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Need some help!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:10 pm
by switchables
Hi everyone. I'm brand new to the forums, and fairly new to photography as a whole. My primary use is for business to capture attractive product images. Our company markets a line of stained glass products, because of the soldered edges, they've proven very difficult to photograph in the past because of their reflective edges.

Ultimately, I would love to extract the product from a background, so I could place it on different colors, however, I've never been able to successfully do it because of the reflective edges. Whatever background I use, blends into the solder edges of the pieces.

So I'm trying to take the pictures on a white background. My issue is I need to get the background completely white, and when I try to do it in post production, I tend to overexpose the product. I'm sure I can do it with masking, but with 500 products, that's something I'd like to avoid.

This is one of my attempts. I'm using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. My focal length for the picture is 95mm. My camera settings are f/11, 1/40 ISO 400. I'm using an Ortery Photosimile 200 lightbox, and the product is in a 4" clear acrylic stand to eliminate any shadows, and also allow light to come through the stained glass.

This is when I bring it into photoshop and set the white point with levels to an area of the background.

My goals are to have a very sharp image of the product, and a completely white background. Ultimately, I would love to be able to extract the product, but I need it to be a relatively pain free process due the number of products needed to photograph.

Please excuse any of this that I wasn't able to describe effectively. As I mentioned before, I'm very new to photography. I understand the basics, but still working on the finer aspects of the art.

Thank you for your time.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:43 pm
by Thomas
Hello Matt, and welcome to the friendly Camera Labs forum!
To enjoy your stay here please have a look at the house-rules!
One of that rules states to keep images posted in the forum here at 1024 pix on the longest dimension. So if you could please replace the extra large image with a smaller one!
As to your problems with the background "seeping" into the reflective edges: I'm not quite sure I understand! If you shoot the subject on a bright white background, ecxpose for the subject and then select the subject, reverse the selection and make the (then) selected background full white, is there still a problem?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:55 pm
by switchables
Hi Thomas, thanks for the reply.

Sorry about that large image, I fixed it.

My problem is selecting the subject. There is no contrast between the edges of the subject, and the background as they blend together. So there's no easy way to select the subject (that I know of with my limited experience) without going pixel by pixel.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:10 pm
by Thomas
Thanks Matt for reducing the image size.
I'm not a photoshopper so perhaps someone else might give you some hints about how to cope with this situation. Because afaik Photoshop selection tools have some parameters that you can twist to avoid the problems you're seeing here.
Otherwise: have you tested a light gray background? That might give Photoshop a more contrasty edge to do a better selection...

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:30 pm
by popo
The white background trick I find not too hard to do photographically.

Put the subject on a piece of clean glass. It has to be clean so as not to show dust or other unwanted reflections. Suspend the glass, and some distance behind the glass, put a white background. Light the subject without causing reflections on the glass (e.g. somewhat towards the sides). Then light the white background even more! You need to have enough light on the background so that is will over-expose when you expose for the subject. However in this case, as the subject is part transparent, that might cause problems too, so this may take some experimentation.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:31 am
by EvanK
I second what Popo said. You could also fire a wireless flash onto the backdrop or from behind the subject to illuminate it a bit.

By the way, cameras often tend to underexpose bright or white objects and vice versa, so when you shoot something white such as the stained glass, you may want to use your exposure compensation feature to brighten the exposure a bit.