Shoot: Light Tent - Jewelry


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Light Tent - Jewelry

This here is a light tent and they come in various sizes social call the light cuba and other things you could see them on on the internet and most photo stores sell them it's very very good for having a controlled environment for small objects for product photography you khun do things inside of this uh styling wise this doesn't just have to be white on white we're going to start off that way and show you what this thing can do white on white but inside of this you can also create a sweep just like we did outside this thing is built to have a suite built into it ah white one and a black one so it has that capability plus the bottom is sort of reflective like we had with the plexi glass surface so that's also a nice option with this now the other thing that's great about this is this also could be a very low budget solution to product photography if you don't have any lights none at all you don't have any or the work lights or any of the things you want you can buy this thing take it h...

ome throw it on the picnic table in your backyard at high sun and it will do exactly the same thing as if you were lighting it with a couple of lights on either side of it so this is a really interesting piece of equipment and I watched some video of people using this with just a daylight in their backyard and the results are pretty remarkable so between you know, this diffusing the light in all directions and managing your camera settings you can create some pretty cool photographs with this thing and then off course you can take it up a notch and start to get creative with it and you could style inside of this thing and you are in a very nicely controlled environment we're also going to show you the first the first thing we're going to show you is these speed lights now this is probably the first lighting that you might encounter as a new photographer you might buy an on camera flash now it's designed to fit on your cameras hot shoe, which is thiss transmitter, which is called pocket wizard is is in the hot shoe of the camera and what we're doing is we're setting these up all around the light tent so that when I fire this camera, this transmitter will send a signal to all three of those lights to fire simultaneously. So this is strobe lighting it's not the kind of strobe lighting that we're going to talk about tomorrow that's a little bit more advanced the big studio lighting this is strobe lighting on a very small level this is a strobe lighting one o one so you learn how to use these first when you're learning how to use strobe because he's a really versatile lights, you can use them for all kinds of things. I've used them in a pinch and food photography as well. They are excellent high power lights pack a lot of punch for what they are, and they come. A lot of companies make them, uh usually when you buy a camera, you can buy a new accompanying on camera flash, and they're pretty versatile, so you'll see what we can do with them in this scenario. So when you're setting these up, you have to have these remote triggers thes also work on what was called a slave, which, you know well, if you had one here and it would pop light travels very quickly and the these actually have, like, a sensor that would read the light and also fire such a fraction of a second different that you couldn't tell the difference. They'd all fire it once. These are a lot better because this actually triggers everything simultaneously thes air really like standard stock and trade photo equipment that every photographer has a set or rents them when they're using strobe and these air really helpful because you can do things like this, you can mount them on the camera, I have a friend amounts thumb on a stick. You could do so many different things with them in their light and they're portable and they're relatively inexpensive by comparison to some of the other lighting here that you might own and it's also good on training, this is a good training to work with strokes so way have our light tent, we have our three speed lights set up, and basically we're going to try to illuminate this thing boom, we're goingto create a big burst of light, a big burst of even light that comes from three different directions, and we're going to put different things inside of this. What we're going to focus on in this segment is shooting jewelry because this is really effective for shooting jewelry, because what I said earlier about the faceted nature of a lot of jewelry is that it reflects light from a lot of different areas, and if you want to just show jewelry in its natural state without having to really worry about managing your highlights, that much shooting in the light tent is really helpful. Um, so I think the first thing we're going to try to do is I want to show you this what this does straight up right on right on right in here would know propping just what the light will do, we have this nice bracelet here it is from covet and adorn, which is kind of pretty and you kind of wrapping around so we can we can show this just as is I'm gonna put this right inside here and we'll set up just to see what this thing can do on its own I'm still shooting with my macro lens because I want to get nice and close I might handhold want trump yeah, we're goingto was don't do a test let's do a test on that let's do a meter reading on it okay uh our meter is hanging on the truck playing on the tripod where it belongs of course, so when you're setting your meter when using strobes, we're going to go to one hundred so because he's a pretty bright and I'm going to set my more mode to what's called the non cord mode so you push the button and it starts flashing for you and then when that light goes, it reads the light and tells you what you're reading is so it's different than taking an ambient reading you have tto kind of set this like a time bomb set it in there and you wait and then you you know I'm gonna probably want to drop down even lower okay for this get down to table level so okay, I'll uh I'll hand hold for