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Shooting macro in a light tent

From: Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

Video: Shooting macro in a light tent

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.

Shooting macro in a light tent

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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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up
Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

47 video lessons · 15164 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 3m 54s
    1. Welcome
      2m 17s
    2. What you need to know for this course
      1m 37s
  2. 20m 33s
    1. What is close up?
      2m 21s
    2. Understanding minimum focus distance
      3m 55s
    3. Comparing wide lens and telephoto
      1m 55s
    4. Understanding depth of field and focus
      2m 11s
    5. Working with extension tubes
      4m 30s
    6. Working with close-up lenses
      5m 41s
  3. 28m 7s
    1. What is a macro photo?
      4m 15s
    2. Understanding how to shoot macro with a reversed lens
      5m 37s
    3. Using a point-and-shoot camera for macro
      1m 55s
    4. Working with backdrops for macro
      3m 45s
    5. Practicing macro by shooting in the kitchen
      12m 35s
  4. 58m 38s
    1. Choosing a macro lens
      2m 4s
    2. Exploring macro lens features: Focal length
      3m 16s
    3. Understanding macro lens shutter speed
      7m 6s
    4. Shooting basics with a macro lens
      8m 24s
    5. Getting closer with macro lenses and extension tubes
      11m 13s
    6. Working with depth of field and macro
      5m 1s
    7. Understanding depth and composition in macro
      6m 43s
    8. Working with subject holders and support
      6m 36s
    9. Shooting with the Canon 65 mm
      8m 15s
  5. 13m 12s
    1. Working with macro stabilizing options
      5m 45s
    2. Working with sliders for macro
      2m 44s
    3. Working with a bellows
      1m 55s
    4. Working with viewfinders in macro
      2m 48s
  6. 52m 59s
    1. Working with direct light
      6m 13s
    2. Macro and the angle of light
      2m 24s
    3. Augmenting direct light with reflectors
      6m 42s
    4. Continuous lighting to add fill to a macro shot
      5m 55s
    5. Lighting your macro scene with continuous light
      4m 50s
    6. Lighting the macro scene with strobes
      4m 59s
    7. Setting up a macro-specific flash unit
      3m 21s
    8. Shooting with the Canon Macro Twin Lite
      7m 56s
    9. Shooting macro in a light tent
      3m 31s
    10. Shooting macro on a light table
      7m 8s
  7. 19m 44s
    1. Field shooting for macro, starting at home
      7m 5s
    2. Managing backgrounds in the field
      7m 39s
    3. Shooting macro water droplets
      5m 0s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Creating a simple manual focus stack
      4m 40s
    2. Creating a focus stacked image with manual merge
      6m 17s
    3. Creating a focus stacked image using Helicon Remote
      11m 6s
    4. Working with a StackShot rail for focus stacking
      11m 46s
    5. Merging a focus stack with Photoshop
      11m 12s
    6. Merging photo stacks with Helicon
      6m 53s
    7. Understanding the aesthetics of depth of field
      4m 25s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. Next steps
      1m 5s

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