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Lighting for Still Life and Product Photography

Lesson 5 of 6

Capturing the Image in One Shot

Steve Hansen

Lighting for Still Life and Product Photography

Steve Hansen

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Lesson Info

5. Capturing the Image in One Shot


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1 Class Introduction Duration:02:17
3 Building the Set Duration:03:38
4 Gear Run-Through Duration:15:35

Lesson Info

Capturing the Image in One Shot

So we started off, we've got this guy active. And let's just take a shot and see what happens. Alright, this is image number one, so... there's some things. (laughing) And that was intentional. I didn't make this easy on myself for a reason. Okay, so right now, we're gonna start from the tablecloth and work our way up, all the way to the cake. We got the tablecloth. First things first, let's take... We've got a color checker here. I'm sure you've seen this in every class ever, so I won't go too in depth on it. (chuckling) I usually just use this for reference. Sometimes in packaging it's helpful to get perfect color representation, but I'm actually just going to use the gray side of it. And if you want to take a quick shot. I'm going to aim this towards the light. Ready? Yep. Big smiles. So we can get that off the set. And then in capture one, do you guys use Lightroom for a lot of your work? I recommend Lightroom. It's kind of a funny thing. When I do a shoot, I'll use Capture...

One for the shooting part of it, because I can do really cool color adjustments. There's certain things in Capture One that really make shooting, especially catalog work and product, it makes it such a pleasure to use. And then when I'm done, when I archive it, I'll put it into a Lightroom catalog. So I love Lightroom for the cataloging, for the maintaining of images if I need to export stuff. I'm just used to it. That's what I started on. So for shooting, I use this. I'll import the images that result from it into Lightroom for later use. So yeah, the tablecloth, the first thing I know I want to do for sure is to knock down the light hitting the front of the cloth. That's completely distracting. It's really bright. So I think first things first, let's get the strip light higher, and I'll get rid of these. I always have a couple of these on set just to have. I'll need them later, I'm sure. But let's raise the light, because what I'm noticing is not only is the tablecloth too bright, but the light's almost coming from here, so it's kind of not very dramatic. I want to get kind of the Rembrandt lighting look, but we're dealing with something that's eight feet tall, so I think the best thing to do would be to get a little bit higher, and I'm not even going to tilt it down. I actually want this to kind of be ignored a little bit. So let's take another shot and see where we're at with that. And I'm gonna take two shots. I want to see where my... I want to see where my polarizer is. Okay, so I think we're polarized there. Okay. So there's a little bit of a difference. There's a little bit of a difference in the tablecloth. I want it knocked down even further though. So I'm actually going to put... Let's put a flag. Do you want it black or a screen? Let's do a flag. I want this thing dark. So here I've got a gobo, just a black gobo, to really cut light, and it's pretty dramatic in its effect. And then I've got a double scrim, and I've got some diffusion material over there, and those have different effects. This one blocks light, this one will cut light, and that one will diffuse light and cut it, as well. So it sort of does double duty. But I'm saving that diffusion for the wine bottle. I know I'm going to use it for that already. So we'll get that. I kind of want this to kind of come in. So we're looking to block the lower part of the stop box. Now, if I wanted the light to be more directional, what could I do? I could take the front diffusion off, and then it'll be more directional. It won't hit as much down here. The second this hits this front panel, it sort of goes everywhere, and it doesn't have that directional look that sometimes a strip light will have. So you can either put a grid on it, or you can just take the front baffle off. But if you put a grid and it hits glass, you're going to see it. It's gonna look silly and ridiculous. You'll spend two hours in Photoshop trying to go through. And yeah, it'll just take forever, it'll be a nightmare. So your highlights, one thing I do want to... I think the first image on my website on the beverage section, I've been messing around with highlights. I've become a real fan of how the highlights look and their shape. And I've been sort of sculpting different highlights, and I did