Shooting to a Layout


Tabletop Product Photography


Lesson Info

Shooting to a Layout

so this might be something that you would get this is a layout uh we know that this is where the type is going to go because it's already been predetermined product sheet they do ten of these a month and your job is to fill it with the thing that has to go in there uh someone asked we're going to save the someone asked me earlier what to do about something ugly okay something that's just kind of a disaster well there's a little switch box it's not ugly but it certainly isn't anything to write home to mom about is it get these brushes are you guys going to go with a black background so black card back way back there way gentlemen if we could take all these fluorescent lights right up to the front here that would be great so they're right on the edge we're gonna use that edge uh are shot okay so use a legend shot getting used for let's use the white card take white card right up to the edge of this table clean white car right up to the edge of this table under the table like this guy's n...

ame is down here like this his breath alright um black card back there movies all the way down here to create a shot where we have to use the key shift portion of the lens on the side of the tilt here already and that's hanging over just a little bit there general I have over the front right there wait right there waiting this stuff guys were just kind of this what we do you know uh just dropped off this kind of ugly little switch box and we've got to make it work and we got a layout and we're gonna make it work right that's what we do and this is uh kind of wake there alright power light's gonna come forward quite a bit and I'm gonna get in here and show what the shift part of this lens does seek out the center of my photograph by what is this did when I do this it raises top now looking center get my camera vertical and notice I'm not tilting well I should tell the camera down and take one tilt the camera down and take the shot uh no thank you so I'm gonna put this right here in the center and take the shot way see the shot instead of layout is impossible what do you mean by all your own way had tilted okay so we just brought it back to our normal lives right had tilted okay now I'm really pretty much trying to get the lens at at the point where I can see this and I'm picking up my background okay not necessarily bad we actually shoot this way but we can also want to see what if we don't see any background always see is that one bar on the front can't do that with the camera this way good because when we take the camera down another reason I used camera stands in the studios we don't have to do this this kind of stuff with the tripod camera standards all way to the ground on a single single stroke the only way we could do this to see only one bar is to provide a camera right there look at this one take a shot here in just a second for you guys and you can see but I say it was sixteen sixteen those camera is dead straight on to the right so when we see the product look that pretty cool we're not seeing the background unfortunately the products were in the top of the frame because in order for us to shoot straight across this table the lens has to be straight across from this table with me way don't want to picture you don't want that to be their way wanted to be a lot lower to fit our layout so we do have a camera just straight way shift the lens up I think I need to turn the guns right I can't see I just can't see it way way cool thank you need some white cards over here pretty quick all right so we can til we can shift the linds up way wanted simply by shifting winds all right so he's got cards in here notice that this shot the same perspective absolutely same perspective is the shot we did before but now it's where we wanted in the frame way haven't moved at the center of our of our capture device are film noir the center of that is still coming straight across we've raised lens up to change the angle of that self this's gonna go right here does tilt shift lens have to create a larger much circle in order for you yes around yes absolutely till shift lens one of the reasons that you pay so much for the till ship blends way were talking earlier about how field of coverage on the film that capture area is this big that lends actually has to capture that muchmore on a full frame camera you know they don't make til chitlins is just for crop friend cameras that make him full frame so they actually have to say about fifty percent more I think is the number you have to see fifty percent more because you're gonna be sliding within that area some uh camera manufacturers will work just for that optical circle to just fit that area do you know those the lenses you can get that I guess they're called dx lenses or whatever they're only made for crop sensor you put those on a full friend if you could they won't fit but you could you get a circle could be circled on the side because all they're doing is worrying about that area to cover that area there which is another reason why view camera lenses are so expensive the same thing they're made to be sharp edged edge in an area that you can't even see because you've never shifted up to those corners yet so very very complex lenses to make you get more distortion out towards the edges so making the image slightly bigger than the sensor keeps you in a better area of the circle yeah yes absolutely kano's go up above this white these white card that's why cardinal yeah right they're taking the shot okay now that grid spot I'm gonna take that grid spot and I'm