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Monday, March 28, 2011

Product Photography: Without External Speedlights/Strobes

Product photography might just be the most expensive genre of photography mainly because you have to spend a lot on external accessories like speedlights or strobes and the list keeps on going. Go to Sharpics.com - they sell a whole variety of equipment just for product photography.

In this post, I'll be showing you guys how to do product photography on a (serious)budget. And what you need for this is:

  • A camera(it's better if it's a DSLR, but a manual point and shoot camera will just be fine)
  • A tripod that holds your camera steady while you're taking your shot.
  • A place with plenty of natural light.
  • A plain background(doesn't necessarily have to be white) like a table, cloth, or anything you can find in your household.
Once you have all these stuff; you're ready to start:
  1. First, turn your camera to M(Manual Mode) on your mode dial.
  2. Turn on your built in flash.
  3. Turn down the flash compensation to about 2-3 stops.
  4. Go into your menu > switch from iTTL flash to Manual > set 1/32(on my D5000, that's the fastest but if your camera supports a faster flash speed, use that instead)
  5. Your fastest shutter speed should not be higher than 1/8 of a second(yes, it's pretty slow)
  6. Mount your camera onto a tripod(make sure its secure!)
  7. Place your product on a surface(a cloth over a table is recommended)
  8. Start your product shots :)
If you do follow the steps I've just said, you should be able to get nice exposed shots. The trick is, the slower the shutter speed the better the image will be. Why? Simple. The faster the shutter speed, the more light from the flash is going to captured in that image. As I said before, if you're going on a budget like me, you should consider this 'method'.

Drawbacks:
  • You might need a tripod.
  • You need a rather slow shutter speed(the fastest shouldn't be higher than 1/8 second)
  • Its a trial and error thing, no one setting is always perfect.
  • You can't use a long zoom as it will cast a shadow in your shot.
Sample shots:


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