like a cocktail. And I basically took a picolite, and they make this, I don't know how big the box is, but it's a perfectly flat mini soft box for jewelry or for watches. It has perfectly even light left to right. And I basically just took Gaffer Tape and made a windowpane out of it, and so I just kind of made little crosshatches and then put it right next to the cocktail, and it made this really spectacular, crosshatch natural light look, but almost in a super exaggerated form. So look it up, it's kind of a cool way. But highlights are something we're going to mold on set here. So we got a flag. Let's pull the light back. I love dramatic lighting, so I'm going to pull it to the side a little further, because we're going to do a little bit of fill work, too, on the right side. I didn't want to block the set, so I didn't want to put a giant V-flat over here or anything. So we're going to use a white card. That's something, if you have time to grab, that would be really helpful, I think. So I think here, we shouldn't be in frame. Okay. (camera shuttering) There we go. That's a little moodier. Let me see this on the monitor. Alright, so now we got to worry about the wrinkles of the tablecloth here. Wondering if you're gonna light one thing at a time and do a composite or try and get it in one shot? That's a big part of this class, is I composite all the time, but over time, as you get busier and things get crazier, I like to do all my own compositing. I know some photographers don't do it. Every time I can, I do, and I want to save myself time. I don't want to save anything for Photoshop. What I'll do is I'll get a shot as best as it can be in camera, and then I'll push it even further, and then if I have to composite, I will. But it's going to be minor. It's going to be very minor, if I ever do. With liquids, it's just the opposite. I'll shoot everything in pieces, for splash images and composite like that. I'll shoot it on black, and I'll do something called a luminant-spaced stacking. So I'll select just the brighter parts of the image, and then I'll copy it on top of one another. So it'll become this... If it's a splash of water, you could put it in front of a splash of milk, and you'll see the milk behind it. I can't go to far into that whole Photoshop rabbithole. So it's either one or the other. It's either a full composite or something I try to get in one shot usually. We're gonna go piece by piece. Great. Long story short. Alright, so that's looking pretty good. I'm gonna smooth out. Is that the prior shot or is that this shot? (camera shuttering) Okay. There's still a few wrinkles in there. As far as, I need to make sure also that the two edges match, so I'm going to bring this forward here. I like it to be somewhat symmetrical in its look, but there are some limitations because we have the front camera stand sticking out here, so we're going to have go with it. There's some wrinkling going on on the lower part of the tablecloth, and that's mostly because we have a pretty, it's not a pinpoint light source, but it's coming down really hard. And it looks really smooth on set, but you're seeing every single wrinkle. I'm gonna set up a little white card to bounce some light back up into it and flatten it out a little bit. So it won't be too dramatic. Let's take another shot, and then we're going to look at the... The table setting looks pretty good. I'm not too worried about that. We'll probably add a little cookie or something to do some raking light through there, but that'll be at the end. And while I'm doing this, I'm also looking at, are things styled properly? I'm going to need to trim the cord that's sticking out, that came from behind the wine bottle. I don't know if I can get that. Just kind of push back there. I'm gonna kind of massage these leaves. See if I can get them to stick out any further. And if you have any questions while I'm tweaking this, feel free to shout out if anything doesn't make sense. Let's see here. So we've got the pumpkin. I want all of the divots in the pumpkin to-- Cut this down? I'd cut it in half, yeah. And then we'll put that up when we shoot for the final shot. So the pumpkin's looking pretty good. We're seeing plenty of ridges. What I'd like to do, it's gonna benefit greatly when we get a fill card in there, but you see right here, there is a good highlight. We're seeing all of the ridges, and I was kind of expecting that. The pumpkin wasn't going to take too much work. The sunflower, I was trying to get to face camera a little better, which it still quite isn't, so I'm going to kind of go through here and mess around with it. And this is a fake flower, obviously. And I do have a bunch of those in studio. When I do packaging and stuff, I have a lady in England who makes fake lemon