Tabletop Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 32/33 - Shoot: Group One


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Group One

Come on up you get run right up here unlike what we did in the last segment where I was giving you art direction I will not be giving you art direction I will be here for support and critique so while you're working and choosing and doing things you can obviously asked me questions I might interject some of my opinions but I will also be critiquing every thing that comes up there and make maybe helping you get yourself to a different position so you're on so you have you're going to pick out you're gonna pick your props and we have the soaps to live by which are the first object that they chose teo and I didn't have any I had no input into what they chose the had the choice off the table to pick the things they liked they got to choose their lighting the one that they felt most comfortable with to work with as a team and they're choosing all their props on their own so how they are how they do this is all going kind of unfold in front of you how they set it up and I will kind of give y...

ou the play by play on dad my uh add my opinions so maybe start with if we do like a b something like this too so somebody in your team tell me why soap? Why why these soaps were something that you decided to go with we love the colors. Yeah, something we haven't seen yet also these past few days, so we wanted to play with them great and what's your what's the approach of your first shot because you obviously have already thought it through. I'm a sucker for reflections. Ok, so I asked these guys they want to shoot on plexi and so, yeah, I know I'm now dreading this thing. Soaps are really, really cool. They've got word written across them, okay, which I think is going to be challenging to get in relief so blended in. So that was, like, let's make it a little bit difficult. And then if we can get a mirror image of the word in the plexi, which may or may not work, okay, well, let's say, I'm glad you chose something that wasn't super easy. I thought, I'm glad nick's got I'm glad you chose something that was challenging and you're using probably the biggest reflective object in the entire studio with that piece of plexi. So we'll see how it goes with that. So I'm looking forward to seeing what we get from we're shooting or what? I don't know what you're doing kind of side and just, well, ok, put yourself here and you can see that word reflection, so yes, yes I love that everyone is taking turns things best eyesight little and bob's just like behind the camera on all right just get around I'm ready to share his camera shooting way start with at least the wrapper if we don't like it, then we can sure I think they're going to probably like this I think so here I like the clean way want five three you know, I'm kind of busy got maybe a crop into the three with this like they sure do and I'm saying yes, so where's that might so it might be a little too long for you guys, so the zoom lens is probably going to be a little bit more twenty eight global a versatile here yeah twenty eight seventy in the bag, a little more versatile for what you're looking to do here, so while they're getting that set off kanai ah answer anybody questions and kind of keep it rolling absolutely so tell us a little bit about because you do on instruction for classes like that and you've been a teacher. What what's your goal as as an instructor, what do you want? What you want to come out of teaching? I mean, ultimately as an instructor or a teacher or a coach and all of that I played all of those roles in my career at one point or another I want I want my students to come out feeling confident what they learned being able to use it in the real world question yeah um I will come back to that question as soon as I get my note you know, we got plenty of um okay here these are both charged okay, um where was I? Oh, I would I really really want my students to come away feeling confident too teo use utilize the things that they learned and what and whatever it was whether it was I was teaching a young man had a pitch or I'm teaching adults how to use photography equipment my goal is the same. I want them to feel confident that they learned from me and that they can use it in the real world. Fantastic. Well, I know that all of us here have been like, especially in this group, paolo myself who took your food photography class I've definitely been stepping it up over the last year or so. So great. We appreciate any other success stories that you have out there students that you just love watching and the they grow and wei have ah couple of the students from the food photography class have kind of collaborated and started to work together that would be pam and lay and they kind of have been putting their heads together to work and do some do some interesting things, and lay just recently won a contest that she entered online with one of her food photo. So I felt like a little bit of a proud papa horse. Yeah, absolutely source. Of course, we've already kind of gone over palace, you know, ascension into a working professional photographer in the venue that she chooses. And I think that we know when she was excited about getting her public her publication in edible seattle I was justus excited I found I felt really good and I really loved the picture. We discussed it last night. I was really impressed with the picture and I'm really happy that she's gotten to that point was to should we check in? Yeah, let's, check in. So where were we already got some test shots going, boy, that surface has all kinds of imperfections on. Yeah, so it's just so who's, the best photo shop person in your own way have photoshopped coming up creative lives. So you will learn how to take all those scratches out. We're gonna clean