Equipment Overview


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Equipment Overview

We have all sorts of equipment here that I want to go through and talk about, and a lot of this stuff we're going to use today and show you how each and every thing that you use all fun funnels back into the fundamentals that we were talking about yesterday. So this is why we did yesterday, because if I stepped out here yesterday with all this behind me, maybe you would have went running in the other direction because it's pretty impressive and it's pretty intimidating, but the reality is knowing what this stuff is, knowing what it does and knowing how to operate it is how you'll be able to employ all the things that we started with yesterday and that's why we gave you a base yesterday of starting with just those few little clamp lights and we work our way up to this stuff, but the reality is that the concepts are the same. So once we kind of dig right into this it's going to take us a little while to talk about everything and some of this stuff kind of looks familiar to you, and the r...

eality is that it should, because you've probably any time you've seen a photo studio or a movie studio, or even the studio we're sitting in right now, most of this equipment is represented in some way, shape or form. We're going to I'm going to go through this stuff basically in the order and how we're going to try to play with it today we have from the affordable low end kind of kit stuff that you could buy a photo store all the way up to really sophisticated lighting equipment that can be rented or purchased or it becomes part of your living studio. You know, if you get to that point in your career, you might be surrounded with some of this stuff on a daily basis. The other thing that's important understand is that you don't need all of it you need to figure out the pieces and parts that are most suitable to the photography that you use because what these things do are all a little bit subtle differences some of them are dramatic differences like the difference between strobe lighting and steady lighting which we talked a little bit about yesterday with our our little speed life but the reality is that everything is may be better suited to two things your style and the type of photography you're trying to do I my goals in a lot of photography used to get us close to daylight is possible because I work in a lot of food and food items and food products sometimes day life for me is the most effective way plus as we move into video a lot of photographers shooting dia's dslr with really sophisticated video capabilities we need thio think about that as well, and the goal and shooting movie lights is also about getting this close to daylight it's possible but that's not always why that's my personal preference so the lighting equipment and the kind of modifications that I'm going to make are usually aimed at trying to re create daylight as best as possible. So as we go through this, I'm going to try to get through this thing first so we can get it out of the way okay? When I was here back in september for photo week, we did something I built something called a light table, which was basically this plastic kind of plexi that's that's you can see it's translucent and the light will penetrate it we built one that was just basically a square table top it didn't have this sweep on it, and this is what I was trying teo show that this is kind of this and ones that get bigger and bigger and bigger are sort of like what the industry uses teo photograph products on because you khun illuminated from behind similar to like what we did with light tent where you're creating a basically an envelope of light to put your subject in and you see, this thing has these little brackets that stick out the side and obviously you figure out what that's all right? You put two side panels in and then all of a sudden you have a very similar situation to the light box the only thing you don't have is the top eso if you're shooting reflective objects sometimes you might want pop that over as well or put the soft box up on the top or whatever so this piece of equipment is the one that you can purchase as opposed to the one we could buy and the reason I said last time I make one that's a tabletop and not a sweeping because in food and you look at a lot of the work that I do a shoot from over the top or at a kind of uh harsh angle like this this part wasn't is necessary so witham without we will bring this out during our strobe section and show how there's a couple of different ways khun like this but we think yesterday in the light tent we saw the benefit of having a sweep for an infinity curve when you're trying to um work with products because it's important to try to eliminate that horizon line the only time you might want to do that is if it's intentional you want to show her eyes in line but the idea is that when it's something like trying to keep a clean smooth look using something in the shape of this is important because you a lot more options so let me get this let me get this guy over here john will take it. Ok, thanks. So first thing we're going to do is let me talk a little bit about kind of the common stuff that we're going to use in most of everything before I start talking about the lights we kind of worked a little bit with light stands yesterday and we worked with c stands which is what this is called the reason they call this a c stand is because when the legs fold up they folded in kind of the shape of a sea these are probably the most stable stands in your studio and you want to put the heaviest gear you're gonna put on him? You also want to remember that we have one of them over here that you want to sandbag these because regardless of how heavy you have something on here and the fact that this is pretty sturdy and stable, you do put if you do put something on a swing on like this and hang it this way and it puts a lot of weight on this side it's going to pull the other thing you want to remember is that when you're putting something on a c stand, we're gonna climb out from behind here for a second if your weight the weight of this is out here you want a foot to be under the weight so that's a