Lighting Setups and Implementation


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Lighting Setups and Implementation

well blender in front of us here and we're going to light the blender and we've sort of did it over break here and kind of take it apart but after we remove all the cards and stuff you'll be able to see what a disaster it was to begin with we're still not done doing it so eh blender like this is that we're getting a lot of red in this um why are we getting so much red in it safe hey maybe it's the uh color temperature the reason I bought the sixty d except I can't do it because we're in live you so oh when you have your camera on daylight and you're actually shooting it with a tungsten light not a daylight fluorescent or a daylight bolt you get orange light thank you very much god is in the same problems that the internet faces sometimes so this I've got the camera set on daylight why don't I have my camera set on daylight by the way instead of auto balance here's something for your auto white balance works really well if the pictures don't have toe match from shot to shot otto white b...

alance works really well you have a very light green shirt on and you have black if I'm composing you and I've got more like green shirt than black it's going to give me a very pleasing shot and I move over I got more black than greens maybe a very pleasing shot but they won't match I want everything that I shoot to match I don't want to have to sit down and take fifty shots and photoshopped them to make sure the green matches and I'm talking tight match are they acceptable photographs absolutely absolutely acceptable but they don't match in the days of film we shot the film at what one exposure way didn't have the luxury of changing s o in the middle of a roll or any of those things so we shoot a whole roll at one exposure so all the images matched when put it on a light table I want the same thing so that's the mystery of the photographer who had his camera on throwing white balance anyway uh just is this doesn't bother me by the way she's looking at things sideways if it bothers you let me know will flip it so seriously if it if it's a problem let me know if the internet is having a big problem we'll just flip it we'll just take the camera backto normal it doesn't bother me because I've spent years behind view cameras where not only is it backwards it's upside down so learn how to see sideways and backwards um look at the pretty light across the front of this notice this iss way I'm not allowed out on the streets without a leash right there um notice how pretty we've let this up we let this go black why did we leave it go black because it is black it was some point on there if we light everything up and put it in a so called tent we don't have a black blender anymore we have to show that it's like shooting a diamond ring if you kill all the black reflection in the diamond ring it doesn't look real anymore it's a watch has tohave areas of there we go thank you sir a watch has tohave areas of dark so that the chrome makes sense when we see a shiny car the whole car isn't she tiny parts of the car shiny the shiny parts tell us that it's shiny and then the other part of the cartels what color it is so as we're working with this thing we do have to be very very careful of how we way control this and you can see by the way that f five probably isn't going to do it and uh internet uh somewhere I understand we have some folks on the internet are kind of new to this f five is a medium size aperture and on this distance which is twenty inches or so away from that blender at that distance f five is not much depth of field we're really zeroing in on one area so what we're gonna have to do is change that aperture to a much smaller aperture on dh changer I don't know why I'm doing this I'm sorry you're not gonna be able to see it until I stop it down to actually take the picture so I apologise ok thea depth of field goes way way down we're looking at it wide open through this camera and I was thinking I could shut it down we could see it through the live you but I can't so as we work through these apertures you're gonna have to make sure that the aperture you chose is going to be deep enough to have the front of the blender and focus on the back of the blender and focus it's all a very very delicate balancing act depth of field is in the full part of things as you change your depth of field your focus is one third end as you change the dip the field you'll gain two thirds to the back and one third to the foot front seal game or depth of field to the back then you will to the front on any given lens whether it's wide angle telephoto as you start to stop it down we gain depth of field you're going to bring it one third to the front and two thirds to the back so keep that in mind sometimes when you're making the shot the shot through the viewfinder doesn't look correct but it will be when it stops down and makes the photograph makes sense okay so we have kind of a nicely lit blender here we've got lights on the side we've got some lights here all we have for background is a black card and this little guy right here is slid up in front of thiss khun bring it right up into the picture right about there to fill that and if we want you could do all kinds of things with this little card to shape the light in and around the object there we go so when you're doing tabletop photography you have to keep in mind what it is you're photographing so that you could represent that back to the client now this is kind of workaday work I would I would say workaday work but this is the kind of work that brings in cash money cash flow to your business it's I don't want to say it's easy to do so don't misunderstand me but you have no makeup artists no models stylists no casting the huge amount of people running around hurting the models and the stylists and stuff it's not that kind of job is kind of job you and an assistant can't do quietly at your own pace and and make money and make fairly good money at it too even some people who were shooting were talking at one level is shooting ebay products for people are making pretty good dollars per per day the shot for shot may not be as high but the per day is pretty great I have a friend who shoots some products for a small manufacturing company in phoenix then he he gets probably twenty five to thirty shots a month from them they're always bringing out new little things twenty five thirty shots a month they paying two hundred fifty dollars per shot are the exciting shots to do no are they in his portfolio no I did I did a candle catalog last year's twenty fifty shots of candles like votive candles and heating candles and fragrance candles is it in my portfolio oh no hold their little shots of candles did I not make myself clear no they're not in my portfolio they would used to be twenty years ago you would put stuff like that in your book but you don't do