Shooting the Yashica Electro 35 GSN

The scanner’s in a bad mood again so it doesn’t want to do any scanning. So I’ll talk about something else today. Here’s the setup I used for shooting the Yashica Electro 35 GSN the other day. Basically for shoots like this, you’ll want even lighting so no shadows will show and you’ll get maximum details. It would be better if I had 2 softboxes/umbrellas and 2 strobes.

Here the flash is made to bounce off the white cardboard (it’s black on one side) to illuminate the subject evenly. Flash is on manual power and adjusted accordingly for the correct exposure. Since your subject and your flash distance is constant (i.e. both are not moving about), manually adjusting the power of the flash will let you get consistent exposures each and every time.

I asked my iPhone to take a photo of me shooting. I was using the Nikkor AIS 80-200mm f4 lens. Manual focus @ f/16 @ 1/200. When shooting products (or portraits), always use the longest lens you have. Because products look weird if you shoot them using wide angles, and people look fat if you shoot them using wide angles. And that’s the reason why I’m standing on a chair. I always try to shoot as close to 200mm as possible.

I don’t have the equipment now to prove that a wide angle lens make products look weird. It has something to do with the angles at which the light ray enters the lens. But once I get them I’ll come up with a post about it. Sometime mid of next month.

So always remember these 6 things when you’re shooting a product:

  1. Set up your lighting properly first. Play around with different setups. This is the most important step in getting good lighting for your product.
  2. Use manual power for your flashes so you get consistent exposures for every shot.
  3. Use a long lens. Preferably 50mm and above. I’ll recommend a 200mm lens. Products look better when shot with longer lenses (to be proven soon).
  4. Shoot with a small aperture (big F number) to get a deeper depth of field. You want everything to be in focus, not just one part of your product. f/11 to f/16 is ok, but don’t go over f/22 because diffraction will soften the image.
  5. Use manual focus to give you more control over the focus of your subject.
  6. And most importantly, experiment and have fun. You’re shooting digital, so shoot as many as you want. There’s nothing like discovering new techniques through trial and error. You’ll never know what you’ll be able to achieve by doing it differently.

Next: How NOT to use your flash. Continue reading