it up. That's also. Good. I think your meaning. I think you made the right decision to start your photo shoot with it in the packaging because even though they're probably really nice looking outside of the packaging, I think it's always better to start once once it's out of the boxes out of the box so it's better to get the packaging shot weaken as well can I try and I know we don't have the light right yet try an angle no, I don't think we need to sweep in it because it's making the soap swing forward so yeah, if you drop that if you drop it down a little bit, maybe even you could probably get a little bit of tilt out of it so you can get a better angle but I was thinking of getting out of here like if we get on base here need sweeping to do that there's a great reflection of your I like that idea I think it is that was would have been my first instinct is to start close and then get further away on see if you can manage a smaller frame rather than its enormous reflective point flythe anymore I've lost the ability to speak you guys out there on the internet we just want to give you a little bit of a heads up, but these fine soaps are actually made by one of our own creative live instructors andrea heirs so we just wanted to give her a little bit of a shout out, so let me just kind of I kind of talk I'll talk you through what they've already set up here because obviously they're using the the bronze color strobe head and they're using that octa box which we which we used yesterday only as a fill light we never used it as a key light so they're using their using the off the box as a key light and and the light that's coming out of that right now is called the modeling light which we kind of went over a little bit before help you focus the camera and once strolled flood of fires then it's going whoa, we're getting we're getting uh oh there we go okay he is kind of taken over here she's she's actually working the camera stand without fear which is a little fear not side with my camera but if I don't find ways around my mind is insured sure we're gonna get through this blue so like trying to be like see where it says laugh last was let let up a little bit where is that coming? Any particular reason you chose the darkest one put in the middle I'm just asking changed way just changed I'm looking at the screen so you're at f eleven had come up with the green in the front we'll see how the last post like coming this thing that's forwards backwards with this one that one levels just a second ago you gotta lock it when to let go anybody what do you think so far but I mean what's your first impressions what oh, wait did say it wasn't going to be a competition but I guess you can't really turn that off, can you? Did you see her? Honey? You're trying todo angle exactly. Yeah, way that just brings up a question that we just got from j d williamson wanting to know how much do you ask the opinions of the people in your own studio? A lot. I put people around me that I trust and I I think they understand my work in my aesthetic and I think that when I'm looking for an extra opinion or I there are often times somebody add something to a styling element or has a shooting suggestion that I find really helpful so you put could put good people around you for a reason so hey, guys, I'm going to let you know you got five minutes left to make this shot, andrew that is another question from light folly. How long would you say a shoot from taking out your piece photographed sending the photographs to a client? How long would that normally take? Well, I mean, I beg my clients for his much lead time as possible because sometimes things stack up and it gets harder and harder to process large volumes of work. But I would say that depending on the volume of the work, I would like a least a week lead time and then possibly more so I somebody asked me this last night at dinner they were saying I have a job coming up where they want us to shoot seventy five recipes how long do you think we should take to shoot it and how long should I have to do the post production and I said seventy five recipes it's cookbook should be at least two weeks and should be at least a month lead time on delivery of uh photos so that because that's a huge volume of work it's a big it's a big big book so I would say you know you could do the math on that but you can scale it backwards and they'll probably call halfway saying can we get video and all that stuff to oh yeah sure we have some video on it and we have it tomorrow where are we going other than crooked where are we way right to write okay so we're only at the air only at eleven I mean you probably go a to least you know three stops on that just pull those down to the left so that dad too scratchy plexi really really gets on my nerves not as much as people dropping stuff in the studio it's still you know it's up there thinking now do it unwrap you want try that well let's just try the one I'm actually gonna go even a little darker just the one yeah wrap his movie camera pretty that's nice can we change you get it? You got about two minutes, okay? I like the shot you're making I mean, I think if that plexi was super clean and it would be really nice right out of the camera just mean and in camera here rather than on a calibrated screen that looks really good would you light it like this and cut back? I'm feeling like the reflection is a little heavy little bright okay, would you cut it back in post and just so everything's right or would you actually try to feather your lighting to adjust? Yeah, I probably try to light it you do it in camera first and then have the flexibility there later but I wouldn't try toe manipulate it that much, but I like that shot. I like the reflections being really heavy. Yeah, I do. I think that's really neat looking, always shining yes, we're shining okay like I like it