Course Overview


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Course Overview

I'm glad to be back here, creative, live, and it is a pleasure to see some familiar faces and some new ones to we're goingto go. We're gonna go really slowly because the reality of being a food photographer, which I'm identified as, is that there are often times when clients or entities that you're working for are asking you to shoot things that aren't food, but because you're a table top photographer because you understand the concept of still life at your core as a table top photographer, our food photographer or a product photographer, you are essentially a still life photographer and being able to use any light that you have available to you, which is a challenge for food, because there are very technique driven kind of ways to go about doing food with artificial light. But product is different where you khun basically create the same environment with multiple light sources, different different budget points. You can have the opportunity to buy things that you can use d I y, which ...

we're going to show you or you can also rent equipment, which I'm going to also show you because the idea of using professional equipment I think there's a misnomer that people have to buy this equipment, and the reality is that most photographers who work commercially don't own all the gear that they use. They rented and that means that your budget could be much smaller if you're running a small business or you're you're trying to sell some products or your doing in a state sail out of your house every everything that you need you'll learn here you'll learn how to see the light that you were going to wantto learn how to manipulate it's important to understand that that we're going to learn to see the light first and then we're going to learn how to build the light after that and then whatever tools were using, you're going to have the opportunity to say, oh, I understand that concept I can use anything at my disposal and if it's it's stuff that you own or it's stuff that you rent or it's stuff that you could buy a hardware store all of it is toward the same goal creating light that is going to make your product photography look really good. The other thing that I want we're going to really kind of grow into as we go along is the idea that this isn't just a technical course we're not just learning how to use all the equipment even though that's a big part of it because we want to get past the intimidation factor of using the equipment what we want to understand this how to use it in a creative way as well and the reason I chose the course graphic like this which was when I was doing my research and how I was going to present information to this class. I didn't want to show you how to shoot things against white because essentially that's what you see a giant majority of product photography on we're going to learn that because it's an important skill to understand the basics, but I also want to teach you a way to be creative with it as well to show your personality to show exactly what your audience that you're targeting wants to see your aesthetic, your style, the kind of products now when you walk into a store and you see the way a store is designed and styled, you immediately either connect with it or you don't it's either. Sometimes you walk into a place and it's kind of cold and linear and it it speaks danish, modern and it's really clean lines and everything else, and sometimes you walk into a place and it looks like you know your grandma's house and depending on what's being sold that's how you want to present if you're going to present things in a homey feel fashion, then that's great if you want to do it in a really clean light fashion that's cool as well, but you need to understand how to do that and that's the creative aspect of this and you could see that the objects that I'm surrounded with for those of you who know my food work, none of this looks all that this is a familiar from what I already do it's my aesthetic it's the things that I like to shoot with but I'm going to show you how it translates to this other extension this other arm of what I do is a table top photographer so let me go over some of the details of what we're going to be working on before we get into my I put together a couple of slides for you too show you basically what the goals are in the segments and the type of lighting we're going to be using and how we're going to progress from from a dizzy so um we're going to go over the day here let's let's talk about how we're gonna so who is this really for at the end of the day? Who is this for so it's for internet sellers looking to learn how to shoot their products right? That's that's one of things we presented in what jim had spoken about right right in the opener the idea that e commerce is a huge part of what we're doing online and it drives an enormous amount of traffic in the internet and being better at what you're trying to present is going to be a big help if you're trying to sell things I think it's also people we're gonna learn here how to use and design and compose things that will let your customers understand your aesthetic. You will also as a daylight photographer, which most of us I heard three of you identify yourselves as food photographers first, which means you are primarily daylight photographers. You will have the idea of lighting options and basics to move off of daylight and into all different realms of using artificial light bloggers and website owners who are looking for guidance on how to present images, not just how to take pictures of them, but they also had a style them and get them ready to be on the internet will take something away from this, and we're going to go from scratch. Like I said, we're going to start at zero we're going to start a daylight and from where we are right now and where we will end up on saturday will basically cover the realm of all your lighting option, it's everything you could possibly do, and like I said, when jim introduced me from daylight to movie lights and all of the things in between, so so on day one today, we're going to call this beginnings and beginners okay, so what we're going to do with today is a daylight and at the very end of the day, light presentation. Augmented daylight, which I kind of touched a little bit in my last class with food where we were showing daylight, we was using a couple of different things, and then we'll segue way into the dean, you're very low budget d I y set up where you can buy things at the hardware store, build things yourself and create a tabletop environment that is reproducible everyday. And then from there we're going to we're going to use what's called the light tent, which you might be familiar with basically it's like this, this nylon cube that you will put lights on the outside of so it's basically a cube made of diffusion material, and we're goingto created this box, and we're going to show you all the different options on how to light this thing to shoot small objects, and I think sometimes people fall in love with the ideas. Oh, this light is really balanced, then we're going to shoot everything and it's all gonna look the same blown out against white also going to show you how to style a little bit inside that cube, we're going to talk about the also as we go on today, we're going to also talk about your cameras and your camera settings and how they might be different for you. Using the different types of lighting that we're going to use and there's one major difference that we're going to talk about between using steady lights which is a daylight and a lot of the outlining options and strobe lighting which is a very very different animals and probably the most technical of all of the things we'll talk about it over the next three days so we'll shoot some things like home electronics and r d I y segment we're also going to shoot some jewelry I think jewelry will reappear quite a few times because I know that there is a lot of jewelry that is being presented on the internet and we found some really creative ways to display them that'll look pretty cool and then when we move in today too day two is going to be the bulk off our learning howto light things with all types of equipment so we'll start the day with a studio overview well, we'll go through all of the equipment we're going to be using I'll explain what it is I'll explain what it does and some of the things that we'll talk about today will start to make sense when you look at the gear that we're gonna work with. I really want to demystify the idea that a lot of this equipment is intimidating because it's something you've never seen before because there's a lot of terminology attached to it because it's expensive a lot of this stuff is the barrier for some people gear is one of the biggest barriers with photographers, young photographers meaning in experience, not just little ones, you know, like that only this tall gear is a lot of the thing that attracts us to it because the gear is fun, but a lot of times it's the barrier because it becomes the intimidation factor because I don't know it or don't want to look like I don't understand it. So I think that breaking down that wall is a big part of what I'm trying to do here today because I know for myself being a primarily daylight photographer most of my career, early in my career, I was in the same position. I did not feel comfortable with artificial light, I didn't understand it, it seemed inaccessible to me, and it seemed like a lot of photographers who had gone to art school and learned all this stuff. These are the things that was that separation factor and I went and I educated myself on how to do it. I went back to school, I want that literally as a working professional working for the new york times went back to school till relearn tabletop lighting because it was important to me to know it at that level, so hopefully I'll be able to bring some of that to you. What I learned and how that lesson I learned in that situation was there's nothing to be afraid of that this is ok, that we can work this out and whether I have one hundred bucks in my pocket or I have an unlimited budget because the client is paying for it, I know what to choose and what to use and that's a big part of it from there, we're going to go toe what I'm calling an upgraded d I y set up so basically it's going to look very similar to that home depot set up that we're going to do later today. But it's going to be with actual photo gear that you can buy in a photo store, and I think that it's a part of something special that we're going to do later on in the course, so that that'll be recurring a few times and it'll look very familiar, and you will not be intimidated by it because you've already known how to do it the day before it's just this will look a little slicker and will be a little bit more functional from there, that's when we're going to go into strobe lighting and it's, we have some really special strobe lighting here, we probably have some of the top of the mark. Best strobe lighting available on the market, and the reason I chose the top of the mark for that particular section was again overcoming the fear factor if you know howto work this stuff, if you understand how it works, how have stuff plugs in and how you can connect everything and what the settings mean, the rest of it is cake, it's that's it it's there for you, you know how to use it, and if it ever comes up where a client wants a certain type of light, because different lights do different things, you'll know what to do and that's important, then we're going to work with what's called what we're goingto put a broad category of cold hot lights, the hot lights are basically continuous lighting that doesn't change that you need to manipulate on your own, and they range from in color temperature, and we'll talk a little bit about color temperature as we go. But we go from things that are tungsten lighting, which is, you know, it may be the low end pricewise all way up through h m my lighting, which is a really, really expensive daylight replicating movie lights, and we can use those a tabletop ahs well, but with if you've ever seen a movie being filmed outdoors and you see that big, giant thing that is throwing sunlight on a street corner that's an h m my light and they're really special but they're really expensive and they were and they really interesting and howto work with them and from there we're going to go to the future the future of lighting which is led lighting which is is changing rapidly as we speak and one of the things that I brought with me from new york is ah light that I'm playing with right now and testing for a company it's not yet available on the market in this iteration so we're going to get to play with it here and it's really interesting technologically and what what it can do for you and the fact that it runs cooler than all these other lights and it can plug it into the wall it's a special it's a special piece of gear and I think that once we experiment with that it will really open your eyes to what's gonna happen next what's going to happen next in lighting and then we're gonna have a lot of fun on day three way got some got some special things planned for you so basically day three is going to be broken into for photo shoots we're going to be doing fully styled product photography something at the high end something that's us maybe a little bit lower end as far as how much we're going to spend to execute the shoot then we're gonna do sort of ah, blitzkrieg will shoot as much stuff as we could possibly shoot. And then we have maybe something special for you in segment for where we could turn you against each other a little bit.

