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Thread: Furniture Photography Technique

  1. #1

    Furniture Photography Technique

    Hi all, i'm a new member.

    I'm doing furniture photograph work, I searched but no result about this topic in our forum, so I start a new thread. Product photography in general need to take the right color of the product. But how? what is the right method and the right equipment to take it RIGHT?

    Below is my workflow and I have some questions, give me your words of wisdom if I have any mistake. Thank you guys.

    Gear: Canon EOS 6D, 24-70mm f4.0
    -------> is it better if I use a tilt-shift lens? Canon TS 24mmL f3.5 II and Canon TS 17mmL f4.0 what is better?
    Light: 4 lights with soft box, umbrella, light stand and C-stand.
    Meter: ExpoDisc (White Balance meter) Sekonic (light meter)
    Background: white background
    2 bi-fold doors to separate Background Light and Object Light.

    INPUT:

    Camera setting (basically items):
    - Shutter speed: basically 1/125s, f9 (or will be manual adjust due to Sekonic value)
    - Focal lens: I fix the focal lens at 70mm always (to minimum decrease the distortion)
    - ISO100
    - White Balance: Custom WB (due to ExpoDisc check shot)
    - RAW file with Adobe RGB color profile


    Lighting setting: 2 light sources
    - Background light (BL): 2 lights (make white seamless)
    - Object light (OL): 2 lights
    The difference in lighting intensity between BL and OL is meter by Sekonic to make sure it will not be over exposure .
    The lighting intensity of both BL and OL will be manual adjust due to Sekonic value.

    PROGRESS: using Adobe Lightroom 5.0

    -------> what will bring the RIGHT color of the product when you adjust in Camera Calibration:
    1/ Adobe Standard
    2/ Camera Neutral
    3/ Camera Faithful
    4/ Camera Standard

    OUTPUT:

    - Export for display: sRGB color profile, Adobe RGB profile for print version.

    Nice day.

  2. #2
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Seems like you have given it a bit of thought. As I am lucky enough to use Nikon I will not comment on lens selection but I do recommend you add a good circular polarizing filter to your list of tools. Reflections from gloss paints, glass and chrome or polished metal surfaces will need to be reduced.

  3. #3

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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    add a good circular polarizing filter to your list of tools. Reflections from gloss paints, glass and chrome or polished metal surfaces will need to be reduced.
    The polarizer will help with glare on one flat surface but not the others and it will help only with non-metallic surfaces. It won't help at all with reflections on any surface.

    I highly recommend Light: Science & Magic to learn how to bring out the texture and color and minimize glare. The book explains making use of the family of angles, a particular characteristic of the physics of light, to determine where to place the light relative to the camera.

  4. #4
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Yes. Mike is correct perfect metallic surfaces do not exhibit any polarization of the reflected light. The reflected light from other multiple surfaces at differing angles the polarization cannot be masked for all of them. However I take shots of house interiors every few days and rotating a polarizing filter to obtain the maximum relief or most pleasing result is just part of the process. If you want the best control possible you can opt for polarized light sources. Do not worry to much about the physics unless you are in a very controlled environment - just be aware of reflections and discover what works best in practice for the type of shots you are taking - the improvement in some cases can be surprisingly good.

    P.S. Wax and polish even on metallic surfaces can have a polarizing effect.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 2nd July 2013 at 05:01 AM.

  5. #5
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    I’d be using a TS-E 45 (for big Furniture) and a TS-E 90 (for smaller items). But, depending upon the size of the furniture and the size of the studio, if you are cramped you might need a TS-E 24, but if that is the case, it probably would be better to get a bigger studio.

    In Studio Conditions (i.e. dark), the Flash will be the only illuminating source, and I would set the Colour Temperature (in camera) manually, but to confirm accurate Colour Balance in Post Production, I would shoot a Reference Grey Card and also a Colour Chart (with each Object) at the beginning of every lighting/shooting sequence.

    I would use an hand held Flash Meter for exposure.

    I would shoot tethered, to a screen.

    “Picture Styles” (in camera calibration) should be irrelevant: as I would shoot raw.

    WW

  6. #6

    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post

    “Picture Styles” (in camera calibration) should be irrelevant: as I would shoot raw.

