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Photographing light clothing on dark background

Discussion in 'Studio Lighting Forum' started by Rachel Parry, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    Hi, I'm hoping some of you might be able to help us out. We work in an Oxfam charity shop, and photograph clothing to sell on the online shop. We are trying to photograph white and very light coloured items against a black background, and are struggling to get the lighting etc correct. We don't have very fancy equipment - the camera we use is a bridge camera, a Canon SX400 IS. We have white plastic mannequins, a black fabric background, 2 softbox lights and 2 black umbrella lights with silver inside, which we normally use to highlight the background when we use a white backdrop. Does anybody have any experience of this set up, that could offer us some advice, please? We are trying to get a black background with no creasing etc of the backdrop visible, and a good product shop, without shadows etc.
     
  2. rebel06

    rebel06 Without a cause Moderator

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    how close to the background is the mannequin as this will make a big difference
     
  3. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    The camera will try to balance the exposure with an average making the exposure wrong if you can use manual as you have fixed lights it will make life easier and get the exposure set for the lighter item and forget the background it will appear darker.

    Manual setting may seem scary but is quite easy where you have fixed lighting
     
  4. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    About 4 feet away. The room we use is narrow, but long enough for us to have that amount of space behind the mannequin, and probably 6 feet in front before you hit the wall!


    Hi Paul, the exposure is the +/- button, isn't it? We are not professional photographers by any means, some of us can just about manage to turn the camera on!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2018
  5. rebel06

    rebel06 Without a cause Moderator

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    Don't think this camera has Manual mode, not even Apperture or shutter modes .. .only auto or P mode , but does have scene specific modes
     
  6. rebel06

    rebel06 Without a cause Moderator

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    The +/- button is probably exposure compensation, so try and increase the setting with the + and see if that helps
     
  7. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    That's correct. It has the +/-, white balance and ISO
     
  8. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    OK if thats the case no manual setting then exposure compensation is the way to go +/-
     
  9. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    Great, thank you. What would you advise with regards to lighting? Presumably, keep the lights away from the backdrop!
     
  10. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    Yes just light the subject
     
  11. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer Always on Premium Member

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    As long as you keep the lighting off the background it should go to black.
    Set a softbox either side facing 90 deg to the subject and use the back edge level with the rear of the subject.
    Are you using flash or constant lighting ? Its not important but using flash, you need a black photo when turned off to show that the ambient light has no effect.
     
  12. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    We're just using the soft box lights, flash is turned off
     
  13. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer Always on Premium Member

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    Do you mean they are flash heads in the softbox turned off or The camera pop-up flash.

    Anyway this is a diagram of what I mean for whatever lights you are using. Flash or constant lights.

    Plan.jpg
     
  14. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    Oh right! I did say we're not very experienced, lol. The lights in the soft boxes are just lights, no flash or anything like that. And the pop-up camera flash is off too. We are about to go and try out the set up you've shown us - wish us luck!
     
  15. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer Always on Premium Member

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    As long as you keep the lights off the background you can play with angles of the lights.
     
  16. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    Ok, we couldn't get a light either side as the space is too narrow, so we've put one facing down onto the mannequin, and this is the result. We had to put the exposure below zero by a couple of notches (-2/3, if that sounds right!) What do you reckon?!

    IMG_3137.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2018
  17. hooferinsane

    hooferinsane EXIF Seeker Super Moderator

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    Don't forget to press the 'full image' button when you upload, I have done this one for you
     
  18. hooferinsane

    hooferinsane EXIF Seeker Super Moderator

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    You've done quite well on this, but there are artefacts on the bottom right on the black background. You have your 'edit my images' choice set to no. If you were to set it to yes, people would be able to show you how to improve it in software PP
     
  19. Rachel Parry

    Rachel Parry Member

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    Ok, I've changed the 'edit my image' option. However, we don't have Powerpoint! A bit beyond our budget, but if anybody knows of free software, we can see about downloading it.
     
  20. hooferinsane

    hooferinsane EXIF Seeker Super Moderator

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    PP btw is post production, not powerpoint
    GIMP is a good free editor, but without any knowledge of how to do it, you may find it tricky to start with
     

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