Here is the article I promised. You can find the original one here, but this one is almost the same too :)
Altough I’m not a professor or expert on studio lighting, I want to write about “shadow-less object / product photography”. You know we generally put our objects on a white seamless paper or anything like that and whenever we click the shutter, there is a shadow on the ground. Then we struggle to delete that shadow to make the object totally isolated. Using this very technique, we can get shadowless images, which means we will save a lot of time during the post-process (almost no isolation needed).
Here are 2D jpegs of this lighting diagram. I upload from various angles to let you see the scene perfectly.
If you want, you can click on the link below to download Google SkechtUp viewer (free) and take a look at the much more detailed 3D version of the lighting diagram. I will be gladful if you spend sometime to take a look and share your ideas if it is more useful and easier to understand then the oldschool 2D diagrams? I will appreciate it...since I created the basic objects, I can draw more examples using those 3d objects, if you like it :)
You will have to download Google SketchUp Viewer from Google's official page to see the diagram.
Click here to download the 3D diagram (2Mb) Official Google 3D Warehouse Link
2D Light Diagrams in .jpeg format
These individual letters are shot using this technique and spend very short time for the post-process. I didn’t use any pen tool, It would be really hard to isolate every letter one by one. So I used this lighting technique and some subtle levels adjustment.
I will not write every step, because it is already easily in the drawings. But I want to add some tips about the lighting, which I can’t mention in the diagrams.
- Use a clean glass. It will save you lots of time in the post process.
- Make your background light +1 EV then the main light, so that you can have a bright background and no contrast loss in the object.
- Obviously, never let the background light spill on the subject. Barn doors are vital here. If possible, use a honeycomb to direct the light to the background (home made barn doors can create wonders)
- We place a black reflector, because we don’t want the light to reflect off room walls and effect the lighting. Place the black reflector carefully and lean it downwards if possible. It is black but it will still reflect some little light.
- You don’t want that powerful light reflect from the white and jump in your lens. So, place the background light as low as possible, because we want it to reflect from the white background and get lost in the black reflector. If you have issues about the contrast, look for possible reflections.
- Keep the object as high as possible, so that you can prevent unwanted reflections and contrast loss.
- We know that light lose power according to the distance it traveled. So if you place the BG light too close, you will get a gradient on your background. Placing the BG light as far as possible will let you have an equal “white” on every part of the frame.
- If you are going to take a series of objects (like letters, watch, jewelry etc) you better fix your camera on a tripod and mark your frame on the glass. This will help you creating frames without having to use the camera. I did so :))
- If you don’t own 2 light sources, still use the glass to take the object away from the background, it will still help you with the shadow.
Thanks for reading, I hope you find it helpful. I’ll appreciate if you share your opinions about the 3d diagram, if you can take a look at it.