leaves, lime leaves, every kind of leaf you could want, because you can never find. They look amazing. They look so photorealistic, it's crazy. Vanilla flowers are something you can never. And they're not cheap to have them made, but if you do want to do packaging, you've got to have plenty of fake ice, you've got to have plenty of fake leaves. You have to know where to get, or at least know a stylist who knows where to get the real thing if need be. But I felt this was more stable. It's not fully cooperating. But I'm just trying to get that, there's a little shadow being cast, because we have such dramatic lighting. Let's move this a little more forward and then back a little bit, 'cause the light is still hitting that pumpkin. Okay, flower looks good. I'm gonna get the leaf back here kind of up. But it is, it can be a tedious process. Some people, it's a love-hate thing with food. People are either like, "I can't stand this." it's just like tweaking and you're in a dark room, and you're trying to tweak like a pea for two hours. I love it. I love the puzzle that is still life especially. Flower looks pretty good. The ham... The ham is dark. Now, I don't want to put too much fill on the side of the pumpkin. I think it just needs a little splash. The ham, I would like to have some sort of metallic paper or gold or silver card kind of hitting it, because I kind of want a little cool highlight to be showcasing all these little ridges in here. This I'm probably just gonna want to white card. Let's take... Let's get a C-stand. If we can get a C-stand on the right side of the set. I'll move this picolite. And then if we can get a little stand with that silver card, even if it's just a... On a regular light stand? Hmm? On a regular light stand or a-- Yeah, it can be a small one, if you want. It doesn't have to be a full. Using a full C-stand for a silver card is a little overkill. (chuckling) I can feel people rolling their eyes already. Yeah, I'll just go ahead and get another one, another stand for the silver card. Another thing though, in the studio, I've got shorter ceilings so I use autopoles. I don't know if you're familiar with those. They extend all the way to the ceiling, and they're just a pole that uses friction to stay in place. So it's like having a C-stand, but there's no feet to trip over. They're really convenient, and what I would do normally in studio if the ceilings were low enough, is to have one maybe right here, and I would attach these super clamps that are on... These guys to the autopole. So that way, when the pole's going up to the right of the set, I could attach a silver card here, I could attach something else there, I could have like three or four modifiers going. Whereas in this scenario at least, we have to use C-stands to maintain it. So what you could do is just get... If you could get a C-stand just fully extended, that would give us the opportunity to clamp stuff to it. And I would just put it right next to the scoros. So let's take a look. This monitor's super dark. So let me get your opinion. Any opinion you have is great. Does that spoon make sense? Actually, does any of it make sense? (chuckling) Well, I mean does that spoon add anything to you? Does it not? I'd love to get you, because you guys can be the art directors in this. It doesn't, yeah. You can't tell what it is. Yeah, you can't tell what it is. One of the reasons I put it there is 'cause we didn't have any utensils. We had toasters, we had all that, and I'm like, "Oh, let's put a spoon in there." And it does balance out the pineapple. The pineapple is going to require some adjustments, because I see the basil is just overwhelming that. That was the one thing I was saying yesterday, I had a food styling moment where my heart stopped. I went to the store, and I found the perfect pineapple. Like the perfect. We're talking a pineapple that had no blemishes on the stems, and if you've ever had to go to a store for food styling, you'll know how hard it is to find the perfect anything, but a pineapple's impossible. They're always a trainwreck up on the stems, so I wanted to freeze it in time and save it, but no such luck. Okay, so we've got a silver card. The light's gonna come down, it's gonna hit this guy, and it's gonna reflect in the same degree of direction that it hit. I think we're gonna get what we want. It might hit the bottle, and then we just created a problem we can solve when we get the bottle. It's gonna have to be a little... Yeah. The thing is I'm not worried about, as far as compositing goes, the only compositing I'm gonna need to do, is I'm going to take a shot, when we move the set, I'm going to take a shot of the background, because there's no way we're gonna cover the top of the pole with that cake. So the pole's gonna have