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How to Be a Commercial Photographer

Lesson 9 of 34

Shoot: Hibiki Whisky Part 1

Rob Grimm, Gary Martin, Aaron Nace

How to Be a Commercial Photographer

Rob Grimm, Gary Martin, Aaron Nace

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Lesson Info

9. Shoot: Hibiki Whisky Part 1


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2 Class Introduction Duration:26:47
5 Establishing Your Brand Duration:16:40
6 The Commercial Industry Duration:09:15
7 Anatomy of a Photo Shoot Duration:30:08

Lesson Info

Shoot: Hibiki Whisky Part 1

So we're working with a company called Beaky, a product called Beaky, which is a Japanese whiskey. Japanese whiskies air really something very interesting. It's very different from the American style, and it's really kind of growing in popularity. So we've got this bottle that is really beautiful. It's one of the nicest bottles I've actually ever seen, to be perfectly honest in terms of all the facets that it has, and there's a lot of history behind this. So we wanted to create a sense of how this bottle, which is kind of steeped in history. Each facet apparently has has a separate meeting. How this bottom kind of steeped in history is really starting to make its way into the United States and into kind of our popular culture. So we wanted to have it in an active kind of bar restaurants, adding a place that is upscale and hip and cool. But we obviously could not shoot a bar here. It would be a pretty big, extensive set, so we found a restaurant that is, it's kind of an interesting conc...

