Basic Tabletop Q&A


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Basic Tabletop Q&A

early you had said something about your light was a death eleven and you made it to f sixteen to make a brighter and that that theory in my head sounds officer that why is the light brighter it f sixteen of the light don't think of the aperture right I know right aperture has to get smaller right f sixteen's a smaller hole why because the lights brighter on lee talking about the power of the light not the exposure of the lens one of the finds that that we have to separate when we're talking about lighting is the power of the light from exposure uh my meter brett by the way brett if you if you saw the last show bret's back um and uh great friend it's nice to have friends here I've got you know you guys and stuff it's great and brett's uh uh lifesaver thank you sir when we measure this light with this light meter were only measuring the intensity of the light what the exposure is based on other parameters we have to tell it what I s o we have to tell it what are shutter speed is and well...

it'll give us back and f stop but all we're doing is measuring the lights so when I said move that light from f eleven f sixteen I'm saying on my meter it would go up to f sixteen at the same shutter speed so would be brighter light okay it's a smaller aperture because it's a brighter light I have never had a problem and I and I want you guys to think about this never had a problem separating the light intensity from exposure exposure doesn't necessarily have anything to do with light intensity and vice versa because you can certainly as you have you ever under exposed a photograph to stops and think it looked really cool I have have you ever over exposed is shot by two stops and thought that looked pretty cool I have so we just need to know how powerful the light is so that we can apply the other parameters that should the f stops and the shutters space so let's find out just for grins how bright this light is and then we'll see why we chose I s a one thousand so I take my beautiful little light meter and where should I meet her it at the light subject like this like this or like this twice a meter dry meat with light meter to the camera to the camera now let's think about it just for a second if I tell the dome to the camera the dome is not receiving light the same way as that is so when I do tabletop I don't meet her the light with it going backwards to the light I don't lead her to the camera I put it straight up because my product is sitting straight up I want this dome to be the same shape catch the light the same way so I bring it down here and push the button and the meter says sorry belle he's nothing has try this yes at s o and I s so one hundred it says f one point one point aided a sixteenth of a second now yeah so I think it's one point eight um close enough we'll chimp it in right but it's not very much like coming through this thing that's why we kind of raised up theis so so we can get f five and we can get a uh regular look to it I can dial this down to get more depth by the way let's just talk a little bit about depth of field for a second shall we depth of field khun change your light depth of field khun change your light because it can change the way the light falls on it for instance notice how this light is nice and bright and notice how it backwards falls off this way if I lo if I lower my aperture down to a smaller point here that bring my shutter speed back up to match notice how it's just a little bit sharper because it kept the field was softening the edge as well as ej itself was softening one of the things that that you have to understand is when people will say well I got that lens so it had narrowed depth of field I always say well that's great at what distance because that infinity f one point two is pretty much sixty feet to infinity not sure what you gained by five six versus a five six lens if you bought a two point eight if you shoot things that infinity when you're shooting up close here like this in the studio can you see where maybe that's how this guy down here oops wrong way go down too half one point four now that's some shallow depth of field nice if we want it big painted but if we don't difficult to work with so way make decisions based on that based on our depth of field and r f stops I wanted to get something around at five five point six so we could see some depth to it so anybody else would questions way have a time of questions okay all right uh sam cox from loveland colorado is wondering at for shaping the reflections of light and dark that appear on your subject are you reflectors always flat or are they sometimes con cave or convex for special effects good idea bret member I said leave the umbrella out I have very few rules in project fifty two folks no ivory few rules of photography and really really do but I have a rule of thumb list that's fairly long my rule of thumb list says I don't shoot products with something like this because this isn't made for products it gives me a round speculator and we know speculators everything it gives me around speculate that I can't really control the shape of because it's kind of round and it also has little ribs inside that are going to reflect back to me especially at smaller f stops I saw a wine bottle shot one time by guy shot it with an umbrella know how it started no it was shot with an umbrella because you could see it but I don't want to see it so I would rarely ever use shoot through umbrellas or bounce umbrellas for product photography I would use them for the background no problem but when I'm when I'm shooting project product I'm creating what the product reflects and I don't want to reflect this so most of my lighting is either square rectangle or in the case of some things I'd like to do is with a round soft box which is why what is around soft box who knows ground soft boxes a beauty dish with a sock on it once you put the sock on the front of a beauty dish it is no longer a beauty dish it is now around soft box it doesn't act like a beauty dish it doesn't look like a beauty dish which is beauty dish is actually a way of subject looks beauticians thie result not the tool itself I sometimes get a little bristling when someone makes a it takes a a flowerpot you know that they got it like a stick a lightning back so I got a beaut dish know you've got a flower pot with a light in the back of it it looks nice and light it's cool but it's not a beauty dish dish is what is the subject look like from that light so I'll generally use these kinds of lighting great question um with a question from mary from costa rica regular how do you count how do you calculate the angle of incidents so we've been talking about angle insurance angle of reflection is there a complicated math formula to learn that later could be replaced with something really simple mary if you're trying to shoot tabletop