a minute and then we can get khun lower that down a little bit yeah let's let's pop that so I'm taking a meter reading facing my camera so I want to see how much light is actually the the actual camera is looking at so when I do my test and I did that without taking a shot matt a sixteenth of a second at about sixteen um aperture so I got a lot of lot of lot of light so I'm gonna probably take that up a little bit and see where I'm at at around one twenty five and see if I can work with that handheld so we'll try that again oh I forgot I'm doing exactly what I'm not supposed to be doing not in stroke mode yeah so you know it's fine okay I have lots of light I have to manage it with my appetite control that's what we talked about earlier and of course I'm not hadn't wrapped my head around that yet so john please help me I don't know how to take this off you don't get that it's just locked on yeah just what this button over now ok ok ok I see all right so I can hand hold this because I got plenty of speed and I got plenty of light if I can hold my camera steady in this situation I khun work hand held the whole time now the nice thing about this is when you're shooting this object is a little bit reflective it's not terribly reflective but it gives me the opportunity to close the whole tent down and then stick the lens right through this hole. And the only thing that khun possibly reflect might be a little bit of glass in my lens. I want to keep my lens shade on here because the light's going to be coming from all around it. So I'm going to peek in here and I'm gonna get myself settled, okay? Incredible. So simple crate will come up soon, I hope. Well, I could tell you what I see here. Peritus I mean right off the bat first shot and it's totally usable it's a totally usable image. Perfectly clean some spectral highlights being picked up. We have a nice little time, a tiny bit of reflection coming off that plexi it's perfect lighting for this type of photography. Now, if you if this is all you wanted to do, you can shoot an entire line of jewelry in one day just bang, bang, bang, bang all day it's so simple and that's what's great about a tool like this, but I don't know that that's good enough. You know, I think that that's great. If this is what you want to do, you have this option this is a really inexpensive tools to work with, I mean, the speed lights aren't exactly cheap if you want to do with this way and I'm going to show you, we'll do it, we'll bring our d I y lights back out in a little while after we shoot a little bit here, but I think that it's it's so important to understand that once you get the shot and I've said this before in other courses that's when it starts once you have the shot that's when the created creativity starts because now you know no matter what I do from this point on, I already have my shot I could use that I'm comfortable that's a good shot, but now I wanted to be better now I want to be more creative now I wanted to be more edgy and I wanted to tell the story I want to to tell so I have this one in the bank I'm perfectly happy with that, but what can I do with this now in that same setting? What what can I bring into this to give it another element something that's interesting or creative or whatever? So let's let's look in some of the things we have, we kind of like even something simple like this, right? This might be I don't know if it'll work, but we'll try I like having all these things around to kind of play with because I really feel like I get inspired by objects and when I work with objects with food photography I have a lot of things that I can play with. This is a whole other realm that you can kind of play with things now this is really kind of interesting in that it's it's made of wire and maybe we can kind of do something cool with it and see if we like the result wrap it around I can put that open camera thanks. So now we just added a very simple element and we'll see if we like what we get uh, drives all went to sleep from they all went to sleep okay, what we see here is complete, which is what happens when you strobes don't fire and you're at f eighteen so john is waking them up, giving them a little caffeine boost pretty good. Yeah. Okay, so if you just heard my knee pop I'll be fine. See if I could set you know, okay, I'm glad this came out like that we'll see in a second and I'll tell you exactly what I mean. You see that horizon line in background that's horrible. We don't want that, but this thing luckily has the ability to create sweep so let's, take a look at that and see if we can make that happen and see how that works sit on velcro, okay simple adjustment that of course you came here to watch me stick my head in a white box okay let's see if that works I just adjusted it so it's kind of created a little bit of a sweep behind it and we'll see if that makes a big difference. Are we awake? Okay. All right. And it does very simple adjustment we added a second element to it and we put it put it on us a background sweep we have the infinity curve and it and it's an interesting kind of presentation so we have a lot of little things here we can play with and I like the idea of that this is a little bit of a bigger cube we can put a couple of bigger things in here too and get a pretty cool result so let's let's go with something else. I think we probably have a few more objects here that might work for this. I like this. Okay, we have a pair of earrings here that I like propellers. You know, they kind of have that cool brass look and in these kind of black hat pin kind of things and this is this is just a nice looking kind of object that we can do I'm going to shoot it on white, but then I think I might change that because I have a feeling this might look better in a more environmental setting and andrew, a quick question from jewelry maker is thie what's at the bottom of the tent? Is it white plexi? It's like fabric it's a white plexi. But we can also use fabric in there, and you can actually introduce other arm surfaces, which I will in a minute. Okay, we're getting used to using this. This is kind