ept. It's called blood and sand, and it is a pays a membership based restaurant, so basically you have to pay every month, and then you get the privilege of going in there and having dinner and having drinks. And it's well worth it because they make the most exotic and amazing cocktails. This place is really all about handcrafting, and it's a great spot. So we went in there and we got a crew together in terms of our photo crew and a bunch of extras and models that we wanted people in the background cause we just wanted to have this. The idea behind this was to have the bottle very heroic in the foreground with a glass. So this glass of whiskey, beautiful bottle and in the background is kind of in movement. So you see this really nice environment, but everybody is a little bit blurred out. We did kind of long exposure and get people kind of moving about. So we set it up and went in there. We only worked with our continuous lining sources with our Roscoe light panels instead of doing the strokes because again we wanted motion. So we're dragging our shutter and letting it go a little bit long, and we created what is called a back plate. So a back point is when you go and you photograph something that you're going to drop into another image, right? So what we often do is something called Dura trance. So we will create a back plate or use a background that's been provided for us. Turn it into a Dura Trans and then shoot it in the set in the studio, which is what we're gonna do here for you today. So we went to blood and sand. We shot the back point, turned it into a dura trans. That's a term that a lot of people don't know. It's actually a relatively old term, and the best way I can describe it is if you're driving down the street and you see a bus shelter and there's an image on the bus shelter and it's lit up from behind, that's a dirt trans. It's kind of a large piece of film that has an image printed on it. It's backlit, so the reason we do that is because we want the background images, but the you know, the background scene to come through the glass. Keep in mind, glass is clear. It is basically negative spaces as you're looking through it. So in order to have something really be convincing, we need to have that background come through the clear portions of the glass and the negative spaces, which is why we do the dirty rooms. And that's what we're gonna do free today. Just keep in mind if you're going to do it. Dirt trains and you're with people. You don't really need to do it because people aren't clear. That light isn't coming through the toe. Actually, like sell the shot were shooting glass so the background actually needs to come through in. Those exact tones need to come through that glass and through the liquid through anything that it's gonna be transparent. That's why we're using the Derderians today. If we just came in and shot this bottle and glass on a background here even on Gray and then went in post and tried to squeeze it into the background plate, it's not gonna look real. You've got to get that coloration coming through the glass. It has to be convincing. That's the only way it's gonna work. So I rely on back plates a lot. I used your trans a lot with my clients, and it's very convincing. Actually, this is also a super cheap way to do something. Because if you think about it, if it's gonna take us 345 hours to shoot this, we don't want to be rushed. It's a lot harder to get permission to do. That's probably more expensive to have the crew at the restaurant on location tohave restaurant for six hours. So we were in and out in about an hour and 1/2 on. We didn't have to worry about the product. So we way had a cocktail. So yeah, just keep that mind, you know, door trans, maybe 150 to 200 Depending on the size of the trans, you get more, but it's just a cheap way to save a little bit on your production costs, Um, and then do it in the studio, not be rushed. Now, the dirt trends that we're shooting here, it's not going to stay in the background. So the high res version that we shot on location Erin Nace will come in a couple of days, and he's gonna eat that into into the final image. Really, assemble that. So we're using this as a way to bring color and the environment in through the entire piece. Okay, but we'll go back and we're gonna replace it with the high res version. So it's really and truly a high res image. This is not going to stay in the final result. It's only going to stay on the inside a glass that makes sense. All right. Questions, comments, concerns, concerns, fears. Cool. Let's go. So what? We hang them. So this is gonna be a little bit of a trick. And what we're gonna do is we've got a couple of C stands with the sea arms and we're gonna hang this guy. Now we overexpose this in the Dura Tran intentionally. This is far, far, far brighter than what we want in the final result. But we're using this because we again we want to push it through the glass. If it was his dark as it's going to be in the final, it would take a lot of power to get this to come through. So we're intentionally doing something that does not look how we want it to look in the final, but it's in order to get into those this detail were ended areas. This is a simple matter hanging this guy up, so we're not gonna be using the entirety of the image. You can see the background that we shot. People were in motion. We had several people hanging out, talking in the bar, being social, doing their thing. We had a bartender who is in the middle of shaking a cocktail, and we had another bartender type who's walking in the background. We're looking at the at the surface. We've got all these little T light type lanterns on there, which you're giving nice. It's light and the chandeliers as well. That's what we want to come through. Its that coloration. We're gonna wind up in our final image. We're gonna wind up dropping the bottle that we shoot into this area. So it's gonna now rest on the bar that we're shooting. That bar was very dark, not quite black, but it had some texture and it was very dark. So we're gonna use a piece of black plexi as our surface here. The reason why I'm using black proxies because it's a mirror. We shoot on black flecks that you get a great reflection. It's very close to what we've got going on in the background, so we'll be able to lift the bottle, lift the reflection and will be able to squeeze it into this surface. It's gonna be awesome. Shall we make it happen? Let's do it. All right, So Beaky bottle, Right? So this is the bottle. I really do think it's pretty. It's It's a little different. It's not something that you see all the time. Theis Fast. It's