it now you've got to sell something beyond just a candle but those kinds of shots or your bread and butter shots be able to do this and this is a quick set up not a big deal yet we haven't even tweaked it yet as we go through the weekend we will do some shots where we do kind of a simple set up and then we'll start to add to it to make it more and more interesting not better but more interesting as we go through it but this is a quick set up and how I let it get into the tools our little got this card on this side which is our fill and you can see what happens all right move it now that side of the blender is reflecting the studio it's a matter of fact even if I come way over here with that car you can still see it now let me ask you this and my bouncing light am I filling light of course not this's has it that was a person sitting over there have I done anything to that person toe add light to it no it's reflecting a blender is like a person tweet that I'll know I've made a breakthrough whether it's a blender or a person it makes no difference I'm not really bouncing light and so when someone says oh let's get a bounce card really sort of bounce card it's something for the subject to reflect if it works with a blender works of people so we have that on there that side we've put up a black card back here and we take that away and then on the back area back here we're using a pro photo modeling light bounced into that card over there and then that card is then lighting up the scrim so if I take the scrim away which we have carefully mounted to this here right that was an ingenious way of mounting it my friend that's great and we have that and we take this away way don't have a very interesting photograph left at all this is that that angle of incidence angled reflection I'm just blocking off that big light so when you're working in the studio tomorrow let me say is when you're working in the studio with continuous lights you work in the dark you are in the dark you don't want any other lights on because anything you see you see if you see it in the product it's in the shot because you're visually seeing it right when we're working with strobes we can actually work with a little bit more ambient light because their strobes they're going to be so much more powerful then our ambient light that the ambient light show however little speculators like that window up there if the sun was coming through that little crack in the window we could have this whole room dark shooting at f eleven on that black surface and I guarantee that little sliver will show up because it's that such a bright point of light it's not lighting up the blender it's just reflecting so when you're working with continuous light you wantto darkened your room take all the ambient out of it so you're only using your own lights and trust me the video guys I don't like it when you turn all the lights off it gets really dark fast so we're we're working with a lot of ambien here tomorrow we'll start working with some strobe lights so we can beat the ambien and create our own light um there was a question on the internets about a soft box I want to show you what a soft box is thank you but that cool off we'll put this on this is a soft box now we made some scrims before scream is generally a flat um item like this it's a flat piece of diffusion material this is a soft box this is where your light is captured inside this box that cannot spread out from the box except through the front and this box then becomes the item for reflection when I'm shooting people I'm doing this soft box obviously they're reflecting it back but I'm doing it mohr are doing it as well tio light them up and to see the shape on the face they are reflecting this back but not fully right when I'm working with product I'm generally thinking of this as something bright to reflect this is in my shot in product photography this is part of my shot and people photography this is a light source but in product photography you see it that's why I like to use square rectangular shapes because I'm going to see them in my unit if I used anything else something round if you could imagine seeing a wine bottle with around highlight coming down the side of it it's just not in the genre we control it when we see that white stripe coming down a wine bottle we're seeing this so when we're working with still life in product these lights are part of our shot when we were working with people they're really not except in the eye bill questions on that yes d'oh normally just have one light source then or do you use different light sources coming from different directions I I would say that that to start out master one light but when I'm shooting these days in the studio I'm probably for product I'm probably at five so I'm you know I'm kind of I'm doing a lot of grids uh you get a chance bring a grid over I think actually think there's a grid in the pro photo case yes I use a lot of grids which act should focus the light uh a little pool and it's a very soft fall off on the edge these air grids and as you can see the like honeycombs so the light passing directly through the middle of that honey comb goes straight through the honeycombs but when you get over to the edge it's kind of going sideways through the honey comb and the honeycombs starting to block off some of the light so it gives me a pool of light that's bright in the middle and a very soft fall off and I use a lot of grids and my product worth now and do you have a combine daylight natural daylight with studio lights yes yes I shoot I just picked up a client that shoots motor sites motorcycle accessories and they're really cool accessories really kind of fun like pouches and things so we get a motorcycle and we have to take the motor motorcycle outside because they want a location so amusing daylight natural light for my ambien but I have to like those pouches so that they look really nice because an ambient daylight thes they're leather pouches that just sort of dead so I'm blending daylight ambient with the strobes for the product I'm not trying to beat the ambien or anything like that I'm actually pretty closely matching the ambient for most of the of the shots and what I mean by beating the ambience is making the strobes brighter than the ambient light brighter than the normal light okay but would you ever in a studio for example have the window to one side plus some light so that's a two part question I live in phoenix if I have a window in my studio I have to have a second job to pay the electric bill to keep it cool we don't have windows in our studios in phoenix if I was in seattle I'd be arm wrestling chase for that room over there which is one giant wall of windows and yes the window's khun give you amazing ambient light that you can then just use your your other lights in kind of close and to do phil's yes very much we have a project fifty two member named m and she does everything with two light sources