A personal voyage to know how to photograph small things

Shooting small things. A personal journey to know all about the small things and learn how to photograph the small things perfectly

Whilst you photo an object for an advertising and marketing campaign, or to file its bodily circumstance, it’s referred to as product images. This is a totally specialised sort of photography. Even as you may by no means be commissioned to image a commercial product, some of the techniques used in product images may additionally have relevance for your non-public life.

Perhaps those strategies offer a strategy to trouble many humans don’t apprehend – hanging on to reminders of human beings, places or events from the past.

A Set of Small Things

My uncle Larry these days exceeded away. Larry changed into a splendid guy and turned into a man of right flavour. For a length of about 10 years all through his late 60’s and 70’s, he travelled to many far-flung parts of this blue orb, we call domestic. At some point of his travels, he received an in-depth collection of objects that I reluctantly name souvenirs.

To Larry, these gadgets represented mementoes, memories and valued items from his travels. Now that he has exceeded, any economic price of those gadgets is unknown. The testimonies of their foundation, that ultimately made them of the personal cost to Larry, had been lost. It’s far left to us to parent out what to go along with his big collection. There are packing containers and bins of these things, most of which are unlabelled.

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Going beyond Larry’s series, once I look around my residence, I see pieces of furnishings that ring a bell in me of my lengthy passed dad and mom. Most of those aren’t useful, nor do they healthy my personal flavour. I hold them around due to the fact they evoke recollections. My wife got here up with a novel idea that seemed to resonate with anybody: create a photographic series to preserve the recollections that the collection of fabric items represents. Perhaps extra successfully, for me to create this series. This virtual photographic file might actually occupy less space than bodily objects.

Combining Techniques to Product Photography and Archival Photography

For this mission, I am combining the procedures to product pictures and archival pictures. I’m photographing the objects as even though I am going to sell them and recording the pics from many perspectives so that the document in their lifestyles is whole. We may also be capable of use the ensuing pix to determine out if the objects have any price outdoor of our family. From there, we are able to determine what to promote, what to present away, and what to maintain for ourselves and a different circle of relative’s participants.

To provide you with a concept of the task scale, I have 15 boxes containing among 10 and 20 gadgets each. So, we’re talking about 200 – 300 gadgets. Despite the fact that I have made a dent in the collection, on the time of writing, I still have an extended manner to move. But my workflow and objective are solidifying.

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In doing product or archival pictures, you need accurate, managed mild with confined shadows. Shadows are great for pics and drama; however, they detract from an image captured for archival purposes in which you want to seize the item’s info. You also need to manipulate reflections and make certain that the mild appears to come back from anywhere.


I took into consideration using a studio strobe setup. It’s an outstanding manner to mild things, however, it is able to get complex while coping with smaller items. It also takes up an exquisite deal of space. It’s commonly intended for larger objects in large areas. I wanted a more compact footprint that might allow me to do the snapshots in my home while it became convenient for me.

The collection I’m photographing incorporates objects starting from 1 cubic inch too large, thin objects which might be almost 18-inches long. I decided it turned into worth making an investment in a small transportable lighting fixtures dice designed for product photography. The 24-inch transportable dice has reflective walls, led lighting fixtures, and expansion of backgrounds. It packs up into a thin portfolio sized carrying case and offers flexibility to accommodate all the items in a notably restricted area.

I take advantage of the dice at the side of a small card desk and my tripod. There are many brands of this type of installation, but for my purposes, I used the premaster still life studio 2.0.

Proper from the begin, a few demanding situations offered themselves. A few items don’t stand well on their very own, and a few objects truly advantage from sitting off the heritage to lead them to stand out more. Locating thrilling helps or display blocks all of a surprising appeared critical.

White Balance

Similarly, I found that I had to get a baseline for white balance. While you use car white balance in this type of surroundings, even if you are the usage of a white background, colour management becomes complex. By establishing a baseline white balance, you can shade correctly all the photos in post-manufacturing (furnished you shoot uncooked files) or in camera if you use and set a custom white balance.