cat so a common counterbalance who want to make sure that it can't swing that way because if if at all it's going to tip it'll tip like that away from you in the space so you want to keep their weight over a foot so that's important thing to remember when using the c stands and light stands as well light stands a little more stable in this way and then you would send back the middle of them or tie sandbags around the top to try to keep them anchored to the ground this year top piece is across arm it's pretty common they call this thing here knuckle so if you ever hear somebody and you know it's important to understand the terminology because one of the best ways to learn from photographers is to go in system so if you're in the studio and someone says hey set me up to see stand with with a cross arm in a knuckle uh huh and you honestly it's a simple thing but it shows I ah, a level of knowledge that's important to understand if you're if you're gonna work in a studio it's also kind of cool to know all the names and all the gear I think when I was in college and I was learning a lot of this stuff you know, I think you start to start you start to feel a little bit more like an insider in any industry when you kind of get the lingo down and you understand what hate walking into them e I gave you the dramatic pause delivery you know um okay so and also these you know light stands come in lots of different sizes and shapes the ones we used yesterday were sort of almost a tabletop size right these grow and then they get his biggest things that you can put on or really really tall things so they're all the same there's nothing to be you know afraid of if they get bigger or more scary looking and then some of the other things that studio wise is you know when we're talking about this camera stand we used teo use the tripod camera stands come in different shapes and sizes as well but they all have very similar kind of you know the method of what you're trying to accomplish here is the same you want to have this as it's basically an up and down tripod just like you would have doing that wrong that's to go this way so you can swing it around sometimes these trey's a good to put extra gear on sometimes they make him to put the computer on so you can actually tether and look in here this isn't necessarily made to shoot video on but you attach your camera head on the end you can also buy adjusting this this swing arm you can change from vertical, horizontal and back again. Or you can switch it this way and drop it down for a vertical. I mean, an overhead. So my camera focused itself. See that? So up and down this's our open down. Right. Okay, so you can really get a little higher. A little lower. This is a really great tool. They make these his biggest, like, ten feet tall, so they can run from, you know, a few hundred dollars. Alright? Never mind. John, I'll do that. That's his stand. So he knows it's hey knows it's little tricks and it's the cable became cables off. We'll fix it later. One of things about these is that they can be a little temperamental, but it's fine. So that's all kind of like the basic stuff we talked about. We talked about rolls, tape and diffusion panels and some of the other stuff that we talked about yesterday, which again carries right over. But with these now, we're going to start talking about this lighting in front of me. Here we have four different types of lighting, so I'm gonna start with the simplest one first. So this is going to be part of our first section today, what we're going to call our upgraded d I y so this looks awfully familiar right? It looks just like what we used in the home depot thing we'll expect except for this thing sticking out of it this is my own little twist on this these are called this is from a company called impact and these are the housings they have this kind of wooden thing on the back so they're easy to control and move around because they get really hot um then the housing itself is just where you screw the bulb into it's a kind of a porcelain fixture on this wooden stick and this bell that you put around it is obviously meant toe defuse the light and direct the light out this way you can get bigger ones smaller ones they have different sizes this one comes with a foot to go into the stud on the top of the camera stand so all of the lighting that you're going to see plus it comes with this comes with a little hole in it here on the bottom and what that's meant for is for light modifying so if you want not didn't wantto put this directly on the subject you would use something like this which is an umbrella when these come in different sizes and shapes it's not bad luck to open a photo umbrella indoors just so you remember that so this would go right in this would go right in that hole and we would screw that down and that would you can use it this way where you using to shoot the light in there and then we reverberate back this way so this is one of those and you'll see that these and other light modifiers are very common toe all the lighting we're talking about so once you understand what they do and how they work you can use this type of light modifier for any of these things now obviously this one is made for this and some of these are made for the other things that were going to use today um this lightbulb that I put in here is one that I use this is just a compact fluorescent a spiral compact fluorescent but this is a really big one so it's giving us a lot more like they're not there said to be daylight balanced which isn't true fifty five hundred but the's a close enough and they're really helpful and again when we were talking about augmented daylight yesterday these are the ones other than those blue bulbs are the ones that I used to augment daylight as well they get close enough and especially with these kind of housings I use these a lot at my studio actually use one of them as a lamp as well he went to a store to get those boobs these yeah, I you know these are they're like lamp housings I think that's basically what they call them the that rebels yes viral compact fluorescents and they're no different in construction than the little ones that we use in our house they're basically the same and