Lighting Considerations


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Lighting Considerations

well pieces of barn wood here way have and have to make a decision whether we're going to run the seam towards us wear away from us by looking at my product here we're on live who view here and let's uh let's pull up that kino keys on clicker I'm using my light in as close as I can get it now we're gonna find out in the second of this light's too powerful um most modern strobes have the ability to have two sets of modeling lights one set of meiling lights is uh one configuration is when the unit has turned up all the way sorry and you have you can put the modeling white song that configuration so if you turn the modeling like down it actually dims with the power off you know so I'm going from full power on my strobe down as far as it'll go and it dims the modern like with it I find that for me totally worthless I just not interested so I turned my modeling light on all the way because I just want to see it that modeling light has absolutely no effect on my photograph now when that stro...

be goes off I'm going to be a f sixteen at one hundred twenty fifth of a second and that modeling lights f four at a thirtieth of a second he said I'm saying it's not even going to be seen but it helps me compose because it full it looks more like that strobe when it's going off at full so I get it as close as I can and I'm not going to read this thing teo just gonna kind of go through it as you can see the angles of this light can make it big big difference and we'll bring up the live you thankyou way bring up the live you here on this kind of come up here now how many of the guys like that crack running right down through the middle of it because I'm not liking it excuse me yes thiss one here yeah right sure um that crack coming down to the middle is not working for me okay now I understand there's some grids on there so I'm gonna go ahead and change that out um sometimes you can use those things as leading lines maybe if there were multiple you know this was slats you could actually use him his leading lines in this particular case it just looks like two pieces of wood stuck together so let's this way now this is a great set get this couple pieces of barn wood for those of you that's kind of cool how it breaks there are those of you building your your product in table top stuff understand how inexpensive some of these things could be he just have to get out and get some old pieces would and old tiles bricks that have been used before used brick is kind of fun for background singing to all kinds of things with it uh let's see can I get a someone to tie really big pretty bold in this big pretty oh yeah yeah yeah I noticed the light on this space as I twist the top light all I'm gonna do is twist it forward take this loosen it up here and I'm not twisted forward booth right one nope didn't do the right one just gonna twist the light forward notice how it gets dark behind it you see that heavy twisted forward knows how it gets dark back there way can use that to advantage right tohave our background fall off because if I do it this way there's no fall off from the front to the back therefore there's no feeling of where the light supposed to be it's just there I like a grady int to my backgrounds or to something so that I can focus the eye on where I want the camera for the viewer to go to okay so we're gonna tilt it like this bread they're going to bring it up and squared off because now it's catty want piss than I needed to be square across this has got to come up and income this way okay cool that's when I shoot like them I make sure I always used you please yeah I even go from um when you're in this tight to the lens sometimes you have to worry about lens flare because you can see our light is really close so I use in my studio a very advanced lens flare killer which is a shoebox but I take stuff take a shoebox like this rip off the front of it put a little curved area here and it sits right over the camera like this and I simply hold it here because these little guys thiss little thing right here worthless in this close a matter of fact haven at distances of miles it's fairly worthless I'm using a a twenty to thirty five cannon l lens and when the internet cannon when the internet says wait a minute there's no such thing as a twenty to thirty five l lens tell me go back and check the catalog nineteen eighty four and ella they'll find that lives the very first l lenses I have the eighty two two hundred and that one it's a fantastic blends it's what made me switch from nikon to canada I did not like the f four when it came out didn't like it at all I knew I needed get auto focus and when I picked up indios one had the wheel on the back and I just fell in love with the way my hand felt around it so it was a very traumatic time for me a very traumatic um happy teo um yeah I'm okay with it I I'm getting all new prime this is not going to get rid of my two zooms but I'm not gonna pack him as much as I packed the prime I'm going with twenty four thirty five fifty one hundred and two hundred taels to be my primes perfect okay so we've got a little bit of a drop off back there that looks pretty good I'm going to move to set back a little bit there we go see the drop off in the back pretty bring this boat up around the things right here and look at the top of the bow here is that pretty how the