Professional Small Product & Jewelry Photography Using a Light Tent | Photofonz Media Ferdy Neubauer | Skillshare

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Professional Small Product & Jewelry Photography Using a Light Tent

teacher avatar Photofonz Media Ferdy Neubauer, Sharing the Passion of Photography

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Introduction


    • 2.

      Light Tent Photography Setup & Technique


    • 3.

      Fine-tuning Your Setup


    • 4.

      Photographing Without a Photo Tent


    • 5.

      Selective Focus & Defocused Backgrounds


    • 6.

      Getting Creative With Your Images


    • 7.

      A Short Lesson In Depth-of-Field & Aperture Control


    • 8.

      A Look At Depth-of-Field & Aperture Control


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About This Class

Set up a light tent and use the lighting technique taught here and using other accessories will be able to come away with beautiful professional quality images.

A DSLR or Mirrorless camera would be helpful to use for this class since we will be demonstrating the effects one can get when adjusting your aperture. If a student knows some of the capabilities of using a phone or tablet's camera, then that may also be used for this class.

Knowledge in the basics of photography can also be helpful so you can understand how setting your lens can give you the depth-of-field that you may be looking for.

In this class, software is also discussed in doing some image editing in enhancing your photos

Meet Your Teacher

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Photofonz Media Ferdy Neubauer

Sharing the Passion of Photography


Ferdinand Neubauer (Ferdy), founder of “Photofonz” Media wanted to give photo enthusiasts an opportunity to further their knowledge and passion in photography through on-line education. He shares his knowledge and experience from the many phases of photography he has been involved in, from his part time start up when he booked wedding and portrait assignments from their dining room. He built a full time home studio, then moved into a commercial studio space. He operated his studio there for twenty more years before selling his studio.

He now spends his time doing occasional assignments and education in the field of photography. He also photographs jewelry & small product photography for his wife.