when we crop into that image because while they get set up on the second one we could see if that looks really good as a crop photo way going daylight yet so we need teo okay going daylight on this one, okay, so you switching out open up those shades hope that seattle is going to be cooperative enough starts we need brian so any questions on what they did or comments on what they whether people like they're shot or one of the questions that calvin crop li photography had wanted to know how they determined their negative space because they felt like it was really important for that shot okay that's a good question and what approach they took okay so one of you could maybe take time who's the person really mostly responsible for how those got set up was that you e I think the question was on the negative space I was really I just couldn't get the camera to exactly where I wanted it and it's where I got it too happy accident goodness for serendipity okay so we're gonna we're working with these thes rounded scarves and they're from the fellow shop and we just happen to have this really need form that we worked with on day one and it was wearing headphones at one point and now it's come wearing a scarf I think that's a really nice choice for styling you need one more gate open or you want all of them open to shoot this what do you want to do you need one more shot szeto I would say yes and I think this's gonna obscure what you got going on here so we'll just drop this down okay wait figure out the head so you haven't it's fairly well thought out already model on set model on set later on the stool you know that's always you know if you wanted to have a fire okay, because we have uh kind of yeah has to go around okay street the internet is loving hearing these guys talk through their what they're thinking that's a really nice way of telling me to shut up no all right that's fine. Just come over here you know, but if you could inspire them to do so it's okay yeah, fine way turning the table would be falling off the edge of the table way can't do with a quick horizontally if the table went this way but this one is falling off okay, this is not gonna work, okay? Just sliding into that corner get I want to pull it this way I don't want it to obscure any of your life. So what do you think I mess with my kids you got living told it in a little. Well, what about that one move sticking out you would cover that you're so modest help too short. So andrew yes, dude of honor would like to know outside of food and product. What are your favorite things to photograph? And I know you mentioned loving weddings yeah, yeah, sure, I really do like street photography like being out and just kind of shooting objects I'm ah sort of like I'm still kind of have that instinct as ah kind of a still life photographer, even when I'm on the street, and like one of the things I shot here last time was the manhole cover out front that coincidentally, says ceo on it, which I thought was really cool. I also have a personal project where I photograph from personal bill signs all over new york s so those are the kind of signs they put up on construction sites where they don't want anybody putting graffiti or playbills or any other advertisements on there, and they always tend to have texture and color and different fonts and shapes, so I like to photograph those as well. So my my photographic instincts and interests stray away from what I do in the studio. I like to be outdoors and doing things like that. I tend to do more of that on instagram than anywhere else, okay, my favorite platform for displaying that personal work on dh. Speaking of personal work, you have anything coming, and in the upcoming year, you could talk about personal stuff or just work wise. Sure, I think I'm working on some interesting, larger projects where some of my food clients are reaching back into their archives, you know, existing publications that have been around for a really long time, like that newspaper you like way are reaching back into the archives and discovering terrific content that doesn't have modern photography attached to it wonder so there's actually, several publications I worked for that are doing very similar things. A lot of internet baste publications that are not internet based, print based publications that have branched into the internet are now reaching back into their rich history of of and re purpose ing some of their content and it's it's going to be really great. We're going to have some. We're gonna have some really nice things to do in the first, especially the first quarter of the year. Great, thank you for letting us know. So we check in. I don't know what they're doing. I don't know how we doing guys have a falling out of feeling how who is our spokesperson here? They're going to tell me what you got going on so far. Well, you were last time, so you get to be in this, uh, well, we're trying to get some good light and texture on the scar and make it maybe look a little bit dramatic, ok? I like what you got so far. I think that this is a great pete. This is a this is a really wonderful problem, I'm glad somebody chose to use it again, and it has a tendency to really pick up light in interesting ways because of the way it's rusted and whether it's really interesting so I see what you're doing back there can you tell us what you're doing back there with that car? I'm trying to darken out the background even further sir, they're just cause it's quite light and I think it would be nicer in I really like what you got going on so far do I think it's I think the lighting is really nice and the more you can get that dark in the background the better so getting better now it's really smoother and the bad is less there seems to be less bleeding going on behind there which was one of the problems we had earlier when we shot with the sweep