Saturday, 13 October 2007

Product Photo: Model Guitar

I took this photo of a model guitar today. Didn't have time to set up the camcorder for this one, but I did take a setup shot. I'll just talk you through it.

You should easily spot at least two of the flashes used, and extra points if you spotted the third source. The major component of lighting this shot is having precise control over light spill. Fire light all over the place and your shot is ruined. In fact, the light was so tightly controlled, that when I went to take a setup shot, it was almost black apart from the guitar and background. I had to notch the ISO speed on the camera right up.

So the first light is the main light on the the guitar. It is a long-snooted flash which is pointing at the lower part of the guitar, and also providing some light on the silver floor. You should have spotted that from the harsh shadows on and around the guitar.

The second light is a honeycomb snoot with a blue gel fired at the background. It was pulled back away from the background until it provided a large enough spot of light behind the guitar. The reason for this light is to prevent the guitar disappearing into the background.

The third light is a small softbox off to camera left with a wide angle honeycomb attachment. Yet another one of my diy light modifiers. It provides a relatively soft light which is fairly directional, so spill can be minimised on the background. This light was feathered up a bit so as to provide more light on the top of the guitar, while only adding slight highlights down below.

This is a closeup crop on the small softbox with honeycomb, because I suspect it's the one you'll have least likely seen anything about elsewhere. You get very large ones for studio strobes which are commonly used in portraiture and such like. Apologies for the high ISO noise, but as I said, the light was so controlled I had to notch up the ISO for the setup shots.


Anonymous said...

great shot, congratulations.
I like it very much. Very creative solutions.

Also thank you for the setup shots. I've learned a lot today.


n506 said...

Hi Johan

Thanks for the comment. Glad you like the shot, and found it useful too!


Branden said...

Very nice shot. What is inside that honeycomb on camera left to actually make it soft?

n506 said...

Just a mini softbox. Uses a sheet of thin white paper (like tracing paper but plain white rather than the brownish tone you often see) that is often found in packaging. There's silver foil on the inside walls of the softbox which bounce light about a bit more to add to the softness. The walls of the softbox are made from foam core board in black, and were just cut to the shape before being taped together to form the shape. Once fully taped, it becomes quite a rigid structure.

The grid is also just foam core board, cut in such a way they slot together across each other, then taped round the outside.

Branden said...

I'll have to try that design. Thanks again for breaking this down for us.

n506 said...

You're welcome.

I used the same gridded softbox in my most recent entry from last night. There's a pretty good shot of it in the youtube video of the shoot. I showed it with the grid taken off the front so you can see exactly how it works.

Anonymous said...

hi.. this is totally awsome!! I was wondering what kind of white light you are using?? and where i could get it. because I wanted to set up a small product shoot studio as well.. please give me some tips !! I appreciate it.


n506 said...


All the light sources are simply the same flashguns that you'd normally use on top of your camera on the hotshoe. There is of course no reason they should be stuck on top of the camera, and they make great mini-strobes which are both very powerful and very compact. They can be put into positions you'd never get big studio strobes, making them ideal for working on small setups.

It's such a wide area I can't give you more details, or I'd write a book, but if you've any more specific questions, I'm happy to answer them. Otherwise, feel free to read the other postings on my blog which should give you a fair bit of information!