light catches the top of the boat you see it on that pretty kind of makes a nice little still life they're um not getting as much if I come over the top of these keys I get muchmore of a broad light than if I'm back here so I'm gonna bring the camera just a little bit so I can get some of my broad light what's that yes always it on can you kill it brett thank you we're just now working with just the top light and it looks a little dark too may so I'm going to wear we go pick up some nice highlights on those those ribbons this isn't being this might be a case where I might want to bring in a silver card to add a little interest to the ribbon itself see if we can get this going can you see it not really very much white cards wait for a second there we gotta wait for just for a second yeah so as you start to work around this stuff and start to created um create the shot what looks funny to you may not look funny to me but what looks funny to me right now is I don't like it being really bright back behind my ribbons I have two ways of fixing it I can either stamp my feet loudly and yell to my assistance I don't like it I just don't like it and all six of them come running I can fix it by eliminating it by blocking it off with one of these flags here so let's take a flag uh from who lets use this little bone with this flag on it here flag right out here on uh brett this is that funky one yeah I need what I want to do because I want to get this ford look at your background here so I bring the board in right here now notice it darkens the background but look at the look at the ribbon it doesn't darken the ribbon why because the ribbons in front of the board say ribbons in front of the board we're just using this to create a bit of a shadow back there the closer we get to the surface the sharper the shadow it's part of the subject's centric lighting from creating flag lucking something off you wanted to be soft you get close to the light and if you want to sharpen it up you get close to the surface we don't want it to be sharp we wanted to be right about there right ok er couple of claps maybe a couple of the grill of things I'm using a uh twenty to thirty five in here and I'm using it on thirty five so we zoomed out you can see it so I'm using it on thirty five millimeter on a crop blends so it's pretty much a fifty kilometer somewhere around there um I think some people say it's a sixty or what have you whatever the crop factor is on that thing but it's close to a normal lens lets see what happens if we brits doing that if we zoom out and bring the camera in really close so maybe we could get more drama out of it right here right here bring this thing right down their force the perspective of the keys forward and also did what else did we do way also could see the background now kind of going off the set so we have changed the angle just a little bit so you come in here and just come down a little bit uh clear that angle yes yes it does there we go get those up there we go perfect thank you brett except I can see the clothe that's not big enough for the that's not big enough for the twenty miller me here I'll just zoom back in that's all right that's not big enough for twenty minutes one millimeter we'll come right back in here like this like this shot better anyway way go there alright good thank you get get rid of that were dark and up the back we created our little guy in the front but we also want to see what happens if we can fill this to the front and see what that does so taking this guy thanks sir over here we're going to drop this down in front of the camera towards the item so here it is out of the picture and here it is in the picture it makes quite a difference isn't alright so hard yeah don just a question as you place these items and if you could just mentioned what it is like what the sizes of what you're placing in case it's not on camera what I'm sorry as you as you're placing the items up there if you could just talk about what it is that you're placing so the stand and however whatever big sense that if we have just we're just bringing this unit right over the top of the camera to be caught by the bright light here and to create some of the highlights that we see there on the satin so we're getting a reflection off this board coming back in the saddle you can also notice on the keys the front of the keys now we're no longer dark where they were before because now we have putting some light back on them okay so that's kind of the situation that we're what we're doing with right now now I have another light over here that I used a lot I use a specialty light a lot I love gritted lights and I use them as part of my style all the time so we're gonna bring this uh thiss great over here from where brett is and we're gonna fire it up britain just kind of moving around till we find the right spot for it and what I'll do with light all always do with it is I want to see it in action that's why I love to play with this stuff so I'm gonna do this with my lights every time I bring it in twisted thanks sir got it I'm gonna bring it in and play until I get something that kind of catches my eye something like that huh you think booth right there okay so now I kind of know where I'm gonna put this light right where it can't go so way need a bull right you need to get stand away from this thing this where it's gonna go burn right here you can see the highlights kallen both of the