Large Product Photography

I just finished editing work on a product photoshoot with a difference some of the products were rather big! So how do you go about shooting some rather large objects on this occasion various types of shelving units?

You start off with a backdrop. A blank canvas or in our case a giant pull down white screen of plastic vinyl. We went for the largest width roll of plastic available. The roll of vinyl needs to be supported with a couple of stands and a roller mechanism to pull the sheet up and down

The backdrop was ordered from the extremely helpful people at DML and shipped direct to the shooting location. The stands were picked up by myself along with the lights at DML's store in an industrial estate somewhere in Dublin 12. It all packed neatly into the boot of my car.

Here's me standing on the white screen for a test shot

Here's me standing on the white screen for a test shot

Onto the lighting again DML supplied this and gave some helpful advice on how to configure the lights. To light up the products from all angles we needed four lights. Two at the rear fitted with reflective umbrellas to bounce the light back onto the white screen and to the rear of our product.

Bouncing light off our 1000W lights with an umbrella.

Bouncing light off our 1000W lights with an umbrella.

Two more lights are set up with soft boxes to illuminate the front of the product. All the lights are then triggered by one master light. In our case the light on the below right of the image is the master. The other 3 lights are set to a "slave" mode and will obey the master lights commands.

A receiver for a trigger is plugged into the back of the master light. Thus controlling all 4 light once you press the shutter button on the camera. Awesome.

Wide shot for our product photography shoot.

Wide shot for our product photography shoot.

The trigger is a little plastic thing that you slot into the flash shoe on top of your camera. That connects the camera to the lights. It worked like a charm! In fact it's amazing to have a huge bank of 4 1000W lights fire each time you press the shutter on you camera. Let there be light!

We also connected the camera via a USB cable to a computer running adobe light room. It lets usview the images instantly after we take them so you can check focus and the lighting. Like so.

The camera with remote trigger on top connected to Adobe Lightroom

The camera with remote trigger on top connected to Adobe Lightroom

Over the course of the day we shot various products with a wide variety of materials everything from Wood and metal to plastic. Each material reflected light differently meaning the lights have to be constantly tweaked. It's a tricky business getting it right.

Product being set up for Photoshoot.

Product being set up for Photoshoot.

So after an epic 11 hour shoot the images were in the can and now it was time for some Photoshop magic. The better your lighting set up the more your subjects should be popping off the white backdrop in the images.

However due to pesky dust, dirt and unwanted shadows finding their way on to the backdrop it can still be necessary to cut the images out manually on Photoshop. This is painstaking work so crank up some good tunes in the background and get clicking.

Using a combination of the lasso and magic wand tools in Photoshop you can make short work of anything and you should end up with something like this.

Finished Photoshopped image.

Finished Photoshopped image.