Learn How to Photograph Your Product

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Tim   8/27/2012 7:16:33 PM
The note about using a frame of reference for pictures is a great word of advice. My job involves dealing with production quality complaints. Some quality departments will take pictures so close to a part that you have no idea where the defect is on the part.

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Tim   8/27/2012 7:16:35 PM
The note about using a frame of reference for pictures is a great word of advice. My job involves dealing with production quality complaints. Some quality departments will take pictures so close to a part that you have no idea where the defect is on the part.

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Re: Glare in photos
gsmith120   8/27/2012 7:28:10 PM
Jon, great article and tips, my daughter is a chef and we are always taking pictures of her food.  Some of the pictures she puts on her web site so the quality of the pictures is real important. I will have to share this article with her.

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Some tips and examples...
DaveJ   8/28/2012 12:40:50 PM
(Sorry, my flickr image links are getting mangled; higher resolution images are available via the http address above each image if you're interested) 

Jon, these are great tips!

#2 - the polarizer is a must have and is the only filter that cannot be replicated in photoshop.

#6 - Tripod usage is what sets the professionals apart from the amateurs!

Any discussion of photo lighting should include a link to the Strobist blog.  This link takes you to a <$10 KISS DIY lighting studio.  Keep in mind that you can simply use the sun and some poster board "photon bounce" cards for your lighting.  It's inexpensive and easy to white balance.  Here is a link to an example setup I created:


and a photo result:


If you have large products to photograph, David Hobby Mr. Strobist shows you how to scale this table top DIY light studio to a 12' cube

Check your local floor tile shop for chipped tiles they give away or sell for pennies. I procured a heavy stack of 1ft/sq granite and glass tiles for <$1.  Acrylic plastic sheets also make for a nice base that contains muted product reflections.

LCD display brightness just can't compete with the brightness of the sun or flashes. The quick answer is two exposures are required, one for the product and another for the screen.  Use a layer mask to blend in the screen display over the product photo. Here is one of my examples.



A micro lens or lens extension tubes are handy for detailed electronic parts.  Just be careful to control the lighting angles (and a polarizer) to ensure the chip package labeling is easy to read.  Example:


Inexpensive light tents are also available if you're not interested in going DIY.  Here is an example of the results from a $35 light tent using only hot mid-day summer sunlight. It simply was a quick setup and shoot with a (fancy) point and shoot camera.



So long post short, for a minimum financial investment and some practice, very high quality images can be made of your projects.  Thanks Jon for starting this informative discussion!


Jon Titus
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Re: Some tips and examples...
Jon Titus   8/28/2012 12:48:01 PM
Hi, DaveJ.  Thanks for adding your comments and insight to our discussion.  I hadn't thought about tile as a background but will give it a try after my next visit to Home Depot or Lowe's. --Jon

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Re: Some tips and examples...
NadineJ   8/31/2012 11:06:50 AM
Great post!  That studio looks familiar.  I've built many of those over the years.

Tripods are useful but sometimes you just don't have one.  I had a professor who taught us how to use found objects and timers in lieu of tripods. 

I was the best at taking long exposures (traffic mostly) without a tripod.  Framing the shot and hugging a street lamp (hold breath-squeeze tight) did the trick.  It was fun.

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