A&P With my current job, I've been thrown into Product Photography

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by jeepilot, May 9, 2007.

  1. jeepilot

    jeepilot Banned

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    So i work for a company than makes lawn and garden products and ATV accessories. Swisher Mower and Machine Co. I work in the office and about 3-4 months ago began informally taking pictures for marketing, catalog, presentations etc... of our products. I was using the company's Kodak Easy Share 8mp and did what I could with what I had. About the same time I also started editing the photos using the only software they had purchased, JASC Paint Shop Pro. Basically, I took the pictures that they had of products, or ones I took of products and edited them myself trying to get the studio look with an entirely white background.

    Well now that i've gotten my D80 I've kinda officially taken over, and been doing it more and more. Most of the shots will either end up in a catalog or in some other marketing tool that will be printed. Unfortunately i don't have the hardware or all of the knowledge i need to make the shots look perfect. The attached pictures shows kinda with what i'm dealing with and what i can do.
    Here's an original with nothing but my D80, some work lights and some sheets in an abandoned office:
    [​IMG]
    Here's what i managed to turn it into. This really isn't the best example of the work i've done, and i'll post some more later. I normally cut out the entire object and make the background solid white. I left the background on this looking a bit like a studio, because cutting out each individual time would be nearly impossible.
    [​IMG]

    So all you pro's out there, what can i do to get better looking studio-like shots given VERY limited resources?

    Btw... i have an SB-600 w/diffuser on the way. I'm thinking of picking up a 50mm F1.8 but wondering if it'll work for what i want it to do.

    Currently have a Sunpack Pro tripod(i got it for $35 so i can't complain), Kit 18-135 lens, and lots of ideas.



    here's some shots i just took today, btw not worked at all, just straight from the camera. I did bracket all pictures +-.7EV and shot in RAW+fine.jpg, but these are the fine.jpg pics resized:


    Tell me what you think, open to criticisim[​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    and btw, please don't use or re-distribute the pictures without permission, TIA.
     
  2. jeepilot

    jeepilot Banned

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    here's another that is a little bit more of the photochop skills
    [​IMG]
    original
    [​IMG]
    Edited.

    If anyone knows a better way other than background eraser in Paint Shop Pro, for doing something like this, please let me know.

    I didn't take these pics btw.
     
  3. Airpoppoff

    Airpoppoff Vodka > Racing F1

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    :rofl:
     
  4. Tedrzz

    Tedrzz New Member

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    do you have any good fields around you? considering what you are shooting is used on farms, maybe a good setting would be a farm setting?

    the snowblower shot..the background is blown out. there is a difference between having a white seamless background and a screaming white background. good work
     
  5. Devin

    Devin New Member

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    why didnt you edit out that crazy noise on the side of that thing ?
     
  6. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    wow, thats a lot of noise. How'd you do that?
     
  7. skolen

    skolen Guest

    From someone who's done this before (Exoticar.com) you're going to want to set yourself up a little studio in the corner that won't be disturbed.

    You won't want a catalogue filled with pictures showing multiple light sources for different items. You also won't want to spend most of your time in post cutting the product from the background or correcting WB.

    I would use a big, heavy white sheet draped in the background & across the floor with white poster board placed around the floor under the product. Forgive me if I don't know the proper terms here, but you'll want a decent sized hood lamp for reflections and 2 umbrella lamps on the sides for fill.

    After setting this up, take several shots with different equipment to set up your WB. A big problem I had was getting white & chrome to stand out from the white background. If you're using Photoshop to correct the images you may want to create an Action that will do most of the major tweaks for you.
     
  8. Colonel Panic

    Colonel Panic New Member

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    Learn to use the pen tool or turn it over to somebody that can do it right.
     
  9. xpinchx

    xpinchx hes got a nice cock, on the thin side but its stil

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    I won't lie, those are all pretty bad.
     
  10. vwpilot

    vwpilot New Member

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    Yeah, they are good for what you are working with, but I cant imagine a company wanting to use those for their actual catalogs and stuff (no offense).

    I also fail to see why you are using your OWN equipment for your company. If they want photos for work without hiring a professional photographer, they should AT VERY LEAST be supplying the gear. Are you charging them extra for this work? Are you getting any kind of compensation for the wear and tear on your gear? Are they paying for the other equipment you need to buy?

    You need to tell them that you are ok with doing the photography, but they are going to have to pony up for a basic dslr, one lens to do what you need and some inexpensive hot lights to create a small studio to do this.

    Dont get roped into this and get screwed.
     
