my my wife has started working for a company on some product photography but is struggling to get the perfect image. Can someone help to get the best image for her.
The image is still not sharp and the image of the product and the background is still dark.
the settings using a cannon 700d are:
she did change the the ISO to 1600 and the image is brighter but the quality and sharpness is not great.
I will get try to get an image uploaded when she back into work this week.
all the help would be great. Thanks
Tripod was not used but will now be used on Friday.
Definitely not an 18-55 as it's longer . Will report back on that on Friday.
Products would be rings (jewellery) , t-shirts, to large plush teddy bears.
Distance in lens will depend on the size of the object.
She's not familiar with white balance or depth of field.
If she wants to do product photography at the professional level (i.e., if she's getting paid for it), she'd better start getting familiar with depth of field sooner rather than later. At the camera-to-subject distances commonly used in product photography, depth of field can be pretty important.
This image was the result of an experiment using image stacking software. At this focusing distance, less than a foot, the lens could not capture the entire coin in focus. If I were to slice the image into a dozen horizontal slices, then the lens could only get just one slice in focus.
A total of 40 shots went into the creation of this single final image. A series of 4 shots taken of each horizontal “slice”. These 4 shots were combined to average out noise. This created 10 images, one at each slice, were stacked into the final image. While noise was noticeably reduced, the sharpness of the final image seems to have suffered, probably due to large amounts of processing.
Below is a shot of a single slice. This is what comes out of the camera. Notice how a “slice” across the center of the coin is in focus, while the rest of the coin is out of focus..
If the above explanation is hard to understand, then you should have some idea how big the learning curve is you need to climb. As for the background color, I used a flat white background, but completely forgot about capturing white balance to make it appear white, as it did to the eye.
"If she wants to do product photography at the professional level (i.e., if she's getting paid for it), ..."
Hmm, I've done that. I can tell you without hesitation when somebody tells you what gear you need, they have not done it. The truth is you need what you need. If it is a tripod, fine. if you don't need a tripod, fine. A macro lens, fine. No macro, that is fine too. And ... etc, etc on and on. The end result is what you really "need".
We used everything from a P&S to a large format 8x10 camera. I will tell you the better you are at problem solving all the better things will be. Items that have no relation to photography can be life savers. In other words gadgets!
There is no doubt the better gear you do use wil have an easier road to a successful outcome. If you have a Rebel with the kit lens and the guy with a 1Dx MK II and "L" lens is probably going to get a better result.
One tip besides learning the basics of photography which is mandatory, don't use any auto settings. Set everything exactly the way you or the exposure warrants. This should include many shots with slight adjustment from the optimal settings. Over and under. It does require, again mandatory, to learn and use a post editor like Photoshop.
So, the question is, just how good do you want to be? Willing to put in the effort and work?
I would drop the ISO to 400. My preferred aperture is around 8.0 or 9.1. I won't say other apertures and ISOs are wrong as obviously they work for others and their equipment. Since you have set your aperture and ISO, you only need to worry about the shutter speed. With still life that isn't much of a problem provided nothing is moving.
Move the lights back and turn them onto the products. In the sample shot, you are wasting the light by having it bounce away from the camera. Let the lights reflect off the products to the camera. That usually means closer to the axis of the camera. That also helps remove stray light reflecting into the lens. Make sure your backdrop is non reflective. I would use more distance between the subject and the backdrop, but that is something you might need to play with. My suggestion is having the lights at 90 degrees to each other with the camera in the center at 45 degrees to the lights.
A tripod is preferred in still life and is required with slow shutter speeds. If you don't have one, then using a folded up blanket or large towel on a platform or table can work. Either use a remote shutter or set the camera for delayed shutter. That removes any camera shake caused by pressing the button. Using a table and recording straight to a computer also helps and you can see right away what you have.
While an expensive, graphite $350 tripod is nice, you just need something that is steady. If someone else is buying, get the expensive one. If you're buying, then anything in your price range can be made to work. A hint with the cheaper tripods is to bend the legs out a bit. That helps to stop any vibration. Collapsing the tripod and setting it on a table beside a computer works too.
I prefer a longer lens (EF 100mm, f-2.8) set up a few feet from the subject. That opens up my depth of field somewhat. It also allows room to rearrange the display as required without bumping the tripod. However, as mentioned, even a kit zoom lens will work if that is all you have. If the subject is small, such as a ring, you will want to use a macro lens and get closer. For something very small, get closer but at least 25% further away than the minimum focus. So if your minimum focus is 20", set up 25" from the lens to the subject.
If you are doing a lot of different subjects, use small cards with the part number or description on them. Place the card at the edge of the shot. That way when you go through them later you can identify what the object is. Crop out the card and label the photo with the part number. Last year I led a team photographing everything in our warehouse for a sales catalogue. That trick came in handy.
Just remember there is no "only way" to do it. If my suggestions work for you then great. If you like someone else ideas then go for it. Just do what works the best for you and trial and error helps a lot.
Move the lights back and turn them onto the products.
Moving the lights away from the subject will also move the lights away from the background. Net Result: a darker background.
Inverse Square Law says the light intensity drops off exponentially with distance.