a really, really kind of interesting, really pretty label backs are different, so we strip all the bottles that we prepare normally. What will do? We didn't have the opportunity here to get fresh hero labels for the front. Normally, what we will do is completely rid the bottle of any label that it has. And the reason we do that is because these labels are put on by machine. They go whipping through really fast and there never straight. Um, when we put this on set, I guarantee it's gonna make me crazy because it's crooked. I can see it already, and it's gonna make me crazy. We'll fix it in post, but when I have, whenever I have the opportunity. I'm really working for clients who can get labels in my hand. I completely stripped the bottle front and back, neck everything, and we hand put on labels so that there is straight as possible. We take razor blades to him and a little bit of goof off That still needs a little work. Yeah, well, good. So we want that to be clean, because if we've got a label on the back side, it's gonna create a big, dark spot that's gonna come through here, and that is not what I want. I don't want a dark spot that I can't deal with particular because I'm gonna bring several different types of light through the back of it. I want that as clean as possible. So it's all about the front label and all about the liquid. So we use something called Goof off. This is probably something I use the most to clean up bottles get from like Home Depot. There's love, different brands, but any sort of adhesive remover you can sit there and scrubbed with, you know, hot water and soap. It's not gonna come off. This stuff is magical. Little clean up anything and just a little bit of steel wool as well. But a razor. Just make sure to be careful. My razor will take it off on this will clean it up. So they're a couple of tricks. I will. I will impart one soaking label beforehand is a really good idea. Putting in hot water there. Times were I want to keep the front label, but not the back label. And I lay it down on a really shallow plate and get that back label off the second you get water on the front label, it's done. You know, you're gonna have a heck of a time retouching it or or working with it. So if you have to maintain the front label, which if you're gonna be doing this portfolio work, that's what's gonna happen, you're gonna need to maintain the labels. So just be very careful. Be very conscious that these most of time are made of paper. And if you get what getting what you're really gonna have, well, you're gonna be banging on the ball. That's all there is to it. I cleaned it up a little bit more. All right, clean it up. So I'll use this for our standing. And then we also have these hero glasses ground. This is an antique glass that is actually from blood and sand. They got to use off of eBay, you know, some little auction thing. And I think they're really cool. They're gonna be It's gonna be a nightmare. It's smoked, it smeared. It's clear is this is gonna be fun. So it's gonna present a lot of challenges. I have not worked with a glass like this in a very long time, if even ever so. I'm really interested in seeing what happens with putting ice in whisky in here. It's gonna be interesting. And again, we're gonna do some magical stuff in order to make things, make the light come through and look awesome. Tony, Rub. Just wondering when you have a client send you bottles like this. How many do you ask for, say, Budweiser or for this black brand or a lot? You know, when we were talking in the first segment this morning and I was saying how even glasses that are all blown in the exact same old A very I want lots of them because I look at him and I can see a lot of the defects in there. I'm really You know, obviously, I think you can tell by now I'm pretty anal retentive about the work that I dio. So I will look at those and pick out the best one, and then we'll go on. We'll go it and label them and fill them and do all that stuff. So it's kind of a process where you really kind of have to build the bottle in the sense. I mean, we start with totally clean and put the labels on my hand and make sure that it's the right bottle and get it out there. It's a little finessing. So one of the things that's going to be really important here that don't already it's gonna polish it up a little bit. Okay, I'm gonna walk this off. So one of the things that is going to be crucial is matching my angle. Right? So what we did when we shot on location of blood and sand, we put a bottle and that glass out there on the set knew how we wanted to shoot it. We were happy with the entirety of the composition being the glass in the bottle as well as the backer shot it like that. Then we pulled the bottle in the glass and just shot the surface and for the background. So now we can take one of those images that we shot before and we're gonna match it. We're really going to do that kind of eyeballing it. But we're gonna look at the lips is it's all the ellipses. Tell us if we're in the right place. So maybe, and mainly the class the glass is going to give us a really good indication of whether we're in the right spot. So I have a tendency to think and ponder and brewed a bit as I do things, you know, Um, I'll be concentrating on this police feel free to ask questions from the audience from the live audience. From the audience here, I'm more than happy to entertain questions. Is that work without fail? Okay, so I want to bring several lights on this. Here's what I want to do. Number one. I want to wipe the dura trance. I want to see what that's giving me. I'm going to use my para 88 which is a lighter, Really love. I'm completely addicted to Bron collar. For me, it is the answer. They have incredible light shaping tools. They haven't incredibly clean quality to their light that I just haven't seen with a lot of other power packs on. They also have great flash duration. Flash duration from is the key in order to making liquids work in order to freeze a liquid. It's not about shutter speed, It's about flash duration. You guys know what frustration is known that anybody not know it? Okay, let me clear. But flash duration flash duration is the time that it takes for the power pack, which is this capacity. It's the time that it takes to release all of this energy. Go to full power whatever power you've said it on, OK? And then back down to zero again. That flash duration is determines the speed of the light, how quickly it goes and dissipates its that factor that freezes liquids. So when we shoot, liquids were shooting at 1 25th of a second. But a flash duration is usually somewhere between 