  11. Hippy

    Hippy New Member

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    ok if u shoot right u wont need to cut anything out. get a big as white sheet and drape it from the cieling to the floor. The key here is to light up the white fabric consitantly and bright enough that it is very close to being a blown highlight, or white.
     
  12. jeepilot

    jeepilot Banned

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    It's like i'd get in trouble with my company if you did show them to someone, i'd just prefer if you'd not be an ass, and didn't.

    Well we do, and we have those kinds of shots, but in some cases what we need is a studio shot with all white background to use in different ways, this is what i'm talking about.

    The "Action" shots as we call them are the easier ones.

    I didn't take the snowblower shots, so i had very little to work with on that one.
     
  13. jeepilot

    jeepilot Banned

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    yeah how would i do that in a program like Paint shop pro? I used edge and texture preserving smooth to get it as smooth as i could.

    and yeah i don't really know how he managed to get that much noise in the picture. Must have been like iso 1600 or something out of a really crappy camera.




    I should have been more clear earlier. The shots that I work with in Paintshop pro, rarely would make it into a calendar with the way i can manage to butcher a picture. Most of the photoshop stuff i do is only used in presenations or for pictures on the web, which end up being very small. and unfortunately i don't have access right now to some of the better chops that i've done. really this is me doing what i can, in a very short ammount of time, and not putting a lot of time into these pics.



    As far as equipment, i doubt my company would be willing to buy me a new flash and lens just for taking these pictures. Really, my other option is to use their Kodak Easyshare, which i'd prefer not to. I'll bring it up to them to purchase some actual background material, and maybe an SB-800 or a firefly strobe setup:x:, but i really doubt that'll happen.

    Thanks for the reccomendations, and keep the "constructive criticism" coming.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hippy
    ok if u shoot right u wont need to cut anything out. get a big as white sheet and drape it from the cieling to the floor. The key here is to light up the white fabric consitantly and bright enough that it is very close to being a blown highlight, or white.



    What do you all reccomend to use to light up a studio, for the cheapest ammount of possible? As it stands i have an SB-600 on the way, the onboard flash, and access to some 300 W Halogen work lamps.





    Also, everyone keep in mind that i'm an Aviation Grad Student that has no experience whatsoever in any photoshop or graphics manipulaiton sofware what so ever. All learning has been through necessity and trial and error. I'm about the only person that has any idea on how to take pictures and edit them at the company that i work for, and that's why i got "promoted" to photo guy. So when you see these pics, and say, man a 5 year old could do better, it's probably because they could, but that's why i come to you OTAP, and ask for reccomendations and tips on how to take better pictures. I guess the photoshop thing can only be taught in class, and with lots of free time. Thanks again.
     

  14. If you think you'd get in trouble, do what I do, dont show your stuff on the internetz. :dunno:
     
  15. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    :werd:

    You are really getting screwed in this arrangement, whether you realize it or not.
     
  16. eof

    eof New Member

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    You need photoshop too....you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure by even attempting to use anything else in my opinion.
     
  17. skolen

    skolen Guest

    Tell them to supply you with the tools to do the job correctly & professionally or don't ask them to insult you with such a request again.

    Let out an audible *Humf* as you turn your nose up and walk out.
     
  18. eof

    eof New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Oh btw you have to put cunt on all your pictures or Pete will steal them and say they are his. He is especially fond of machinery and most likely is telling someone he took your pictures right now.
     
  19. Meh, you suck at the jokes

    Oh and I can remove the cunt in about 3 minutes, you suck at photoshop by the way :mamoru:
     
  20. eof

    eof New Member

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    meh...I know that was weak. :hs:
     

  21. what happened to your off the wall crazy rude posts!? :wtc:
     
  22. ( * )( * )

    ( * )( * ) OT Supporter

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    :rofl: :rofl:

    Time to re-write your contract/agreements.
     
  23. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    Well, he's right. Pete doesn't show HIS stuff on the internetz. :mamoru:
     
  24. ( * )( * )

    ( * )( * ) OT Supporter

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    :rofl:
     
  25. jeepilot

    jeepilot Banned

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    good to see that this thread, like many others has went from meh to wtf...

    Just looking for some advice.

    I'll be sure to ask for a bit for my services. What would someone ask for per hour while actually taking pictures? Or should i go by a Per photograph used fee? if so how much. Really i'm pissing into the wind here.


    the the stuff that actually ends up in a catalog is played with and edited by someone who's actually went to school for graphic design.

    I'll be the first to say that, no i can't photochop worth too much, but i do try, and have learned only through necessity, and experimentation.
     

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