to come out. I'm even okay if we get in here and have to take out some of the stuff. It's just a two-layer job in Photoshop, where you blend the background out. I want to get up close and really get this looking dramatic, and the only way to do that is to either have a larger modifier, which we don't have a large Re-F here, or just to come in and get in close. So basically, when you see the final, it's gonna be a blended two-shot composite, ideally. Yeah, and I would get... I'm even okay if this comes back and highlights from the rear, almost like edge lighting. I think that'll look fantastic. And that will keep it off the bottle, too. Alright, let's go in here. (blowing air) And you got to keep the glass clean. I put it under the bread, and the bread has just been dumping flour on the glass the whole. That can take a full day in Photoshop (chuckling) if you have fine particulate matter on a glass. So I'm gonna blow on it, because I don't think we have, we don't have canned air, right? But yeah, we got that pretty well taken care of, I think. So let's get in, can I scoot this in closer? Yeah. I want to get in. We might be able to get you some canned air. Okay, cool. There we go. I'm liking that. I don't mind that it's hitting the pumpkin. But we can always bend it, too. And the time you take in here is really worthwhile to keep yourself from having to spend too much time in post-production because that really gets tedious after a while. If you've ever sat... Some of these large campaigns, you can be doing stuff for... You can be doing retouching for a whole week afterwards, and you want to keep it to a minimum if possible. I'm thinking that's too far back. You're seeing the highlights show up on the left side of the ham, but it's very minimal. I want to get in here, and... You want to take a shot? Thank you. There we go. Now it's a little strong. So let's back it off. And I'm thinking like-- I'm not the most technical photographer. I think in a very artistic manner, in a very emotional, how does this make me feel. I respond to stuff and not say, "This has to be like this, "this has to be correct." I'm kind of just going by I'll set up my key light and get the exposure proper on that, but from there, I just mess around and play until it works, especially if I'm doing something for myself. When it's a client, it's really their needs that come first, but when I'm shooting, I'll just see how does this make me feel? Are the highlights where I want them? Yeah, that's too far back. Let's split the difference. The thing about these silver cards is they're very unpredictable, and they're very intense. And why am I not using gold? Does anyone know? The ham is extremely, not to say you couldn't use gold, but if you highlight a gold object or a warm-toned object with more gold, it becomes even warmer than the surface of the front where you're supposed to be. That's why you see a lot of the backlights are a little cooler in color temperature than the front light. It's a similar idea. If this were green or some cooler color in general, I would probably use the gold card, or even better a mixed. They make the-- Sunlight. The sunlight, that's sort of a silver and gold combination. The back of that. Oh, thank you very much. Canned air. Oh, you got it? Hmm? I was going to put it together for you. Oh, I got it. I'm just going to have this on set for the bottle, because I know we're gonna run into it. Okay, so how are we? I think that's actually a good happy medium. You're seeing a little bit of edge detail there. I love the highlight here. I'm liking that. And there's just enough coming around, where you see it's starting to carve a three-dimensional look. It's no longer as flat as it was before. I think the flower could use a little more liveliness. I think that will probably help, just getting the leaves. I love things to be assertive and poppy and fresh. Let's take a look. So we got the... I think up to here, we're looking pretty good. Let's do that dark, dark wine bottle. Okay, here we go. This is going to be the hard part. Yes? Quick question, you mentioned color and then warmth and then silver versus gold. How do you handle your white balance? In studio? Oh, how do I handle the white balance? I'll take the-- We get the care all ready. I'll take the primary reading from the gray card, just at the beginning. The white balance, I'm not looking for anything clinical. It's all about colors. I've added gels, I've added colored gels to lights before that are used as supplemental lights. I haven't really done it on the key light before, but I don't mind messing around until my heart's content, until I get something funky or... Let's say you're highlighting this pineapple. It would be cool to put a green gel on the picolite and shine it through