with a calculus meter you're going to be frustrated the way you get to engage it is you get here and you do this until it looks good because once again if there was a a formula to figure it out the formula would have to taken effect that this is a cowboy boot with a dent in it how would we do that there is no formula it's basically you know there's a kind of a back to the front well maybe that's just it maybe we have people around the world who might not understand what incidents oh back when you're what you're seeing is the way to figure it out is to basically take this away here and bred I'll have you come and move this and you get behind the camera and you move your light until you can see I'm really liking that hard light on am uh and you can see bring it over this way brett okay I'm standing in front of this thing uh bring it over even more okay so now it's not that's not reflecting now we're not seeing it it's just like having a mirror if I can see you in the mirror you can see me so you could theoretically take a mirror until you see the camera right if you're at the camera and that might be where you're like we go but I would say that would be taking it too far into the theory and right back to what we want to do is play with it look at it what does it say to you because as you're moving this light around you're going to find some things that you didn't even think would look good as you're playing with it always be moving the light around okay um that medium sized bounce card yeah don't I have a question it seems easier to use continuous light for product versus flash because you're able to play around with it is that true um let me say I would advise everyone when they're starting out with this actually I would advise everybody when the starting out period with photography is to start out with lights you can see when you're trying to battle tto learn howto light with speed light where you have to actually take the shot and look at it and then figure out where to move it to get rid of a no shadow it's painstaking you know get up now that we have those curly fluorescent lights where they're not hot anymore I have a five k light in the studio you turn it on and the studio warms up about ten degrees in about ten minutes it's that hot and I have a big studio probably the size of the space it gets hot real fast we can feel the heat from these guys and their coup actually cool lights right yeah and yet you can still feel they've been light is hot it is what it is um you just use white bounce cards what do yo u silver mirrors to a silver bounce a silver card is not a reflection of the light source it becomes a light source wanna grab one of our silver ones they're so a silver card let's see how we can show you that that's a good question because I'll see a lot of people using the silver bounce cards outside have you ever looked at a silver bounce card at it at an angle and have it be what color is it black or blue because of the angle you're looking at it's the silver cards reflecting this guy it's blue having that doesn't have the white card though does it no matter which way you look at it it's a white card so there's not they're not interchangeable they don't do the same thing so let's take this little guy right here on titan that great it looks like it's gonna slide down a bit right there like sir it will bring a white card into the front of this boot right there right in here this dark area see it really opens it up right now is take silver card silver card at that angle becomes a speculum look at that we've got a whole another light source down there because this is a speculator light this is a shiny speculator going right back in these as you can see we have him made up and we used the insides of coffee coffee bags what kind of coffee bag wasn't well we'll let the chat room no if they want to know what kind of coffee bread has that information of course stadio wasn't star backs that was that it was some sorry about that sorry seattle um she could really play with this you can see how much fun this can be to start till there we go see it's a light source I can't do that with the white side he said and then did it with the white so no I see what I'm doing I'm actually I'm just blocking that speculate from over there first f wants to know right was that regular decaf coffee brett says either works well but they're really kind of neat because they're very flat matte silver and when he discovered it he gave me a copy bag and I made a couple of these for the studio I like him we could also use the backside of aluminum foil and you could make a couple with the front side of a loan in foil which is very very speculum it's really shiny and you can get almost like reflecting on how water reflects that ripley stuff you can get that effect with it as well brett bring me bring me sir um that uh little soccer ball thing what's that I was just saying that I was just saying that sometimes I'll use uh colored cards just bring a specific tent into it almost kind of like a gel cap set up and you can you can if you want to get a little bit of ah ah like you're doing something you're gonna love it for lack of a better term a disco look or something yeah you could bring a red cards in and change it because it's going to reflect if we went back to the uh the shiny black head if those cards had been read she would've been read because she is reflecting that card does that happen in the shadow of some of a shot where the the surface very diffuse not nearly as much not nearly as much like sir makeup sponges product no longer moves and we can see him so let's put this up here weight to it here booth telling very oh just one more punch um where you going plan b which I and I looked over there and brett's always already making the loop of gaffer's tape wait we ask you a quick shower and while you're doing that uh from inca and cyprus led is cool but it's a cold color how do we deal with this simply by fixing the white balance and post you do you do you do have to have to watch your white balance and customize it but I shoot raw and I'll do what I can for my previews but I also know that everything I'm going to get back out is raw and I com'on tweak it in the raw the only time that it really makes a big a big differences when you're mixing this with daylight now I'm not a I'm not a distributor for bolt so understand so with my bolt light here I can actually bring in my warmth to see that you see it on camera actually bring in the warmth for what I need and take the coldness away quite a few folks online are wondering what kind of bulb you are using me I'm using the two hundred watt bolt it's called the torch led torch led we're actually giving away one of these on sunday for a contest that starts tomorrow here uh we're gonna give away one of these we've got one actually with the batter get the whole battery kid and everything will be kind of fun and let's get focus on this