they will always be data balance while you have to look they have different color profile one hundred and fifty one they'll they'll say that their color balance and with the color temperature is right yeah, you know it's interesting now I got a phone call from a friend and on a former colleague somebody who used to work for me who was building a new kitchen and she's a blogger and she takes photos and a lot like what paolo does and she was building a new kitchen and she was like, what color temperature ship delighting in my kitchen b you know, because she never learned this he never really learned the whole idea about the color range and temperature she's like I don't know it shouldn't be thirty two hundred or forty eight hundred kelvin almost like oh you need to be at forty eight is going to shoot food in the kitchen and she's like so she went to her contractor contractors installing lighting that would be appropriate for her to shoot food in her kitchen which is actually pretty cool I mean it's like having them you did the same thing so so I mean it's it's important to understand like this even in household building if you're going to be a photographer at home it's good to know a lot of this stuff and how you going? Because I built a kitchen a few years ago in in a house that I had in the country and I was going to use that as a photo studio at one point and I put skylights in everywhere so that I would have a light coming from the angles of the like I like southwestern light this is the nicest like that yet, so we built the house so it would get the most natural self southwestern light and then I never shot there and I sold the house but that's another story. One other thing on these bulbs is the base like the one hundred five what ones have a standard edison basic like any household, some of the higher ones have what's called a mogul base, which is much bigger so they won't fit into your standard. So when you get the lights, make sure you get something that fit into your yeah you're lighting fixture the ones that fit into like normal fixtures are these these are the ones that you want to buy because then their most most versatile, so so we're going to start with that upgraded d I y so all of the all of the things we're going to do after I get done talking about this gear is going to look very similar to what we set up yesterday except we're going to be using a kit that you could buy at a photo store and it's basically exactly what we did with the paint sticks and all these other things except it's in a kit you can buy and I think it's under two hundred bucks so again, even that even the first step is something that you can do relatively inexpensively so we can go from no budget at all to a little budget and that's really helpful with this stuff. So I think that while I talk about the rest of this stuff, john khun, I kind of get this stuff set up in a minute and we'll put this so I'll just leave it here, so from there, the next step would be we're going to talk about strobe lighting so wrong color was nice enough and brown color is probably one of the two most popular lighting companies in the world. They they definitely do did us a nice favor by sending us a really, really high quality equipment play around with today and with strobe lighting. This is probably why when I first started playing around with photography and lighting was probably the most intimidating piece of equipment in the whole studio now, mind you, twenty years ago, they were about this big and weighed forty five pounds uh come on, son. Gun packs that had these cables like two inches thick between him and he always kept a broomstick next to in case someone started getting electrocuted to push him away from there it was george washington really that's just about the late sixties early seventies nineteen sixty yeah, sorry um but basically they've simplified these really nicely and you can run three you can run two heads off in this pack and you can run you can adjust the power and you can adjust the the you know, the configuration really? Simply just by kind of throwing switches around full power half power quarter power which is sort of what we were doing yesterday, right? With those little stroke heads, this actually is easier, easier to run a brown pack than it is to kind of settle those speed lights. So if this is all plugged in and ready to go and I have two lights and I wantto have power and a full power I'm done that's it I just did it two two switches right? So um and they you know e I mean it's like it's not it's nothing like what we used to use so from here way would go to these this is a bear head and underneath this giant square soft box is the same thing, so this is sort of this is one of the lot light modifiers we would use for this you could see underneath and the thieves diffusion panels they make them in all different kind of shapes and sizes they make him an egg crate thing looks like an egg crate and that kind of throws much softer light you can modify these a lot of different ways and they're really helpful and easy to use you don't really have to wrestle with them too much they're they're really well done and in these you can move them around they pivot on their head which got again go slides right into right and right into the stud and they really secure and then to see this cable wires heavy and this is a good reason for this what john was saying earlier about electrocution in photography it's no joke I mean a lot of this year that we use that I'm going to explain the next two or three pieces are all running on really high power and they throw a lot of light and some of them get really hot on dh when you're seeing movies being done a shot you notice that they have transformer trucks giant giant transformer trucks would stay bring in so they could plug in all the lights and the other thing that you'll find is that I don't know you might have done this is when you're assisting photographers sometimes you need to learn how to jack uh the electrical system into ah house directly into the house like learn howto do electric so yeah, lighting is intense but it's been made very simple just the old ones did the old speed atran forty pound packs would draw twenty twenty or