there. There's no reason you can't do that. You can't do... Food photography can get a little traditional sometimes, where it's just a window and nothing else. I love just messing around with anything. Ziploc bags, I've seen post-it notes used, I've seen those color cards that you get from the paint store used, where you clip it to something and that splashes a little color. If you ever go to the paint store, just take one of every color because those are awesome. Like for smaller scenes, not necessarily for this. But if you have a small scene and you want a splash of any color under the rainbow, you could make that happen by having the key light hit it, and then bounce up into porcelain or bounce up into food or an apple, and it kind of adds a little different look. And at the end of this, I'm gonna tell you a post-production color technique that I came up with when I was just thinking about color lookup tables. I won't go too far into it now, but the post-processing I'm going to do on this, I'll share with you in just sort of a general term. I won't go into it in Photoshop, but I'll let you know where I'm headed with the post-production as far as coloring goes and color grading. So let's get the wine bottle done. Does that answer your question pretty well? It does. Okay. What I'd like to do... Can we put on the same stand, is there a way to cut a strip of white foam core, maybe four inches wide by a couple feet and just attach it over the wine bottle? So what I'm looking to do is I want to get... I have a little bit of light hitting it from the bottom, not much, it's sucking up a lot of light. I want to get some sort of highlight right here. Now, I'm gonna use a white card and see if that gets me where I want to be. I'm not going to get too... This isn't a hero product shot of the wine bottle, but I want it to be lit so you can see the curvature of the bottle. That's really where I'm going with this. And so, we'll put that right over to the upper right. So the card will come probably right through here so we're not touching the object, but you'll see it in the wine bottle for sure. As far as the bread goes, I'm gonna jump ahead to the bread while we're getting that cut. The sage is looking kind of wimpy. Let's flip that over, and we'll tuck that in. You can kind of see the pole through here. I'm trying to avoid, anywhere you can see that, I'm trying to avoid having that happen, because it really is very difficult to get rid of in post-production. Get rid of that. I like the other side better. Alright, I was thinking we'd put that-- It would get hit by those lights. Actually, let's put a full... Let's just clamp a full piece to that. And just back it off further away so it's not. It's not in the scene. Yeah, because with the sage and with all the herbs, I'm just trying to cover the pole. There we go. Somewhere in here? Yeah. Let's see. If you could just hold it, and I'll take some shots, and then get it close. And if you could angle it a little bit more towards... So we're getting a little bit of highlight on the left, and so I'm thinking if we turn it horizontally. And then scooched it a little bit further, correct. There we go, we're getting there. That's not bad. I'm gonna take a look in my monitor and make sure. 'Cause lighting a wine bottle can be a huge challenge in its own right, even when it's alone. So it's a little sporadic. There's a little funkiness going on. If we could try and get a closer... Let's see here. I'm going to focus on the wine bottle and the toaster, and I think the rest will be a matter of styling it to our liking. But what I'm noticing is that, we want that reflection in the wine bottle, but we're also going to want that funky, cool edge lighting on the bread. I think what the scene calls for is a fairly intense reflection from kind of behind. If you could go behind and then flip it. Yeah, this is that sunlight thing I'm telling you about. It's kind of the natural light look. It's not too gold, not too. I love that look. It's kind of blended mix of the silver and the gold, and it goes really well with food. So the light's going to be coming from here, hitting this. I don't mind if that's a little bit lower and then kind of tilt it up towards the light. And I think that'll work. And let's just check the intensity here. And Steve, we have about 20 people right here in the audience if you need somebody to hold something up. You just put them to work. Oh yeah, I'm gonna bring you guys on for sure. I like it. It's hitting the wine bottle. There we go. There we go. And I'm not looking for this really finessed perfect straight line like I would for a product shoot. I just want something that's going to showcase the shape. I'm not going to get too caught up, and if I want to brush that-- That's perfect. So