guy right here never mind I love the delay so you focusing is not in focus and then you think it's in focus he went too far there we go notice the depth of field how the depth of field is so radically soft right through the front of this it's because our subject comes towards us if our subject was flat like my hand has looked hold hands and focus right but because our subjects dimensional focus is on one spot falls away our eyes know that as being dimension so we can use that as part of our the way that we set up our projects is how our products is how we get that depth of field question yes is this a good time to talk about lenses or we're going to be covering that later lens is what you need to know what lenses you like to use and why in the studio I like uh we're talking with the only way to do it so everybody have on the same frame okay bane mainframe we're talking here full frame so we all have an idea what I'm talking about so I like to use twenty eight thirty five fifty and a hundred rarely shoot anything wider than twenty eight and I rather rarely shoot anything longer than two hundred there have been those those times but if you were really stuck with you really want to get into this think of a thirty five millimeter equipment equivalent and a fifty that's good and you're not using them at a macro lens this time would you use it no I do I I use extension tombs I I used along the tubes they make more sense to me so let's side like this brett I'm going to set this up over here and if you could bring that light over behind this we're going to sideline it on we'll probably need to stand to reinforce this you get a chance yeah put that twist that this way maybe we do it right a poke with the head there we go good we're getting a lot of play from those other lights let's just get a standing clamp it right over there um you can't have too many stands can't have too many clamps you just can't it's so important did you have a question about a few questions I don't know if now's a good time I'm sure we're gonna we're gonna tow hook up something so okay great getting back to the lights do you recommend hot lights over flash for product photography and that's from max ivy and kelly tremble and gray do I recommend it for photography I recommend that you're that you learn with hot lights you'll learn faster but I don't have a choice over as I use strobe just as often as I use hot lights in the studio it's a matter of fact I'm in arizona in the summertime we strobes way don't need to add any additional heat to the to the world there I'll use troves but my strobes all have modeling lights in him so that's your your continuous light backup is your modeling lights when I'm talking about strobes that that I don't have that time about speed lights which we use I've used more speed lights lately in product photography then I think I've ever even thought of it I mean I use them all the time so I might use too big banks with pro photos on him from my mains but I've got speed lights with grids all over the place great thank you and maybe you could talk about this is an intro class maybe some people are new to studio lighting can explain what a modeling light isjust a modeling light is a you know what brett grab my pro photo sir um and just plug it in and I could spring it out and hold it ah modeling like is in your studio strobe a continuous light in the same position that the strobe to present so if you put that light inside a soft box that actually lights up just like these guys are lit up but at such a low power that it doesn't affect the exposure so the modeling light is on so you can see where it's what it's doing to your subject or you can see what your subjects reflecting back to you from it before you make me a flash exposure with speed and of course you have that you don't have that you'd have to keep moving it around um to see the end result thank you cool chica is wondering from new york when'd you choose to keep the speculator versus reducing the speculum when it looks good seriously when it looks good if the spent if the speculum looks good and it makes the product alive because speculators khun bring a lot of life to a prod a product especially something like a toaster oven it's in fact those particular speculators that make that that thing work great car guys I'm gonna flash this so just so you sure you know this is a modeling like this is the flash going off okay so I can put this in a soft box and use this modeling light actually see what I'm gonna light it up with and then use the flash to make the photograph so that's what we that's what we use it for and if you have speed lights by the way and you want to learn how to do this with speed lights you might consider getting one of those little led flashlights and velcro ing it right on the top of your speed like then when you aim your speed light you'll actually see where you're aiming it so that works really well ok another question are you still getting that setup yeah great so a question from that rusty and kelly trimbole brands song move in saskatoon canada why do extension tube's make more sense when you were talking about that well for me um I don't like the filters the close of filters because there are another piece of glass and another piece of glass means I've gotta pass my image through another piece of glass and I was I remember jame eisele saying it something one time a long long time ago and I kind of agreed with him he said so I go out and spend two thousand dollars on the lens and I put an eighteen dollars piece of glass in front of it so when I shoot I don't use my filters when I'm walking around seattle taking pictures I've got my uv filter on it stuff but when I'm shooting a job I think the filters off I'm shooting pure glass um that filters on there basically because I'm clumsy and I bump into things people horses whatever and I don't want my lens to be damaged but when I'm shooting professionally I take him off um right well get that other white card there and the other reason is macro lenses I would have to have so many mackerel lenses like fifty macro I've got I've got a fifty one point four that gets in pretty tight but I've got the hundred macro cannon the two eight that's an amazing lands that's just you know you could do so much with it but I don't wanna have all kinds of specially glass so I can put the tubes on literally any lens that I have including the twenty four and get in even tighter than it normally does

Class Description

Don Giannatti returns for a special workshop on tabletop product photography. Don starts with an introduction to tabletop lighting - tools, scrims, DIY gear - and how to organize your shoot around a tabletop to bring everyone up to speed. Then Don will teach you the basic concepts of Tabletop Product Photography. Finally Don will ramp up to more advanced topics adding extras such as kicker lights, snoots, and grids that can bring your work up a notch.