gonna just take it right from here right along the back of this thing right from about there yeah it's tried about a sixteen e I want this and shit see this device is a uh probably too far away bright spring about half that distance right there makes you exactly way pull back just a hair right there fantastic that's this one more time testing testing testing yeah on let's do a test really nice man can I get this camera level to save my life all right level just have to fix it but let's use that one in the design you could see it thank you but that's how you make kind of an ugly shot everything look better use lights and what we were talking about earlier highlights highlights without highlights this is a black matte box by adding some nice light here nice light here need surface for it to be on this card is white but it's a smooth white so it's easy for me to take down the black if I need to or any other any other color while he's working in that into their guys let's just do one more while he's working that and can I grab a volunteer from the students thank you barbara keeping hold this right under the camera right now right here right there guys ready one two three all right thank you clean this area up here we're gonna add another highlight down the bottom of this part comes up I guess they're working on the inside okay while they were pulling the end is that we have some questions folks I apologize that it's so painstaking but that's what it is what was it that you just set up when you wake across the bar they're actually working on the document back there to get this image into it but when we put that white bar down below here way had a beautiful highlight with bomb of this for us and to give it depth and shape and then the bottom you said that you could you could easily transition at black this is this is a white card right I would maybe use a black card here sometimes okay problem most of time get this shot but since it's the white card and we have dark type type should fit right over the top I say okay so that's why we're leaving room there for everything okay let's let's go in the sliding the unit up to its right it's under efficiency so we'll just grab the with the white arrow and it will just slide the picture up within the box area box on there we go and pull it pull the handle down bottom in the middle of all that handle down there you go on if you could turn the type black that great not the headline type but the other type that fits right kind of understanding and locking things out so let's get practical how do you do this if you've never done it before well one thing you could do is you can ask for your layout in psd file if you don't have um photoshopped you khun you all have if you don't have in design you'll have photo shops to get pete get your art director converted to psd for you on then you can put it into uh photoshopped document and start putting your images back behind the other thing to do is to use a gridded finder on your on your camera almost all your top cameras no the fight the mark to know the one d three I'm sure that the seven hundred eight hundred and five demark freeze and all those things you can actually have focussing screens taken out and put in with grins on so you can take that same grid blow it up over your documents say okay five four grids in the bottom two grids to top my picture has to fit in this area here when you're shooting toe layout the picture doesn't necessarily look good on its own mean fight without this being in this layout thank you very much about this being in the layout if you could kill all the guides turn all the guys off we'll get an idea what this looks at thank you theirs are ugly box way took what twenty minutes right way probably taken hour hour and a half maybe more to get this shot really tweaked the heck out of it I was gonna get to that anybody could do it just take a sheet outside on the sidewalk you're there donald but but when you're when you're shooting you could create those grids and that's a great way for you to get used to it after you do it for a while you start to see those patterns thirds halves you know how many of you can take a piece of string and cut it in half measuring it and be really close yeah you if you do it all the time you'll be surprised you know my string leader I talk about you put the knot here after a month that string leader is just for validation sometimes you could start to visualize that's right there's about f ate I know it's that fate because it's always at that distance we learn and so you can start to learn to see this this layout stuff this is good money and like I say this is not a completed shot we would tweak a little more what's wrong with the shot I lost my fear I want that edge I want frank that the designer who built this object even though it's a utilitarian tool put a nice rounded edge here that's important to him it's important to me so I would struggle whatever I needed to do to pull that edge out you see the little dark area right in here I'd probably have john bring his light down a little more love the shadow coming from with the switch here that's really cool my client may not I'll take it out of photo shop if they don't okay but I like that and then where brett's coming from the back here on one of them we had the full side which I thought was too much this one's probably not enough because we're losing that edge back there and then this edge right along here this would be the one right here this would be the one that would be the real challenge where that unit curls under first under and again designer product designer who designed this