let's-- The silver card for the ham got moved a little bit. Pardon? The card on the ham got moved a little bit. Oh, it did, you're right. Yeah, we're not getting that. I think it needs to tilt towards it again. There we go. It's sagging a little bit. Some of these arms here, articulating arms, tend to sag sometimes. Let's lock that down. Actually, let's hold it for the final shot. You know where that needs to be. We'll put it down, and we'll worry about the toaster. The toaster, I want the picolite. Let's set up the picolite. I'm gonna set up the background light now so we can get that going. Okay, 'cause that will be pretty straightforward. Let's go into the 3200. Do you have the modeling light on that? Oh, there we go. Okay. The nice thing about this is we don't need a short stand for the background light, because you probably can't even see it. We're gonna have to make sure of that but. I want just sort of a general splash of light. Let's take a look and see if we can see the light. Can we see the light? Nope, we're good. Can we turn up the franelle by two stops, just for the heck of it. I feel like there's quite a bit of light hitting the background. I could be wrong. I think on the computer it doesn't show as much. It's not nearly as much. Okay, can you scoot the franelle back almost to where it's flush with the still life? I want to get a really broad source. And if you could adjust the beam. The nice thing about the franelles is you can adjust the beam to wide to narrow. That might be as wide as it's going to go. Yeah. There's an arrow. There's the widest. That looks pretty good. So let's move that. You can tilt it upwards maybe five degrees so we that we get it behind the pineapple and toaster. Awesome. (camera shuttering) Alright, can you turn it up one more stop? How far is it? Seven, one. Perfect, let's go eight. (camera shuttering) There we go. That adds a cool little splash. But it's subtle. I'm not trying to go crazy on it. I don't like it when those pools of background light are too intense. Are we still good on the ham? We're good on the ham. We know we have the wine bottle covered. That's looking pretty clean. That also affected the bread here. How did that affect, let's go back a couple of frames here. I want to see how that affected... Oh, what have I done? (chuckling) You can change the white balance. That's sultry right there. That's crazy. Let's not go that route. Okay, so we have the toaster. Can you get the picolight set up on camera left at about the same height as the Westcott? What I'm going to do here is kind of double up the light, so kind of coming down from here pointed down towards the toaster. What I want to do is I'm trying to hit the front edge of that toaster so there's a gradient that forms. And it kind of comes down, it starts here, and it's gonna be really bright, and then it's gonna sort of careen off. So there's a little bit of sculpting going on. And after that, I think we're very close. And that just needs to go. Make sure all the blades are out, yeah. These blades are what control the shape of the light that's going through it. Right now, it'll be round, because there's nothing interfering with it, but if I had these pointed in in a certain direction, you can get a triangle, a square, whatever you want. Is the modeling light working, this one? It just needs to turn on. I don't think so. I think I blew it up. I'm so bad at the modeling lights. Let me double check though. Is that active? It's not active yet. Okay. I think that one's working. One is on, but I'm not getting anything here. There it is. There we go. Okay. It could be a little closer and a little higher. This is going to be a little harsher than I want, but it's going to be pretty nice. I want to get that top edge lit of the toaster, so that we see the dimension there, otherwise, it's getting really black. We're getting some light on the left here, but there's a little bit of an edge there but not much, so I want to really accentuate that. There we go. That toast and yeah, that's gonna look really good, alright. There's like three places I can trigger the camera. I would even go a little bit more. Power? I would go more power, yeah. (electronic beeping) There we go. Cool. (camera shuttering) Sometimes you got to really be careful. Sometimes the polarizer, you could be looking to highlight something, but the polarizer can knock it back out to a certain extent. So I'm going to... Let's take a shot without the polarizer. Not a huge difference. Okay. You still have the above light. Pardon? You still have another light up there if you need it. Yeah, let's do. I really want the eye to go right here. Are we at full power on the pico? No, I think we can go up a little bit on that. Let's really blast it, and then we'll get the... If you