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Intro to Product Photography (for instructables)

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This instructable is meant for anyone making an instructable or slide show who can't seem to get good pictures, or is always criticized about their pictures. These particular tips are intended for shooting small to medium sized projects that can be maneuvered relatively easily, and put in a studio environment. But even if your particular project doesn't fit these criteria, many of the tips I'll be giving are universal, and can be applied to any photographic documentation.

In most projects, it's not practical to take the pictures for each step in front of a backdrop with proper lighting. In these cases, it's often still good to take pictures for the intro slide like this. A good intro picture will attract many more viewers.
 
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Step 1: The Camera

Picture of The Camera
Please try to refrain from using cameraphones or web cams. If you absolutely have to, be sure to have plenty of light, and to rest the camera on something to keep it steady.

Other than that, most cameras should work...use the best one that you have access to. If you don't have access to any cameras, one suggestion is to buy a disposable one, use it, and have them scan the images onto a disk.
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strcrusher4 years ago
lol you have the same whistle as my friend
Gorfram5 years ago
...take... ...the... ...photo... ...from... ...directly.... ...above...

... mind blowingly self-evident, but I would never have thought of it in a zillion years - thanks mucho!
A great Item I found is the sunlight bulb, it's a CFL bulb that's usually around 25 watt and puts out really brilliant white very close to the colour temperature of sunlight, whether it's an SLR or a webcam it makes a big difference and seems to help with autofocus (even I don't get that bit of it) that and if you pick up a few cheapy canvases add some tape and a good bulb, I suggest fluorescent becasue the output is clearer with that than incandescent bulbs. You make a box with an open side and no top, place your object a few inches away from the back and if you have an adjustable flash unit then aim it directly at the object with triple folded kitchen paper as a 'muffler' (I like that term) and put the bulb so the majority of light is falling behind the object you get pretty good definition and also any textures etc will have some contrast because there's slight shadowing. another useful trick is using a room with a low ceiling or a big cardboard box painted white inside and directing the flash straight up or to directly above the objects.
you can get the "sunlight bulbs" at the grocery store they come in almost every conceivable style.
Aye but the incandescent ones are pretty rubbish compared to the CFL ones...
I've never heard of sunlight bulbs...do they have them at hardware stores?
I found them at B&Q which is pretty much a hardware store...

here's a link

Also on the way to one for you (I see Uk pages first) I found that you can get daylight bulbs that produce negative Ions at the same time, by the way those seem a bit pricey if you hunt about a bit you can get them really cheap. Lifetime seems to be about 3 years and running
Very cool...a lightbulb that cleans the air!
yeah I liked it, also i had heard negative Ions are good but didn't no they helped bad smells...
Even better - REAL sunlight! Great lighting, ideal for macro-photography... There's a reason why almost all TimAnderson's pictures for examples are taken outside in the sun. Might not be quite up to scratch for "product photography", but it's a great solution for a nice DIY instructable...
Weissensteinburg (author)  Patrik6 years ago
Not in the evening..
Try sewing shops - embroiderers use them when working after dusk.
djsc6 years ago
nice. I've had a few tries since reading this, having some trouble; any suggestions what kind of lights to use? I tried halogens and they weren't as white as I thought they would be. Also not enough light on the subject with 2 60Watt bulbs and reflectors.
knarx djsc5 years ago
Sorry, I am not a native speaker, so if you meant white with "white as I thought" try the white balance on your camera. If you meant bright with "white as I thought" use a construction spotlight, you can get in every hardware store for a few buck. Be careful, they have 500 Watts and can become very hot. With them you also have to use the white balance on your camera, but brightness should be no problem anymore.
Weissensteinburg (author)  knarx5 years ago
I think he means that they were both too dark, and the wrong color. I could be wrong though.
yeah, thats what I meant. thanks for the tip knarx.
Derin6 years ago
I am gonna so try this!pics coming soon
construction area by Özkan Matbaacılık.bmp
Bran6 years ago
Is it possible/plausible to build a black lightbox? Nice Instructable!
PKM Bran6 years ago
You can put a black backdrop in a lightbox- I did this for some funky low-key-ish photos of dark shiny things, only lighting the lightbox from the sides and underexposing to get side highlights. I would link to the examples on my Flickr account but that's too much of a shameless plug even for me to do on a comments board- if you're interested then PM me
Weissensteinburg (author)  Bran6 years ago
I'm sure you could..but why?
Well, now that I think about it, I'm not quite sure. For light-colored subjects, I suppose. By the way, I signed up at Phodeo - nice site!
Kiteman6 years ago
Good piece, W'berg.

We should get a rash of better pictures now ...

(Yes, I know all my pictures break your rules, but Shed would sulk if he didn't feature in my 'ibles)

PS - am I the only one amused by step 4's self-referential image? A macro shot of a macro function...
It must just be me, then
Weissensteinburg (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Thanks...I hope so!

I understand in your case (sometimes)... puddles and beds don't go along so well...
True, but I was thinking mainly of all my shots lit by fluorescent strip-lighting on a green cutting mat with white markings and a background like my workbench ...
Weissensteinburg (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Ooh, you've reminded about something I wanted to add: In most projects, it's not practical to take the pictures for each step in front of a backdrop with proper lighting. In these cases, it's often still good to take pictures for the intro slide like this. A good intro picture will attract many more viewers.
Oh, and that wasn't directed at you...It was just something I had forgotten to put in.
I realised that - why not edit the comment into your final step?
Weissensteinburg (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
I added it to the intro.
I like that but would prefer a macro shot of a camera doign the macro shot...
*gasp* YOU NOTICED THAT TOO?!?!?!?
I thought I was the only one who noticed that macro thing...
META-MACRO SHOT :D Sorry :P
Too smart. You are too smart. Great Instructable, I like the idea of the weight things and the blanket sheet thing. The pictures are great, the details are awesome, great Instructables Weisensteincheeseburger.

P.S. Weisensteincheeseburger was stolen from Brennn10.
robot.jpg
Weissensteinburg (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Thanks...but what does Global Warming think about it?
He likes it, maybe. Look at the slanted face.

=/

He is thinking...
Weissensteinburg (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
He wishes he had opposable thumbs for camera-ing
Yeah, but he doesn't need no fingers, he has skills inside of that body, and arms shoot out with a high-tech camera, with the best quality ever, and it can snapshot anything, maybe even a picture of an Instructables staff member trying a new experiment, like trying to turn eggs into chickens in the blink of an eye. Yeah, these are the questions... these are the questions.
Weissensteinburg (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Nope, he only has a web cam, and as step 1 says, you shouldn't use that for instructables.
Oh... true. Maybe his wheels have super jet like powers, and he can shoot across Squid Labs or the Instructables HQ as fast as the lightning being shot from Zeus's hands, and he can take any pictures.

Need Help?

Call Instructables Robot.
Anytime, anywhere.
He'll be there.
(555) Ins-truc-tab-les.

P.S. This is fake.

By the way, do you have AIM?
It would be easier to talk on that. :P
Weissensteinburg (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Or maybe...he can roll really fast!
If you can guess my AIM, you can have it =]
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