more e m so if you're running a fifteen house you were blowing circuit breakers a few days all the time couldn't even use them and you'd have to have your electrical system rewired but that's not the case anymore but they still draw a lot of power and they still run hot but you have to be careful so these kind of just clip right in and I got I got room for two more um and they could be a double right two or running off one and then the other one is a single so you can kind of run all three at once and then you can run your sink through pocket wizards was what we did yesterday so these air that those really versatile wireless remote triggers again reasonably priced for something that you're going to use all the time if you're going to shoot strobe lighting so these air these air essential and they used to be that you'd have to buy one that was a transmitter and one that was a receiver now they're all called transceivers they both do both jobs so you actually have to buy less of them and they're more versatile they plug right into here there's a little sink cable and then you plug right and right into the pocket wasn't itself somewhere in here okay on the top on the top of the area this is the wrong cable but anyway this is the right cable yes you'd recommend it's you know I like pocket wizards I find them to be really reliable I think that's thing I mean there are other remote trigger devices that you can buy but most of the photographers I work with and have worked with or no we all use these for years it was the only choice was the pocket wizard that's why many of us have a legacy system I mean there's six or seven companies now that make him very similar but you know if you started ten years ago your pocket wizards that's about right way have him now so so that's kind of on and then there's other kind of really cool light my modifiers this is called an octa box remember yesterday when I was saying how using different catch shapes are going to change like with the jewellery and that is that you know this is ah on octagon you'll gets square circles strip boxes you know things that are shaped like that so any any time you shape your life differently you're going teo get it a little bit of a different result so again through trial and error lots of photographers will have different things beauty dishes, those giant big octagon boxes that you see a parabolic, parabolic mirrored ones that are really cool, they throw light in a very interesting way, way will actually would we were going to get one of their they have a kind of this new black might far course called the parry parry eighty eight's, which is this big kind of tubular blight modifier, that's all parabolic mirrors inside of it, its very expensive but it's used for shooting models fashion, beauty, fashion, beauty and it's a really interesting looking like it wasn't wasn't really suitable for what we were talking about today, but it was something that john and I were like, way so and that's, you know, that's, the other part of it is learning how to use all this stuff, even if it's never, ever going to be something that you're going to do. It's, nice to know and it's it's really, if you're a photographer and you're buff and you really like this stuff it's it's, fun to play around with? Yeah, we thought jim would have passed out if we brought in one of the paris. Yeah, but the para one thirty three or something like six thousand bucks? Yeah, they're unbelievably expensive but if you're a fashion beauty shooter and you have a studio and you're working regularly, just that kind of equipment pays for itself really quickly, and I think that's the other thing to remember when we're talking about equipment, one of things I did as a younger photographer wass whenever I took a step up in jobs and earned a little bit more money, I put half of that money back into equipment, equipment that I knew I was going to use and equipment that I knew that was going to make me money eventually and it's something I do to this day, I'm still climbing, I'm still learning, I'm still doing more things, and as I do that I put more money into my gear, especially this stuff that I'm going to use every day, and I know it was going to make me money, and I think it's an important way to climb the ladder as a photographer, is that because, you know, in order to do different types of work, it's important to understand and use different types of year? So even after that means rental, I have a little bit more of my budget to rent better equipment, not necessarily buy that's what I mean is, well, doesn't mean you have to take half of what you earned and run out and buy a new camera or a new life what it means is that you have some reserve money to understand, okay, the next time I'm going to shoot with a little bit better equipment and we're going to see what what, my, how my results will be so again, these are our strobe heads that we're going to use in segment too, and we're gonna have some fun with ease and, well, this is the only time the rest of the day we're going to use strobe lighting, so we decided to go for the top of the mark and we're using some of the best equipment available some of the stuff that many professional photographers all over the world news so from there these lot modifiers are also something that we can use with the next set of lighting that we talk about, but you're also courtesy of wrong color. Now we're into something that not a lot of photographers get a chance to work with and it will be fun for us to play around with these. This is these are h m I lighting h and my lighting are sort of the gold standard for daylight photography this these things are what are used in all shapes and sizes on movie sets all over the world television shows all over the world thes burn these khun burn a true daylight they run really, really hot you gotta be really careful when you're working with them is funny is that the ones that I've seen in studios? And I'm sure you've seen to the older ones they didn't come with like you couldn't really dial the power up or down they would come with these metal grids and when you're working in advertising or you're working on a movie set or or a television commercial or something it's unionized