One type of photography I’ve found myself shooting much more often than I expected is product photography. With the huge increase in online storefronts and private selling through sites like eBay, many photographers are seeing a sudden increase in demand for simple shots of small objects. I’ve always used a large, multiple light set-up when possible, but otherwise I just find myself taking a simple snap with my cell phone, leading to a pretty lousy picture. I’ve been looking for a simple option to quickly capture more professional product shots, and that’s why I was interested in the new Foldio gear from OrangeMonkie.
The most intriguing product for me was the Foldio360, an electronic product-photography carousel. 360-embedded images are becoming much more common online, but producing them properly can be quite difficult. My attempts to stitch together manually rotated shots were pretty terrible. The Foldio360 removes any room for error by automatically rotating the product, and then triggering your camera. You can use a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or just your smartphone! The only requirement is a light tent (like the Foldio2) and a tabletop tripod.
The Foldio360 can communicate with your camera via an infrared transmitter or with your smartphone via bluetooth. You simply place the object in the middle of the carousel, and the Foldio 360 will rotate a small amount and then stop and trigger the camera. It will then repeat these steps for a pre-determined number of times. This gives you all the images you need for a perfectly embedded 360 image. I also appreciated that the Foldio 360 has a built-in backlight, which will help minimize any seams in your backdrop and gives you a clean white background.
All this is controlled with the extremely intuitive Foldio360 app. Currently, it is only available for Apple iOS devices, but an Android version is forthcoming. Once all the images are captured, the app will build the 360 image for you. You can also save any of the individual shots for websites that may not yet support 360 images.
As mentioned earlier, to create a 360 image with even light you will need a light tent. I also tested the Foldio2 alongside the Foldio360. This extremely portable device folds up into a package no larger than a laptop, yet it has built in LED lighting! The entire unit can be set up in seconds, as it supported by simple magnets. Thin, ribbon LEDs provide a soft, overhead light source, and these can be dimmed to make sure they balance with the ambient light. If you don’t already have a light tent, this is an excellent option.
What impressed me the most about the Foldio system is how quickly I was able get set up and start shooting. Without any trial and error, the first 360 image I shot turned out perfectly. The system is just what I need for selling anything online, and the 360 format is great for letting potential buyers see the condition of any used product from any angle. If you find yourself shooting product shots regularly and want to experiment with 360 images, you should really check out the Foldio System. Visit thecamerastore.com and orangemonkie.com to find out more!