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The idea of a shooting enclosure is not a new one; it’s been around a while. In the past their cost, assembly, and size have not made them popular with the entry level or amateur photographers. In 2004, Photoflex introduced the LiteRoom, a professional's shooting enclosure for product photography, as well as the Starlite Large LiteRoom Kit 2, with great results. However, many entry level and hobbyist photographers were asking for a more affordable solution for their product shooting needs.

For those of you that shoot product, or want to, the LiteIgloo is a great place to start. The same technology that goes into the frames of our LiteDisc reflectors is in the LiteIgloo, making it both collapsible and very durable. In fact the small LiteIgloo can fit in your pocket when it’s collapsed and the large one (large enough for shooting an average sized tower computer) can be easily stowed away in your camera case.

In this introductory lesson, we will focus on using the Medium LiteIgloo. We also will show examples of product or subjects we shot in the other two sizes. The medium LiteIgloo is also available in the First Studio Product Kit with two of our new FirstStar reflector lights and LiteStands.

(Most images can be clicked for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  • The pitfalls of the on-camera flash
  • Using 6-inch reflectors
  • Using the Medium LiteIgloo and 6-inch reflector lights
  • Comparing the results
  • Using the Large LiteIgloo
  • Using the Small LiteIgloo
  • Shooting on a light table
  • Shooting for background knockouts

Equipment Used:

    Lighting Equipment

    The Pitfalls of the On-Camera Flash

    To get started we set up our sawhorses and set a desktop surface on them; this would serve as our shooting table. We arranged it so we could shoot down from the narrow end so later when we added lights we won’t have to rearrange the set.

    We set the subject, an old table clock, at a slight angle so that we could see some dimension to the object. Once we had the camera attached to our tripod we installed the on-camera flash and set everything to the auto settings on both the camera and the flash (figures 1 and 2).

    We made adjustments to the tripod and the tripod head to frame our shot, then made an exposure (figure 3).

    Our results were not very flattering. We had uncontrolled contrast, ugly reflections and shadows, and, overall, a flat looking shot.

    Figure 3

    Using 6-inch Reflectors

    For the next step, we took the flash off the camera and set up the first of our studio flash units to the right of the camera at about 45 degrees relative to the clock and about three feet away (figure 4).

    We set the power of flash unit to 1/16 power and took a light meter reading to calculate our exposure. From the meter readings we set the camera to manual, then set the shutter speed to 1/60 and the aperture to f/16.5. Lastly we connected the camera and the flash with the sync cord and shot a photo (figure 5).

    Figure 4

    Again our results don’t do our subject justice, we still have too much contrast and blown out highlights. On the positive side we are starting to see some dimension to the subject because we have moved the light off the camera.

    Figure 5

    Next we moved the light around to the side of the subject to try and get the reflection off the face of the clock. We positioned the light at about 90 degrees to the right and at the same distance (figure 6).

    Figure 6

    We are still seeing a lot of contrast but we have a better handle on the highlights (figure 7). One of the drawbacks of using light at hard or raking angles is that it will show every nick and spec of dust. At this point we could have used a LiteDisc reflector to fill in the clock and help control the contrast.

    Note: For more details on using LiteDisc reflectors, click here.

    Figure 7

    For our next step we added a second studio flash unit to the left side of the set. We set the light far to the side, at about 90 degrees to match the first light in height and distance from the subject. Since we were treating this light as a fill, we set the power to about ½ a stop less than the first light. Doing this allowed the second light to fill in the shadows, reducing the contrast while still giving the image depth (figure 8).

    With the second light in place, we checked the camera and made an exposure (figure 9).

    Figure 8

    Using these tools, this is what you can expect for your results; not too bad. Even though I spent time cleaning the clock and putting some wood polish on it, we still see a lot of nicks and dust that we did not see through the lens. And the overall shot is still very contrasty or moody but we can clearly see the clock. So we could call it mission accomplished - or not.

    Figure 9


    Final Results

    Figure 10


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    Equipment Used:

      Lighting Equipment

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