He enjoys pickleball, hiking, swimming, physical fitness and walk... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Class Introduction: Welcome and thank you for taking this course. My name is 30 nu bar and the founder of photo Fonz media. And for awhile I was looking for a way that I can put together a course so that anyone can learn it. A beautiful small product and jewelry photography. Now, I come across a way that is simple, rather inexpensive, and repeatable. And I found this in using a simple light tent and also a very simple way of lighting, using that light tan, and then also using different kinds of backgrounds to get different effects. All really neat stuff. And it's going to be simple, like I said, and repeatable. And also, I'm going to share with you a software program that I use that can help give year photographs a nice little edge. Just add a little bit of an edge to it. So that can knock your competition on water. And also, I've put in here just a little bit of theory in the field and aperture control. So I didn't want to make it too complicated, but just teach you just enough so you know what aperture control does and how that affects your depth of field. And I think this is one of the, the key factors in photography. So once you learn this stuff, you're going to find that photography becomes even more fun. Is that more fun? When you can take beautiful photographs over and over again, instead of just guessing or trying out your luck and see what happens if you do this. Once you learn this stuff, you're going to love it. It's going to stay with you and it's going to move you up that ladder to be more of an advanced photographer. Thank you very much. 2. Light Tent Photography Setup & Technique: So let's look at a good way for someone wanting to take beautiful small product or jewelry photography that's rather inexpensive and it's very easy to do. And it's rather quick to setup also. And that would be using a light hand, like you see here. And this is made by a company called newer and EW ER. And this particular one is a 16 by 16 inch or 40 by 40 centimeters. It's called a photo studio shooting tent. And I got this on Amazon and it was only 1499. But wait, if you act now, they throw in free shipping as 1499. So it's actually a good price for something like that. And that's going to make photography easy for those that may not have a lot of experience with writing. And the results are repeatable over and over again. Very simple. So let's look at this delight tent also comes with a flat that you can Velcro on the front opening of the light hint, but I took that off, I didn't use it. And as you can see here, mine came with three different backgrounds. He blew a black and a white. And there were also packaged nicely neat, but by the time you open up the package, they're very wrinkled. So you have to iron these now the material that these are made out of, it's like a plastic sheet. So when you do iron, you do have to be careful that you don't turn your iron on to hot. Otherwise, he could melt a sheet or you could put a cloth over this material when you do iron it. Now, I'm not crazy about using this material. I did try it out, but it's not the best. So I just substituted other things that I'm going to go over that you can use that are actually better. But it was little bit tricky getting those wrinkles out because they were really in there and I haven't done any ironing. May will be 21 years, I believe so. So just be careful when you iron needs just in case you do want to use these as your background. Now the 16 by 16 photo size that we got works well for photograph in the small products that we do. However, if this is your only light source, then you may want to consider getting a larger photo tint. So these are some of the images that we're taking using this light hint along with the LED lights that I got for this ten and then some other accessories which I'm going to show you. And also these images were taken just using a simple iPod touch. So you can use any device and your smart phone. And then later on I also took some museum. My Nikon, it was a D 7200. So you can use your device, you can use your digital SLR or if you have a mirrorless, that'll be fine to anything that you can get in there to get close enough to photograph these items are going to work out really well and really assemble. So just using the iPod touch, we were able to come up with some, some decent images. And of course I did a little cropping on these to get rid of the excess space. So here we're looking at the light system that I also purchased on Amazon. And this is called the limo MIMO studio for sets of continuous LED portable light lamp for tabletop studio with color filters. And that's where you can find that on Amazon. Now you can also get these in sets of twos, which you only actually need to, to do. In fact, some of the ones that you saw were actually taken with two lights. Some are taken with three, sum of four. And I'm going to show you how, how I use them to get different effects. But it comes with a set of either two or four. And you also get a set of filters, one blue and one yellow. And these were priced that for the whole set, 34, 99. So that's rather inexpensive. And I was really surprised how much power output these lights put out, even though the heads are kinda small to very powerful units. And in every single photograph that I took for this that I thought I did show you already and I'm about to show you everything was done handheld. I like shooting handheld because I'm able to get in There's closer they want. Choose the best angle, the height. So I prefer shooting my small products hand-held unless you're doing something that requires a real long exposure. But the exposure that I got using these lights was fast enough to hand hold your camera. And then here you can see the four lights. The two ends are just without the filters. That center left has a blue filter, the center right has the yellow filter at it. Now I do want to mention that when I got mine, I think a couple of the filters had a cracks in it, but I'm not going