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Author Topic: Photographing flutes  (Read 4314 times)

n1r0t

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Photographing flutes
« on: March 01, 2008, 08:29:44 pm »

Hi all,

I've been contacted by a friend to photograph flutes for product pamphlets and photos for website use. Since the flutes are polished metal (silver and gold) and highly reflective, I could use all the advice/guidance I can get. I have some experience with macro jewelry.

I don't have a current product/studio lighting setup for something as large as a flute (~29" in length), so I'd be looking into purchasing equipment. I've done extensive reading on lighting, but there's A LOT of information out there. Any real world/practical experience would be MUCH appreciated.

I was thinking of using something like this (http://www.photoflex.com/Photoflex_Products/Large_LiteRoom/index.html) to keep down reflections. Is this a useful/realistic option?

What type of lighting? I own one 580 EX now, but I was thinking that continuous light would be more advisable in this product photography situation.

I'm open to any and all recommendations!

Thanks!
~Torin
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DarkPenguin

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 09:07:32 pm »

Just a suggestion to check out either strobist or the strobist flickr site for all things small flash related.

Now if you choose to go continuous lighting i don't know what to tell you.
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n1r0t

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2008, 09:15:43 pm »

Quote
Just a suggestion to check out either strobist or the strobist flickr site for all things small flash related.

Now if you choose to go continuous lighting i don't know what to tell you.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=178543\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks! Will do. I realized after posting that maybe Luminous Landscape wasn't the place for a product photo question... My bad...
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DarkPenguin

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2008, 09:55:57 pm »

There are lots of people here who can help.  Just not sure they venture out of the MFDB forum.
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photo570

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2008, 10:22:57 pm »

Hi, if you are looking to purchase gear what is your budget? I do this type of stuff all the time and use a Broncolor Cumulite. This is like a soft box but the front surface is perspex. You are photographing metal which is going to essentially behave as a complex mirror surface. Think of it like this, if it is not lit, it will be black. Think big broad highlights from large light sources.

Hope that helps.
Cheers
Jason Berge.
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smthopr

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2008, 12:39:37 am »

Quote
Hi all,

I've been contacted by a friend to photograph flutes for product pamphlets and photos for website use. Since the flutes are polished metal (silver and gold) and highly reflective, I could use all the advice/guidance I can get. I have some experience with macro jewelry.

I don't have a current product/studio lighting setup for something as large as a flute (~29" in length), so I'd be looking into purchasing equipment. I've done extensive reading on lighting, but there's A LOT of information out there. Any real world/practical experience would be MUCH appreciated.

I was thinking of using something like this (http://www.photoflex.com/Photoflex_Products/Large_LiteRoom/index.html) to keep down reflections. Is this a useful/realistic option?

What type of lighting? I own one 580 EX now, but I was thinking that continuous light would be more advisable in this product photography situation.

I'm open to any and all recommendations!

Thanks!
~Torin
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=178539\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Torin,

I don't think the photoflex tent is the too for flutes.

Instead of a white tent, what you might want is a black velvet tablecloth and backdrop.  Then I would surround the "set" with black cloth (this cloth doesn't have to look as good as the velvet as it won't be photographed). You're going to need a fairly large space as you're going to have to put your lights inside the black tent, or at least above it.

You can rent a selection of "c" stands and black flags to build your "studio" walls from.  Make sure to get sand bags as well to keep them from falling over. You might want as many as 8 to 10 of these stands. I would suggest at least 6 4x4' black flags to go with it.

After you build your dark studio, set your shot with a temporary light on so you can frame the shot with the camera on a tripod.

Since the flute is reflective, like glass, you won't be lighting the flute but rather photographing the lights reflecting off of the flute.  This means you want large soft lights (bouncing a light of a 2x6' white card for example) instead of shining a lamp directly on the flute.  By lighting the white card, you'll be seeing the reflection of the card in the flute, and that will define the flute.

