Folksy Ltd

Product Photography kit

As well as making and selling my jewellery, I also run the business side of my husband’s commercial photography business. As well as taking photos Keith also tests and reviews photography related equipment and software. Recently he’s tested and published reviews of 2 pieces of kit that are (mainly) aimed at product photography. One is a rather nifty flash gun and I actually used it to take/re-take shots of my jewellery for my Folksy shop. The other is a mini studio kit that you can set up on you dining room table.

If you’re interested, you can read the review of the flash here:
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews/lighting/kx800.html

And the studio kit here - and I think you might also find some useful tips included in the article (Keith teaches product photography to businesses):

Hope you find the information of some use - if you have any questions, let me know and I’ll pick his brains :slight_smile:

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I shall have to read his reviews later, thank you :slight_smile:

Thanks Tina @DaisyWings - let me know if you’ve any questions :+1:

Thanks for this @silvertreejewellerydesign I’ve added these to my photography tips Pinterest board :slight_smile:

Thanks Ali @millyandpip - that’s really great :smile:

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Are the photos in your shop the ones taken with or without the diffusers? If you have photos of the same set up but one with and one without the diffusers that would be really useful to me as improving my photo set up is near the top of my to do list with one of the key things making it less weather dependant.
Thanks
Sasha

I’ll look forward to reading the reviews Karen, thanks for sharing them. Elaine

Hi Sasha @SashaGarrett. I only used the flash gun - without diffusers, as we only got them 3 days ago - so I don’t think my photos will be of any use to you (there’s only 3 items at the moment taken with the new flash I could point to anyway as I’m still wading through processing the new shots).

Keith has had a look at your photos - which are great by the way - and can tell you use natural light, so we get what you mean about having a consistent set-up that you can use when you need to rather than waiting for the weather. In your case, using a basic white background that you can place your jewellery and props on, with a light source either side will give you the consistent look you’re after whenever you need it, even at night.

The kit Keith reviewed is a little expensive (remember our main audience are commercial businesses) but you can get some really decent kit on eBay that will do the job. You can get a complete kit like this:

(if this is a bit cumbersome, see what is consists of and have a hunt around for something smaller)

Or buy a couple of continuous light sources/soft boxes - find them on eBay here:http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Lighting-Kits/19591/i.html?_pgn=2&_skc=50&rt=nc&Bundled%20Items=Softbox%28es%29

… and then buy a sheet of plastic and some heavy duty clips and attach them to a flat surface to create a backdrop. Although I use flash, I do use a plastic sheet for my backdrop so if you go back to the review of the flash gun and scroll down you’ll see my set up - and the way I use the plastic. Ignore the flash gun on the camera - you’ll just need to set up a continuous light source/soft box either side and your camera in front.

Whichever option you choose - buying the soft boxes and a sheet of plastic will be cheaper - you will need to experiment with the intensity of the light - but they should have adjustments on them - and their position, but once you’ve got that sorted, it’s just a case of the same thing every time.

By the way - you may need to do some local research for the plastic. The best way to describe it is a sheet of white translucent flexible plastic. Keith just walked into a local plastics (for building) suppliers told them that he needed it as a photography backdrop and this is what they gave us. A commercial training client in Yorkshire bought his online - but it was enormous! - by walking in off the street, Keith was able to buy an off-cut for about £10.00.

Hope this is of some help to you - and anyone else that reads it - let me know if you/anyone has any questions.

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My pleasure Elaine @elliestreasures - let me know if you have any questions.

Sasha @SashaGarrett - what I forgot to say is when you use diffusers (which is basically what a soft box is) you get softer light so therefore softer edges on your shadows, which means the shadows are less obvious.

Hi Karen,
Thank you & your husband Keith the info is really interesting & very, very helpful. I’ve saved to re-read again, someone had said to me about the soft box & a strong lighting set up to help my product photography out.

I had got some LED battery operated lights & while they helped abit they chewed through batteries & the light levels weren’t consistent nor did it throw enough light. I was still having problems with shadows & colour casts. I process through photoshop & try to lighten the shadows but getting the balance of light & the artwork colours true was a real struggle.

When the suns out i try & photograph as much as poss in the garden as the natural light as i find i get better results but i really do need a consistent set up. I had been look up studio set up kit with soft boxes but wondering which type of lights to get, so the Fotospeed review & tips really helps thank you. I recently build a white wooden panelled backdrop to try to help consistence & bring some extra light in.

I don’t yet understand enough about RAW image files to work with them it’s something i need to learn more about so i’ll be having a look further through the Articles. I hadn’t heard of the colour check passport before & wonder whether that’s something i should be adding to my kit as well.

A very big thank you for a really interest & informative read.
Regards
Jac

Hi Jac @cheekymonkeystudio. We’re really pleased you found the review useful.

Keith has taken a look at the photos of your gorgeous products and thinks the problem is to do with the white balance. First and foremost don’t use the LED lighting - a real culprit of colour casts in photos (Keith hates LED lights of all descriptions because they mean he needs to do extra, quite complex processing of any interior shots to get rid of the ‘odd’ colours).