Class Description

You don’t need a studio to take professional-grade product and still life photographs! All you need is a simple tabletop lighting setup. In this course, award-winning food photographer Andrew Scrivani will show you how to create and tailor your own table top lighting setup — on any budget. Whether you’re a beginning photographer looking to master lighting or a professional photographer eager to expand your services, this course will give you a candid, comprehensive playbook for tabletop lighting.

Tabletop photography transforms a single surface into a small-scale studio. Andrew, a regular contributor to The New York Times, will show you how to create and then optimize your lighting setup for your needs — using everything from the latest gear to household items. Andrew will cover metering and bounce cards, working with strobes and soft boxes, LED lighting, and tips for shooting glassware and other tricky products.

By the end of this course, you will know how to set up and adjust your very own tabletop studio — and how to use that small-scale studio to expand your services, improve your photography, and market your business.


a Creativelive Student

I was pleased to see real life situations and set ups, their work arounds and the little fiddly things all commercial/product photographers go through to produce a viable shot. Unlike some of the other reviews, the "oops, it didn't work, let's try this instead" was totally real world and believable. So many times on other teaching venues, the shot is already set up and perfected before the instruction begins. It was extremely helpful to watch the processes that were involved in producing the correct captures. I was impressed with the humor and teaching style as well, especially for the time constraints in a classroom setting. The student set-ups and critiques were valuable and spot on without being negative in any way. All-in-all this was one of the best classes I've viewed at Creative Live. I just wish I could have had three more days and to have been there in person for the one-on-one instruction.

Aly Cupcakezz

I really liked how things were experimented. Instead of just giving do x, y, z. It shows you how to correct issues as they come up, and how to enhance your photography This gives you a guided idea of all the things you can play with to perfect your product photography image. You really learn how to fix the image problems as they appear in front of you. A very realistic way to create your own personal lighting setup for your product photos for your own studio space. Excellent fundamentals class for new photographers or small businesses attempting to do their own product photography. Thank you!

Sunil Sinha

very nice table top