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Need tips for shooting industrial textile machines

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by AndersBerlin, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I will be given the opportunity to shoot industrial textile machines for promotional purposes, and would like to get some tips for this.
    Since the machines/plants can be quite big and located in crowded mill floors, I plan to use my Sigma 10-20mm on my D90.
    Most of these objects are not pretty looking by themselves (lots of dust and/or rust), but I would like to delivery pictures with proffessional lightning at least.

    I currently have a newly acquired used SB-800 and plan to purchase some more light to trigger with the D90 commander flash. Which would be better:
    1) 2 x SB-600 (new or used)
    2) One additional SB-800 (used)

    Looking forward to any help and comments.
  2. Hello,

    Welcome to the Cafe.

    I would get the SB-800, it has more capability (PC sync, SU-4). You may need the latter later.

    As for the shoot, do you have a tripod, a step ladder or are you willing to get low for varying perspectives? I would also try shooting natural or low light for an isolated effect. Use the tripod and slow shutter speed to convey movement of the machinery

    I hope these help. Enjoy the shoot & good luck... :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2009
  3. Thanks! :) 
    I own a tripod but didn't plan bringing it (these shootings will mean travelling to other countries by air, so I want to pack light). Furthermore, my Sigma 10-20 only goes to F/4, and some of these industrial halls can be quite dimly and harsch lit. I figure that 2-3 off-camera flashes will be quicker and easier than using a tripod.

    These pictures (taken by an unknown person with a P/S) might give an idea of what I will be shooting:

    http://www.ik.se/pictures/690-0090/690-0090 001.jpg
    http://www.ik.se/pictures/610-0003/610-0003 03.jpg
    http://www.ik.se/pictures/367-0002/367-0002 04 side view of dryer.jpg
  4. jerryshenk


    Jan 8, 2009
    Those things don't look like they even have any moving parts;)  It was good thinking to ask for their current pictures...that gets you an idea what you're shooting but it also give you an idea what you want to be better than;) 

    What kind of promotional material are these pictures going to be part of. If they are promoting the mill itself, maybe you want to get shots of some special part of the mill - no idea what that might be but, there has to be something specific that they want to sell...ask questions take notes. If nothing else, you get to see some new places;) 

    I'd re-think that tripod too...at least a small one...skip a pair of shoes;) 
  5. IMHO having a tripod available is more justification to bring it in your situation. Low light, stationary subject, you can get good DoF at all focal lengths. In the posted pics, I did not see any opportunities to convey movement, ie moving machinery components.

    However I'm not sure what you want to convey in your pictures. You stated for promotional work so what do the owners want to convey with the pictures?

    I defer to others for suggestions to using speedlights.
  6. The machines do have moving parts of course, but I don't need to capture the motion itself.
    I work for a company dealing with these machines and there will be someone with technical knowledge available all the time. (We promote these machines mainly with offers by email and on our homepage.)

    I will probably also bring a second small kit (D60 + 35/1,8 + SB-400) for quick shots of details or where the ultra-wide is not a suitable FL.

    I think my main question is if I should go for another SB-800 (will 2 flashes be enough?) or should I go for 2 x SB-600 (3 flashes totally)...
  7. jhelms


    Sep 25, 2008
    Columbus, GA
    Got for 2 SB600's.

    My speedlight setup recently was 3 SB600's and 2 SB800's. Since both of my bodies will 'commander' the speedlights, I just sold one of the SB800's. I really like the size / weight / ease of use of the SB600's and would rather have 2 of those over another 800 any day, especially since your D90 will control them and since you already have an 800.
  8. IsamuM

    IsamuM Not-quite- Moderator

    Jan 11, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    I'm with John, go for two SB600s. The machines are pretty big and you're going to want all the light you can get.
  9. Thanks for advice, everyone. I will try to pick up a pair of used SB-600s and do some test shooting in our local warehouse.
    Hopefully it is sufficient to put the flashes on the floor or on surrounding machines.
  10. I have now managed to find good price on one used SB600 and one used SB800. They will arrive before the weekend. Next week on Wednesday I will do my first shoot!

    So my kit will be two SB800 and one SB600. Should I have one SB800 on-camera for better control and then use the SB600 and the other SB800 as remote flashes?
    (or all 3 flashes off-camera?)
  11. DJVCuda


    Jun 13, 2008
    Atco, NJ
    I just got done shooting a welding fabrication shop - IE - low light

    I tried the flash routine - I went with the tripod. about 1 second to get a decent exposure - the flash will only light a few feet - the samples you show have light from longer exposure and flash as a fill.
  12. The samples I have shown are taken with a P/S without a tripod. The EXIF shows 1/60@2.8, ISO100 (the last picture was 1/30). (they do look crappy, though)

    I'm still unsure whether to bring a tripod or not. Working with a tripod requires some preparation before each new angle. If I set up the 3 speedlights I should be able to take 5-10 snaps from different angles before moving on to the next machine. Or?
  13. DJVCuda


    Jun 13, 2008
    Atco, NJ
    It is a question on how much ambient light you are trying to capture... the P&S are @ 2.8... you will be shooting at F4.
  14. You're right. However, most shots will be made of single machines. Also I might go up to ISO 800 and with wide-angle I can easily shoot at 1/30.
    For the occasional "overview" shot of a complete mill floor, the tripod will come in handy (since the speedlights will not lit up the whole hall). I will bring the tripod.
  15. BTW, when the others at my company have taken pictures of textile machines they have complained and often described it as kind of like "only the first part of the machine is lit, the parts further away are too dark" and "it's hard to get the complete machine in the frame".
    That's why I'm planning for wide-angle and speedlights. :) 
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2009
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