to complain about that for. I only need one or two filters rarely, so I didn't really make a fuss about it. And I figured for 34, 99, that's a great deal because he try and make him one of these lights for 34, 99 and here I got four of them. So these lights are AC powered so she could see I plugged my lights into an outlet strip. So this way I'm able to just throw to switch and they all turn on instead of messing around with each one individually. And then here's something else that I highly recommend. And I was glad that I got this also on Amazon. And this is called a, again, newer and EW ER, 12 by 12 acrylic reflective display board. And it comes with a set of two black one and a white one. And these are really nice for showcasing gold jewelry or really any small product or small piece of jewelry. And then here you can see how it gets used. Because a blackboard is really nice when you're photographing jewelry. And as you could see, both the black one and the white one do give just a little bit of a reflective surface. So that's kinda nice. So I like that. And on this particular one, what I did here was use two lights to light them, one on each side. And then I've put a blue gel on a, another light that I shine from behind up towards the background area. So it's kinda nice to sometimes add some color to the background. So here I start off using the lights all forum that you can see two on each side without any filters added. And here I slip in a 12 by 12 inch background paper that a guide from either my goals or AC more. It's the scrapbooking paper that you can get all different colors and designs on it. It's really a great thing to use and we use these all the time for our small product and jewelry photos. So I started off taking a set of earrings and they're on an earring holders, you can see here. And I had a prop it up, which I'm going to talk about little bit later. I'll go more into that. But I propped it up by using a small box. So I just raise them up a little bit. And I also added a small Mylar sheet as a reflector on the bottom. Sometimes I'll use that just to give a little bit of reflective light from the bottom. So I wanted to take these using the iPod Touch. And like I said, I did handhold these even though the photo shows it's on a tripod. I took it off then and I got in closer, got the exposure fast enough to handhold leaves without any camera movement. Blur saw works very easy. And that Here's the image I got as close as this and I took this image, and of course you want to crop it and then I crop this a little bit. And this is the final image here that I would want to use for these earrings. And here we're photographing a, another set of earrings. And this time I used as a background. I have an 8 by 10 easel back that has a velvet material that we attached onto the easel back, right behind the earring. So it gives a very, very deep black background, as you can see here. And this is how it looks coming straight from the camera without any cropping. And then of course we want to crop it closer and this'll be our final result using the light tan. And again here I'm using the four lights. I have two on each side. And then using the same backgrounds or back to declare earrings, you could see how it comes from the camera. And as we crop it in just a little bit, this will be our final image using just those four lights in the light tint. 3. Fine-tuning Your Setup: So let's look at the 10 here a little bit closer. And as you can see, the front of the tent has sort of a lip that goes all the way around that. And if you look on the bottom part of the tent, it's rather low. So there's going to be times that you want to raise that up so you can get your camera in there without that lip blocking your view. So what I did was I put a book on the bottom of that. And if you're going to use a book you something good like an ADSL atoms books to motivate you to photograph better. Or you can use a box or large block of wood that's going to raise the floor up just a little bit. And then here I use the black background that came with the light tint. And this actually Velcro goes on to the top back part of the light tan on the inside. And then you just sweep it down. And this is how it looks using the two lights here, one on each side. And as you can see, you can still see the wrinkles in here and then we get some glare from that shiny material. So I'm not really crazy about that. You can use it, but I think there's other material that's going to work better for you. And then here we're looking at the white background also attached to it. And as you could see, it also has some wrinkles to it because this material is rather flimsy and it's kinda shiny also. So again, it's not to me, I don't like using it a whole lot. And then here we're photographing a lizard pin. And again, we're using the iPod Touch here. And we've just taken a few different angles of it. So here I took a piece of velvet fabric that I clipped on the back top part of the tent with a white background goes, Black Velvet works out really nice for a deep rich background. And then here you can see we're using two lights photographing a little sheep hair. And again, we're using the iPod Touch coming in a little closer. And this is how it looks when we photographed it. So I just cropped it a little bit more and this is our final result. So you can see how easy and quick it is to photograph this. And then I put on the white background as you can see and still you could see some creases back there and reflection. And again, I'm not that happy with it. But this is how it looks using that background and coming in again with the iPod Touch, talk to photograph as you see here. And then I took a third light, putting the blue gel on it, again, shining it right through to attend a little bit behind the sheep. So it lives up the background with a blue tone to it. And this is how it looks at this taken with the iPod Touch. And of course, you can move that light around so you can get different effects, different degrees of blue on the background. And then here I switched to the Nikon