did not put a hard edge on this he put curled edge on it I want it I want to respect his work by showing that curled edge if you just put an edge on it fine and we wouldn't worry about it but he said hey let's take a single piece of material form it seems this kind of text cherie stuff which we brought out the texture we've got two textures going here all of this stuff is important honor the designers design one of the things about certain kinds of architecture that photography that I never care for us when the architect photographer would go into the room and make it not look like the room come on let's see a show of hands how many of you ever picked up a brochure from the hotel said well how I want to stay there and when you get to the hotel the room that you're in really doesn't look much like this room at all by you know you've got one little sick potted plant in the corner this one's got twenty seven plants and stuff hanging from the ceiling that bothers me I don't care much for that kind of stuff always like the metropolitan home guys approach which was let the natural light come in that's what the architect designed were product shooters we really really should respect the product designers and what they did take your time and look it over questions that makes sense is this good stuff very good alright alright that quote on honor the designers design oh yeah you really really powerful they go to a lot of they go to a lot of trouble to design this stuff and I believe me he didn't sit down whoever he or she did not sit down one day and say yeah we'll just slap this thing together because it's a such such switching tool who cares he cared she cared they made a nice compact little unit it's not the prettiest thing in the world doesn't have to pay but let's honor designer the same way you would honor the designer who designed some perfume some uh major pop star comes out with this perfume believe me they'll spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for designing that bottle that's not unheard of don't go through bottle shape after bottle shape until they find that one little bottle um our job is to honor that design and create that model good questions from the dinette sure thing adah anna adams is wondering if your client's frequently come with the layout ready for the shoot my tech clients do yes because there's so many tech sheets and what happens when a text it is that created a single layout that they're going to use for all their tech shades and then we have a space to fill or size to do not all of them are full I bleed this is uh for those of you don't know this is called a full bleed add the photograph goes to the edge all the way past the edge of the paper that's a full bleed if the photograph was contained within a box right here that would not be a full bleed photograph but it might still be a full bleed ad ads that are contained within a within an area and have white space around him or negative space around him that's a contained add if they don't they fill the page and they go off the page has called full blade in this particular case are photograph is the entire background it's full blade a lot of the tech sheets that I should forehead actually just have windows you know I just got to fill the window cool okay so a question from our friend sam cocks in loveland colorado don do you always use horizontal table have you ever used a tilted table top like so old drafting tables I had an old drafting table says they asked him sam I had an old drafting table sam and yeah I did use it a couple times but when it when it left departed are our earthly ways one day something very heavy was on it big computer monitor and it just trashed it just fell breaking the twenty five dollar drafting table and the nine hundred dollar water uh no I haven't replaced it I haven't because I generally tilt the camera mohr any time I'm working at an angle I'm gonna have gravity working with me um and the place I did use the tilting table was for a fluorescent fluorescent light shoot I did a jewelry show where the jewelry is actually hanging down across the front of the fluorescent I found easier for gravity to pull the jewelry down then to tryto pull it across because it would just kind of go into the rivers and valleys of the uh hills and valleys of the flesh into more yeah yeah quite a few questions still coming in on the till she flinches um tammy bogue strand from denmark is wondering what your thoughts are on tilts adapters you could just reiterate you I only heard about never seen until it adapter um I know that uh someone's gonna have to help me out there on the internet the uh a couple kalyan matt chicago was making a front end piece for nikon are the cannon d three way back in the way the river john no it would but it was like a view camera it turned that the cannon d siri's gs siri's or whatever they were until like little view cam little bellows you put your lens on the end they were quite expensive they were very lovely it's like well I like to have one of those but honestly it's been so long I don't know five represent five seenem sensor if they're still making them I don't know about that after if it doesn't alter the the sharpness or you know continuity that lens by all means exactly that that's exactly right you probably don't have nearly as much swing and tilt or if you do it may you may end up with a circular thing at the bottom if that's what you can crop it off you know the old sugar spink sweet scene I just needed a nap the shutter sink speed thing of of cameras you know they can only go up to fifty well with uh five demark tuesday two hundred