want to turn on the beauty dish? I have a beauty dish up top, just so we can light the top of the cake, and create texture going downwards. That'll also help with the top rim of the toaster, but we're also going to be blocked by the basket up there so I want to make sure that we get this. I want your eye to kind of go where the toast and pineapple is, that's the goal. Let's get the beauty dish on. Do you have the beauty dish on? Yeah, the beauty dish is on. Okay. And no rush, we have it standing by. It's at six, one. Yeah, okay. Cool. So do you want to turn that off? Again, the beauty dish? I want to see a before and after here. And that's why we build the lights up from the key light to the more specific lights as we go. Do you want to move the beauty dish so it's right over the, maybe another foot in the seam? Or is it pretty locked down? No, we can spin it, two of us. Okay, let's do that. Alright. Grab onto that, and I'll loosen it. It should spin now. There we go. Looks good, cool. And if you could bump that up? I'm not sure how. Thank you, awesome, thank you. Alright, so that's without. And then we're going to turn it on, with. Is that working? It was. (chuckling) Is that stripped, too? Yeah. There you go. There it is. That one's finicky for some reason. Okay. (flash bursting) There we go. That's looking interesting. I'm actually seeing more of the toaster's side in the shot than I was before. Let's just zoom in here. Yeah, that's looking really good. I think what's going to really help the toaster is when we get that silver card on the right. It's going to add a gradient to the upper right as opposed to the upper left. But I like what the light's doing to the basil. Let's get the basil pushed up, and then we can start probably doing the cake. I want to see that pineapple, and I want to cover up this part of the pole here. You think you're ready for the cake to come out? I think so. I think we should teeter and play with it and yeah. (camera shuttering) Alright, so I'm seeing the highlights on the ham, and we're going to solve for the bread shadow here, and we're going to solve for the highlight, the bread shadows, the edge of the toaster, and the side of the basket with that single reflector. It's going to do a world of a good, but I think all the detail work that we've done on the way up is pretty much complete. So I think all we have left to do is test fate by sticking a cake on top of this thing, and see if it collapses or not. Alright, here it is. (laughing) Alright, a big shout out and thank you to McReena for this beautiful cake, that may or may not get eaten afterwards. I'm not sure. So I had to drill. It was just so bizarre drilling all this food, but I had to drill this cake, too, so that when you put it over the pole, it's not gonna snap apart. Is this the one that's frozen? Yeah, we froze this one so it doesn't. Well, let me make sure that the interior's not. Okay. (yelping) Going around that, okay. Let me make sure everything's looking pretty good here. (blowing air) Especially the bottle. And if I could get you on the reflector, if you want to hold that for the final shot? I will get up here, and then we'll take the cake shot. It's the foam core that's in front of the table, yeah. Oh, for the... Okay. Now, for that stand. (chuckling) Human camera stand, please? Okay. I'm going to have you hold this right here. We're just looking for the subtlest splash of light to hit the right side of that, just to add a little fill. I'll have you on the right side ready to go for the angle, and let's make sure we get this correct before I put the cake on, and then we'll go quickly on that, and then I'll move the ladder away, and we'll take a shot. (camera shuttering) Yeah, see that toaster's came to life. So we have the bread, it looks fantastic, okay. All the highlights in the tomatoes. The watermelon even has a little. Yeah, everything's looking really good. I'm even wondering if the silver card was necessary. Sometimes, it really is a matter of getting that single reflectivity, that single source of reflection going on. Okay, let's do the cake. This cake is so good, by the way. Alright. Here we go. Alright, so I want the garnish to rotate to the front. How's that looking up front as far as the crumbs go? Could you hand me an A-clamp? Yeah, awesome. How'd you know? (laughing) That's her job. Thank you. Yep. Oh, my hand's are all greasy now. (laughing) Alright, so that'll tilt it forward a little bit so you can see the... You don't want to see the cardboard underneath, that's for sure, if you can avoid it. There's crumbs on the table now. Yeah, let me dust those off real quick. Thank you so much. Canned air, here we come. (blowing air) Then I'll move the ladder away. I can get it, I can get it. (blowing air) And another