1 and 1 12,000 of a second. Hard for me to say, I don't know why my tongue doesn't work that way, but it doesn't. So if you think about it, the motion of the liquid is happening on a 12 thousands of a second. There's no shutter speed that you're gonna get That's going to give you that freezing liquid. It's all in flash duration. So Houston brown color happens to be incredible at flash aeration. That's one of their great things. Starting off wrong. Yeah. Okay, a little hard on you. All right, So another thing to know. When we were shooting on location, we shot 35 millimeters. We needed to because of the speed at which we needed toe work. We didn't take the hostile blot out there, but I'm shooting the hospital out here. I'm shooting for the detail. I really want to detail in this foreground. So there's a lens magnification issue when I shot with a 50 on my 35 millimeter. That's equivalent to 82 which is what I'm gonna set this to on my hospital. So the first thing that I have to do is calculate my lens difference. Since I'm using two different systems here. That's something that I'm doing. Most people wouldn't run into that problem. You would just be using one camera system. But I just want to let you know that I'm going and and I'm doing okay. The other thing is I polarize every shot I do. For the most part in studio. I've got a leaf filter. This is this has been one of my greatest tools. It's a li rotating hood, and I have a lead polarizing filter on the inside of it. Polarising filters, obviously knocked down glare, which is a big thing when you're dealing with glass in liquid and all that kind of stuff. So polarizer is absolutely indispensable for what I do on a daily basis. So what? So while he's getting that together, I'll kind of take you through the initial set up. We're gonna go into pretty good detail tomorrow about all our gear, our computers. But I'll kind of give you a general sense of how I'm taking care of the data. So we've replaced the hard drives that came in the Mac Book Pro. I took those out. The computer itself is a couple of years old. We were really worried about the warranty. So I took the hard drive itself. Output a salad state in on also took the optical drive out. Um ow. See Mac sales dot com sells something called the Data Dubler so you can go buy. Basically, any solid state drive replaced the optical drive because who's burning CDs for clients anymore? Um, and you can have that as a capture of backup. So basically, with a little bit of software, we have a raid, one system built into the computer. We don't have to worry about external hard drives if we don't want to. So that software is taking our captures on Dr One. And then every to 45 minutes it's copying that entire folder into the second drive. And then today I've have 1/3 hard drive to make a triplicate that's doing that every two hours. So as someone that's in charge of the data and also doing something today, like first assisting, it's good to have the right tools, the right software, to help me manage that. So I don't have to worry about it because just copying and then checking to see if the data volumes of the same size is is that efficient, efficient right, and it's a lot easier just to let the software do it. So this is where it comes in Handy. Digital tech, right? Higher guy, right out of Apple. Very good idea. If you're gonna run a studio, I highly recommend Apple, but it makes I mean, he's making my life a lot simple, A lot more simplistic in knowing that my data is secure. I don't have to worry about it. We've got the computer completely set up that did is gonna be copied if we lose data, we've lost a job. We've got a problem. And I had that happen to me early on. Lost eight on a job, Couldn't find it, couldn't recover it. Had to reshoot the job money out of my pocket. So you never, ever want to do that. It's beast. Do any kind of offsite backup, Teoh. Or is it just all within? Yes. So everything is kind of like live work or working. It's on hard drives that were working with, and then we have an entire server system that's raid five backup in our studio. That's all hooked up to Ethernet. So weaken Do it through WiFi or through any Ethernet port, weaken hook in and then dumped for archive than all of that is duplicated again off site, which is updated on a regular basis. So so how many times that, like a lot, there's a There's a lot of account. I have no idea where stuff is. We have the luxury of having two studios, so we take hard drives back and forth. We have a duplicate of everything in our ST Louis Chicago, as we do in our stainless studio, as we do in our Chicago studio, so we duplicate everything. There are a lot of photographers I know that actually will have something on site. They'll have a raid. They'll have a way to store all the stuff on drives, and they will have something off site completely in another city. I think it's a good idea. You know, it's not a bad idea when all of your income is generated off of pixels. It's not a bad idea to have a offsite backed up in another state just to case anything worth doing is worth over doing. Yeah, absolutely so. Another thing. Before I had a system like this which costs quite a bit of money. It's quite a bit of investment in the start up costs to do that kind of insane, you know, online backup is something I did use something called Zin Folio, which was cheap about $100 a year on that it was able to send all of my tips. Basically, you can't wasn't able to do it with raw data, but you can export all of that, has tips or J pegs and just keep it off site. So for about 100 bucks a year, that was the cheapest that I could find. But we don't do that anymore because it's just slow our Internet speeds or not that fast. We don't yet have the fiber Kansas City in Ah, so yeah, I mean, if do what's best for you, but for sure. With the price of hard drives, hard drives, spinning hard drives, they're cheap. But salad state hard drives are coming down themselves, so look into getting your own salad state, replacing your hard drive in your computer, then using software you re using something called carbon copy cloner toe back stuff up so you don't have to buy a big raid system you can use software to do it yourself when we hire you to do that, you know, he's very busy. Okay, so I'm gonna work on my background line a little bit. I'm using my para 88 I'm gonna kind of pointed at the area where I really think I want to highlight, and we're going to start in a place that I know isn't gonna be right. But that's OK, because we're this is a building process and, you know, here in the pro for 20 years. And I'm gonna do this one line at