A key aspect of building a decent lighting setup for your close-up product shots and video reviews is lighting the background as evenly as possible by utilising soft, diffused light. That way, you’ll be able to eliminate the terrible and distracting hard edge shadows around the main object in the frame.
The simplest method to achieve this effect is by placing a soft light source pointing straight down towards your setup. Alternatively, you can soften the light by shooting it through an umbrella or similar scrim. Curtis Judd covers the basics of this type of setup along with a few handful tips and tricks that might help you to get better results out of your lighting setup for close-up product shots and video reviews.
The cheapest workaround to build this kind of setup is by utilising a Foamcore Poster Board for your background. You can get one at the local art supply store or through a quick search online. In terms of lighting, Curtis uses the Aputure Light Storm COB 120t LED Light with an umbrella attached on the front.
However, you can use whatever professional light you currently have at your disposal. Just make sure that the emitted light is soft and even as possible. Alternatively, you can use an LED panel with some diffusion paper stuck on the barn doors of the unit itself.
Furthermore, don’t forget to counter balance your light stand with a few sandbags to even things out further thus making sure your lighting setup is stable enough. Regarding your camera exposure, there are a few things that you need to get right. In the first place, adjust your camera white balance properly. Then change aperture or ISO until the white spike is set in the right quarter of the histogram. That way, you’ll be able to get the perfect exposure once you place your main object in the frame.
Another tip is to mark the frame so that when you are showing the features of a product you’ll know that you’re are hitting the right spot. A bunch of magazines would do the job perfectly well. Just watch the camera rear LCD display or control monitor and make sure your markers are just outside of the frame.
At last but not least, if you have a product with a shiny surface keep yourself aware of that fact and see in advance how it does show on camera as the last thing you want to have in your product close-up shot is some undesired reflections that might ruin your entire composition. Just play with the angle and the position of your subject to find the sweet spot in the frame before you start rolling. If you want to replicate and build Curtis Judd lighting setup from the ground, you can get all the products used in the video by following the links below.
[source: Curtis Judd]
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