well you could do one in four hundredth of a second just get a little black stripe at the bottom ok back up shoot it with the black stripe crop it out why did a uh fun calendar shoot with a bunch of retirees down in mexico and the calendar was square and it was the hardest thing in the world like pulling teeth to get these guys to shoot a square they grow old there's too much around the picture doesn't look good I'm not using that part of the picture I'm fully a third that picture's wasted back up and see a square and they're not and they go out and shoot full frame they come back the guys which part of her do you want me to cut off in the hole yeah that was the hardest thing and that's the really one of the hardest things about adapting to commercial shooting uh and one of the things twice twice three minutes you've got yes okay one of the things I'm in art director has created is the creative director for over eleven years for big ad agency and a lot of people will say well I'm a wedding photographer and I'd like to shoot a commercial okay believe me probably not at my agency if your wedding shooter you're probably not going to shoot commercial you're gonna have to prove to me that you can and I'll tell you the difference it doesn't mean that wedding for tigers are not good photographers great photographers great wedding timers then I should lay out the chute to frame they crop everything in the frame they might think well about a backup get an eight by ten but they're shooting to the frame and when those times claimed that I've used wedding attire bors or work with wedding tires for shooting commercial that's what they did to step back and shoot that thing so there's room just they didn't see it a wedding photographer is totally self driven to make those shots right they're making great shots for their clients for themselves when you jump into commercial fully I would bet fifty or sixty percent of the world work that we do in commercial doesn't look good standing alone that shot would never go in my portfolio by itself tearsheet might mean it's not a bad looking tearsheet that might go in my portfolio but a shot of this box on there from a distance that it could be cropped and so that's the difference is a wedding for divers who are watching this now throwing pizza at the screen I'm not denigrating you at all I'm just saying that to cross over into commercial is a different set of parameters and you need to make it known that you can work toe layout that you can work to design that you khun work beyond just making those great shots similarly commercial guys going in tow wedding photography I'm sure wedding for tires have worked with commercial guys because they're going to over think it you know they're like I can't shoot the bride kissing her mom for the last time I'll have a back light this thing you better shoot it so it's different parameters for what we do thank you I taught a bunch of photojournalists what's that there are six of them were laid off from a big paper uh in the south east and they had me come out and work with them and the hardest thing that they had to fight was they just went and got the shot and they all wanted to go commercial and then go in and get the shot like you know come back out like a minute later got it in the newspaper world yeah in the commercial world now so so now they're throwing pizza window so I'm continuing on with that from aziz it isn't limiting your creative creativity if you start shooting based on the layout uh aziz you gotta make a decision you're gonna be a commercial photographer an art photographer if you want to shoot art going shoot art if you want to shoot commercial we are hired guns they want a blue background and you know uh as an art director big agency for a long long time we would we would go to the mat with our clients for certain things but at the end of the day it's the golden rule them that's got the gold makes the rules we're in business to get our part of the goal that's bottom line if they want a big pink elephant over in the corner then we'll do everything we can to make it the best pink elephants in the corner shot we can but we don't put it in our book we take it paid and we move on but you take that money aziz that you just did for the shot that you're not crazy about you take that money and then you finance the trip somewhere to take two shots you want take that's what we do um ht photo from durban is asking do you sometimes shoot to layout tethered with an assistant showing the shot in the layout and the client present yes so they can help yes if you've ever heard of the term digit texts digital text that's a lot of what good digital tech can do you'll have in design layout in there psd or whatever you're working two and you'll be laying it in there I uh I think I told you guys shot the candles you know shot brazilian candles they actually had the indesign document there and as I would shoot them they'd bring it right into the document when she left at the end of three days when she left we were done I hadn't had to deliver anything we shot place it in there it didn't fit or didn't work or whatever shoot it again plays out move move onto the next candle bada boom on that was a very very lucrative to may and at the end of the weak I had no digital to do except to back up files archive files cool well I think it's about time for lunch yeah we're gonna get that's all right with you I think so okay great we're gonna take a forty five minute lunch break and like barbara said this whole thing allows us to kind of see the pace at which product and still life photography goes into like the whole