using the, these 7200. And again, these are all handheld, two lights from the side and then a third one added with a blue gel that's shining through the 10 onto the background. Then here you can see how I position the lights. So the two lights again or one on each side with the blue gel light coming in further back, shining from the back to in fact here, this particular one, it's shining onto the bracelet itself. And then we have the bracelet on to the reflective material, the acrylic material. And this is how it looks as it was photographed using again, the iPod Touch here. Now one thing I do when I mentioned when you use this reflective acrylic material, many times you're going to pick up and reflection that's on top of the 10. So you may have to position your camera around on a little bit so the reflection doesn't interfere with your photograph or your composition. And that's what I did here. I found a nice solid areas, so I took it. And then with cropping, this was their resolve. And as you can see, we get a little bit of a reflection, maybe adding some more dimension to it. Then here, of course, there's just a little hint of a blue coming in from the backside. And then I switched to using the no white acrylic sheet. And again, you can just use that light with blue gel law and you can just move it around a little bit. And now I switch to back to using the Nikon D 7200. And then here's another one just showing a basic, the front part of the bracelet here. And then here we're looking at the exact same kind of lighting. And I put in a beep when using the black acrylic background, again using the blue gel on here. And then this is the result of that. You can see some of the blue in the background and some of the blue even fell onto the B pin here. And I do want to mention that when you do use a gel color light that you're going to be changing the color of your product. So you probably don't want to use the gel light on all the images, maybe just one or two, just to break it up, just to get attention by think that you want to end up with a final result showing the exact color of the item, like you see here. Here we have the white background back in just using the two lights without any background light with a gel on it. So we have just a natural light. And I think that's important. But of course, like I said, it's not going to hurt maybe to take one or so unless you don't a special project, but maybe you could just use that gel for just a background purposes or again, just one image to get people's attention. 4. Photographing Without a Photo Tent: So here we're going to be photographing a, another set of earrings. But this time we're going to be using two lights without the photo tint. Now when you do that, you're going to get a whole lot more contrast. The lighting is going to be a lot harsher. So it may not be the best kinda lighting for a lot of different things, but I wanted to show you anyway the results that you can get. So if you notice here we have the earrings in front of a background that set on the easel back. And I also put a small sheet of a reflective mylar on the bottom to act as a reflector. And you could see the light on the right is about 45 degree angle, aiming straight at the earrings. And the one on the left is just a little bit back, just to give a little bit of a kicker light coming in from the backside. And this is the result taken straight from the camera. And of course we wanted his crop the image. And there's our final image with the, again, the iPod touch. Now many times if I'm photographing a background that has lines to it instead of those lines going up and down, unlike diagonal lines more. So here I just flipped the background paper and I clipped it onto that easel back. And now the lines are at an angle, have the same lighting here. And then we took that photo here, again, iPod Touch. And here's our final image with cropping. And then on this one here I just added a vignette, which means I just dark in the corners just a little bit or the edges. And then on the last image here, same image. But this was taken using the Nikon single-lens reflex that these 7200. And again, these were taken with both cameras hand-held. And of course the last one using the Nikon with a 2875 millimeter camera lens. But notice anything different about these two. Both are actually quite usable. However, the one that was taken using the Nikon digital SLR has a little bit more background blur and sometimes that's useful to Nikon 7200 has a larger sensor, then he iPod Touch does. So it's going to give you more background blur. And many times that's useful where if you want to isolate the product more and sometimes you want to get everything as sharp as possible. And next we're going to be looking at the difference between the two cameras and how you can make the best out of background blur. 5. Selective Focus & Defocused Backgrounds: And the last segment we looked at these two images. The first one here taken with the iPod Touch. And you can notice that the background is a little bit out of focus. But if look at the next one taken with a Nikon D 7200, that background is way out of focus. And again, the lenses that 28 to 75 millimeter, It's a tamarin, old TAM Ron lens actually. So many times it's kinda nice to not to background out of focus. So your attention goes more to the object that you're photographing. And then here again, we're looking at the earrings photograph with the iPod Touch. And the background is just a little bit out of focus. And of course we can move the background further back if he wanted to. But if we're going to be using the light tint, it only goes back so far. And then, so first one again, iPod Touch, next one using the Nikon so you can see how soft that background it. That's kinda nice. Now if you wanted to photograph objects that you want to be in focus as much as possible, then you want to keep everything on the same plane. Now the words, you want to have it all level. So the head and the tail or roughly on the same plane. So when you hold your camera at it, everything is going to be relatively in