Questions on: Reflective surfaces, lighting, and more

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Guest, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest


    I'm taking pictures of our products right now. I have a light box and a hoopty loightin rig. No matter what I do, I get hot spots. Any tips on this? Our bottles reflect, as do the caps and even labels :(

    I also need to find a better lighting rig and have heard of a lot of photographers using screw in PC power twists (daylight) as decent light sources. Any one know of cheap alternatives like this (in a better spectrum?)?

    Any one care to try their hand at taking product pics? I'll pay in product, paypal, or both :) Heck, I'll run down rare frags even :D
  2. CitS

    CitS Guest

    Don't use the flashes directly, reflect them off a white sheet.
    or though a white cloth
  3. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    I wonder if you can use those bounce light diffusers - I'm sure Art would no.

    Yeah, you definitely do not want to the flash directly. Btw, how hoopty is that lighting rig? ;D
  4. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Done that, helps a bit. Still too much hot spot though.

    I'm using a light box, so 75%+ of the area is cloth (non reflective) and the loight is defused prior to hitting the bottle. Flashes have proven to be the worst option thus far for me. They create som odd effects on a round reflective bottle, no matter where and how I place them.

    I've used light umbrellas and stuff like that, they still do the same thing :(

    I'll post some of my work later. You'll see my before and after pics :)

    The lighting rig is two lights and a light box. It's a little ebay seller type set up. 50w full spectrum lights, that I recently broke all of :) I used a power twist the other day, and it worked great, except for the coloration which I PS out of it :)
  5. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    Dumb question, but I'm assuming the flash is remote right?
  6. CitS

    CitS Guest

    You could stop using a flash, and just use bright lights.
  7. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    :) These are all tricks I know :)

    I've been taking photographs for about 20 years. I used to develope my own shots, etc. Been years since I've done that, and I have forgot alot of that, but I still remember most the basics, and odd tricks.

    I've used remote flashes, and mounted. I've used brighter lights. I've used different color back grounds. I've use different lenses and even cameras. They all have the same hot spot problem. If you look at other reflective products, most manufacturers end up using the hot spot and just dealing with it. That is not an option for me. I'll PS them out before I'd ever use them.

    I guess what I'm hearing is, there is not a lot that can be done about the hot spots on a reflective round object that needs great detail.

    I'm using a D80 right now. It is definitly better then the D100 I was using.
  8. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    You're dating yourself man! :D
  9. CitS

    CitS Guest

  10. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    I was thinking would filters help take out that hot spot?

    On the other hand I guess not... look at the auto care type car products (i.e. waxes, polishes, shampoos, etc.) - there are always hot spots on those shiny bottles. It's always int the same spot.
  11. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Examples of clear bottles and hot spots




    You'll notice they all have a small hotspot. With a larger label like mine, it tends to be on the label, rather then the bottle :(

    In the past, this is what I have put out:


    This is a creative lighting method to play with the hotspot

  12. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I've tried filters on both the lights and flash, helps, but does not get rid of it. It defuse the hot spot into one, rather then multi pointed ones. I get the same effect simply using my light box.
  13. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Hot spots are basically due to focused light from your flash. Best way to remove is diffusion. Also, what happens is your camera is metering your light based on the surface of the bottle. Once your light hits, the hotspot is an overexposed area.

    There are a couple things:
    1. Are you using the built-in flash?
    2. If not, which flash unit are you using?

    Right now it sounds like you're taking pictures of bottles. Regardless, of the light diffusion, you will get nice little reflections.

    Here are a few things I can suggest:

    Build or buy a "box" that you can basically put your product in. This box is made of cloth. If you've seen those laundry hampers that collapse, and how they're made of cloth, it's something similar to that. Shooting through the front hole, and with a lot of regular desk lamps on top and on the sides (experiment) you will totally get rid of hot spots while lighting your item very evenly. The trick here is EVEN lighting, so that your camera will meter correctly. No need for flashes here. You can be creative, make a box out of pvc or something, wrap it with a white table cloth, get a few desklamps and shine them around the item

    Use those floor lamps and have them bounce off the ceiling. You should get A LOT. This will diffuse the room and make the room a reflector, giving you again, even lighting.

    Get a tripod, turn off your flash, give the room some soft light with a few floor lamps that bounce off the ceiling, or just provide a little light somewhere that's not harsh, and do a long exposure, thus you don't need a flash.

    Get a lighting setup with huge shoot through umbrellas. You might be able to get away with 32in shoot through umbrellas. But this is an expensive route.

    My recommendation:
    1. No time: just turn off the flash, get a tripod or stack some books and do a longer exposure without flash and very unharsh ambient light.
    2. A bit of time and creative motivation: build yourself a box out of pvc or something, and wrap tightly with cloth. Cheap desklamps, walla. Experiment with layers of cloth, what kind of desk lamps, distance of desk lamps from the product, positioning, etc. Fun =) May be a good idea to invest in a little box studio you can buy online as well.

    I might have missed some details you mentioned in previous posts, so let me know if you've tried the above and need more help.
  14. CitS

    CitS Guest

    I like the tiger pod bottle
    But, I think I would have painted the inside of the cap black first.
    Or a non see though white
  15. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    oh, btw, I would recommend white backgrounds for product shots =/ just what I've seen and have seen recommended. Also helps metering since your camera may want to meter the background if you don't have specific spot metering turned on.
  16. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    your cool lighting effect on that last bottle is neat, but with a softbox, if you light from behind and have less light on the sides (meaning your side lighting / top lighting is further away) you can get a more even look, again without hotspots.

    so I think right now it's just basically:
    1. White background, tripod, long'ish exposure = no hotspots from overpowering lights or any lights at all maybe.
    2. Cloth softbox around your item (rather than around the flash), experiment with lighting on all sides. Or combine this with the above, use your ambient lighting, have a hole just big enough for your camera, long exposure.
  17. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest


    I use a light grey as white makes for a odd line when PSing out the background.

    I do use a light box.

    Flashes have been mounted and extrernal. As for makes of the flashes, all have been borrowed, so I have no clue.

    I use a tripod and a remote.

    I've used umbrellas, they make for a brighter hotspot then my light box.

    Problem is, the light box came with some hoopty lighting. All the bulbs have blown and I can not find replacements. The whole package was just $100, so I may just buy another one. I'm going to try different PC power twists first. Many photo forums have mentioned using them as a cheap source of decent lighting. The ones I have now, are just too orange for my liking. They make for more PS'ing then I want to devote to this ATM>


    That was one I did last year. I'll try painting the inside of the cap of my next one black though. Thanks for the tip, that's a keeper :D
  18. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I had to back light that bottle with a direct spot light (using the flshlight from the group buy) as with the defuser, you couldn't make out the copepods :(
  19. Thales

    Thales Past President

    The long exposure seems like a good idea.
  20. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    I'll play with it tonight and see, well, after Prison Break and 24 :D

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