a time. So take our first shot, and there we go. So can you pull up the back? Yeah, the computer. So Gary is gonna pull up the back point on the computer for me so we can look side by side, and we can see first and foremost where my angle is. So that's the shot that we took on location. And you can get go ahead and bring it all the way in. We're just a second so you can see the environment. You can see that we put the baby bottle out. There actually really does great in many ways just out there on its own, with all the light that's coming out from the from the restaurant itself. So we've got a match, that angle. So let's take a look at him side by side and were way low, right? If we now try to take that image on the left provided that it was properly lit, we could not convincingly squeaking in that that other image, there's no way it's gonna go. It's gonna you know, the surface is gonna come at you and then all of sudden the bottle is going to jump in a different direction. So we're gonna we're gonna work on fine tuning the height to make sure that I'm in the right spot. I'm the move the bottle a little bit, too, because I don't love where it's positioned with Backer. While he's doing that. I can kind of go over how we've chosen to label the files jealously. Here. We've created a folder called Captures, and that's where everything is going but 13 for us, and you're gonna probably find your own way to label your files that make sense to you. But everything for us is first by year. Um then a dash them by job number and dashed them by the creative agency. In this case, C l represents Creativelive Dash and then the actual product, Beaky because when you shoot, you know, 40 50 things a year and in two years from now, if you go back and you want to look at something, you're not gonna remember who it was or what it was if it's just file names, especially at my memory. So it's good to know label all your files in a way that makes sense for use the most important thing. Okay, lets go side by side again, getting closer. But I feel like I'm still a little bit low. Yeah, my glass is not perfect. So we're gonna move it back a little bit. The questions from anyone not to get too technical, but or into gear anyway. But it looks like you got a polarizer on the overhead as well. I dio um I often do dual polarization. It completely kills a highlight. When you're working with bottles and glass, they're going in multiple directions. And keep in mind that a polarizer works on a plane, right? It is taking the light that is hitting a plane, and it's changing its direction basically, and it's getting rid of that highlight. You can't always knock that out when you're working on rounded surfaces when the curb, their spirit or whatever. So doing a dual polarization really helps, because it gives you a much better ability to knock it out. So I'm gonna do two things. I'm going to work on the reflection in the background because I think right now I'm actually polarizing too much of the surface out, even though it's really dark way. Haven't completely let this yet. Um, I'm gonna just my polarizer for my scene. That means that guy's gonna probably be pretty hideous. So I'm gonna want to switch this. I always have a top flight just the way I work. I always seem to wind up with the beauty dish on top of my my glassware just to push a little light coming down. Give highlight to the rims, give highlight to the to the shoulders and that kind of stuff. Then we're gonna wind up bringing other lights in order. Really craft this bottle and get it. Get it much more engaging than it is right now. Well, you cannot were touching on it. I was gonna ask about your strategy for the placement of the lights and all of that. But is that something you're gonna talk about? We're gonna grow right now what I'm doing. I mean, if you look at it, it's hideous. God, um, awful shadow. An awful highlight coming from from this the strip. Like, right here. Like Bart. I just want to right now. Get my placement. That's all I really care about is making sure that I'm policing this bottle in a position where it's gonna be able to go into the upper image where it's gonna be convinced could go back. One for me. See that label? So, Kirk, it is gonna make me nuts. Okay? Again, Go forward and let's to decide by side cause I want to see if I feel like my lips is closer now. Oh, I'm sorry. With the with your I'm feeling like we're getting a lot closer. What do you look? So so what? I'm looking at what I'm studying right now. Sorry. What I'm studying right now is I'm studying the lips Is my eyes are going back and forth I want to see where the lips on this cocktail glasses as opposed to that, because that tells me really and truly, if I'm coming from the same perspective. If you know if you go back a couple Gary, you can see how off the Ellipse Waas and they're just not gonna fit. I see that there's there's absolutely zero lips on that glass, so there's no way it's gonna fit that scene. It's just it's not gonna work. So we do this by I. We just go back and forth, and this is something I do really, you know, methodically because I want to make sure it's gonna be convincing in the final image. So can we go back to the two side by side? So it's all by I you're not. There's no way to measure that. There is. Yeah, there is. There is a really crazy way to do it. It involves a staggering serum and going back and forth through through Photoshopped. It's very complicated. Half the time it's beyond me and I've been doing this for a long time, so I find that I have good results just going by I. But I get in my eyes fairly trained. So that's kind of way works. I'm gonna come slightly higher. That wasn't the last one. That was that. That's why that's why it's you that can we get all right. We're on the last one now, right? Yeah, That looks pretty close. Gary. Quick question for you. I'm not familiar with focus. Possible out software, but with capture one, there's a feature where you can overlay one image onto the other. Yeah, we can do that. I just We haven't made, uh, we don't eat it with p and G's. Um, so we could do that. Um, with this image, would that help? As far as figuring out your perspective and just being able to kind of see when they match up, it would help. We don't We don't always do it. You know, we could do it. What? Yeah, that's right. I'm just asking if it's a process you used from time to time or if you prefer, actually uses this algorithm more than we dio just over. Like, because focuses a little funky, you know, in that you do have to use a PNG. You can't just pull any file in. Um, but sure, Why not? We'll show you how it works.