and there are union guys who have to work this equipment so I did a piece on the two a few years ago last year when I had done shot there cookbook and they brought me on to the show and we're watching all these guys doing all this stuff and it's this guys run around with oven mitts on likewise he running around with oven mitts on so he has to take these big metal disks and drop them in front of the light to knock the light down stop by stop and it's so different I mean, that some some places that still done I mean, that lighting still exists just kind of lighting is really expensive to replace, so if you have lighting that works there's still people who do that but this stuff, you know, the more photo driven stuff, the smaller the smaller pieces are you okay? We go it's exactly what I was talking so these bite leads lot might light modifiers eventually start to look like they had been cooked on your barbecue for awhile. So this there it is. These are all this's also a light modifier that you see on a lot of different types of lights are called barn doors. And again it's a light shaping device where you can kind of open and close these depending on how you want them. So it's steady lighting something like barn doors and, um, snu ts I have a suit on for this show you that I was in my bag I brought I brought it from home. I have my own snoot. So that this's this's also ah, hot light in the same vein is this. This is called a friend el, which is a little bit different because the color temperature is a little bit different. Yeah, this is this is more of a tungsten lights, and it had some barn doors on it. But it also has this thing called the snoot, and this snoot is one that I used when I made that picture that's the light I used to make that picture. So we're going to recreate that, and then we're gonna try toe play around with the troublesome object that a friend has told me all about it. And could you hold this newt steady and we'll get a nice close up. Yeah, beautiful. So this is the opening of this so this attach us to the front of this so this has like a little like a little spring on it and that you can take the barn door off of it and then you can attack the snoot like that and then put this little spring back on it now it's like that this in the opening is sort of like an aperture so you can change the aperture of the light by kind of twisting that and rolling these out and that's when you have four options. So it's it's an interesting little tool and it's a nice little light again wear oven mitts because this thing is going to run really hot this one plugs directly into the wall so a smaller light it's a little bit different power but you can plug this one directly into the wall which leads me to what this thing is. Does that mount just regular life? Same thing yeah it's got a foot on it and you would screw it right into the stud just like that on top and also is adjustable here like this and its focus a bull so the light that's what this thing is a parabolic mirror inside of it and when you turn it the light will get bigger or smaller so that's what these kind of focus herbal lights are they calling focus a bull and that's made by r e which is another good company when it comes that's a small hundred fifty sometimes called an inky late but they go up to two thousand even for thousand watt ones in movie set you might even find ten thousand light well like the whole city block with one of those and they're huge and that's why they had the generator trucks on movie sets and it's funny because these don't look this looks like a miniature version of the ones you'll see all the movies that they design style wise they look exactly the same no matter how big they are how big they get so thes e h m eyes have to run off what's called the ballast so basically this is sort of a light this is on electrical modifier so when this gets plugged into a household system or a regular you know what one ten power source this kind of modifies the light power through this wall this plugs into the wall this plugs into this and then this plugs into this so this is a little bit more complicated but it's also something that has gotten much smaller and lighter and more efficient in recent time these things used to be big bucks and big big big boxes really really heavy so h m eyes and for nails they're kind of the same family and we'll use them and we're going to use them in the same I think we do use them in the same segment we're going to use both this and this to shoot glassware in segment three today um we're gonna have some fun with these these air good so lastly there's another family of lighting that won't talk about it this is kind of old generation new generation they're different technologies but they're used very similarly so this one which is ah light called a diva light by kino and there if you look above you there's about six of them over your head these are fluorescent and he's bold look really familiar these are the ones that we've seen fixtures all over and normally you say fluorescent lighting who flushed and lighting makes us look terrible okay but these bulbs of balance differently these bowls with the blue edges on them off our fifty five hundred kelvin daylight balanced so you have individual switches on these and you can turn one bank or another off again they come with these barn doors you could set this up horizontally you could set them up vertically you could set them up with sheeting over the top which is what you see above you and what will probably do later on all three of the ones that all the things we just talked about h m eyes for nails these fluorescent lights and this thing which is called an led panel they're all steady lighting that can all be used for shooting both stills and video so depending on light what your goals are and whether or not we're going to use video you can use any of these lights for all of it so the diss kino bank is something that I have worked with in the past and depending on its a little bit cumbersome it's a little bigger it's a little bit you know it's a little bit of an older technology that something that it's still really functional but again changing fluorescent light tubes and everything else sometimes it's a