I would start by using only one light source (the light source here means the card you're reflecting the light off of) and place it above and behind the flute (a soft back light).

Shoot an exposure (I'm assuming digital here) and you'll see a well defined top of the flute with the bottom probably too dark and blending into the black velvet.  To solve this, get another white card and place it in front and below the flute, just out of frame.  This will reflect the backlight onto the dark part of the flute and the reflection of the 2nd white card will define the rest of the flute.

If you don't shoot in the "black" studio, light from all the white walls will be reflected off the flute and it will appear flat.  I think that the single light into the white card should be enough, but if the 2nd white card isn't reflecting enough light, you can add a small amount of light to the 2nd white card.

Hope this makes sense, it would much easier to show a diagram but I'm not sure how to post one here.

You can use either strobes or light bulbs, or fluorescents for this project as the flutes don't move and you can make as long an exposure as necessary.

It's just like shooting a car --- but smaller.

Good luck!

-bruce
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smthopr

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2008, 12:40:58 am »

Quote
Torin,

I don't think the photoflex tent is the too for flutes.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=178576\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't think the photoflex tent is the tool for flutes.

Oops.
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Bruce Alan Greene
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n1r0t

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2008, 08:18:33 am »

Quote
Hi, if you are looking to purchase gear what is your budget? I do this type of stuff all the time and use a Broncolor Cumulite. This is like a soft box but the front surface is perspex. You are photographing metal which is going to essentially behave as a complex mirror surface. Think of it like this, if it is not lit, it will be black. Think big broad highlights from large light sources.

Hope that helps.
Cheers
Jason Berge.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=178562\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the information Jason! I haven't really established a budget yet. I know the man involved wants the best possible shots so I'm trying to figure out what the lighting options are.

From what I can tell, the Cumulite is a softbox that holds and diffuses the light. What might you suggest as a backdrop/side reflectors/etc?
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n1r0t

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2008, 08:24:27 am »

Quote
Torin,

I don't think the photoflex tent is the too for flutes.

Instead of a white tent, what you might want is a black velvet tablecloth and backdrop.  Then I would surround the "set" with black cloth (this cloth doesn't have to look as good as the velvet as it won't be photographed). You're going to need a fairly large space as you're going to have to put your lights inside the black tent, or at least above it.

You can rent a selection of "c" stands and black flags to build your "studio" walls from.  Make sure to get sand bags as well to keep them from falling over. You might want as many as 8 to 10 of these stands. I would suggest at least 6 4x4' black flags to go with it.

After you build your dark studio, set your shot with a temporary light on so you can frame the shot with the camera on a tripod.

Since the flute is reflective, like glass, you won't be lighting the flute but rather photographing the lights reflecting off of the flute.  This means you want large soft lights (bouncing a light of a 2x6' white card for example) instead of shining a lamp directly on the flute.  By lighting the white card, you'll be seeing the reflection of the card in the flute, and that will define the flute.

I would start by using only one light source (the light source here means the card you're reflecting the light off of) and place it above and behind the flute (a soft back light).

Shoot an exposure (I'm assuming digital here) and you'll see a well defined top of the flute with the bottom probably too dark and blending into the black velvet.  To solve this, get another white card and place it in front and below the flute, just out of frame.  This will reflect the backlight onto the dark part of the flute and the reflection of the 2nd white card will define the rest of the flute.

If you don't shoot in the "black" studio, light from all the white walls will be reflected off the flute and it will appear flat.  I think that the single light into the white card should be enough, but if the 2nd white card isn't reflecting enough light, you can add a small amount of light to the 2nd white card.

Hope this makes sense, it would much easier to show a diagram but I'm not sure how to post one here.

You can use either strobes or light bulbs, or fluorescents for this project as the flutes don't move and you can make as long an exposure as necessary.

It's just like shooting a car --- but smaller.

Good luck!

