My setup is:

1, Bounce umbrella 2, Shoot Thru Umbrella 3, camera :)


enter image description here

The result: enter image description here

I think there are too many shadows. Is there any way to avoid shadows with this setup?

  • Seems to me that the problem is more the shadows aren't in the right place, meaning below the object. At least one light should be higher up. – Olin Lathrop Nov 15 '13 at 22:43
  • shame about the close, what a nice question, with pictures! Welcome to photo.stackexchange!!! – Paul Cezanne Nov 16 '13 at 2:23
  • @PaulCezanne Where's the shame? The point of marking duplicates is to consolidate information, not anything negative. – Please Read My Profile Nov 16 '13 at 5:15
  • Sorry, what I meant was "It's a shame that it will be closed." It is such a nicely crafted question. – Paul Cezanne Nov 16 '13 at 11:20
  • I got good tips here, thank you guys! I'll try all of them. – Adrian Nov 16 '13 at 11:25

If you can increase the separation between the product and the backdrop, you need a light on the backdrop that isn't increasing the exposure of the product. Increase the power for the back light until the background is right at maximum saturation (in other words, on the verge of clipping). Ideally you want a white backdrop to be exposed higher than the product, not lower.

With products that have spaces not reached by the front lights, you also need an overhead light to eliminate the shadows inside the bowl.

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  • I will try this too! Thank you. One more question: with a light tent would be easier? – Adrian Nov 15 '13 at 21:47
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    Some people find it easier to illuminate the back from behind the light box, but not all light boxes/tents allow light from behind to pass through so it depends on the way the light box/tent is made. – Michael C Nov 15 '13 at 22:02

If you can raise your object being photographed, and pull it farther away from the vertical background, you can place the shadows behind the object so they won't be visible. This is much easier to do than adding additional lights, which will cause still more shadows to cover.

You can also use a couple of white sheets to further diffuse your umbrellas as light sources, which will soften the shadows, perhaps to the point they will not be visible.

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You need a top light (neither of the front lights can get down in to the product). Ideal placement would be above and slightly in front of the product. You also need to turn down your key light (or turn up your fill).

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  • As you see on the top-left corner I have a magnetic lamp, I try with it. – Adrian Nov 15 '13 at 21:19

Some great answers already. Here is what I would do: Soft box with light on a boom directly over head, two additional lights with Softbox at a 45 degree direction opposite of each other. Slightly elevate the back of the product so there is a slight tilt forward. Shoot slightly above the product with a downward turned angle.

Now two very important points; 1) Your front lights should be close to level with the product, 2) Your EV needs to be identical at every visible angle. Even a half a stop out and you could start to see some shadowing.

Also, I really wouldn't shoot products with umbrellas. They tend to throw light everywhere and you lose a lot of control, which is the absolute worst thing when shooting products. You will really be doing yourself a favour by using soft boxes or light diffusing panels. Hope that helps.

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Coaxial light is shadowless. You can create it by using a large onesided mirror, where your camera will be hind it, shooting through it. it will be at a 45 degree angle and the light should fire from the side and will be reflected off the mirror onto your subject. As the light rays from the light and the rays going to the camera will have the same angles, there will be no shadows seen by the camera. There will be a shadow, but it will be exactly behind the subject, occluded by it.

Whether the subject will look interesting is another matter.

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  • Coaxial light is not necessarily shadowless. See, for example, the setup and result at the bottom of this answer: photo.stackexchange.com/a/53246/27832 – feetwet Oct 26 '14 at 18:34
  • thats because it is not coaxial light. it is mixed sources. Real coaxial light is contained. falcon-illumination.com/_images/structure/flfv%20(1).gif – Michael Nielsen Oct 26 '14 at 22:38
  • Sounds like you're talking about the difference between point-source and diffuse light. I agree that a diffuse coaxial source will cast no visible shadows if the source projects onto an area larger than the light cone of the lens ... or something like that. – feetwet Oct 26 '14 at 22:45
  • A point source coaxial light still would not cast a shadow. The reason that you see shadows in that other image is because the splitter/mirror turns part of the light coaxial (assuming correct angle), but the direct light from it from the side is not blocked, so that side light created shadows. The reason coaxial light cannot create shadows in the image is that that anything that occludes the light , will also occlude the field of view, so the cmaera cannot see the shadows. THe shadows are there, but the image will not show them. – Michael Nielsen Oct 27 '14 at 11:49
  • Could you add a diagram to your answer? In the linked image the point light source happens to be (virtually) in front of the camera's sensor. Even if you move a point light source back to the camera's sensor plane then there would be shadows because the sensor is not a point, so it will capture umbras. As far as I can imagine you only avoid shadows with a coaxial point source if it is far enough behind the sensor plane that the beam spread is at least as wide as the sensor at the (virtual) point it crosses the sensor plane. – feetwet Oct 27 '14 at 12:44

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