THere are some courses in CL i think of as not covering a to z but covering -z to z. THis is one of those courses. The value proposition is over the top. The instricutor: Don Giannatti is so experienced he's a relaxed in his knowledge and practiced in cutting to the chase to provide answers to really good questions about set ups for product photos (vs. art/ still-life). The topics: complete workflow from first principles in order to understand what we're trying to achieve with table top work, Don Giannatti makes it clear that we're using light deliberately to give shape to an object. Example insight: using a white card (or black) reflector is not the same as using a silver/gold reflector. The latter create a new light source; the former shape the light that's there. Can imagine the arguments but the demo brings the points home. Or how about NOT using umbrellas for product shots. Or for "drop and pop" product shots, how to do that without umbrellas and tents "that's 50 dollars a shot right there" says Giannatti. Example tool demo: one of the joys of this course is that such an expert does most of the class using readily makable tools like scrims from shower curtains and baking paper. The specialist tools like a modifier on a flash is well within the range of an aspiring commerial table top photographer. And Meaningful Demos LIGHTING/composition what are some of the most challenging and compelling things to shoot when building a portfolio/photographic experience? Can you shoot shiny stuff - like bottles and jewlery. PHOTOSHOP making photoshop unpretencious and accessible, Giannatti presents examples of how to fix bits of a shot, as well as - and this one is worth the price of admission - how to put together a composite of a guitar product shot if you only have one limited sized light to light the whole thing. We also see where highlights can be added - and how. Some basic knowledge of Photoshop layering, masking and brushes would be good to have, but one can work back from seeing it applied into those basic skills. BUSINESS We start with light giving shape to objects as a demonstrable principle, move into how to use light structurally for bringing out something fantastic about that product - that as Giannatti points out - puts bread on someone's table, so respect. From these demos we go from light and camera to post to produce the finished image. Now what? or how have a product that needs shooting? That's the business of product photography. In these excellent sections on Business, Giannatti details the heuristics of hard graft to get gigs: where to look for contacts, frequency of approach, engaging with social media (you don't have to, he says, but effectively, it's gonna cost ya). "Doing just these few things you're already way ahead of your competition." I can believe it: they are many of them tedious, but can also well believe they are what pay off. COURSE BONUSES JUST FOR SIGNING UP - for those who subscribed to a live broadcast, all the slides were provided in advance (you can see this offer on class materials) Now that's classy. What other CL courses have done that: given something to participants who just show an interest to sign up? (It's that gift thing kevin kubota talks about in his workshop on photography business - makes one want to work with that person: pay them for the value they create, eh?) TRUST/VALUE Instructor Personality Throughout each part what's delightful is just the EXPERIENCE of this instructor. He's put together a thoughtful course from light to lighting to parts to gear to post to business. There's immediate trust: plainly this man has made a living from what he's talking about, and has addressed almost any immaginable scenario. There's a great demo towards the end of the course of working with students to take shots. The value to folks watching is to see how he helps us all think about how to problem solve (the mantra for the course) to find the shot - to use light card after lightcard to wrap the light to bring out the countours of the material. Even when he says "that's just not working" - there's not a sense of the people shooting having failed - but an opportunity to think about what's been learned - to keep working the problem. There's a whole lot of HOW in that interaction that is highly valuable. Thanks to the participants in the workshop to be so willing too to do that work. This is the kind of course you leave feeling like ok, i can do this - or at least i have the tools and some knowhow now about them to start to work these problems, to start to create value in these kinds of shots. I am already just from being here a better photographer now. Related CL Course: This course feels like a terrific complement to Andrew Scrivani's Food Photography. And no wonder: both take place in small areas and use light in similar ways. A contrast is that in editorial food photography - scrivani's domain - there's a focus on skills to work with what's there; in table top/product, one can enhane - knowing how to do that effectively/believably is where the skills - learning to see that - come in for this kind of work in partiular . If tabletop/product photography is a space you wish to explore, or you just want to be able to practice working with light in the small, and see how to bring you will be delighted with this -z to z deep dive introduction.