Nothing fancy today, I’m just going to show you how to get rich. Not really, you’ll have to pay me if you want me to reveal that secret. I will however show you how to take a decent product shot if you want to sell some stuff.
I decided to sell my SB-400 since I don’t think it will see much use anymore. The only thing I used it for was my macro work and now I’ve changed the setup for that as well. So, before putting up an ad I wanted some shots that would make my product look good; first impression is important. For most of my previous product shots I’ve gone the low key route with fairly hard rim lights. This time I wanted to do it differently, with softer light and a high key background.
The kind of look that I went for could very easily be accomplished with a light tent. If you’re shooting small things you can even build your own from a cardboard box and some white paper. However, by doing it the way I did, I feel that the light gets more direction and defines the shapes better. I think that’s one of the most important things to remember when shooting small gadgets; you really want to define the shape and get a nice 3D feel going. Without further ado I present to you the setup shot (pause for shocked gasps).
We have two LP160s in umbrellas, one on either side, and a YN560 in softbox in a table top position (aimed straight down). Since my light sources are rather big, in relation to the subject, they produce very soft and nicely wrapping light. The reason that my rim lights are standing behind the subject like this is that I don’t want the light to wrap around to the front, which is something that would be guaranteed to happen if they were placed straight to the sides.
Another reason for their placement and direction was that I wanted them to blow out the background. I don’t have anything I can use as an infinity spread (a seamless background that makes it look like the background keeps going forever) so I wanted to see if I could get things blown out enough to get the same effect. Didn’t really work so I just shot everything at an angle that made sure the board the subject is on was the only thing showing up in the background. Same effect but different way of doing it.
Finally we have the main light coming in straight from above. Again, the position of the light is to bring out shape. Hade the light been more in front we would have lost some of those defining details. For the first shot in this post that’s all I used but for the shot to the left I had one more light. Nothing fancy, just a bit of fill from the popup flash, unnoticeable unless you see the same shot without it. The reason it’s needed in this shot is of course that the other lights don’t quite reach all the way into the shadows, so something is needed to bring out the detail a bit.
That’s all there is too it, quite a simple setup despite the number of lights used. I can also inform you that I got several replies the same day I published the ad and sold it pretty much immediately. The money will be used for my next gear related purchase. It’s an expensive hobby we have…