Sunday, 22 March 2009

Winter Scene

I had an interesting theme for a shoot recently, which involved creating a winter scene for the shoot. I used a combination of fallen branches I collected from near my house, fake snow from a snow machine and fog from a fog machine to create the look.

I used two 550EX (equivalent to the Canon 580EX II) flashguns with CTB (cooling) gels from behind the setup in order to light the fog a cool blue. I had one on each side of the setup.

I then used three lights to light the model. I used two Bowens monolights with softboxes on either side (Esprit Gemini 750+/750+ Kit). The power of these lights means that I was able to back them well away, and give a good even spread of light across the image, with some nice light down the sides of the model. The softboxes meant that even though the lights were a few metres back, they still weren't giving overly harsh shadows. Softboxes also tend to make the light a touch more directional, so I was able to turn the softboxes towards the camera a touch, in order to reduce the white light hitting the fog, which would reduce the blue effect significantly.

Lastly I had a 550EX (equivalent to the Canon 580EX II) firing into an umbrellabox on a boom arm. This means I get a nice overhead (or just to the right) light filling the dark spot that would otherwise be left down the middle of the model when lit by the two softboxes. You can see what I mean in this image where the flash hadn't quite recharged, and only the monolights fired.

Here's a few views of the overall setup, so you can visualise what was happening.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Product Photo: Battery Striplights

I've had some serious lackings going on in the blogging front the last month and a bit! But hey, I'm back. Haven't had much in the way of product photography going on for a while, so I figured I'd put up this entry.

Well, you've seen the final shot above, so let's look at the thinking which got me there. Firstly, I wanted to show a few things about these products in one shot. The first is that they're battery (or mains) powered, so I wanted them lit with no wires going to them. The second thing I wanted to show is the different ways they can be positioned (either flat or propped up with a fold out stand). They're actually surprisingly stable despite how they look. The battery has been positioned at the bottom so they have a better centre of gravity than you'd expect. That said, if you bump them, they'll probably knock over, and more than likely damage themselves, so I'd say they're probably better laid flat!

So first things first, I had to show them lit. So I fired them both up with both tubes lit (you can light one or the other independently or both). I then set an aperture with a reasonable exposure (f/8), a reasonable shutter speed of 1/200s and settled on ISO 400 for a good combination of noise and sensitivity. This gave me the following shot.

However, the light coming from the tubes themselves isn't really doing very much for the product, so I added in a silver reflector lit by a flash for a nice soft fill evenly across the products.

To give the image a little extra pop I thought I'd put some light on the background. My first thought was a plain flash snooted, with the generally vague idea that it might look a bit like the lights were lighting the background themselves.

I then tried a different angle, with a wide angle lens to try and give a bit more impact to the shot. It also showed in more detail the method by which the stand works, which was quite good.

However, there was no getting away from it...the image was looking pretty dull, and I'm not known for dull images - I love really saturated vivid images. So I headed to the box the lights came in, and looked at colours. The logo of the company was blue, but was very small. The box was predominately black (goes with my background), with a large red stripe down the side and a big yellow star behind the product. So back to the setup, and two snooted and gelled flashes later, I had the final image.