it's either a window or a desk lamp she's great she's a desk lamp and it's we she's a lamb pissed and it does amazing work in fact we'll work book you'll see a shot that she did with a desk lamp in an aquarium and you'll think it was a new york photographer shooting product and I'm being studio it's that cool and that's because she understands what to do with the light but that's daylight on the top and lamp from the bottom internet questions sure thing a t floyd from tampa is wondering on the table you're using appears to be black and a little shiny what what do you recommend for a work surface when um when you're getting your table I would prefer you get a black table just for normal but generally you're going to be shooting on surfaces all kinds of surfaces grab that tile set that up all kinds of surfaces that will set on top of it on protect your table top so you know when you're laying down maybe get a shot uh one of the guys get a shot over here look at all these surfaces will be using thank you we'll be using all these this weekend we've got would we've got barn would we've got a couple of stacks and different kinds of tiles I saw this tile at home depot or or loes yesterday and I just fell in love with that I thought was really cool something tells me that t s a is not gonna let me take it through there so picky what's that it's a tile isn't it cool we can take this out to um so a little surf was like this is all you need to shoot something like uh uh take the blender out too when you come back bring a little bring a jewelry when you shooting something small is all you need is tabletop can also be one piece of tile thinks this is like two dollars and this when you get into your product work you're going to end up with this great little box of different styles and rocks and old pieces of barn would you know you're going to be getting in the car and your significant other is going to be looking at us strangely because you're bringing in four big giant planks that have moss growing all over what are you doing this could make a great background so it's good will absolutely all kinds of places yeah there we go let's just take this right you can see a piece of jewellery plenty of room to shoot this so you don't have to have big sets um I worked with a photographer when I was first starting out as an assistant and he shot a lot of jewelry just jewelries and watches and he had probably a hundred of these in his studio and he just go get number sixty five number sixty six and he'd you know what those weariness and I'm like wow but they would be just different surfaces so I got this because of this piece of jewelry that we're going to shoot by the way tomorrow because it has a missing pearl so I'm going to shoot it and we're gonna photoshopped the pearl backhand all right let's talk about if there's any any of the questions we're going to move on to the key note here in a second wei have plenty of questions you have about forty minutes left so left yeah let's go with some western great so a question from from fashion tv in singapore do you encourage a shutter release remote for product photography or is a stable tripod good enough actually for tripp tipper product photography for me I use a camera stand which is a very large single mono it's about this big around it's got three legs in it weighs mine weighs six hundred pounds so when you release that the the wheels to go back up into it and it sits down on the rubber pad it's six hundred pounds even I can't knock it over and when you stub your toe on it it always wins always wins I use that a good stable tripod would be be next but firing it remotely is a great way to do it I use canon cameras and I have a remote for two of my cameras for my new camera they decided not to put it on there thanks guys um so I have to use something else I use these still triggers but the problem with triggers is you either fire the camera or you fire the flash you can't do both come on guys is a product waiting out there so yes that's a long answer yes don't touch the camera if you don't have to unless you using strobe and you know that you're gonna be able to be within the tolerance of the stroke with hot lights never question from uh cooper photographer what's the best lens to use for still life and quite a few other folks in the chat room were wondering um zoom lens for prime lands um you're going to find that most of your product's going to fit within that very medium telephoto million telephoto down to medium white angle there are times when it's fun to get in with a twenty millimeter and do a lot of force perspective especially with jewelry and stuff but nine times out of ten you're probably going to be somewhere around with a normal camera have been a full frame camera somewhere around twenty eight to thirty five fifty eighty five so somewhere in there longer lenses or too long the wider lenses you start it's cool we did it we did a shot with kathy jan that's enough right top of her portfolio of the little plant in the paint thing you know the shot talking these guys they know the shot other people going what's he talking about it's a great system little plant in a in a plant thing we shot on a twenty for full frame and there our biggest problem was it's all the entire studio you know we were in really close but it saw everything so we had to entirely black out the studio to make it work so yeah thirty five twenty eight thirty five fifty one hundred and a tilt shift lens is a must if you're really going to get serious about it we'll cover till shift lenses tomorrow too because we have one I think we have two of them actually here so you'll be able to see what a tilt shift does the dangerous thing about tilt shift lenses is once you see one you want one really bad folks in the audience are nodding their head yes they are you you play with it one time you go oh I gotta have one of these uh okay so maybe one more question and sure we can keep going and then we can ask questions for the end to esso fashion too tv again from singapore just summarize so how does one determine where to create the speculum highlights and where to create the shadows are there pervert positions or areas for any given product or is it based on no and one of the reasons is you want to be able to to create the image that works for you and for your client and your client's going to really have some ideas of how they want that product toe look and you know where to put that speculator you know in car photography I can give you kind of abroad answer where do you put the speculator and car photography on the logo where you put it on jewelry on the diamond on the watch face where you want to drive attention because that's going to be your bright spots going to pull your eye on so um you know there's no formula for it and stay would be aware that there's no formula you don't want to get into a formula ized way of doing it

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.