focus. And that's if you want to photograph everything sharp. And as soon as you start to change that plane of focus, things are going to start to go out of focus here we photograph, of course, on the lizards had and using the iPod Touch here everything is relatively, fairly in focus, but the tail starts to go out just a little bit. And the same thing here, even though we've photographed the lizard from the back here and focus on the head area. You can see how the tail is a little bit soft or slightly out of focus using the iPod Touch. And if we use the Nikon, you can see how the tail goes out of focus even more. So. Again, if you want to keep things in focus, try to keep them on the same plane. And here again is the iPod touch. You can see it's relatively pretty sharp. We focus on the head and then the tail starts to go just a little bit out of focus. Now again, watch what happens once we switched to using the Nikon. Again, we're focused on his head. And notice how the tail goes way out of focus and his rear legs are out of focus. Now this might be useful for isolating certain parts of the object that you're photographing. Now here again, we're using the iPod Touch and everything that we're photographing here is not on the same plane. We're shooting at an angle now where the head, where we're focusing actually on the head and the tail and the rear legs are slightly and back, so they're going to be just a little bit out of focus with the iPod. And then as we use the Nikon 7200, you can see that we're focusing on the head and the rear legs and the tail are way out of focus here. As we come down a little bit lower here and the tail section now and they're real legs are slightly further back, so they're going to be out of focus even more now using the Nikon here. Now of course here we're using the blue gel, shining it on the background and it's sitting the lizard is a little bit. So again, if you want to have everything in focus as best as possible, you want to make sure that when you're photographing is certain object dat everything is on the same plane as much as possible. This way everything is going to be in-focus. And next we're gonna take a look at is software program that you can use if you want to add a little bit Lopez as or enhancement to a couple of your images. 6. Getting Creative With Your Images: In this section here, I wanted to share with you a really interesting software program that you can use in case you want to highlight a couple or a few of your images and make them really stand out and be different. And of course, you not want to use this on all your images, but maybe you want to use it to attract attention on your website or a certain product that you're selling. And this software program is called smart photo editor, and it's Beidi anthropic company. And they claim that it's the only software program or the only photo editing program that you'll ever need. Well, it is really awesome. And you could do so many different effects and enhancement with it. You have enhancements on here that can change your contrast, your color tones give you borders, edges, all different effects. When I first found out about the software program, I signed up for a free trial. And after about 15, 20 minutes, I was hooked. I bought it. When you do go online to look it over, it's available at a special price, I think 2995 currently. And then a coupon comes up 10 percent off and think it takes it to 26, 95, that's the current price of it, of course, that could change. So just have a look at it and see if this is something that you might want to use to enhance some of your images, and it is available for Windows, Mac. And I understand that he also have an app for a mobile devices. So let's take a look at some of these. So here we're going to start with a normal image out of the camera, and then we can add several their firm borders or edges. You can also combine these effects or you can change them in Photoshop, you can use parts of one, in parts of another. It's really endless, but you can just use them just out of the software program as they are also. And to give you an idea here of some of these cool effects which just adds maybe a little bit of impact. Just something that you can use to get people's attention. So you can see all the neat effects that you can get that can make your product really stand out. Or maybe grab attention. Maybe if you selling something on your website or an eBay, you want to have a thumbnail that people see it, they go, whoa, what's this? So let's click on that and that's going to get their attention. And of course, the other images, maybe normal images so people can see how the product really is. But this is one way of capturing people's attention. So they go and they check out your products. So in review, when you use a light hand, you can get by with two lights. However, if you want to use a gel, blue or yellow gel with it, you might want to get an extra set of four lights total. And of course, using the 12 by 12 inch or 30 by 30 centimeter acrylic reflective backgrounds is also a nice way of showcasing your products. And if you put all these things together now we have a really easy way and rather inexpensive way that you can photograph over and over again, repeatedly and get great quality images. 