360 Product Photography using Strobe Lighting

At Iconasys, we have become a leader in professional grade 360 Product Photography Tools. Our solutions include 360 Photography Turntables and Software and automate the 360 image creation process – allowing professionals to easily create professional 360 Product Images in just minutes!

Iconasys 360 Product Photography tools are trusted by thousands of professionals and studios worldwide – majority of which whom already have invested heavily in studio lighting. A large portion of these studios have strobe lighting and we often get asked about the shooting process when shooting 360 Product Photography with Strobes. While this is similar to using continuous lighting, there workflow deviates in a couple steps (info as follows below video).

360 Product Photography using Strobe Lighting Workflow Video:

Iconasys 360 Product Photography Software Options

Before we dive in too much into the 360 product photography workflow when using strobe lighting, we should mention we do have two different software programs designed for controlling Iconasys 360 Product Photography Turntables. These are as follows:

  1. Shutter Stream 360 Product Photography + Video Software: This is a complete turnkey 360 product photography software and will allow users to create web-ready 360 Product Photography and Videos in just minutes! Shutter Stream 360 integrates with a long list of compatible cameras and include complete camera control, image composition, automated image capture, auto image upload, a vast image editing suite (edits can be applied in a batch process) and image processing and output tools (batch resizing, renaming, watermarking etc..). In addition, the software includes 360 Product View Composition that will allow users to create web-ready 360 product views and 360 product videos in various formats (HTML5, GIF, Interactive MP4 and standard MP4 video output) that are fully customizable and can be easily self-hosted, shared and/or embedded into websites and online selling channels (view output options here).
  2. Iconasys Turntable Controller Software: Works with any camera that supports Shutter Release capability. Camera will connect via Shutter Release cable directly to the turntable and users will control turntable movement via software. Users simply select number of frames, turntable rotation speed/direction, pre/post capture delay and hit ‘Start’, the software will control turntable movement (start/stop) and at each shooting angle, the camera snap will be triggered via Shutter Release command. As images are captured, they are uploaded to the cameras internal storage (ex. SD Card). For users who decide to go this route, you can consider the stand alone Shutter Stream 360 Captureless Software (for batch 360 image editing, processing and 360 Product View Creation) or the stand-alone 360 Product View Creator Software (for 360 product view creation).

When using the Iconasys Turntable Controller Software, image capture will be triggered via Shutter Release. Users will have an option of setting a pre-capture or post-capture delay – which is suggested in the case strobes need time to recharge in between turntable start, stop and image capture during the 360 product photography image capture process. The Iconasys Turntable Controller Software can be used in conjunction with other popular studio photography applications such as Capture One© and Lightroom©.

When shooting 360 Product Photography with the Shutter Stream 360 Software and a compatible camera, users will gain access to image composition tools (in addition to batch image editing, processing and 360 Product View Creation tools) that help with the 360 image creation process and further streamline the operation.

Real Time Camera Preview: Setting Profiles

First, the ability to see a real time preview from the camera in a high resolution frame in the monitor provides benefits for setting camera exposure settings and pre-rotating the turntable to ensure object has been positioned correctly (on axis) in the center of the turntable. While in the Live View mode, users  will want to do some testing prior to entering the 360 image capture process. The testing first will be:

  1. Adjusting camera setting to achieve correct exposure for strobes. Camera settings (Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance, ISO) can be adjusted via mouse clicks. Users will want to adjust settings then click ‘Snap’ button in software (and repeat until correct camera settings have been achieved). After these are set, users will want to save these settings in the software as a camera setting profiles.
  2. Considering strobe lighting is being used, the Live View is likely to be displayed as as black window when in the Strobe camera settings profile. So users will want to create a 2nd mode for a Modeling Mode that allows them to see a real time preview on the screen. To achieve this, users likely want to use a small aperture value (ex. 2.8), a slow Shutter Speed (ex. 4 seconds) and if required a higher ISO value. After this Modeling mode has been set, this can also be saved as a profile in the software – in the above video, we use the name ‘Modeling Mode’.
After setting both camera setting profiles, these can then be saved into the Modeling mode options area – which will ensure the correct ‘Live View’ camera settings are used, while pre-composing image, and to ensure correct ‘Image capture’ camera settings are used when capturing images. See ‘Modeling Mode’ video explainer below:

Now that camera exposure settings have been set for both a capture and preview mode, users will continue with image composition (while in the preview mode). A common first step is to ensure correct product placement (center of turntable) then pre-rotate the turntable a single 360 rotation to visually ensure the product is spinning on axis. There is additional tools in the software that can help users with positioning product to the center of the turntable (read more here). Users also have the ability to pre-crop their subject (can be defined in free form, square or custom ratio crop size). This is an optional step however one that can increase 360 product photography efficiencies.

360 Product Photography Example using Strobes

360 Product Photography Shooting Settings

After image composition is complete and the object is correctly centered on the turntable, the next step is to enter the 360 product photography shooting mode and define parameters. These include:

  1. Number of Frames
  2. Spin Direction
  3. Rotation Speed
  4. Pre and/or Post Capture Delay

Pre and post capture delay is an important consideration when shooting with strobes considering re-charge times. The standard image capture workflow is turn, stop, snap – and it is quick. For instance, if a user plans to shoot 72 frames/360 product rotation (1 capture every 5 degrees), the time between each capture is ~1.5 seconds – and in the case of strobes that cant fully recycle in 1.5 seconds, users will want to add a buffer. This buffer can be added to:

  • Pre-Delay: This would mean the turntable turns X degreed (based on user defined number of frames being captured), stop, wait X.X seconds, then capture.
  • Post Delay: This would mean after image capture, the turntable would wait X.X seconds before moving to the next location.

Either option for capture delay will work – it’s just suggested to have a good idea of the strobe lighting recycle time.

Post 360 Product Photography Capture: Re-Shoot Feature

Another important feature inside the Shutter Stream 360 Software for users shooting 360 Product Photography with Strobe Lighting is the Re-Shoot feature. Think in the case of the 360 shooting process, strobes misfired and didn’t sync correctly at a single frame. This would results in an unusable 360 product image set and require users to re-shoot the entire 360 image set. While in Shutter Stream 360 Software, the Re-shoot feature allows users to define a single or set of frames in the 360 image set to be re-shot. Users enter the frame number(s) to be re-shot and hit start, the software will automate this process.

For those looking to shoot 360 Product Photography with Strobe Lighting, Iconasys Turntables are a great option that will ensure for precise and accurate product rotation while offering some great features for working with strobes.

Learn more about Iconasys 360 Product Photography Equipment & Software.

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