of a new a new tent for us. So we're playing whether that was as we go. But I could show you kind of by doing this. And what that means is also we can shoot from this perspective, rotate it if we wanted to have something broader to shoot with. Um, but you could see, like, this is this kind of plexi, and you can kind of pull it and get it to stand up a little bit. Now we have more of a sweep action you could see I could. If I was shooting a wider subject something that was wider, you could just rotate it and shoot through this there's a window on the other side, that zipper window, like I'm shooting in the front. And we believe that this this julie actually is from a pretty fun design. Pretty fun design. Okay, wait okay, john okay, okay, so the first shot I'm going to take is the full shot and then I'm going to zoom in on the little propellers and show that that texture from the string that we're using as a prop we'll work really nicely so I'm going to take the second shot and then maybe they can put them both up side by side and we could see how both of those kind of work nicely together so okay so actually that won't work side by side unless I shoot it vertical let's do that okay but you could see how beautifully clean that light is and the thing I want to do like next is maybe turned one of the lights off and see if we can create a little bit of shadow and depth so the flat look is something that for a lot of people it's important tohave that for their product photography and I understand that but then beyond that we want to get creative and we want to be able tio do different things with this so like in there yeah blacks but that's what I just said yeah getting it from both sides here yeah we can try that first what that will do effectually is blocked most of that light out a little one way we could try my not where did the little ones go there on the top shelf okay let's see what we get I like that idea I don't know that c we might create a little bit of shadow with this. Let's see how much we get? We're gonna want to see this one side by side on the computer once, one next to the next to the vertical. Yes, next to that vertical. We're gonna want to see the one I shoot right now side by side. I'm talking to the man in the booth. Okay, uh, it was something didn't fire. Yeah, the ready lights went off just as you're about tissue. Okay, there is a custom function to keep him on, but I don't remember with function is okay. Here we go. Okay, let's. See if it actually did anything because this is this is the benefit of being able to pull these up side by side to see if it actually gave us what we were hoping for. Okay, so that that's, the one I just shot let's. See if we can get the one that shot before. It didn't really add what we wanted. So, like, rather than try rather than try to do it that way. Let's sum, let's put turn that light off and see if it actually creates any shadow. It all this one is off. But the trial that you know, this, this part of it where we have three lights working and we can go from one, two three and with the same subject and watch how the light progresses that's important here because it's important to see it this is what this is what this is about using these lights and seeing what they actually do this controlled environment really give you an idea off what they do in bigger environments too you know this this like cube is something that you would recreate a studio setting to shoot people right? Maybe not an enclosed thing you know like a jumpy thing for the kids but you know weigh good okay, we got to now okay, way didn't fire too did we? Just back when did you fire? Okay. That's fine. Because now we could see what one light did the one light to the table to the right of me that's what? I just shot okay, okay. I mean, I don't hate it it's definitely got a little bit of shadow to we'll have a white wall in there. That's yeah it's still bouncing it's just giving us a little bit more so we can add another element to this put a black card in there with still firing one strobe and this should create a little bit more shot on that other side is that guy awake? Yeah, I think I got the custom function so okay, but keep him on okay one more time and that definitely did something and you could see if we put those last two side by side can we look at it that way? That might be cool. Okay, so that the idea is that we're trying to create a little bit more little bit more light gradation from one side to the next, and you could see what all the different iterations of the lighting, the one on the far right is the one with the most black, creating the most amount of shadow. Now remember, we're in a giant white cube, so I'm not going to create a hard shadow no matter what we do. Um, unless, of course, we possibly move this light much closer, and it really hits it hard and creates less wrap around because that's essentially what these lights do, right the hitting, the subject there hitting all the white walls, and they're wrapping all around, so they're enveloping what we're using in like, uh, but I don't know that these last two options are doing the product, any justice because we can't really see them anymore. So we go back to all three lights and I'm going to do a super macro shot of just one hearing and we'll see if what kind of details we can get, and I think these are those kind of these are those kind of important little small details in product work that kind of sell the item. I think that especially something as small as an earring that we're working with here, showing exactly how how small and delicate they are. You good? Okay, something didn't fire him. You could see it right away. And when you look at the in the camera, it's, so obvious when something isn't working, it's being very temperamental, okay, that worked that sunburn on that one, so that that texture looks really good. You could tell what they are, it's, a neat little presentation, and, honestly, if you wanted to crop out the white on the opposite side and just used the twine, I see somebody saying, I don't like it, I don't get out. Oh, don't crop it out, okay?