Be careful whilst you use custom white balance settings on a camera that you use for other purposes. If you’re like me, you could neglect that the white stability has modified which only creates troubles with the opposite paintings.

The portable studio has a set of led lights on the pinnacle of the dice, a diffusion panel below the lighting to make a bigger mild, especially reflective aspect panels, and a set of backgrounds in white, black, grey, and mild blue/grey. Whilst you’re taking a photograph there may be a small hole (either inside the front or the pinnacle) in which you insert your lens, so, the lights in all fairness even all around. It works quite properly. Maximum objects lit nicely proper out of the gate.

The Intensity of Area and Exposure

When you’ve set your white stability (either by way of using a grey card or a custom white stability), you need to don’t forget the depth of area and publicity. The cubes very well lit, so, there’s plenty of light. This mild dominates, and also you should not worry an awful lot about ambient mild interfering along with your white stability or publicity.

Because a few of the objects I’m taking pictures in my undertaking are small, I need to be close but not quite at a macro scale. Due to this component, the intensity of discipline turns into a big problem. if I shoot huge open, a part of the object is out of focus. The shallow intensity of field is necessary whilst you want to create separation from the heritage. On this undertaking, the background is similar to seamless paper, which means that I don’t want to create that separation. Rather, I will select a much wider depth of subject to make sure that a whole lot of the smaller item is in cognizance.

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Keep reading: A personal voyage to know how to photograph small things

I come from a history of forensic engineering investigations. Here, I photographically documented objects to make sure the preservation of as a good deal visible data as feasible.

To capture your items, the affordable intensity of the field (maybe round f/eight) ought to deliver the proper amount of intensity of area without diffraction results. Of route, this depends on the scale of the digicam sensor.

Due to the fact I set the portable studio on a small card table, I will elevate all the gadgets I’m photographing. While shooting desk bound gadgets, use a tripod to installation the photographs, and pass the item relative in your digital camera. Because of the items being 3 dimensional and virtual photos are flat (2d), you want multiple photographs to seize each item correctly.

To be thorough, it is a great idea to capture around ten snapshots. One from the front, lower back, facets, four corners, pinnacle, and bottom. Depending upon the nature of the item or how complicated it’s miles, every so often it’s great to take fewer pictures. In this situation, it really works great to maintain the digital camera in a splendid role, set for white balance, depth of area and exposure, and then to turn the object round.

Labelling the Objects

Within the next step, I classified my objects. You don’t need to photograph an object, only to by no means be capable of discovering it once more! my items had been bubbling wrapped, so, I labelled the bins with a letter and gave each bubble wrapped object a number. To hold music of all the objects and their associated numbers, image the letter/number then image the item, labelling it with the wide variety when finished with it. Via placing an identifier at the beginning of the collection of photographs for that item, you can easily see the call of the pix plus the pictures collectively. I have used this approach regularly for event photography as properly.

Once I had all my photographs, I corrected the white balance and then ran the photos through a batch system droplet to get the photographs the way I love them.

In the end, I have an extremely good series of pics, and you can too. You may use both a website or a proofing gallery to appearance and percentage of all the images. It makes it simpler to manage all of the pictures for all the items.


Taking this technique to photograph significant gadgets from life seems like a manner to keep the recollections of significant items without retaining bodily gadgets. Now and again I hang onto things because they mean something to me or job my memory of humans or happier times. However, I don’t have space or want the gadgets, and that I don’t want them in my existence aside from to strike a chord in me of others.

For instance, I have a small French provincial fashion buffet that I’ve had for as long as I will don’t forget. It turned into essential to my mother and father and rings a bell in my memory of them. They surpassed away many years ago. Via gadgets like this, I hook up with my past once they had been here. For that reason, while it’s miles a meaningful item that connects me to my mother and father, it’s of a fashion that doesn’t fit into my house, and it’s large and impractical.

In the long run, maybe just a photographic record of the fixtures, without maintaining it, is all I want. I just want to make certain that the photographs of all of the items each massive and small are fairly handy for those moments I want to don’t forget my mother and father or uncle Larry.

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