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Thread: How to make products look good......

  1. #1
    pono's Avatar
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    Shane Kupono Costa

    How to make products look good......

    My friend has a skateboard company called Dirtytree Longboards. I always want to take photos of the new boards he makes. The shots I try to get most are usually the whole board, the concave, and the graphics. The photos always come out looking plain and like "snaphots."

    I don't own any backdrops, or lighting equiptment, and I'm only working with the pop up, which i don't like using. Are there any suggestions?

    Thank you.

  2. #2

    Re: How to make products look good......

    pono

    can you post one or two of the shots that you have done (the snapshots) so we can see the sort of thing you are planning? Are you to have people in the shots?

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: How to make products look good......

    IMO, some of the best backgrounds for surfboards are the beach and the ocean. Often a CPL is necessary to reduce or remove reflections from the boards and sometimes a large reflector can help. A very large reflector can be fabricated out of four lengths of PVC piping and a bedsheet. Fashion the PVC into a rectangle and stretch the bedsheet between; attaching it with saftey pins or duct tape. You would probably need an assistant to hold the reflector - especially if there is some wind. I would not use too wide of a lens for the photograph because of perspective distortion/

  4. #4
    pono's Avatar
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    Re: How to make products look good......

    How to make products look good......

    How to make products look good......

    How to make products look good......

    How to make products look good......

    Here are some of my snapshots. I shot these with my 55-250 f4-5.6, except for the one of the concave (no. 2). I can never get the concave shots to show the concave very well, and i have trouble getting them to focus sharply.

    I really like the idea of the reflector. Do you think a piece of cardboard painted silver or gold would work?
    I don't really like these shots at all. They aren't interesting.

  5. #5

    Re: How to make products look good......

    Hi Pono

    In a rush leaving for the office but you really, really need to consider an external flash unit and get it off the camera. An ebay ettl lead will do just fine. I also think you need to watch that depth of field. If you are going to use a narrow DoF you need to think very carefully about what areas of the product need to be in focus and how that will be combined with your compositions. Your backgrounds are too busy for product stuff I can understand the want for the 'urban' feel so plain concrete may work but inmy opinion these items will look at treat on black. Also make sure the boards are new and unused in your final shots. Although the sport is about rough and tumble and still has a grunge element attached, customers will be turned off by used products.

    Steve

  6. #6

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    Re: How to make products look good......

    When turning 3D real life images into 2D photos something will always get lost; and curvature is something which is difficult to achieve.

    The best answer may well be to think carefully about your photo angles. An edge shot, or partial edge, will show the curve better than a 'full face' angle.

    And Steve's advice should prove very useful.

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to make products look good......

    Hi Pono,

    I agree with Steve's diagnosis regarding the backgrounds and focus/DoF.

    Most of these have way too much distracting texture in their backgrounds, worse still; it is often sharper than the subject, either due to focus error, or just by being too close for the lens to cope with focusing any nearer.

    These are all available light and shot in the shade, or on a cloudy day, so the illumination is very even.

    You definitely need to take control of the lighting, but it might be better to concentrate on getting the backgrounds (i.e. what you shoot it against), plus focus and DoF under your control first, then worry about light; flash or otherwise.

    Also as Steve says; worn and rusting hardware isn't going to impress either, but if you can get some good photos and take them to the guy that builds them, perhaps he'll loan a new one for a shoot - as long as you promise not to use it - he still has to sell it 'as new'.

    UPDATE
    Two more thoughts;
    1) To display the curvature (assuming that's important to show) is there anything that could be laid across the top to demonstrate it? Although, in order not to look daft, it would need to be an 'in context' item.
    2) Is it possible to suspend the board by threads so that you could shoot it against the sky, or an out of focus urban background? You would obviously clone out the threads in PP (Post Processing) so it appears to be flying, giving a strong dynamic effect, especially if the wheels were blurred (as if spinning) somehow.

    I think the idea of using threads was from Steve too; have you seen his 'falling' red leaves?

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 5th October 2010 at 06:53 PM.

  8. #8
    pono's Avatar
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    Re: How to make products look good......

    Thanks everyone. I know about the backgounds, but i just never knew what to use. I always thought a black background would be the best, even white. I thought bed sheets might work, but was thinking that they would have to be perfectly flat, and wasn't sure if the threads, or texture of the fabric would shown.

    I'm going to take some of your suggestions, and shoot some new photos. I'll post them up soon.

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