Secondly - take a look at these 2 articles, one on a basic product photo set up - which includes using a grey card to white balance your photos and the second one is on a grey card you can get to do the job - the colour checker passport has a grey card included but it’s more expensive and might not be worth you splashing out on it when you can get something cheaper to do the job just as well:


http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews/photography/grey_card.html

If you also have a look further up this thread you’ll see an answer I posted to Sasha - it’s got some useful links to soft boxes that would work better than the LED lights and give you a consistent light source so you don’t have to rely on good weather.

Just on a personal note - when you read the second article you’ll see a picture of the back of someone’s head with a grey card held against it - that’s me modelling one of my (old) hair slide designs :smile:

Let me know if the articles raise more questions than answers :wink:

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Hi Karen,

Thank you so very much i really appreciate your’s & Keith’s help. Nice to know i wasn’t going completely crazy with the LED’s, couldn’t figure out what i was doing wrong.

The articles are very,very helpful thank you. I had been using the AWB, daylight, cloudy & shade settings when setting up, the indoor lighting white balance setting had sent my pic’s into complete yellow casts so i was avoiding using that one. Gonna look up how to register my custom white balance in my manual & defiantly get myself a grey card to help me get the correct balance.

I had seen your message to Sasha & was looking at the links to the continuous soft box lighting they look much better than the ones i seen before. I’m defiantly going to be investing in those, probably a two box set up, just one question…I saw that Keith had said in the grey card article about his pet hate ‘Energy Saving Light Bulbs’ that give a nasty uneven spectrum that confused even the 1Ds3… i know he was talking about the hallway lighting but i notice alot of the contentious soft box set up’s come with either 80w or 135w engery saving bulbs would i be best to avoid these and go with the ones with either daylight bulbs or fluorescent bulbs?

Hehe…like the modelling and very pretty hair slide :smile:

Huge big thank you to you both :heart_eyes:
Regards
Jac

Morning Jac @cheekymonkeystudio from a very, very wet and dreary Leicester :wink:

I’d definitely go with a couple of soft boxes - the ones we use came from eBay and Keith often suggests our commercial training clients look there.

I’ve spoken to him about energy saving bulbs and the studio kit he reviewed actually had them in their lamps and he was surprised to find they weren’t ‘that bad’. His advice - to try the ones that come with the soft boxes, have a go at correcting with the grey card and if you like you can send me a test shot and he’ll have a look for you. Basically the better quality the bulbs are, the less of a problem you’ll get but unfortunately, you won’t know what bulbs you’ve got until you get the soft boxes! If after using and testing they’re not up to it you can buy better bulbs. Apparently the number to go on is the CRI (Colour Rendition Index) number on the bulb and usually the higher this number the better the bulb - although it’s not foolproof and it may still taking some experimenting with.

Hope this helps - have a great weekend, hope the weather here improves or I’ll have to swim to my mum and dad’s :smiley:
Karen

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Morning Karen,

Hope you didn’t have to swim to your Mum & Dad’s…it was certainly a very soggy one yesterday. Called off our plans to go to the Sweetpea week at Easton Wall for the 2nd weekend in a row thanks to the great British summer…i swear i’m developing webbed feet! :wink:

Thank you so very much for yours & Keith’s help. Few probs finding a dealer stocking the grey card from BasIC but will contact Germany next week but have found another tis only 18% as apposed to 25% so maybe a plan B. Defiantly will order my continuous soft box lights & will have a play with the bulbs…thank you so much for all the info, advice & help… it’s very, very much appreciated. :heart_eyes:

Hope you have a dry & fabulous rest of the weekend
Kind regards
Jac

Good afternoon from sunny - yes I said sunny - Leicester :sunny:

Glad to be of help - let us know if you need anything else :+1:

Hope you get to see the Sweetpeas soon - i’ll have to content myself my my neighbour’s daughter’s Sweeatpeas. I grew some myself and realised neither me or Keith could take the smell, so we swapped them for tomatoes :wink:

Have a great Sunday
Karen

Hiya Karen,

Ooooo sun! …please send some our way :wink: We had more of the soggy stuff, tis bucketing down at mo again…fingers crossed next w/end the sun will come out to play and i might finally get to see the sweetpeas :smile: Enjoy your tom’s!

Your wee parcel’s on it’s jolly journey to you :relaxed: …thank you so very much :heart_eyes:
Take care & have a fabulous day…I’m off to order my lights :grinning:
Kind Regards
Jac

Hi :slight_smile:

Today we have sun, then rain, then sun - you know the pattern by now, an English summer basically.

The card is for my sister - she’s 47 but loves fairies so I’m sure it will be put on permanent display for long after her birthday has been and gone :wink:

Karen

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Hi,
Good old English summer…:grinning:

Hope your Sister enjoys the card :slight_smile: …your never to old for fairies! :wink: The cards are great for framing, framed & mounted a number of them for customers locally.

Take care & have a great hopefully sunny day :sunny:
Kind Regards
Jac

Good afternoon

Just wanted to let you know the card arrived safely - I love it and I’m sure Fi will too. Thank you for the postcard - it’s now on the pin board above my desk :smile:

Off to the dentist now :unamused:

Let us know if you have any problems setting up the soft boxes or can’t track down a grey card.
Karen
x

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