Class Description

Ready to break into the commercial photography business, but unsure of where to start? Rob Grimm and Gary Martin will help you navigate the ins and outs of the industry by delivering expert advice on an entire gamut of subjects –– from marketing, to shooting, to branding, and location scouting.

Rob and Gary’s workshop will be your personal guide to every single aspect of commercial photography. You'll learn how to set a budget, advertise your brand, and build your portfolio and client base. These two seasoned pros will also share invaluable technical tips on shooting and retouching.

This course is a one-stop shop for all the tools and skills needed to build a commercial photography portfolio and find your niche in the industry!



I have gratefully been watching this tutorial for free online, and as always CreativeLIVE has done an awesome job in bringing one of the best instructors of the trade and his creative team to help us improve and enjoy a higher level of understanding and performance in the skills we would like to achieve. I am humbled as always and ever so grateful. I would love to purchase the course myself, but since I live abroad, it is practically impossible, I hope those who can, would. I would just like to add one of the most interesting things I have learnt from this course is the careful attention these guys are paying to minute details and the amount of patience it takes to achieve their goals in each project. Stay inspiring, Totoo in China


Outstanding course! I'm a former creative director, now photographer full time and have had the unique experience working with studio photographers for commercial products in the past. This course is right on and very close to my experiences, and now that I'm behind the camera, it's nice to see some of those trade secrets revealed. Commercial work is fussy and you often have to sweat the details, but the results can be astonishing and rewarding. Rob and Gary do an excellent job explaining the ins and outs, without any pretention or hold-back on secrets. Something that's always annoyed me in the past, photographers never liked revealing their process. It's great fun watching Rob and Gary work a shoot, and Aaron Nace is beyond amazing in his retouching skills. I don't expect to break into this field, but I wanted to learn how things are done, for my own personal projects. I particularly enjoyed learning how they get the look of ice, ice crystals, and frost on the sides of glass bottles. I purchased several items from Trengrove, as they suggested. Their acrylic products are not cheap, but the quality is amazing and I'm very pleased and looking forward to experimenting. Thanks to all at Creative Live, RGG studios and Aaron Nace for this presentation.

Doors of Imagination Photography

This course is outstanding. I would consider it an advanced level. Having a good understanding of the technical aspects of photography and lighting is recommended. Rob Grimm takes you into two real product shoots. These were not canned demonstrations, but the real thing including working to get the lighting setup just right. The postproduction section with Aaron Nace was enlightening. This does require a good preliminary understanding of Photoshop. It was amazing to watch them build the final images for the client in real time. This is by far my favorite course to date.