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Thread: Product Photography Outdoors at Night?

  1. #1
    Member Keifygeorge's Avatar
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    Product Photography Outdoors at Night?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking to take product shots of hammocks for my website. I want to purchase a white backdrop and softbox lighting. The two options I have in terms of location are my garage which is 2.8m wide by 3.6 m high.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The next option is this covered outdoor area which is 3.6m wide by 2.8 m high. This is my preference due to the size of the hammocks and the extra space it gives me for lighting etc. The question I have is whether it would be a good idea to use this outdoor space at night with softbox lighting? I am considering a 3m x 3m white backdrop.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Ok, firstly as the second location is your preferred option, use that.

    Now lighting. A softbox is going to do just that, give you soft even lighting, but at night, the background is going to look fairly boring, so what about some candles on pedestals, a bunch of flowers. Some plants in pots. A book, cushions, or other things to create a nice mood. Even a warm glow to the scene? Some LED fairy lights? If you want your products to look their absolute best in the photos, you will need to be more creative than just using a softbox. Some nice sheer material to create a backdrop or even placed in front of the hammock and tied back (curtain like) and shoot through to the hammock.

    There are a myriad of options, as there are lighting options, but sounds to me like you want to create product photos that sell a mood, and encourage people to think "Oh I could put a hammock out the back and with some candles it could be lovely on a summer eve". So you need to make that mood and then photograph it. A softbox will give you nice even light but it won't create a mood all on its own.

    Even though it is not at night, as an example, in your last photo there is to much clutter, get rid of the blue chairs, get rid of the power cable, get rid of the extra blue rope(?) hanging from the roof. If you want to make your product THE thing, you need to get rid of everything in the photo that has no purpose. Simplify your scene, only have things in it that you want in it.

    As an example, have a look at this : http://www.bystephanielynn.com/wp-co...ng-730x285.jpg
    The hammock is featured but the things around it create the mood and want me to be there, lying in the hammock.
    Last edited by ricktas; 09-06-2015 at 5:53pm.
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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I agree with Rick. Backdrop is everything and in this case you want something natural. I would try find a natural location to take your photos, string up the hammock, takes some photos and pull it down.
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    Thanks for the replies and I definitely agree about painting the picture. This setup will be for shooting all the various patterns of which there are many. It is at the point of the website where you have decided you want to buy one of our hammocks and now you need to decide which pattern/colour you would like.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    ah. So I would simplify that completely. Showing them whole hammocks is just going to make people question the one they have chosen. I would go as simple as a swatch patch showing just the colours and patterns. Keep it simple!

    So it goes. Pick hammock from full images. Pick pattern and colour from a swatch patch. Like buying a new lounge, you find the style you like then you get given swatch patches of material, colours and patterns to pick from. You do not get whole lounges to look at, other than the one on floor stock, generally.

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    Thanks Ricktas for your excellent feedback. I do however want to include the whole hammock in the catalogue shots. The hammock as it is setup in the picture above with a white background is really what I am after. The only reason I suggested doing it at night is due to the fact that it is outdoors and I am not sure if it is possible to do this kind of product photograpy during the day.

    I watched some good tutorials about product photography or large items last night https://fstoppers.com/commercial/pro...-objects-55863. This guy is suggesting using polystyrene boards to reflect light from speed lights as an economical lighting option. I am wondering what kind of speed lights he is referring to.

    Thanks,

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    I am looking at using 4 x YongNuo YN-560 III Flashguns with wireless triggers, in the setup below. I now need to figure out how to use this equipment and integrate it with my Olympus OMD EM. Also I assume I will need 4 tripods for the flashguns.

    [IMG][/IMG]

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    For me, if you get the lighting right, you are well on your way to great photos. But the issue is the background. With respect, your yard is not that inviting as a place to want to go and relax. If I were you, I would invest in some white or other colour, backdrops to hide it completely. Go to Bunnings and get some of those privacy screens . Perhaps put some on the ceiling of your area too, to create a 'hut' type environment. Make your background interesting but not overpowering. Even consider getting some props, like pedestals, that you can put some really nice pots with ferns on, some old style lanterns etc. What you need to create is a 'set', that features your hammock in a scene that says 'I want to go lie in that hammock now. Getting the lighting right is only part of the overall. And you need a variety of props for your shoot(s). Having the same scene with a different hammock in it, will get boring to a viewer very fast. You also need to consider masculine and feminine. Perhaps a few with an eski and some beers, rather that cushions and plants?