real life experience and the attention to detail is very key here just to take your time and be patient and just let the process happen and it's like like you said it's not sports photography it's not photojournalism it's not fashion it's uh had its own set of uh and you can see I was I was early I was talking about you could put your music on and you take the time it takes to get that brush tow line up perfectly and we as human in here in the er the tape wasn't working well we would then move over to bees wax we would just take the time that we can make the shot I don't tear the set down till the client's approved the shot okay and we're going to lunch but that's the real important thing I don't tear the set down till the client has approved the shot I don't know and that was that's a holdover from film days so if they're there and it's laid out there in design that's great I'll tear it down but if I have to email approved to someone wait for tomorrow the set remains in place I'm not gonna tear it down to the client says okay if he says okay and then he comes back and says well there's something else that's fine that's a reshoot that's available okay alright awesome cool quotes here from the internet for you uh ryan's and this is in regards to taking a lot of time to get it right he says don you don't need to apologize your patients and making those photos is an education in itself some teachers show the beautiful end product of which does not really convey the hard work it takes into making a photo but your way of teaching helps me to comfort myself that I'm not stupid on he also goes on to say what I've learned from this course is that how much patients you need to be a pro photographer just watching don go through the process of taking one photo and itself isn't education it's my ah ha moment of this course patients you do this it that's one thing that someone takes away from this particular course is the fact that no it is not slam bam and that's interesting comment about you see the photo books and you'll see this beautiful and the right up and say I put a bank like behind and I just might put a card on the left and you're left maybe thinking he literally put the thing there put a bank like the back put a card left when alice couldn't shot it trust me the bank likes in the back and the cards on the left and in between that's about two and a half hours of hard work to get it to be perfect the difference is one per cent difference between great is five percent you know we can all get to ninety five if we bust our ass is convincing buster ass eyes just said it twice waken all get to ninety five we work really really hard but from five to one hundred that's where it's just you bleeding you just you bleed it out and uh I I'm still I'm a ninety five I'm still working to the top on it it's uh it's it's the klein that's fun you know it's working all day every day and make it a fun yes what question you have what you call polaroid ing your sort of practice shots you're thinking through do you end up deleting those at the end or do you keep them for you know for years I didn't know it was like no yes I do now absolutely wiping right off the drive uh I'll take I'll keep all the ones that were we're good but maybe it maybe move the camera up a little bit or down a little bit or whatever I'll keep those but all the polaroids they're gone unless I'm making a book and yeah I threw those away one time too and all that so way are good and I just thank you for um like we said taking the time that's the beauty I think of the creative live experience is that in three days we have the time in this long format to allow you to take an hour to show us how to do one shot that is not something that you can get on youtube necessarily you know and and that most people don't teach it that way generally if you go to seo lecture that's two hours you're really not going to get that s o ivory true so we we do really appreciate that and you know if you got bored watching this taken our to do this shot if he got bored doing it this is not teo I'm serious because it's this is nothing compared to what like I said we could have spent another two hours on this box or we could have got it in fifteen minutes you never know you never know on dh that's the beauty so folks as we've been talking about success for product photographer you truly is in those details the tiniest a shift in that lens or um or the light that can take you from good to great really er and so right that's why wedding photographers call it the detail shot because it's all it's all in the details s o if you want to be able to go through and do step by step with don don yesterday we talked about how you can't just learnt all at once you really do need to go watch this segment and then go try it yourself just reading those explanations of the final this was shot at four point oh with this these tools that's not really going to allow you to take that knowledge and do it yourself there's enough information in this class kanna that that over these three days it's enough information you spend six months learning there really is this's not watch it and go I got it I'll go do it tomorrow no do it about ten times before you go do it tomorrow some saying and the same with with so many others I mean the photo shop I had lisa snyder I have a really you know there's a little bit switch in my brain that goes I ain't learning that name lisa snyder she's fantastic that's you don't watch that and go I've got a photo shop six down certainly no help you've got to get in there and really play with 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.