7. A Short Lesson In Depth-of-Field & Aperture Control: So far, I've kept this course pretty simple and basic so that anyone can learn and take beautiful small product and jewelry photographs without getting too technical. And this segment, I'm going to go over a little bit of theory in depth of field and aperture control. For those that may want to use a larger sensor camera, like a good mirrorless or a digital SLR. And it's really not that difficult to understand. And once you do, you'll be able to take full control and get much better professional looking photographs. Now I'm going to give you the short version here, but I really do recommend that you either read a good book or you take a class in the basics of photography. So let's start with the camera's aperture control. Everybody knows that aperture has an influence on your exposure. But aperture also has a, another very important effect on your photographs. And that is depth of field. That's the field is the range of sharpness that is in your image from the front to the back. So by using a smaller lens opening or smaller aperture, you can increase your depth of field. And of course, when you use a larger aperture like say F2 point a, or if you're going to be using a good prime lens like 1.4, you have a narrow depth of field, which means that you can actually use that as a benefit if you want to knock everything out of focus except maybe a certain point that you're focusing on. You can isolate that part of your object and everything else goes out of focus or attention goes right to the focus point. And there's going to be other times when you may want the whole item in focus. And in a situation like that, you want to use the smallest aperture that you can. And that's going to give you way more depth of field. Not only is this useful in small product and jewelry photography, but eventually you're going to probably do some photographs of people. So if you're going to be doing say, a portrait of an individual or maybe a couple or a group. It's good to know this because you may want to keep everybody in focus as much as possible or you may want to get one person in focus and just knock the background way out of focus. So that, so this is actually really good to know in small products and in your general photography, whether you're photographing people or even insects. So I put together a set of images using different apertures. And this is going to explain it very clear for you. I think when you see the results of these images, thing is going to knock your socks off. So let's take a look. 8. A Look At Depth-of-Field & Aperture Control: So here we're looking at our first image and these were taken with a Nikon digital SLR crops centric camera. The lens that I had on here was an older tamarin 2008 to 75 millimeter f 2.8 lens. So here we set the pearls up so that you can see that death from the front all the way to the back. We start out at setting the aperture at F2 0.8, which is a largest lens opening on this lens that we're using. And we focused on one of the pearls in the front row. And notice how as weak or back further, the pearls slowly start to go out of focus. So if we look at the end of the pearl here, you can see how much they're out of focus. And you can even start to see the bouquet from those pearls now. Okay, is the pattern of light that you get when you're looking at an out-of-focus image. So that's pretty cool. On the next image here I changed the lens opening or aperture to f 11. And here we're at a 100th of a second. And I was still able to hand hold it at a 100th of a second and look at the difference here. So not completely sharp, but very reasonably sharp that we can get away with this in so people can see the overall look of the whole string of pearls here. Now watch what happens if I change the aperture even more. Here I closed down to its smallest opening, which happens to be F32 on this lens. And of course to compensate now remember I have to compensate on the shutter speed. So I have to let in the same amount of light. So I had to compensate and change that to a 30th of a second to get basically the same exposure. However, I got the same exposure, but a different result. Isn't this cool? And again here I'm focusing on the first row of pearls. You could see all the way now practically everything is swell. It's reasonably sharp even in the back. But this way you're able to get in as much as you can, everything in focus. And even though we're shooting at an angle here, so we have more depth to the pearls. Everything is reasonably well in focus. And remember, if you want to get everything in focus, then you're going to have to in this case, you'll be shooting down at the pearls. So your sensor will be on the same plane or in parallel with your pearls. This way you can still use a relatively larger lens opening and still have everything in focus. And then here we just added a blue gel and again F32. So we have everything reasonably well in focus at a 15th of a second. Now, when I go this slow and on the last image, I had to use a tripod because I didn't want to risk any camera shake, and then that would make the image a little bit blurry. A good rule of thumb to follow when you want to handhold camera is to use a shutter speed that's equivalent to the focal length of your lens. So say for instance here I'm using a 75 millimeter lens. However, it's crop sensors. All I have to multiply that by 1.5. So I would feel comfortable hand holding his camera to about a 100th of a second, roughly about there. And of course, if you're using a lens which has image stabilization, you can get away with hand-holding it out a little bit of a slower speed and you should be okay if you're not sure, use a tripod and especially if you're going to be using a long exposure because there may be times when you might have to go, like in this case here it was a 15th of a second. But there may be times when you may have to go to a 2.5th or maybe two seconds so you can get some tremendous depth of field. All depends on the light that you're using and of course how your ISO is set. And then here we're looking at a bracelet that was foreign graph the exact same way. And again, using that blue gel coming in from the backside just a little bit. And then we started off with f2, 0.8 here. So you can see even though a bracelet, It's not that large of a difference. But you can see how much the back of the bracelet is out of focus and watch what happens if we change the setting to F 14. And then of course now we have to also adjust our lens speed to 100th of a second to get the same exposure. So here you can see how sharp it is. Not a 100 percent sharp, but it's way sharper than the other one is at 2.8 as compared to this one here which is taken that F 14. So this is all very good information that you can use when you photograph has to look a certain way and a certain amount of it has to be in focus.