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I have tried to do some simple product photographing. It is mainly some scrapbooking stuff my wife has produced, like candles and gift cards. Up until now I have been using my Nikon SB-700 for lighting. I bounce the light in the ceiling and I find the light to be rather even. However my wife is not satisfied :(

She wants it to look like this. How do I achieve this result? I have been reading some books and searching the Internet, but still I have not found any good answer to my questions.

I have found a lot of rather cheap lighning kit for product photographing. These usually include some kind of table and some halogen lights. This seems like a good choice. What confuses me is that sometimes there are some cheap studio flash kits that is said to work for product photographing and portraits. So I was thinking; why not use my studio flash with a softbox? It has a color temperature around 5600° Kelvin. I have also found some light bulbs that has a color temperature around 5500° Kelvin. Could I use a couple of them? These cost around $20 each.

All the articles I have been reading explains a lot of color temperatures and little bit on how to setup the lightning. However they do not motivate why.

Could you please help me to sort the things out?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Product photography requires some way of isolating the subject completely within the shot, and even lighting. For this reason I think you would find a light tent extremely useful.

enter image description here

A light tent has two advantages. Firstly, the translucent sides allow you to use virtually any light source (even, in a pinch, regular household lamps) as they diffuse the light evenly across the subject. Halogen lamps aren't essential by any means.

Secondly, the curved backcloth gives an 'infinity curve' effect to the photo - in other words, you can't see where the bottom ends and the back starts, isolating the subject nicely.

Prices vary by size and location, but they will rarely cost more than $30/€25. If you're on a tight budget, you can even make your own using a cardboard box and cooking paper.

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The problem with flash is that you have to do a lot of trial and error to get the lighting just right, as you can't see what it's going to look like until the shot is made. It's fine if you get it set up perfectly and can leave it set up, or do all your shots in a session, but if you have to break it all down and set it up again, it gets tedious.

I would prefer continuous lighting for products. The light isn't as bright, but your subject isn't moving, so as long as you have a tripod, you don't need a big burst of light. You can use inexpensive halogen lamps. The advantage is you can move the lights around and see the effect on the product.

The next thing you need are some diffusion panels or a light tent. Put a light on either side of the product (and possibly one overhead), then you'll get a nice even light wrapping around.

If you are bouncing off the ceiling, you will probably still have some shadows since the light will be coming from one direction. If you want more even light, light from both sides (or one side with a reflector on the other side to fill the shadows)

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