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Good settings for Guitars/Instruments


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#1 Leaviathan

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 09:59 PM

I just bought an 8 string Lap Steel guitar and would like to post a couple photos but I always end up with a very generic looking photo. What settings and techniques are generally used for taking photos of guitars with natural wood with transparent sunburst paint jobs? Making objects look 3D and full bodied is something that I can't grasp as of yet.


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#2 Art

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 11:22 PM

For the look I think you are trying to achieve, you are going to need multiple lights, with soft boxes.  I have a thread going from a studio class I took.  You might benefit from having a quite look at some of the images.  It was a portrait course, but the lighting used there is what you will need.

 

http://www.planetnik...portrait +class


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#3 Dennis

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 11:33 PM

Yes, your going to need a few lights. You would position lights and flag (to block the light) to add highlights to help shape the guitar.

If you have a large window, patio door, you can use natural light. Just got air until you have good light coming through. Having shears over the window will halo make the light even better, less harsh.

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#4 Sailjunkie

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 11:28 AM

I just watched a video on lighting a guitar, as part of the Tabletop photography course that I'm taking through Creative Live.  Don Giannatti used a small soft box, one speed light and foam core boards as reflectors.  However, he shot major sections of the guitar separately, then composited them in Photoshop.  Oh, he also had very good assistants!  :)

 

If you want to do it all it in one go, you won't go wrong following Art and Dennis' advice.


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#5 Dennis

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 03:16 PM

Here is a sample where I used two 5ft umbrella's as cross light. Same principle as window light.

 

Attached File  _DS40131-Edit-1.jpg   144.32KB   0 downloads


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#6 Leaviathan

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 03:40 PM

For the look I think you are trying to achieve, you are going to need multiple lights, with soft boxes.  I have a thread going from a studio class I took.  You might benefit from having a quite look at some of the images.  It was a portrait course, but the lighting used there is what you will need.

 

http://www.planetnik...portrait +class

Thanks a bunch, I'll check it out!


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#7 Leaviathan

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 03:49 PM

This is a photo I took of my Ibanez acoustic and mandolin a few years ago with my Galaxy 4 cellphone camera. It came out better than what I did with my D3300 (except the chandolier glare in the mandolin). Thanks for the tips guys!

 

ibanez_mand_zps6mo2mw5o.jpg


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#8 Dennis

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 04:01 PM

Place them on a stand, and angle them from the light. It will help.

Thanks, Dennis.

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#9 ericbowles

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 06:41 AM

Lighting reflective surfaces is very challenging.  

 

I have a friend - a Nikon shooter - that makes high end custom fiddles and violins.  We did a meet-up at his house a few years ago and experimented with lighting for finished and in process instruments.

 

http://www.dudleyvio...nstruments.html

 

He was using a table with a big drape to create a seamless backdrop.  He developed some stands to hold the violins allowing lighting to wrap around the instruments and light them from behind.  We were using flashes, but constant lighting is easier to manage reflections.  With strobes, you go through a series of test shot, correct and test again.  Lighting from the side is extremely important, but you also end up making a lot of small adjustments to correct reflections on the neck or edges.

 

Editing is always a bit more complicated because there are reflections that need to be fixed.  It's possible to move around lights and composite multiple images in post.  You can also use an HDR in some cases.

 

 


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#10 Luis V.

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 05:02 PM

You can shoot this with one light or various. By "light" I mean source. That can be a window or a strobe/flash. Capturing the shape and depth of an object is similar to shooting portraits. In the end you are playing with shadows and highlights to provide shape.

If I may suggest something.... shoot an egg. No joking here. Shoot an egg.

Setup the egg lying in any orientation and light it the way you would light the guitar. Then shoot it. It will give you the concept of how the light is playing with a 3D object. The soft curves of the egg will help you visualize how another curved object (guitar vs, for example, a box) will show depth. It's FAR easier to move the egg and/or camera around it than it is to deal with the full sized object.

In the end, you will get the general drift of the lighting. All joking aside...... that is how I practiced different lighting setups for portraits. I would start simple... one light or strobe and then go from there. One thing. Keep a relatively small aperture. If you are shooting at f4 or f5.6 you'll get a shallow depth of field, relatively speaking, which will make getting everything sharp difficult. I'd be trying to light it such that you are dealing with f11 to f16.
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#11 gregc

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:19 PM

I just bought an 8 string Lap Steel guitar and would like to post a couple photos but I always end up with a very generic looking photo. What settings and techniques are generally used for taking photos of guitars with natural wood with transparent sunburst paint jobs? Making objects look 3D and full bodied is something that I can't grasp as of yet.

I know I'm late to the party but I just saw this...

 

I don't know the shape but I would light it at an diagonal angle to bring up the wood textures a bit.  A large softbox with the  diffuser intact or a shoot thru scrim panel. That should give the fretboard will have high level of detail Also a bounce reflector of some type.. Maybe a foam core panel to bounce like back at the shadow side, but just outside the frame (you can decide how much fill More/Closer.. Less/Farther back). I would think that would be a start, and then tweak from that. I am not sure what type lighting you are going to use, but if you are able to use a larger box or a large shoot thru panel I would go that route. That should also help you keep specular highlights under control because you are using larger softer sources as opposed to smaller hard ones. Although to be honest small sources are great for raising up textures....


Edited by gregc, 10 August 2018 - 12:39 AM.

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