Shooting for Dimension Q&A


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Shooting for Dimension Q&A

fashion tv from singapore sure always has great questions is he says is don suggesting that we always try to light close to the subjects before starting toe pull the light back absolute effect absolutely sty start as close as I possibly can yet and then I can pull back okay because if I don't start as close as I can get I'll never know what that looked like okay if I start as far away as liking from it where is that where's that point if I started the other edge right where would that be yeah you put the lights at the wall and then move him in but think of that does that make any set would be terrible right right and it also would not work for everybody it would work for charles and I've been in charles studious trusted a nice studio work they're okay that's pretty far away but your garage is half the size of his studio so that doesn't make any sense so yes that's an absolutely great point fashion tv you start as close as you can and then you move back to get what you want if you have ...

to yes then everybody could do the same rule kevin from work is wondering how well will be lighting techniques transition to macro photography everything yes it's absolutely the same and macro photography is the same thing get your lights in his closest possible and move back when you and what I say is closest possible last night were using grated spotlights at grated lights at what one eighth power they were at one eighth power and we shot it f twenty two okay they were then this close so that's a lot of light so sometimes your light has a a place where it's in so close it's unusable you know it's f forty five or something so you have to move it back where it becomes a usable amount of light even dialed all the way down some of these lights these still speed lights and really close are really going to give you a lot of power and by the way if you think about the inverse square law when you get your speed light at uh let's say you're at one sixteenth power and you're shooting macro and you have your speed light right here one sixteenth power and it's too bright or it's um sorry it's one stop too dark and you want to bring it in do you realize the distance that you bring it in is about that that's a stop by the time you're this close that's to stop half an inch is a stop of light when you're dealing that call it keeps he keeps getting smaller and smaller smaller as you get closer and closer the light source so yeah you get down to where you pull it back a half a niche and you've you've you're clear to stop so speaking of the inverse square law dawn uh wanted to mention to folks who that term might be scary or new too uh that don also taught a workshop on lighting assist als here at creative live which happens to also be back in its original discounted price during a live event at ninety nine dollars so if some of this is new to you I highly recommend that you go check out that course as well you couldn't watch them three segments on on the course page three rules of photography and one is the inverse square law that's it's so important that you understand it when if you're doing anything second one is your recipe calls in other words shutter speed and aperture are always going to give you x x is always equal longer the time smaller the whole larger the whole short of the time but x is always equal exposure and then of course this set of rules here sonny sixteen is another thing that I use a lot obviously not a tabletop but those three those three things are vastly important angle of incidence angle reflection always on this planet always so those are those are the science things and it was really interesting about photography were one of the few art forms that's heavily weighted art it's like we're ninety percent art and we're ninety percent technology sorry internet wait a minute that's not right yes what yes it is because sometimes we are concentrating ninety percent of on our art and only ten percent on our technology at the moment and at other times were ninety percent technology and ten percent of the art because we have to start bringing it back photography's the on ly art form that has that that I know of every other art form is you painted you play it you dance it you write poetry I'm not poets don't sit around going so what kind of pencil he is you know can you imagine writers sitting around going don't you love word no it's not what they talk about we do we sit around talk about lenses exposures have stops and pixel counts and all that stuff and then we take all that stuff when we go and make something like a picture of a tree and sunset it's just gorgeous even in film days we had film and chemistry and all those things over on this side of the brain and the other side of the brain was isn't that a great looking sunset so it's a unique art form in that way and of course adding time into it the moment that we snapped the shutter making far different than any other art form I can think of uh I love music absolutely but I think photography is probably one of the greatest art forms one of the greatest art forms we've ever had because it does combine the moment of time so it's so that's my cake on it questions were no I agree wholeheartedly thank you don so a question from b blakely says good morning from oregon when shooting jewelry for a website how do you keep continuity in the backgrounds if all of the pieces are different or do you need well your benefits for that's that's kind of like a catalogue approached other words where we're shooting all um this this the same background for it and you have to do that sometimes for continuity you do they want everything on white or everything on black or everything's on this particular piece of slate um and that's where you get into a point of some things you have to do the best you can with there are there's no magic to making something brown stand out from something brown we can put highlights on it and stuff but that's that's not magic that's the same thing