little bit harder and they're still in the same price point three bulbs to that have an orange right tip on him and they just have a high color rendering indexes cr I like above ninety five or so so they're pretty steady color it's a oops it's a standard technology something that gets used all the time and what I have here this is ah this is actually a demo model of ah new light that's coming out of the uk by a company called roda light this light is called the unova too and it is a led floodlight it throws light at about a fifty degree angle which works really nicely for tabletop photography and video there also have all these housings on the outside so in this octagon shape you could attach multiple lights to it the other thing that's nice about this thing being modern technology is it is has a wifi capability so you can control it with your you can control it with your ahm this wants to wake up first okay any way you can control it with your phone it's crazy but the thing about it is it becomes the this becomes the light director of your set because you khun cable through this all your other lights whether they're by this company or not they use a standard kind of linking system called dmx so whenever you see like microphones and things like that you know those microphone cables that's a dmx cable they can leave you can link all your lights in the studio to this one light control it power color temperature and brightness with your phone so you got this if we were here and this was there the one that was directing the light above us and we want to bring the house lights down we pushed the button roll the disc all lights come down so this is the future so this is this is the on this you can change color temperature on this right this thing ranges from true tungsten to true daylight the whole range and you can change it at just turning that little dial that I showed you so lighting is becoming very very sophisticated and the other thing is I carried this with me on the plane and only weighs about six pounds it's super light and really portable so as as we get you know more technology in all areas of our life we're also getting a lot more technology in photography jim when you say it's it's super light do you means lightweight or it's super light uh both well if I open this up there's a little s on its way it's a it's a really nice piece of technology and it's just easier being currently this is a beta test that I'm working with I'm testing it I wanted to bring it out to show to you we may or may not turn it on later to tryto work with it but this is sort of uh a little bit of ah a mission to learn this machine for the company before they start to mass produce this new new version about three thousand dollars think about something like this is that until they become more readily available for rental until this thing is fully launched out fully rolled out this is the had an original version of this which did everything that you would want it to do except it didn't have the kind of power that a lot of photographers were looking for so they decided to regroup and and we retrofit everything and there attempting to boost the power to three hundred percent what it wass so interesting technology interesting lights not your only led panel it's out there in the market but so far as I was concerned this one is the most interesting because it's it's the most versatile kind of technologically advanced one I found which is why it's not hard it's hard to come by at this point because they're still it's instilling evolving technology but to be aware of what leads do and can do and the fact that this thing can be burning all day and I could put my hand right on I could pick it up it's cool it's a very interesting technology and the fact that color temperature is something that you can adjust with it really readily again, you may spend a little bit more on it or it might cost a little bit more to rent it but for all of the things that it can do and what it can't do like burn your hand off it's actually very interesting technology just plugs into the wall and this isn't plugged in right now but it's on a battery and the battery is this big I'll show you it's just this and I've been playing with this for a week and it's only I've only used twenty percent of the battery so the battery last two so they got they got their tech figured out with this with this thing it was that way I'll put it online okay, so we've gone through all of this stuff, right? We're going to talk about a lot of it, we're going to use a lot of it, we're going to set up some shots and we're going teo and you're going to feel pretty comfortable understanding pretty much all of this and have a least be armed with a least enough information to start experimenting with this stuff. If some of your friends are photographers and maybe they have some of this equipment, they maybe they loan it to you so you can play around with it, maybe you can rent, take some stuff back and work on it because this is, um this is what photography is all about, it's about figuring it out, it's about experimentation and it's about understanding the tools that we use to make the pictures we want to make the first thing we're going to do today, the first thing I'm going to shoot today, so we're kind of going a transition now between what we have out here and what we're going to actually do on the table today. So one of things that I noticed in ah, a lot of the websites and the sales kind of off, what is it too much talking, no it's, um, on etc and things like that, uh, artwork a lot of people photographing artwork and laugh people photographic arberg really badly and it's just not it's not you know you've been fair to yourself as an artist, tio, you know, photograph artwork in a subpar way, you want it to really, truly show what your art is about, so we're gonna we're gonna go over a set up with your what we're going to call our upgraded d I y set up, and we have a couple of little tricks that I'm going to show you in howto kind of successfully photograph artwork, but before we do that, and while john is helping me set up, we'll talk to jim and see if we got some questions. We sure do, sir, I'm going to start off with a question from