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It's a small world, and capturing it with a photograph can be challenging. In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long takes you on a fantastic voyage into the realm of the tiny, detailing the gear and shooting techniques necessary to capture extreme close-ups of everything from products to posies.
After touring the possibilities of macro photography, the course details essential gear at several price levels, including lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Next, Ben explores the special challenges of macro photography: dealing with moving subjects, working with extremely shallow depth of field, focusing, lighting, and more.
The course also explores advanced close-up tools and post-processing techniques, such as using Adobe Photoshop to "stack" multiple shots to yield wider depth of field than a single shot can convey.
Product photography used to be a very specialized, niche form of photography. But now-a-days, with eBay, and Craigslist, and other ways to sell things online, most of us occasionally run into a need to shoot some nice product shots for posting online. Very often, this is a macro situation, if you're selling something small. And, there are now-a-days some very easy ways to get very nice- looking product shots using pre-built light tents and light boxes that give you very, very good lighting. I know it looks strange with this big thing in front of me.
So, we've got this camera behind me, so you can see more of what I've got going on here. This is a box made of diffusion material. This is one that I got at Calumet Photo. I think you can order these from their website also. What's nice about this is it all folds up into just a kind of flat portfolio kind of thing. What makes this such a nice product shooting arrangement is that, when I set it like this, up against a window, so that I've got light coming in through this diffusion panel, that light comes in, and very softly lights this side. But a lot of it bounces off this side, and fills in over here.
So, I get just this very nice, even, very flat lighting. The way this box is configured is I have a black side over here, and a white side over here. I can rotate this around, depending on whether I want a black or white background, or a black or white floor. It also comes with these additional pieces of fabric, which already have velcro on them, so that they can be attached, and draped over the back to create a seamless, flat backdrop in either white or blue. And, of course, you can get other pieces of fabric. It's got a nice, velvety surface, so it's not going to be real reflective, or shiny.
So, I have this thing here, this letter opener, that I might want to post online. I've arranged a simple way to stand it up. The real detail on this letter opener that I'm wanting to show in this shot is just this top part with this pretty pattern on it. I've got my 100 millimeter macro. I am set at ISO 400. Again, I am indoors; it's a little dark. I need an extra bit of ISO boost to keep my shutter speed down. Because my background is just a solid black, that's how I framed up the shot. I don't really need to worry too much about depth of field.
But, I do want to be sure I've got enough depth of field to cover the entire object. So, I'm shooting at about f/5-6. So, I've just framed up a shot. And then, I take it here, and see what we get. My shutter speed is still up. And, that looks very nice. There's not really anything else that I need to do to that. Looks like maybe my depth of field is a tiny bit shallow. So, I think I'll pull back out to f/8, and take another shot that's going to slow my shutter speed down just a tiny bit, so I'm using remote control. Look, I've got really, really even lighting.
I don't have any highlights that are overexposed. So, it's a very nice, easy-to-use setup. If I did not have this bright window, or if it's taking longer than I think to get all the shots I need, and the sun goes down, I could easily take some work lights like you saw me using earlier, and just set one up on one side, and shine it through this material. If I felt like I was getting too much illumination on one side, I could set up the other one over here, and do that same 180 opposite pattern that I had before, a bit shiny through all this diffusion material. All this white inside is going to create a lot of reflective fill underneath, and I should get a nice, even lighting.
There are lots and lots of variations on this sort of thing. If you Google around at all for light tents, or light boxes, or macro shooting light tents, that kind of thing, you'll find a lot of these. So, if you need to do just some simple macro product photography, this is a great way to go.
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