Learn how to optimize the Canon XSi/450D for product photography
Tags:Canon XSi/450D: Set for Product Photography,canon xsi/450d,digital camera tutorial,how to use a digital camera,lb guides,photography lessons,set for product photography
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With Product Photography, there are really just a few things you need to keep in mind.
First thing is you probably want to use a tripod. Using a tripod will allow you to set up your shots and have as long as shutter speed as necessary depending on the amount of light in your scene. The other thing is White Balance, you can use a predetermined White Balance setting such as Day Light, Tungsten, or Fluorescent but you may also want to use the Custom White Balance in order to get the most accurate color out of the product. Lastly, I find that it’s easiest to just stick to the View Finder but you can also use the screen with the Live View Capture Mode. However, there are a couple of limitations and I’ll cover those in a second.
First of all, set your Mode Dial to P for Program so it’d be the easiest way to go. Second, go ahead and set your ISO to 100. Your ISO button is up here by your index finger, just gives that a press and use the Up or Down navigation buttons to move the highlighted field over 100 and then press Set.
Let’s go ahead and set your White Balance. Press the WB button. Again, if you know what type of lighting you’re using, you can just go ahead and set that. I’m assuming you’re indoors, you maybe using Fluorescent lighting or Tungsten lighting, you can go with one of these. But if you want much more accurate color in your image, you may want to try Custom White Balance. In order to set this, it’s really quite simple, go ahead and move over to Custom and press set.
Before we set the Custom White Balance in the Menu, we have to take our picture. You can take your picture using any White Balance setting, it really doesn’t matter. But basically what you want is a white sheet of paper, you can also use a gray card that’s designed specifically for this purpose. You’ll find that at any professional photo store but they’re quite a bit more expensive. So, I just used a regular white sheet of paper. I’ll put the white sheet of paper in my scene using the lighting system that I have set up. And basically, I need to use the Manual Focus Mode. And I don’t need to completely fill the entire frame with the white sheet of paper just a center portion surrounding the Center Focusing Point.
The reason why I set the lens to Manual Focus is because when I look at the white piece of paper, the camera is not going to have any contrast in order to focus. So, the Auto Focus just won’t work and because the camera won’t be able to find the focus, it also won’t take a picture.
Now, I used the Manual Focus just so I can capture the image but that doesn’t mean that the image has to be in focus. So, just point the camera in the direction of the white sheet of paper, at least have it fill up the center portion and go ahead and take the picture.
Now, I’ll go ahead and press the Menu button. Move over to the second Record tab and then go down to Custom White Balance, go ahead and press Set. Here’s the picture I just took. In order to calibrate out of this picture, I just go ahead and press Set; move over to OK and press Set again. Now, the next picture I take will actually be properly calibrated, just press Menu to escape the main menu and you’re ready to take your picture.
Now, if you want to see the image in the screen before capturing, you can use the Live Capture Mode. However, this does complicate things a little bit and that’s why I don’t like using it. Go ahead and press Menu, move over to the second Set Up tab and go down to Live View Function settings then press Set and just enable the Live View Shoot, press Set, go down to Enable and press Set again. Now, you can press Menu to escape. Now, when I press the Set button, I’ll access the Live View Mode. The near it comes up and I can see my image in the screen.
Now, this is great for composition but in this mode, I’m forced to use the Manual Focus. I can use Auto Focus if I go into my Custom functions and set it to Auto Focus. There are two Auto Focusing options but I don’t think that’s really worth it because Manual Focus works really quite well when you zoom into the image. And what I mean by that is pressing your Zoom buttons right here just like you would when reviewing an image and zooming into or magnifying that image. You can press your Magnified button to magnify the image five times or even 10 times. And then just turn the Manual Focus Ring on your camera to focus the subject. And you should be able to get that in Sharp Focus. What you see here in Sharp Focus will definitely come out in the final image as Sharp Focus.
Now, the reason why mine is not currently focused is because I’m much too close to the subject giving the lens that I’m currently using. Once you’re done, don’t take the picture with the zoom at 10X. You want to press that again to zoom back to the full screen before you capture image. The other thing is if the Live View is active for a long time, you want to turn it off to let the CCD cool down, otherwise you’re going to be introducing a lot more image noise into the picture than you would want.
So, I probably don’t want to use this for composition. I can use the View Finder for composition then I can simply press the Set button in order to lock the mirror up and show me the Live View. I can then go ahead and focus and then quickly take the picture. To turn this mode off, all you need to do is just press the Set button.
Again, my recommendation would be to avoid this mode. I don’t think it’s necessary and I think you can use the View Finder just as easily. When you go back to using the View Finder, just remember to turn your lens back to Auto Focus.
Remember, have your ISO set to 100, your White Balance should be set appropriately or to Custom White Balance after you’ve calibrated the Custom White Balance. And you can just go ahead and use the Program Mode and let the camera choose the best shutter speed and aperture for you. Finally, you may want to change the Focus Point from the Center Focusing Point to one of the other points. Because you’re using a tripod, you can’t really focus on a subject then recompose very easily. So, what you can do is first compose the image and then press the Focus Point, select your button right here, and choose the point that best suits your needs. Just press the Focus Point, select button again to make it go away or you can just give it a second and it will disappear on its own. And now, you’re ready to take your picture.
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