nick con rick, who asks yesterday you were using a relatively small light tent and I'm thinking of buying a three by three larger version. Is there any reason to buy a smaller one as well for jewelry and smaller items? Or can I still use the larger one for that as well? I would say get the larger one because you you'd have a lot of flexibility, as you saw yesterday, I mean, we shot something as small as a a zoo button right in that thing. So I wouldn't I wouldn't necessarily get the smaller one unless you have a space constraint or you on ly shoot tiny, tiny things. I would get the bigger one. Just they have more flexibility. All right. And we got this question yesterday on we're getting it again today. Could you talk a little bit about how you got your start as a product photographer? Well, I got my start. Basically, um, if you talk about starting as a photographer in general, maybe not a working photographer, but I was in college studying literature, and I was across the street from the art school in new york city called school of visual arts. My best friend went to that school and I I was a good student, but I was getting very bored with my particular course load. So I decided to kind of just drift across the street. And I spent a lot of time in their studios and a lot of time, actually, I went and intended classes a couple of times. I just sat in a sat in on classes that I wasn't registered for. And at one point I raised my hand and answer the question, and professor looked at me, went that's a really good answer, who are you? S so I kind of gravitated towards, you know, trying to educate myself about photography and then it was social thing to because my friends were photographers, so I learned a lot about it that way and then from there, when I made the decision to make the jump from education to photography, I did both jobs for a while and I took whatever whatever assignments came my way but honed my skills in particular areas that I was really interested in. And I think that's something that you can think about if you were trying to work as a become a working photographer is that take whatever assignments are available to you but continue to hone your skills with your personal projects. And now that we have blog's and we have websites, you can really show your personal work alongside your professional work. So my my first kind of jobs were going out and photographing in restaurants or on locations, but I really want to do studio work. So I was doing that back at home before I had my own studio and doing the things that I really like to do, and I was incorporating that into my portfolio so that I think one of the better ways to kind of transition yourself into it. Awesome. All right, no more questions about lighting. Yeah, we actually had one here about could you talk a little bit about the mistakes that you made early on in product photography if you when you look back at that work and how to help the audience you know struggle through what they're going through I think that it was about really managing the light and the shadows I think I was still a little bit intimidated by the equipment when I was first starting out and I look at the pictures I took early on and it just it wasn't sharp enough it wasn't crisp enough I was I wasn't really as comfortable with the equipment so when I I was looking for a particular result I didn't quite know how to get there yet so I think most of my earlier stuff was under lit I think that was my prime fear that I was going over expose everything so I think I was under lit and overshadowed I think I didn't manage those to balance the balance points of your table top work all that well so I think understanding highlight and shadow and understanding how to kind of be comfortable with the lighting I think that was my biggest mistake I wasn't comfortable enough to take risks and I was just trying to play it safe and that's what the photos look like they look like I played it safe awesome okay that's definitely good advice esso's faras lighting is concerned how many lights is too many lights like do you ever like you know what I mean? Yeah, I know exactly what you mean because I looking online and there's a lot of stuff on youtube in a lot of stuff out there about and I think sometimes photographers who are teaching online is showing off they're not necessarily trying to instruct is showing the most complicated setup you could possibly imagine to teach people online most people who were watching those videos online number one don't own that equipment number two probably never will and are completely intimidated by that kind of a setup I think that the instructors who do this stuff online or who do it in person who tried to keep it simple and gradual to increase the amount of lighting use like start will want work up to to build to three and if that's if you're getting results you want with three lights bravo then that's where you want I mean I've seen these these kind of set ups where you have like twelve lights and fourteen reflectors and every tiny highlight is being managed and everything else I find it to be completely micromanaged I don't necessarily think that it's not appropriate but it's not always necessary I think that's the thing is that you start small and work your way up and you can get really bogged down in the minutia when it comes to a product photography or tabletop photography and I don't know if that's you know I think it's a difference between being a technician and being an artist. I think that's that's, the dividing line, and I think that's true in a lot of artistic forms, painting and music. You know, you hear a guy who could just riff on a guitar like a wild man for twelve minutes, but there's no soul in it, right? And then you hear a guy who just kind of play six six notes, you know, with a lot of heart, and you can feel what he's trying to say with his guitar it's the same in photography. You don't need all the bells and whistles finding what speaks to your artistic soul, I think that's the important part. I really don't believe in that kind of high being a technician over being an artist and that's kind of what that's about. Yeah, definitely.

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