-bruce
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=178576\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks Bruce! I figured out the "tool" part. =D

I'm definitely shooting digital but not fortunate enough to have a MFDB. =/ This makes a lot of sense. I appreciate the detail you included. I'm actually a flutist too so I can try out what you mentioned here rather easily. Thanks!
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framah

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2008, 01:11:42 pm »

Check out the Bowens Fluorescent lighting system. B&H sells them. They run about $900 each for the SL455 box. It's a 2' long box and you can get a softbox kit for about $50.

This type of lighting is also dimmable and will give you a nice even continuous lighting on you subject.

Northlight also makes a fluor system also  but they are WAY more expensive!!

This is the way to go for high reflectance objects.
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airchinapilot

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2008, 01:25:25 pm »

Flutes are long and you probably will want even lighting along their length, plus it would be nice to have an even highlight ("the bling"). To do that you should try either flagging the light / flash along its length, or use a small strip light. People who photograph cars often use strip lights to get that even bling along the car's surface. Since you are doing a small object, you can probably construct your own gobo to simulate a strip light.
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jcote

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2008, 08:02:09 am »

Quote
I don't think the photoflex tent is the tool for flutes.

Instead of a white tent, what you might want is a black velvet tablecloth and backdrop.  Then I would surround the "set" with black cloth (this cloth doesn't have to look as good as the velvet as it won't be photographed). You're going to need a fairly large space as you're going to have to put your lights inside the black tent, or at least above it.

You can rent a selection of "c" stands and black flags to build your "studio" walls from.  Make sure to get sand bags as well to keep them from falling over. You might want as many as 8 to 10 of these stands. I would suggest at least 6 4x4' black flags to go with it.

After you build your dark studio, set your shot with a temporary light on so you can frame the shot with the camera on a tripod.

Since the flute is reflective, like glass, you won't be lighting the flute but rather photographing the lights reflecting off of the flute.  This means you want large soft lights (bouncing a light of a 2x6' white card for example) instead of shining a lamp directly on the flute.  By lighting the white card, you'll be seeing the reflection of the card in the flute, and that will define the flute.

I would start by using only one light source (the light source here means the card you're reflecting the light off of) and place it above and behind the flute (a soft back light).

Shoot an exposure (I'm assuming digital here) and you'll see a well defined top of the flute with the bottom probably too dark and blending into the black velvet.  To solve this, get another white card and place it in front and below the flute, just out of frame.  This will reflect the backlight onto the dark part of the flute and the reflection of the 2nd white card will define the rest of the flute.

If you don't shoot in the "black" studio, light from all the white walls will be reflected off the flute and it will appear flat.  I think that the single light into the white card should be enough, but if the 2nd white card isn't reflecting enough light, you can add a small amount of light to the 2nd white card.

Hope this makes sense, it would much easier to show a diagram but I'm not sure how to post one here.

You can use either strobes or light bulbs, or fluorescents for this project as the flutes don't move and you can make as long an exposure as necessary.

It's just like shooting a car --- but smaller.


-bruce
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=178576\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bruce,

I shoot watch movements quite a bit. I was going to give an answer to this question but after reading yours, I just couldn't have said it better.

"Since the flute is reflective, like glass, you won't be lighting the flute but rather photographing the lights reflecting off of the flute. "

That just about says it all.
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n1r0t

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2008, 11:25:23 am »

So far...

Black studio constructed of flags, a couple reflectors and long strip lighting to give an even look across the body of the instrument.

Since I'd be using a reflector, would that simulate a long light? Eg, flash on the reflector and then the reflector is what's visible on the length of the instrument?

Pardon my ignorance if this seems like a dumb question...
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 11:30:29 am by n1r0t »
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usathyan

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Photographing flutes
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2008, 01:00:34 pm »

This is so far the best book on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Introd.../dp/0240802756/
This has diagrams/instructions on how to light and covers the very topic you ask.

Look up the book in books.google.com and you may get lucky and read the chapter you  need for free  
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 01:02:08 pm by usathyan »
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