Author Topic: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions  (Read 1468 times)

slope

  • Inclined to distraction
    • Current pedalable joys
Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« on: 21 January, 2024, 01:45:07 pm »
It's time I realised that an awful lot of the cycling components and bits I've acquired and stashed over the years, ain't going to be used by me, as things including my bikes have changed (who da thought). So it would be a good idea to buckle down and get them all catalogued and photographed with the intention of selling stuff on. There's a fair bit of rather lovely (in the eyes of this beholder) shiny silver NOS Dura Ace, Ultegra, Velo Orange etc components, as well as loadsa more run of the mill stuff. In order to lessen the drudge of of this endeavour, it might help and encourage me to take decent detailed pics.

I have a tripod, a Canon DSLR with various lenses, a perfectly good and useful Canon G5X digital compact and the latest iPhone 15 Pro. I also have Affinity Photo, as well the very basic but still useful Mac Photo. What I don't have is lighting (other than on camera built in flash)

Any suggestions as to what kind of set up and what products would be suitable? Thinking/guessing a minumum 2 x flat panel LED continuous lights might be the way to go? Don't want to spend mental price wise. A quick look about online and its over abundant 'choice' causes someone like me more confusion than is comfortable 😫

Requirement is just to produce well lit clear informative pics (with a soupçon of zing)

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #1 on: 21 January, 2024, 09:04:48 pm »
Traditionally you'd use a light tent.  You can make one out of muslin/net curtain material.  The camera peeks into it and you fire a couple of flashes at the outside of the tent using PC cord/slave cells.  Any flash will do - a couple of Vivitar 283 would be good.  Just guess the aperture initially  if you don't have a flashmeter, then chimp and adjust to get it spot on.  You won't need to change it again unless you move the flashes.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #2 on: 22 January, 2024, 11:28:02 am »
Don't use a Vivitar 283 with a modern digital camera.  You could fry the internals*
I believe the last ever models were lower voltage but I never found a way to check which one mine was. 
(* unless you use a £10 slave trigger on it)

As for product photos, no need to spend much.  Buy a pop-up light tent off Ebay for a few quid.
If you're using a tripod then there's no need for studio lighting (You can use a slow shutter if you don't have bright lights), just put any lights you have around the pop-up tent thing. 
A couple of desktop Anglepoise would be perfect.

Shoot the empty tent first and set your Custom White Balance (every Canon camera makes this simple... just look on youtube).

Tripod, 50mm lens gives a nice perspective, Manual focus, Manual exposure, small aperture for overall sharpness  (like f/11), low iSO for nice detail (like 100) and use the 2 second timer to trigger the shutter (so you don't shake the camera).

It's only bike parts, it doesn't need to be arty, just sharp and well lit. 
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #3 on: 22 January, 2024, 12:44:10 pm »
Easiest way to get nice light is to go outside, on an overcast day. Helps if you have a nice backdrop, ie a sheet.

It's only bike parts, it doesn't need to be arty, just sharp and well lit. 
Yes, if the photos are too good, may look like you are a proper shop. Or you have nicked the photos from elsewhere. Maybe best to seem a bit amateur.

slope

  • Inclined to distraction
    • Current pedalable joys
Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #4 on: 22 January, 2024, 01:11:26 pm »
It's only bike parts, it doesn't need to be arty, just sharp and well lit. 
Yes, if the photos are too good, may look like you are a proper shop. Or you have nicked the photos from elsewhere. Maybe best to seem a bit amateur.

Totally agree, just want to provide accurate photos illustrating the stuff clearly and honestly, as opposed to the out of focus phone snaps one all too often sees :(

(cloudy outdoors in North Wales is frequently no problem, it's the wind and the rain that often accompanies)

Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #5 on: 22 January, 2024, 02:59:06 pm »
Plain background, tripod and diffused lighting.



rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #6 on: 22 January, 2024, 04:07:52 pm »
Don't use LED lighting. The colour rendering is dire - colour balance does not save you from this - and you often get a weird mix of green and purple.  Cheap cool white ones are usually worst.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

Woofage

  • Tofu-eating Wokerati
  • Ain't no hooves on my bike.
Re: Table top product (bike bits) lighting suggestions
« Reply #7 on: 23 January, 2024, 05:45:09 pm »
I've produced good results using cheap manual flashes (couple of quid each on eBay - don't put them on your camera!) and optical triggers (also eBay, around a tenner each). You can get away with one flash, but one each side may produce better results. Use the on-camera flash to trigger them, but: 1) make sure any pre-flash is disabled and 2) stick a piece of card in front of the camera's flash to ensure no direct light falls on your subject.

You'll need a little tripod or similar to support them outside the light tent. Alternatively, lie the flash on its back near the light tent and bounce the light upwards onto a piece of white card that will, in turn, reflect it back down.

You won't need a tripod as the short-duration flash will be the dominant light. Experiment with exposure settings to get it right. Shutter speed will depend on flash sync (ie not super fast) and expect to have to use small-ish apertures.

There's loads of info on-line about making a light tent. I've got a spare pop-up one if you're interested.
Pen Pusher