I’m sure you have noticed that a lot of my images are shot using a light tent. I thought I’d share a few tips about using light tents and as usual if you have any good tips to add please feel free to comment!
First of all what is a light tent? Well; they are basically big ol’ fabric boxes, usually made from a translucent nylon material, and they diffuse the light evenly around your subject [like this little teddy bear]. The light tent helps to reduce shadows and soften the light. Ok… yes… I did still manage to blow out some highlights on this bear. I’ll do better next time. It’s those dang sparkly sequins I tell ya!
Most light tents come with backgrounds that hook in with velcro. In the case of this shot I’ve used a simple piece of cheap white cotton fabric from Wal-Mart; my white background has gotten a little stained over the years.
To make the most of your light tent you’ll want at least two light sources. I have one light on either side of the tent, one is usually pointed more towards the center, and the other just a bit more towards the back. I doesn’t hurt to add one more light source in the front if you still see a lot of shadows. I usually use a little diffused flash to help fill in those last few shadows. [If I had a third light I would rig it so that it is pointing down at the top of the tent; maybe a smaller lamp hung from the wall or sitting on a shelf above the tent would work for this.]
You will want to keep the image a sharp as you can. Even with my camera developing a somewhat soft focus I can still keep it fairly sharp when I attach the camera to a tripod and use the shutter release cable.
Keep your ISO as low as you can to eliminate any noise that could creep in.
Shot in RAW to make your post processing easier; things like that last little white balance adjustment or adding a bit more contrast.
Take several shots from slightly different angles and re-arrange you subject a time or two as well so that you can compare the results and choose what pleases your eye the most once you are looking at the final images.
You can use whichever lens you see fit for the job. The two I use most with the tent are my 50mm and my 17-40 mm; with the 17-40 mm being the usual choice.
I’ll shoot in one of two modes either full manual or more often than not, and just to make my life a little easier, aperture priority. You may even need to adjust your exposure compensation a stop or two for a really bright image.
Once you decide on your subject take some time to arrange it in a way that seems to make sense and that looks balanced; pick a background color that will make your subject pop and shoot away!
[When it comes to product type shots most stock photo buyers are looking for a nice clean white background and good subject isolation.]