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Thread: Every product photographer's best friend

  1. #1

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    Every product photographer's best friend

    When I first set up my makeshift studio, I asked a very informed salesman in a local store what items every studio should have. He immediately told me about gaffer's tape because it can be used to help create almost any setup, especially when the ideal equipment is not immediately available. Another photographer working in the store immediately agreed. Its primary advantage is that it can easily be removed from almost anything without leaving residue. The suggestion to buy a roll of gaffer's tape might be the best advice I ever received pertaining to studio equipment.

    The idea of this photo came to me very much by accident. I was planning on placing a glass vessel on the roll of gaffer's tape so the vessel would be elevated above the tabletop. The tape would have been outside the frame. I plopped the roll upon the tabletop and happened to notice the makings of an interesting composition in the camera's LCD. So, I set up this photo, which was technically difficult to make.

    This type of subject isn't for everyone but I've always liked this sort of thing. By the way, the image that I imagined that required the use of gaffer's tape positioned underneath the glass vessel was a total flop.

    The image is in color, not black-and-white.


    Every product photographer's best friend
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 1st September 2013 at 10:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Very nice... It brings to mind outer space.

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Very nice... It brings to mind outer space.
    Just what I thought - "who's nicked Saturn"

    I like it Mike

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Thank you to Christina and Dave!

    I did not think of Saturn or outer space at all when I made the photo. Having seen your comments, before showing it to my wife, I asked her to tell me the first thing that came to her mind after seeing it. She immediately responded: "Saturn." On the other hand, what else would you expect from a Star Trek fan?

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    Plumcrak's Avatar
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Well, I am not a Star Trek fan but I also saw outer space in this shot. I also really like it.
    Well done.

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    I also like this image. I wonder if either cropping part of the bottom to eliminate black space or allowing some black space on top might improve the symmetry of the image.

    karm

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Glad you like it, Karm.

    I captured the image with the same amount of space at the top and bottom and decided during post-processing that the symmetry was too static. So, I cropped at the top to make it asymmetrical.

  8. #8
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Gaffer's Tape is wonderful. More expensive than duct tape but, as you mentioned, it can be removed without leaving residue.

    A few other handy items for the small product photographer are:

    1. Modeling clay - you can often use it to help place your products at the angle you want...

    2. Double sided tape - for fastening things on other things or surfaces

    3. Spring paper clips -
    Every product photographer's best friend
    These can be handy for a multitude of uses, among the uses is converting a flat piece of cardboard or foam board as a free standing table reflector

    BTW: the Pro Photo Life Video Library has several free, short tutorials on product photography...
    http://www.prophotolife.com/video-library/

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Modeling clay is a great idea, Richard. I had never thought of it and I could have used it this weekend. Thanks for the tip!

  10. #10
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Mike, does this gaffers tape called by any other name?


    Bruce

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    This Wikipedia article provides a list of names of the tape, all similar, as well as the derivation of the name.

  12. #12
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    This Wikipedia article provides a list of names of the tape, all similar, as well as the derivation of the name.
    Thanks Mike, Lowe's, Home Depot, and my local Ace Hardware store never heard of it.
    Showcase Photo-Video (Atlanta), and B&H have it.


    Bruce

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Scrolled by this image a second time and noticed it also has a bit of an optical illusion. You can view it as looking both above and below a planets rings.

    karm

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    Thanks Mike, Lowe's, Home Depot, and my local Ace Hardware store never heard of it.
    Showcase Photo-Video (Atlanta), and B&H have it.
    Bruce
    Bruce,

    Gaffer's Tape is purely a photographic product. That is why the tape is not available at home improvement stores. A gaffer is the industry nickname for an electrician on a motion picture or video set.

    Originally I used Gaffer's Tape to actually tape up Lowel Lights on the walls of rooms or offices in which I was shooting on location. The Lowel Light was a lightweight fixture which used a Par-38 light bulb. The kit included a transformer which converted the voltage so that the light burned at 3200 K. That was the Kelvin Temperature at which we shot with color film such as Ektachrome Commercial and High Speed Ektachrome. More efficient lightweight light systems replaced the Lowel Light kit. The PAR-38 bulbs did not produce all that much light and the transformer was one heavy dude to carry.

    The advantage of Gaffer's Tape is that it held quite well but, it did not leave residue like other tape such as duct tape.

    BTW: I will also use Gaffer's Tape to attach plastic bags to the foot of my monopod or feet of my tripod when I plan to shoot in areas, such as the beach, which might compromise the foot or feet. I use the long narrow plastic bags in which my daily newspaper is delivered. I place one strip around the top of the bag, another mid-way down and then I reinforce the bag at the end with a bit of gaffers tape to keep the end from penetrating through. This jury-rig will protect the monopod/tripod; foot/feet from sand or saltwater. It will protect the foot/feet about 18' from the end. You could also use rubber/elastic bands to hold the bags on the foot/feet and you could reinforce the ends with duct tape or irrigation tape (which is more readily available and is less expensive) but, you need to keep that tape avay from your foot/feet because of the residue...

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    The only thing that I don't like about gaffer's tape has more to do with the fact that I'm a total klutz than anything having to do with the tape itself: When the sticky part of the gaffers tape attaches to another sticky part of the tape, you might as well throw the piece away. That's because it's almost impossible to separate the tape when it sticks to itself.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 3rd September 2013 at 11:25 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Mike, thank you so much for the information. In the near future I plan to purchase a roll probably from B&H.


    Bruce

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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Bruce,

    For what it's worth, the tape pictured above was purchased from B&H. It is the Rosco 48mm x 50m (1.9 inches x 164 feet). I don't remember how I decided upon it but I will reorder it once it runs out in several years. I recommend that width or wider because it's often needed. When you need a smaller width, the tape tears just as easily down its length as across its width; scissors are never needed.

  18. #18
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    Mike, thank you for the additional information. I am going to the B&H website right now to look it up.



    Bruce

  19. #19
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    Re: Every product photographer's best friend

    When I traveled and space and weight was at a premium, I would use a small 2-3 inch length of PVC piping and wrap five or ten yards or so of the Gaffer's Tape around the pipe. The tape worked as well after being rewound as it did right off the roll. However, you are totally correct about it attaching to itself. You might as well cut it then!

    When I first used it to protect the legs of monopods and tripods, I wrapped the pod from the foot up. I then realized that this was a waste of expensive tape and reverted to using the plastic bags that come with the daily paper, fastening the bags with the gaffer's tape. Now that's recycling at its very best!

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