3085-.499327.

    Victorinox.

    EM30186-768x1024.
     
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  2. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    The lighting looks very nice. I look forward to see these even though I will never try this sort of photography.
    Like previously mentioned I like you sort of old National Geographic sort of darker style. That light globe shot is really nice. They seem to be using these bulbs in a lot of coffee shops in Sydney these days, and they do add a bit of atmosphere.
     
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  3. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    These bulbs are certainly more appealing than the older frosted tungsten bulbs, that's for sure.
     
  4. steveadams

    steveadams Mu-43 Veteran

    250
    Jun 16, 2016
    South Georgia
    Steve Adams
    I'm with you, I don't think the white background does a good job of showing off this product. I do have a couple of questions. Why use the black hard plastic and not a beautiful black felt? I know you wanted a small reflection of the part but was that to bring some 3D into the photo? Also, the rule of thirds gets pushed on us rookies all the time. I would expect the line dividing the table form the backdrop to be on the thirds line, why isn't it?

    I'm glad to see Olympus getting the bugs out of the hi res photos. Maybe one day it will get passed down to the EM-10 line. :)

    Good work as always. Congratulations on your 50th. :2thumbs:
     
  5. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Well, black felt absorbs light, so it would effectively just be a deep black rectangle behind, without any kind of reference point for the viewer. This would mean the product would look like it was floating.
    Even though there is little reflection, it's more than enough to reaffirm on a subconscious level, the product is sat on something, giving it a depth and dimension that might be otherwise lacking.

    Rule of thirds? Oh, it is actually there ;)
    Higher elevation for the the detail of the top of the product, and the horizon line transverses the image at the top line. One third from the top of the frame.
    We are used to seeing horizons at one third from the bottom of the frame, but this should still sit easily with the viewer, due to the one third background and two thirds support.

    Erm.........
    In theory.
     
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  6. steveadams

    steveadams Mu-43 Veteran

    250
    Jun 16, 2016
    South Georgia
    Steve Adams
    Thanks, I hadn't thought about it looking like it was floating. That explains some of my past photos that turned out to be flops. :redface:
     
  7. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Nah, no photo is ever a flop. Well, not unless your client tells you it is.
    Every photo is a tutorial in self improvement.
     
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  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Sorry Michael.. much as I enjoy your input to the forum I am struggling with this one.

    If you got paid and the client is happy then fine....

    And I understand the 'model' was not the prettiest

    all that said. in my opinion... artistically don't think you have done your best here

    there is no drama at all in your first shot..the hard black horizon jars with me

    the shadows on your white background, they look copy and paste layer false .. as does your swiss army knife

    the 502 reflection looks photoshopped too

    the lamp on the other hand is OK, but not great

    Could I have done better ? doubt it!!... would I hire you to do a product shot for an intricate aluminum casting.. not sure

    Just honest opinion

    cheers

    K
     
  9. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    The white is a cut out and drop shadow, as provided by the client's GFX team.
    The swiss army knife was shot on black glass, and is exactly as it appeared.

    Black glass, not a 'shopped reflection. You can download the raw file from : Downloading from DiskStation
     
  10. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
  11. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Michael.. please dont take this as a personal attack, but just an alternative viewpoint for the purposes of discussion on this forum

    1) your client should sack their 'GFX team' for that cutout and shadow which looks like its been done by the bosses teenage son :)

    2) was the victronix shot a commission or a spec piece? had you noticed that the phillips head screwdriver 'hard' shadow was rather phallic somewhat reminiscent of Prince :)

    3) to me the 502 looks to me more like a 3D computer render of 15 years ago as opposed to a real object...jut saying

    K
     
  12. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    932
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Can't argue with that. They will quite happily pay for the photography, but want their GFX designer to do any cut out? Horse to water, and all that.

    LOL, I hadn't noticed that. It was a commissioned piece about four years ago, maybe longer. Funny though :)

    I do agree. The acrylic photographed very crisp and my only real issue was the dust, which the lights picked out really, really well.
    Ten minutes to photograph, and an hour and a half to de-dust in post. You wouldn't think it had been carefully cleaned before hand, and looked absolutely immaculate.