Product photography has its own challenge. How to light it, how to style it or in short, how to make a still product look appealing on the media where we are going to present it. There are a few lessons that I learnt through trials and errors and I'm happy to share them with you. These are not the absolute only way, but one of the methods that has helped me doing my works.
Placing the light where it should be
I realised this when I was told "place the subject towards the light and there was one only one light source in the nature, which is the sun". It was an eye opening moment to me and makes sense that we only need one main light and the rest is just the fill light.
In practice, when I use flash to light the product, I put the main light at 2 or 11 o'clock. The height would depend on the subject itself. The rest will be the fill light and I place them where ever I think it can help to create the shape of the subject and perhaps to create a separation from the background.
When it's not right, find the source of the problem and fix it. Is it too bright? Is the shadow to harsh? Is there a spill? Is the light not even? Does the key light intersect with the fill light? Do I not get the result that I want? The list can go on and on... :) What I can suggest is, to fix the problem one at a time. Have a lot of helpful gadgets with you... some useful ones are black carton, sticky tape, clips, some weights, tissues, black marker, scissors, satay sticks, velcro strap... what else?
Getting it right SOOC or at least almost...
Sometimes I find it hard to get the photo 100% right out of camera. However, if I find that the photo is almost right and I don't need to spend hours fixing the photos on photoshop, then I will take it as the final photos.
For example with the white background, I would try to get even lighting as it's easier to fix on PS to get it 0000 white. When I encountered difficulties retaining the details the edge of clear plastic bag after flagging here and there, I tend to get the photo slightly underexpose and then fixing it with 2 level layers with masks on PS. Coz... once you loose the details, it's almost impossible to fully recover them. You can do layering several images, but I'm not that patient to do a composite. If you have a better solution, please feel free to share it with me :)
Don't forget to keep the area clean from debris, dirt, smears... otherwise, you know the consequences ahhaha
Learn using flashes, strobes, desk lights or artificial light... you name it...
I remember when I attended the workshops by Dario Milano and Creative Photo Workshops, all of them mentioned that working with artificial light gave so much flexibility. It is just so true! The investment may be big at the beginning, but there are always ways to start with the small budget. I'm using speedlights in this case as I find them very portable and no cables all around the studio. My softboxes, light stands, umbrella holders and transmitters are all China brand and made. They work find for me and serve the purpose. The only thing with the speedlights, I use Canon, so I know they will work with my camera and I can use them on camera with ETTL function too. No extra worries when I keep on moving on my feet. Let's say during event photography coverage or taking wedding ceremony and reception photos :) Perhaps for next investments, I'll source other brands as spares for this off camera use.
Going back to the advantage lists:
Ok... that's all for now. Happy clicking!
Until next time...
I'm a fun and friendly Melbourne based portrait and wedding photographer.
Thank you for visiting and I look forward to having you here often!