Class Description

You don’t need a studio to take professional-grade product and still life photographs! All you need is a simple tabletop lighting setup. In this course, award-winning food photographer Andrew Scrivani will show you how to create and tailor your own table top lighting setup — on any budget. Whether you’re a beginning photographer looking to master lighting or a professional photographer eager to expand your services, this course will give you a candid, comprehensive playbook for tabletop lighting.

Tabletop photography transforms a single surface into a small-scale studio. Andrew, a regular contributor to The New York Times, will show you how to create and then optimize your lighting setup for your needs — using everything from the latest gear to household items. Andrew will cover metering and bounce cards, working with strobes and soft boxes, LED lighting, and tips for shooting glassware and other tricky products.

By the end of this course, you will know how to set up and adjust your very own tabletop studio — and how to use that small-scale studio to expand your services, improve your photography, and market your business.


a Creativelive Student

I was pleased to see real life situations and set ups, their work arounds and the little fiddly things all commercial/product photographers go through to produce a viable shot. Unlike some of the other reviews, the "oops, it didn't work, let's try this instead" was totally real world and believable. So many times on other teaching venues, the shot is already set up and perfected before the instruction begins. It was extremely helpful to watch the processes that were involved in producing the correct captures. I was impressed with the humor and teaching style as well, especially for the time constraints in a classroom setting. The student set-ups and critiques were valuable and spot on without being negative in any way. All-in-all this was one of the best classes I've viewed at Creative Live. I just wish I could have had three more days and to have been there in person for the one-on-one instruction.

Aly Cupcakezz

I really liked how things were experimented. Instead of just giving do x, y, z. It shows you how to correct issues as they come up, and how to enhance your photography This gives you a guided idea of all the things you can play with to perfect your product photography image. You really learn how to fix the image problems as they appear in front of you. A very realistic way to create your own personal lighting setup for your product photos for your own studio space. Excellent fundamentals class for new photographers or small businesses attempting to do their own product photography. Thank you!

Sunil Sinha

very nice table top