Monday, October 20, 2008

D-I-Y Product Photography: Light Tent Photos

As I was writing my previous entry about using available light for photography, I thought I'd blog about product photography using (sort of) available lighting as well. Now, I don't claim to be an expert in any of this. While I was fortunate to apprentice with Carlos Legaspi for a very short time, I still feel that I lack the equipment and experience to go into commercial photography and be successful at it like he is. However, I've made my attempts at such on a small scale by using materials available to one with a small budget.

I may not have the high-powered flash units, the sprawling studio, or the material that a successful commercial photography studio has, but I think that I've been able to come up with some fairly acceptable product shots using several PVC pipes, joints, stiff paper, white cloth and several fluorescent clip lamps (by acceptable I mean good enough to use on ebay or on multiply, and even for a certain stock photography site). All above mentioned equipment will help you build your own light tent!

There are a lot of D-I-Y light tent tutorials available on the net. Based on the product shot samples I saw and the availability of materials, I decided to go with building one using PVC. Instructions for this particular design available here. A flash tutorial is also available here.

The lights used in this particular set-up were halogen, though he also mentioned that he'd been using CFL bulbs as well. I've personally been using 40W CFL bulbs, 4 of them to be exact. It's helped me even out the lighting on several different products. However, while CFLs, or any other hot light (not strobes / flashes) for that matter, provide sufficient light for us to see clearly with, they might not exactly provide enough light to enable you to take your product shots with a hand-held camera. Or rather, you can, however it might require you to increase your ISO / ASA / film speed, and thus sacrificing the quality of the image. If you intend take better quality shots to show detail, you'll have to lower your film speed and shoot with a smaller opening (higher F number). This means slower shutter speeds for you, making this an impossible shot if you don't use a camera support. So, in short, get a tripod.

The following photos were taken using the light tent, a tripod, and the C-8080. I forget the exact settings, but the opening was at f 8.0, ISO at 50, and the shutter speed was damn slow. I used a remote to prevent my hand from blurring the photos.


Crystal Prism
Mustang replica
Boo the bear
Red Glass Ring
Black Brown Nefrite Nazca Necklace (tikanchay)

The last 2 photos in this set are samples of products I shot for a little business my girlfriend and I had / have. It was early on in my light tenting and I was experimenting with some circular fluorescent bulbs as is obvious in the catchlight on the stone and on the ring.

If this is, at all, helpful, leave a comment. :) Thanks!

1 comment:

Nazmul Islam Sujan said...

Yes, you are right there are so many writing about DIY lighting tent. But you have written well. I enjoyed you blog mots.