Tabletop Photography
Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots
Publisher: Rocky Nook
Released: July 2012
Pages: 144

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...

Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
oreillyTabletop Photography
 
4.5

(based on 2 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Reviewed by 2 customers

Sort by

Displaying reviews 1-2

Back to top

 
5.0

Build your own studio on a budget

By jsanpedro

from Barcelona, Spain

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Great Tips And Advice
  • Helpful examples

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Tabletop Photography:

    Tabletop photography, by Cyrill Harnischmacher, gives the reader a clear introduction on how to take product shots in a studio environment. But above this, the book provides extensive details to help readers create their own tabletop photography studio without spending much in gear and materials.

    The book starts off by providing a brief summary of the gear required for this type of photography, including desirable features for lenses (focal length, macro), flashes, triggers, etc. The most common light shaping tools, from softboxes to reflectors, are also reviewed. Lots of fantastic tips are provided, including how to build budget reflectors from polystyrene, or the annoyances of umbrellas shafts in the cluttered space of a studio. Additional pre-production advice is given regarding setting up a permanent or mobile studio, materials required for a photo table, sweeps and backgrounds, clamps, and cleaning tools. Plenty of illustrations are used to show how each of these elements influence the final look of the photograph.

    The book then moves onto a more practical section, describing the effect of different light modes and directions, and how to setup lights for low and high key phtography. Through all this section the book emphasizes how the reflectiveness of different materials needs to be properly handled by the use of the right type of lighting. The book is well illustrated by example pictures and schemas of light positioning. Many topics are covered, long exposures, multiple exposures, freezing motion, etc. There's even a section for food photography! For each, the reader will find useful advice normally condensed in 1-2 pages.

    Overall, I found the book to be an interesting manual to be read from start to end. But it also serves as a reference book to go back to when you need to take a specific type of photograph. I would definitely recommend this book to any reader new to (tabletop) photography.

    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Pro quality shots from amateurs?

    By chrismalinao

    from Manila, Philippines

    About Me Educator

    Pros

    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Tabletop Photography:

      This is one pretty little book – hard cover, well crafted, good layout, high quality paper, tasteful images and illustrations, and it's only 8 ½ x 8 ½ inches in size. Its thickness, with 135 numbered pages inside, is only 5/8" – very easy to hold and read anywhere.

      The title says Tabletop Photography, but let's just emphasize its longish subtitle: Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots because this is what it's for: amateurs who don't have studio lighting systems yet. The author, Cyrill Harnischmacher, says so in his preface: "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."

      It promises professional-looking studio shots to equipment-challenged wannabes. Does it deliver? Can high quality shots come from amateurs with nothing more than a camera and one or two flashes?

      That will depend much of course with the newbie who will be using this book. If you are the confident type who can absorb written instructions and illustrations without the aid of an instructor who can provide you with instant feedback and answers to your questions as you follow the exercises, then this could be for you.

      As far as the book is concerned, it is quite complete. The instructions are clear and concise, the illustrations very straightforward. The images are even very inspiring.

      Cyrill first lays out the basics in the first four pages by discussing a few preliminary topics: sharpness and blur, focal lengths, lighting, designing with a purpose, technology, and a conceptual approach to preparing a product shoot.

      He expands these by examining cameras and lenses and how to control them, and then discussing light modifiers – light-shapers, as he calls them – softboxes, strip lights, umbrellas, reflectors, diffusers and other special light-shaping tools.

      His series of illustrations comparing the effects of light-shaping tools is a nice touch. The nine sets of photos, two per set, illustrate the lighting effects of softboxes, umbrellas, barn doors, snoots and beauty dishes in various configurations that the new photographer can readily comprehend.

      How to set up a table top studio is described in detail: from the simplest solution to a complete studio with all the tools and accessories including backgrounds and props.

      How to shoot is addressed in the chapter, In Practice, where the author illustrates how to display various surfaces: shiny metal, matte metal, transparent shiny surfaces, glass, textured surfaces, high-contrast surfaces, etc. Shooting with pure white or pure black background is also illustrated.

      But this is where it can be tricky. Shooting all those things by yourself and you're a new photographer could get you nowhere. How do you actually do these shots? How shiny is shiny? How much specular highlight is acceptable? How much texture? How much shadow? The complete newbie might want somebody to hold his hand and walk him through all the nitty-gritty. This is where professional help could be helpful. But then again, an amateur who knows where he wants to go may be able to pull this through without any problem.

      What I liked best is the last chapter on Do-It-Yourself Accessories, improvisation at its finest. Now, this is not only a necessary craft for small tabletop photographers; even in large studios photographers must do craft work to trim and crop special reflectors, modify light-shaping tools, paint backgrounds by hand, and build props. This skill can come in handy later.

      In this chapter, the author shows how to make a small bracket for multiple flash units, holders for Styrofoam reflectors, a small honeycomb filter, and a few other useful thing-a-ma-jigs.

      The book also delves in detail into freezing motion, long exposures, multiple exposures, reprography (reproducing photos and art works), high-key and low-key photography, baseline images for photomontage, photographing masks for extraction, light brushing and painting, food photography, and a lot of other topics that can transform a newbie into a full-fledged professional.

      In all, Tabletop Photography by Cyrill Harnischmacher is an excellent book that the amateur can use. If you're new to tabletop photography and you could follow along – it should not be that difficult – you may just blossom into becoming a professional product photographer.

      Displaying reviews 1-2

      Back to top

       
      Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
      Buying Options
      Immediate Access - Go Digital what's this?
      Ebook: $11.95
      Formats:  DAISY, ePub, Mobi, PDF
      Print & Ebook: $27.45
      Print: $24.95