of the items up there see what happens if I bring it down from this side comes a little bit more hey brett let's just bring it from right here I like what that's doing is well so let's bring this from right here you can actually use the stand at this point don shorts just the modeling light that's just a modeling light in here yes we're going to shoot this with meiling whites ok a cz you can imagine why one thing we were on a time schedule so we don't like start switching it back everything you know but right now this plenty of life for me to shoot this thing on these cameras which is another great thing that's happened to photography in the last couple of years and that's we've gained eso this shot would be really damn near impossible to do on traditional film you know like um you know hand holding it where this shot we could hand hold on traditional film we could certainly use traditional film to do this shot and way good here just honor so what's the maximum I s o that you use me twelve hundred for product I don't think I've ever put my camera beyond twelve hundred and then I'm always reading about people why camera goes toe eighteen million but you try to keep it as low as possible I tried to go a cz lo is possible um when I'm outside it's darn near dark before I move up to two hundred or four hundred or eight hundred butt in the studio with using some of these led lights that aren't that powerful I'm very comfortable at at twelve hundred on my candidate um on a five mark three imagine you could go up to twenty twenty four hundred on a deed hundred I think it's eleven brazilian model like you have a grid is it possible to see what it's like without the great things you need to see what the different but well we'll turn it off and let it cool off I have a grid spot on that's a good question uh we'll just power down because right now it's very hot these air not led these these air old fashioned really hot lights um grid focuses the light to the area that I wanted and that's one of the reasons why I use grids up close and I use a lot of them and I have six of these these air for speed lights and I'll use these on awful lot as well these little grids for speed lights so if I'm doing a product shot I might take this grid speeded gritted speed light in this close just add a little hot area right here on the keys you know because you're talking about I'm shooting it f twenty two I'm shooting the speed light I don't think my speed like down to one hundred twenty eight power and it'll just wink in a little bit of light sometimes I'll have three for these around yeah and these are the grids that go inside the the were using pro photos here these are the grids that go inside and they can see you have bigger holes medium holes smaller holes and the ones we're using are the smallest very very tiny little holes to get the narrowest being I don't need to light anything else else up but that ribbon case pretty much all I need to like things cool enough now pull it they read those bythe way all right now let's turn it on so you can see this is this is without it now it's just gonna flood shot there's no control over that life does that make it long you know just like dad is kind of cool whatever you like maybe that's the shot you want that flooded light look that's fine I have a question yes about um continuous lights if you have continuous lights that sort of our little dim do you ever do like a really long exposure yes to get a brochure yeah you're whatever your light is the power of your life is it doesn't really matter because you can either bump you're so we're going with the long exposure used to be in digital long exposures were uh kind of problematic because it be all kinds of reciprocity but I think that's pretty much gone now going down all right so let's get another little flag over here uh what I'm gonna do now uh let's uh let's do one more thing see how it's really bright coming from the side so we're kind of tipping off that were side lighting it maybe we don't really want to tip him off and give him that much of a visual clue we just want the product itself to stand out so we can actually take a little clock a little flag over here yeah that should do it thank you brett waken just take this little flag on move it in like this cool and let's just get a little short right down there that long nose long list yeah mmm okay then this one we could just simply put this one like this see see it comes up into the shot but it doesn't stop the ribbon from being hit so we're kind of hitting the ribbon creating that nice feel along the ribbon and we've got a fairly nice little shot going there keep going in you go and see what I'm seeing here is dark in this a little bit but we haven't stopped the light from hitting that but what well done is kind of killed the visual clue that we had a light coming from here so now it's more less it's part of the shot we still have kind of a nice feeling of of some edge light here but the light's on the tops of these things are really pretty this one needs to be fixed up how do I fix that up it's a little dead so I got her actually reach in and give it a little bit of a of an arch so it picks up the light it's bent way move this one over here yeah things move here we go same we bent it a little bit got an arch to it and now it's reflecting that light giving us that speculum that surface highlight

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.