we're doing to something blue on something brown right um so there's no magic to it but what I would say is being consistent within the workflow that you do for instance I use I still use a meter um and uh you were here for the other workshop uh john where is john john uses a meter to but also john there's too many times you just grab and you know what it is you might have the meter there so it looks good to people around me way we're never supposed to tell people that don't you pete what john said yes john said sometimes you know he doesn't he has a meter but many many times he knows exactly what it is and we just know um and he also uses a meter to fake his clients out that's sometimes why we do a lot of things isn't remembers watching photographer once in new york city had a white seamless and he had nine balle cars on each side with umbrellas lighting that white seamless and I was like oh come on really eighteen vala cars come on dude she could have done it with two but it looked good it look good that's the other part of retirees fun you know sometimes you can just play with this stuff but when you get you've done this for so long believe me start toe understand where it's going to be we set that stuff up last night there was no like well let's try it two point eight we know it's never going to be there but with a meter you can be so exact or track here records in other words if you've lived that background for the jewelry if you you're working at f eleven on that background with that strove at that power at that distance away notated and stay with that um and the other thing for the question of the jury on the backgrounds little tiny wires with little black pieces of card or little white pieces of card that you may have to insert through a and above the jewelry to make that part of it work that's what we do a lot sometimes you get diamond jewellery on silver rings and it's hard to pick the diamond out from the ring because of the previous light we set up so you'll take a little black card and put it somewhere so that some part of that diamond will go black and make the other part of the diamond sparkle so I'm saying so lots of little teeny cards question from as is um as don mentioned shadow gives meaning to subject so how to get shadows dark surfaces um you can't make a can make a shadow that's any darker than the surface that's your on that you're on so you so no matter what your you do um can make it darker than black so you have to elevate the darker surface somehow till make your shadow show up the real question is how much depth is a shallow before he goes away and I would say that to get something that sort of deep you've got to be like two stops one stop is going to be fairly soft shadow so you're your background can't be any darker than two stops from your shadow right yeah any dark so uh this is a question from g two who's the one whose daughter just submitted the photo of the ten year old when don yesterday made the dark color tile efficient by polishing it with water there was a hot spot on the tile right where the jewelry was placed how would he go about avoiding that hot spot while keeping the tile surface dark and shiny and a bright life on the jewelry okay now we put that hot spot there for purple on purpose right so what we would do is uh is it g to you what we do g two is the angle of incidence will sideways the angle of incidence from my camera right back up to the center of that light that's why we got that hospital there to take the hot spot away either move the light forward you with may if we move the light forward than the angle of incidence angle reflection now we just have cloth because this light is so much forward that its angle reflection is past my camera we don't see it anymore the same thing by the way this is the same theory that works for red eye right why do we get red eye because the angle of the incidents a little flash that sitting right on your camera the flash goes into the eye iris hits the little blood cells behind the eyes that fun in the morning right after breakfast it's a little blood cells back there and comes back and shows us literally the blood in your eye that's why red I s so what you do is you move your flash off the camera and then you change the angle of where that picture would be of the bread I coming back so it's angle of incidence angle reflection number two move the light farther away so we don't have that hot spot there okay steven cotterell is wondering what black materials as backgrounds do you recommend with photographing and shiny and transparent objects that's a very that's a really good question because even black foam core will get a hot we'll get a speculator on it as we saw last night yes there's enough shine the black phone course so what I uses black felt uh black velvet if you want a pure black background black velvet will really do it if it's flat if it's got a wrinkle in it and you get a nice little highlight and black felt works very well but you gotta take a what's it called a lint roller you gotta let roll it all the time because that black felt just like just reaches out and grabs lin I mean he'll reach to the next county and grabbed my just you know so let rollers are real important I have studio wants that we had to shoot jewelry and on the on the same week that the landlord had decided to redo the roof so we would be shooting and all of a sudden with dust spotswood just just sort of appear magically appear on our plexiglass background so we ended up having to actually put a piece of plastic like a painter's thing over the set to keep the dust off the background week while we could shoot we're spraying it with the air the whole bit awesome nightmare nightmare this is before photo shop today a couple pieces of dust on the background way just simply take him out but those days it was all eight by ten sheet film and to get back a piece of film and have fifteen does spots that we would then have to go and pay a lot of money to get those removed that was just terrible

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.