thing, the silverware I have on set I just noticed, one of the fun things to do if you're a food photographer-- The cord's caught. Is to create your own props, and so I spraypainted all. I just bought some cheap silverware and spraypainted it. (blowing air) So it gave me those cool, matte-looking, enamel-looking spoons in all kinds of different colors. So I did a group at a time. They scratch pretty easy, so you got to be careful with them, but... How we looking? Good? There's a little bit of crumbs in the front. (blowing air) Cool. Awesome. Alright, I think we're there. (camera shuttering) We need to tilt it even more I think. Let's really tilt this thing. I'm gonna get it out, because it still looks... because the camera's so low. Want another clamp? Yeah, and I'm just gonna get in there and... There we go. I've got a smaller clamp if that will-- Oh, that's perfect, thank you. Alright. Yeah, it'll be kind of weird. I'm just gonna moosh it down sort of. It's starting to crack, but we'll at least have the cardboard to hold it. Is there a crack in the front now? Okay, I will not push it further. That's looking a little better. It's looking more natural. I got to cut out the top anyway so we'll get rid of the-- Alright, reflector, ready? Alright, that's tilted enough. Let's get rid of the ladder, and we'll shoot the final. Alright, any last minute? So I'm going to have you hold the reflector. If I need you to move it a little bit, I'll let you know, and we'll just take shots until we really get a good highlight. What do you think? I like the highlight. It's looking pretty good, right? There's a little retouching to do, a little bit of color adjustments, but I think now the fun begins, now I can mess around. Either before or after, I'll take a shot of the background, just in case. You never know when you're going to need to remove something, but I think it's kind of a neat shot. Do you want to take another one? Yeah, let's mess around and see which angle. I was actually going to put one of you guys back there as a model, holding a fork and knife and going... But we've got the light back there, so there's no way to, unless you want to get blinded. I can find my way into there. Can you move it to where... I was getting a really good highlight on the toaster earlier. Just keep moving it. I'll keep moving it and keep shooting until. There we go. Awesome. Okay. Yeah, it's looking really nice. I'm really happy with it. I think we're good. Alright, any questions at all about the process? Anything from the internet? Let's take a peek. They're saying, "Nerve-wracking watching this. "How do you stay so calm?" I don't. On the inside, I'm like, "Oh my God." I actually, a lot of shoots... This isn't the case today, but a lot of shoots, especially ones on the East Coast, I perform better and I'm at my best when I'm wiped out, when I'm completely exhausted. There will be shoots where I don't sleep for three days or maybe I got three hours. But I used to be a chef, and you get used to being wiped out all the time, and just being under pressure all the time when you're wiped out, and I'm almost better and more on point when that's the case. But yeah, it's always nerve-wracking.

Class Description

Capturing depth and texture in product and food photography is essential in making it stand out. Food Photographer Steve Hansen covers a step by step process for building a lighting setup with strobes and natural light from a broad to a more focused look. With a live demo using a small kitchen appliance with fruits and vegetables you'll learn how to make your still life's come to life.



I really enjoyed learning about the details and complexities that go into the orchestration of food and product photography. The shoot that Steve Hansen puts on in demonstration of this was really elaborate and complicated. I never realized how much of the creative aspects of the images I see in magazines are created in camera, rather than in post-processing. I am a portrait photographer, so I was surprised at how much I learned that can transfer to creative portrait shoots as well. After watching this course, I have noticed details in lighting technique and product photography that I never saw before, and that has helped me elevate my work very amateur still life skills to a professional level. I now do product photography on the side for a refreshing change of subject matter, and have been able to photograph my own print products for a pre-sale catalog for my IPS sessions. This course is super useful across niches. I definitely recommend it to all photographers!

Penelope Diamanti

Enjoyed and learned altho I'm far from being able to afford this equipment, but love his work and I found him an engaging teacher.

Sepideh Maleki

Such a helpful class! Thank you so much :)