Carpet sample photography

Messages
3
Name
Mark
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No
Hi,
I am currently trying to take pictures of carpet samples (for my carpet retail business website) and am doing this myself as I have an interest in photography, but am an amateur!
I currently have a Canon 760D and the Canon 430EX 3 RT flash which I am setting up 'off camera' pointing upwards into an overhead reflector and the carpet sample laying flat. (Camera is on tripod pointing downwards).
Also just purchased a Sekonic L308s Light meter. Camera in Manual mode, ISO 100, shutter 1/200.
I believe the only way for the flash to communicate with the camera without a transmitter or cable is in optical slave mode where the on-camera flash triggers the 430ex. I am first taking light readings using test flashes from the 430ex and getting to my desired aperture of f8.
However, when taking the actual picture I feel the built in flash is then over exposing the shots (obviously!). I have tried reducing the output of the flash, but still not happy.
Any advice? Somehow block the built in flash? Move the camera further away to reduce th light intensity hitting the product? Buy a transmitter? (Canon ST-E3)
Thanks for any tips.
Mark
 
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23,831
Name
Phil
Edit My Images
No
Get some cheap dumb radio triggers, or some smart radio triggers YN622.

But I can't not comment on your chosen lighting pattern. A big soft light is 'flattering' for people because it creates a nice shadowless flat surface. But you really need those micro shadows to show the depth of pile.

Others will offer alternatives, possibly with more lights, but I'd start with a gridded beauty dish (would also need a bare bulb flash) from the rear angled down towards the camera.

If you're going down the route of proper lighting, Lencarta are hard to beat on price / customer service. And if you talk to Garry you can swap out the brolly and softbox in the standard kit for alternatives.

He'll probably tell you I'm completely wrong about the BD and offer an alternative solution, maybe a gridded std reflector in addition to a softbox to skim across the surface.
 
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11,359
Name
Garry Edwards
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No
Get some cheap dumb radio triggers, or some smart radio triggers YN622.

But I can't not comment on your chosen lighting pattern. A big soft light is 'flattering' for people because it creates a nice shadowless flat surface. But you really need those micro shadows to show the depth of pile.

Others will offer alternatives, possibly with more lights, but I'd start with a gridded beauty dish (would also need a bare bulb flash) from the rear angled down towards the camera.

If you're going down the route of proper lighting, Lencarta are hard to beat on price / customer service. And if you talk to Garry you can swap out the brolly and softbox in the standard kit for alternatives.

He'll probably tell you I'm completely wrong about the BD and offer an alternative solution, maybe a gridded std reflector in addition to a softbox to skim across the surface.
My "standard" setup for this is a large overhead softbox (assuming that the carpet tile is laid flat on its back) to provide a low level of soft fill, and a honeycombed (gridded in Americanese) light coming from one side. As Phil says, the honeycombed light reveals the texture. If it's a long way away and at a very acute angle it will reveal the texture and make the product really "pop" but if this lighting effect is overdone then the contrast will be too high, and the photo won't represent the product accurately, so some degree of compromise is normally needed.

A beauty dish will do it, so will a softbox and so will a standard reflector - it isn't so much the tool used that makes the difference, it's the angle of the light. I find a standard reflector best, but they do tend to eat power when used with a tight honeycomb.
I also put a reflector board on the other side, to mitigate the effect of the effect light - move it closer to increase the mitigation effect, move it further away to lessen the effect.
 
OP
M
Messages
3
Name
Mark
Edit My Images
No
Thanks for your replies. Just thought I'd send a pic of how I am set up and a few results of initial test shots. I am not looking for perfection as we don't sell online, but just trying to replicate the colours as close as possible. I am taking each shot (RAW) to include some of the grey card, then using the colour picker in the 'Canon Photo processor 4' to select the grey white balance for each shot.
Cheers again
Mark

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