    WW
    Thanks William, I did not mean "Picture Styles in camera, I always shoot raw, too.
    But when you import photos into Lightroom, in Develop, the last tool (in bottom of Develop module) name "Camera Calibration"
    I wonder what difference between these set up:

    1/ Adobe Standard
    2/ Camera Neutral
    3/ Camera Faithful
    4/ Camera Standard

    Maybe these set up will effect to Jpeg file when we export?

  7. #7
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by adekhuy View Post
    Thanks William, I did not mean "Picture Styles in camera, I always shoot raw, too.

    OK, I misunderstood your meaning.

    WW

  8. #8
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    I would opt for one of the TS-E lenses. The focal length would be determined by the size of your subjects and by the size of the area in which you are shooting. A big problem would be trying to shoot the furniture in a cramped space. Hopefully, you will have enough room to avoid the distortion that could result from shooting with a wide focal length at a distance too close to your subjects.

    BTW: post processing in Camera RAW and using the lens adjustment tools, a photographer can really avoid some of the problems arising from varous types of distortion.

    You have gone into a lot of detail describing your setup, except (unless I missed it) you did not mention what type of lights you will be using! Since you are shooting inanimate, non-moving sugjects, continuous lighting could work. Studio flash would be another option because the modeling light can provide WYSIWYG lighting. Studio strobes are also usually far more powerful than continuous lights. Large light sources are the best and it takes a bit of power to shoot with a really-really large soft box.

    The one light source which I would avoid is the use of hotshoe flash. They are not powerful enough and they do not have a true modeling light capability.

    The Prophotolife website has quite a bit of helpful information. http://www.prophotolife.com/video-library/

    One especially interesting subject is the the use of a permanent infinity sweep http://www.prophotolife.com/quick-vi...te-background/

    I was fortunate to work in a studio which had a wall which was built as a permanent infinity sweep. It was wonderful environment in which to shoot large subjects. We repainted the sweep using flat white paint and a roller whenever it got scufffed or dirty. I really roll paper background would also be appropriate. The nice thing about roll paper is that you could have several colors available.

    When I was doing cinema work, we would occasionally use a non-permanent dulling spray to avoid reflections which we could not get rid of in any other way. I was surprised that this is still being produced since we can do so much correction in digital post processing http://www.amazon.com/Krylon-K1310-1.../dp/B00009R8O6...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 4th July 2013 at 02:22 PM.

  9. #9

    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Thank you your word of wisdom rpcrowe

    I'm using 2 x 2400w (Profoto) for background lighting
    2 x 1000w (Profoto) for subject lighting

    TS-E lenses is the best choice in this situation, I have a big room so 24mm is OK with me, but I wonder what other difference beside focal 24mm vs 17mm, quality of the 24mm are higher? (because it's the 24mm f3.5 II)

    The Prophotolife website is really helpful, thanks for sharing.

    Nice day.

  10. #10
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by adekhuy View Post
    TS-E lenses is the best choice in this situation, I have a big room so 24mm is OK with me, but I wonder what other difference beside focal 24mm vs 17mm, quality of the 24mm are higher? (because it's the 24mm f3.5 II)
    IF you have a big room AND you are presently using the 70mm end of your 24 to 70 . . .
    What are your reasons not use the TS-E45?

    WW

  11. #11

    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    IF you have a big room AND you are presently using the 70mm end of your 24 to 70 . . .
    What are your reasons not use the TS-E45?

    WW
    70mm still have distortion although the distance to object not too close.
    I used to think that 50mm and above is safe with distortion issue, but in fact, 70mm even 135mm still have!

    I try to fix distortion with Lightroom, it looks better with a little bit look fake! Finally, I think about TS lens.

    Canon TS lens have normal lens and L (luxury) lens and 24mm is not too tight than 45mm

    Maybe I will go with Canon TS 24mm II because it's the second generation lens (II) and I think it had improved something than the first generation!

    Thank you William W.

  12. #12
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Furniture Photography Technique

    OK.

    However my advice in post #5 still stands. If you have enough room in the studio, then a TS-E 45mm lens would be the best tool to use for Large Furniture and a TS-E 90 for the smaller items.

    WW

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