    If you go to google and just type in 'hammocks' then go to google images, the ones that stand out and are inviting are those that involve a 'whole scene', rather than those that are just a hammock in backyard, or those with a plain white background and nothing else. You are selling hammocks, yes, but what you are really selling to the consumer is a place to relax, wind down, and more.

    So get your lighting right, get your background right, and get the atmosphere right.

    Experiment with the lights at different heights too. Put some on the ground, or on the roof directly above the hammock, doing so will help create mood in your photos. Some light positions will work, others will not. You will soon learn what doesn't once you start looking at the resultant photos. Also remember to change the power output from the lights. 100% power is not always the best choice. Sometimes having one light at 100% and the other 3 at 50% creates a better result. Experimentation is the key, with that comes your learning, what works and what doesn't. There is no 'do this' lighting solution that works every time for every shot. Each can, and usually has to be, different. Why? Cause that is how you create great photos, differing moods and inviting images that will make someone want to buy your product.
    Last edited by ricktas; 12-06-2015 at 6:58am.

  9. #9
    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Looking at the images above and seeing the space undercover that you have available I would be inclined to spend some time and a little money on creating a good clean backdrop for the products. Either one that can be pulled down at the end of a photography session or left permanently in place depending on your needs for the area. Certainly with the amount of roof area available to block direct harsh sunlight photographing in the middle of the day should not be a problem if your product / backdrop / sunlight alignments are good. Reflected available light could work ok on a sunny day or for more light on the product a pair of speedlights should provide enough coverage to give good exposure and detail in the final image.

    Yes, you will have to learn about flash power to adequately expose your product and using both the camera and speedlights in manual modes would be my preferred method. Once you spent a day working out the best angles and distances for the lighting and the framing of the product against your backdrop the hard work is done and each and every time you set out to do another product the settings should be almost identical.

    So in short, backdrop in place, product hung at an appropriate angle to display it well, camera on a tripod ( keeps framing consistent and is one less thing to worry about while you adjust lighting ), 2 speedlights on stands with either reflective umbrellas or shoot through diffusion umbrellas, a wireless trigger to suit your camera and 2 remote receivers that work with the trigger. I think that some of the later Yongnuo speedlights have built in receivers to mate with the same brand triggers.

    Have a look through AP site advertiser Protog's website to get an idea of the gear needed, he retails Yongnuo gear, light stands and lighting modifiers.

    You have the most important part of the whole equation to me, undercover space, the rest is simply spending some money and learning the use of the gear.
    I would consider once you have a good backdrop to work against in place in that space that the rest of the process would be an extremely easy affair.
    Last edited by I @ M; 12-06-2015 at 6:55am.
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    Hi Guys,

    My backdrop width required is about 4.5m. I have worked out it is a lot less expensive to purchase 2 x 3m wide by 6m long white back drops ($80 x 2) compared to 1 x 6m wide by 6m wide white backdrop ($360). If i am combining two backdrops is there going to a major issue with the joining (seam) of the two backdrops?

    Thanks

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keifygeorge View Post
    Hi Guys,

    My backdrop width required is about 4.5m. I have worked out it is a lot less expensive to purchase 2 x 3m wide by 6m long white back drops ($80 x 2) compared to 1 x 6m wide by 6m wide white backdrop ($360). If i am combining two backdrops is there going to a major issue with the joining (seam) of the two backdrops?

    Thanks
    now that depends on your lighting and photography skills. Ensure the hammock is far enough away from the backdrops and that you use a well chosen aperture and the backdrop join should not show. Also your lighting comes into play if you have it directed so that the seam is highlighted, then it will be more obvious.

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    One final question before I purchase the back drop, there is an option to choose between cotton muslin that is 150g/sqm and 170g/sqm. The thicker sheet is $20 more expensive and I am wondering if it is worth going for the extra thickness?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Hi I came across this photo online and really like the background. Does anyone know what kind of finish is on the wall/background?

    Many thanks

    http://s1020.photobucket.com/user/er...39385.jpg.html

    *Image changed to a link. Please do not put photos that you do not own copyright to, on Ausphotography: admin*
    Last edited by ricktas; 03-07-2015 at 8:06am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    There are literally thousands of backdrop colours and textures. The only way you will find out exactly which one that is is contact the photographer on photobucket and ask.

    You might find something similar at this aussie based backdrops site : http://www.backdropsandprops.com.au/
    Last edited by ricktas; 03-07-2015 at 8:08am.

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