Tabletop Photography

Tabletop Photography


145 Pages


Imagine capturing stunning, professional-looking product shots without needing a studio filled with expensive equipment and large flash units. This book teaches all the steps for creating your own tabletop photography studio.

Affordable compact flashes offer a number of creative lighting options within your tabletop studio; and the appropriate lighting and backdrop, and the creative use of your camera's features are key to a perfect image.

Author Cyrill Harnischmacher guides you through a variety of exposure and lighting techniques, and covers how to achieve excellent results using compact flash units. Whether you wish to capture product images for use in print or on the web, or you want to improve your photos for personal use, this book will provide you with everything you need to know to get great results.

Topics include:

Lighting Setups; Reflectors, Diffusors, and Accessories; Soft Boxes and Umbrellas; Strobe Flashes; Combining Long Exposures with Flashlights; Multi-Flash Exposures; Composition and Arrangements; Creating Backdrops; Product Photography; Smoke, Fog, and Special Effects; Food Photography and much more...



Published by
Published 10 July 2012
Reads 27
EAN13 9781457166655
Language English
Document size 15 MB

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Cyrill Harnischmacher Tabletop  Photography
Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
Tabletop Photography
Cyrill Harnischmacher is a photographer and designer who lives and works in southern Germany. His first book,lowbudgetshootinghim the prestigious won Fotobuch-award of the German Booksellers Associa-tion in 2005. Cyrill is a studio photographer by pro-fession and a nature and infrared photographer by passion. Cyrill has authored four beautiful, accessible, and successful books published by Rocky Nook. Earlier titles includeLow Budget Shooting, Closeup Shooting, Digital Infrared Photography, andThe Wild Side of Photography.
Cyrill Harnischmacher (
Editor: Jocelyn Howell Copyeditor: Jeanne Hansen Layout and Type: Cyrill Harnischmacher Cover Design: Cyrill Harnischmacher Printer: Everbest Printing Co. Ltd through Four Colour Print Group, Louisville, Kentucky Printed in China
ISBN 978-1-937538-04-0
1st Edition 2012 © 2012 Cyrill Harnischmacher Rocky Nook Inc. 802 East Cota St., 3rd Floor Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Title of the German original: Tabletop-Fotografie mit Kompaktblitzgeräten Copyright © 2011 by Cyrill Harnischmacher, Reutlingen, Germany. (ISBN: 978-3981229318)
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Harnischmacher, Cyrill. [Tabletop-Fotografie mit Kompaktblitzgeräten. English] Tabletop photography : using compact flashes and low-cost tricks to create professional-looking studio shots / by Cyrill Harnischmacher. -- 1st ed.  p. cm. ISBN 978-1-937538-04-0 (hardbound : alk. paper) 1. Photography, Table-top. 2. Electronic flash photography. I. Title. TR683.5.H3713 2012 778.7‘2--dc23  2012005042
Distributed by O‘Reilly Media 1005 Gravenstein Highway North Sebastopol, CA 95472
Many of the designations in this book used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks of their respective companies. Where those designations appear in this book, and Rocky Nook was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in caps or initial caps. They are used in editorial fashion only and for the benefit of such companies, they are not intended to convey endorsement or other affiliation with this book.
No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner. While reasonable care has been exercised in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Many special thanks to Urte, Tabea, Jona, and everyone who helped with the creation of this book.
The Basics
A Taste of Theory to Get Started
Flash Units Lenses Flash Control Camera Control
Professional Light-Shaping Tools for Shoe-Mount Flashes Soft Boxes and Strip Lights Special Light-Shaping Tools Umbrella Reflectors and Umbrella Soft Boxes Reflectors and Diffusers A Comparison of Light-Shaping Tools
Setting Up Your Own Tabletop Studio Useful Accessories Backgrounds and Props
In Practice
Light Composition Displaying Surfaces Pure White Backgrounds Pure Black Backgrounds
11 13 14 18
24 25 26 27 28 32
40 48 52
58 63 64 66
Displaying Glass Freezing Motion Long Exposures and Flash Multiple Exposures Reprography Transmitted Light High-Key and Low-Key Photography Baseline Images for Photomontage Photographing Masks for Extraction Simple Product Shots for Internet Auctions Product Shots with a Light Tent Colorful Light Nature in the Studio . . . . . . The Studio in Nature Light Brushing and Light Painting Strobe Lighting Smoke and Fog Food Photography
Assembly Instructions
Do-It-Yourself Accessories Small Bracket for Multiple Flash Units Holders for Styrofoam Reflectors A Small Honeycomb Filter Bubble Levels for Your Camera Infrared Triggers Plastic Tubs as Light Tents Watch Holders Laptop Mount for Light Stands
Beyond These Pages Other Books by Cyrill Harnischmacher
68 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 90 92 94 96 100 102 106 108 112
122 122 122 124 127 127 128 129 130
132 134
The tabletop studio offers photographers the chance to hone their craft and develop photographic projects both day and night, regardless of weather and light-ing conditions. Lights, backgrounds, props—in short, everything that defines an image—are under the control of the photographer, who can stage scenes that range from objective to realistic to elaborate. Tabletop photography actually belongs to the do-main of studio photography, which usually involves expensive equipment, large studio flash systems, and sophisticated accessories. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few shoe-mount flash units, a touch of crafty spirit, and a measure of imagina-tion, you can create stunning results with modest means. Whether you intend to take pictures for prod-uct catalogs, online auctions, foundation exposures for composite images, or you just want to capture your culinary masterpiece in a fitting scene, shoe-mount flashes can take you far—quite far, actually. These flash units, sometimes called flashguns, are small, light, and battery operated, so you don’t need to worry about extension cords and power outlets.
More important than anything, however, is the fact that these types of flashes are widespread. There is hardly a photographer anywhere who doesn’t already have one or more of them. In short, you won’t have to invest in any new technology, and you can get started right away. This book is intended primarily for amateurs who are making their first foray into tabletop photography and who don’t already own studio lighting systems.
Cyrill Harnischmacher