like in this orientation. Okay, well have been the point of those scarves is what they're really yeah, I would consider what about without that or or backing out and getting the all of it in there rather than cropping any of it out my coming into the frame? Yeah, a little bit that's really stunning that is really sending it really does it jumps right off the page it's it's really nice very well done shadowing on one way donald that's just ways shut I'm wondering about more directional just curiosity well, I'm thinking like horizontal nose here could be interesting is it just the other thing is the studio, like, let me see if I can block those on the other side. I just wanted to try and see. Like, I think we could do an interesting thing where you're cropping the model and really just getting so we have a really good idea of what the texture is. Yeah. That's. A really nice approach. What you got going on here? I think you might find that, like, really? Well, you can even see it with the naked eye. How? How rich that black is behind the behind the model. I noticed something when you pulled that card away that you might might be. Maybe not. It actually was okay, but I noticed that when bob pulled the cart away that he was create casting shadow here, and it actually works out nicely in there, because as soon as you pull the cart away, you could see it. But, man, does that look good? And that that that magenta color is really popping against the black pulling out? Well, when do we keep doubled it then and made it more scarf. Try one. So, what are our settings on this? We got four and a half I so four hundred sixty eighth of a second, which means we still have with two with three shot of five shades down, which means we still have a fairly good day light in this room, which is nice we had we didn't realize we'd get such a nice day light at the end of the day. So what are we doing now? Guys what's up well with the infinity scars to either with long or you double him up fluffy so come in if we're going to go into the horizontal then we'll try and make it I just learned something I didn't know they were calling infinity stars came in a bit too much but yeah that's a zoom lens to z a little back out you know it's going to be charging you guys for shutter actuacion so film days yeah it's nice I like the texture put her r it's really not what the other third, what I like the most about the wife will delight your getting beautiful right on the star itself. Is this really nice gradation? All right, you guys have about seven minutes to perfect what you're doing and I and I'm saying I think maybe you should try to get the other scarf photograph well, so because I think you've done a beautiful job with that one, but maybe that other one would be a little more challenging on this surface, not the surface fifty off on the model it's too much the same color and you're a just a question from anna from germany any ideas on how to start making money by product photography if you have just a light ten and two lights online or offline and what not to dio any of those lessons that you learned early as faras what I shouldn't be doing if I want to make money yeah just have a start well I think I think I answered the similar question earlier about one of the best things to do is kind of concentrate on your local area local shops if you're a food photographer local restaurants whatever it might be and maybe offer services for services and build a portfolio that way once you have an adequate amount in your portfolio you can approach bigger clients maybe get an agent maybe start teo solicit individually to different companies or whatever so I would say you start small you build a portfolio sometimes it's not about making money right away but making either you know connections or having the opportunity to shoot for a company that you really like their products and put in your portfolio matches your aesthetic and that way you can start to build from them thanks very jittery and that again sure when you go out to meet with clients do you bring a print portfolio hardcopy or do you show them things digitally when you showing your portfolio? Both of some clients prefer a put a print portfolio, and some prefer a like an ipad president presentation. Sure, I have both ready for whichever, if I have to go out and meet somebody, plus my website, a lot of people just go to my website and the volume of work that I have available online, new work, that's just recently published because my food work in particular is pretty prolific. I we have a really big turnover, so there's a lot of stuff out there to look at that. Yeah, I can't get up on my website it's fast, so there's a lot of options there, but it's always a matter of preference for the art director, because sometimes when you bring your book, your physical book to a particular place, they want to pass it around, right? And you can't really do that with an ipad. You know, people have limited amount of time that they could meet with you, so you give the book, they spin it around the office a few times and you go back and pick it up. Great, perfect the great advice. Thank you. Wow, what happened? I'm not in the loop anymore way had a perfectly framed. The internet must be really happy, so I would say, you guys probably got about two minutes to go and if you wantto maybe tell me a little bit about what you got going on here that would be cool if you are you finding are you finding this one a little harder than the other one or does it and because there's an antler, innit? Yeah, well ok, with colors not is I mean, the antler is the favorite is the favorite prop off the internet so this all right? So we're bringing some light back. I like to do something dramatic must have front one of the things that this exercise should teach everybody is it does take a village I mean it absolutely it takes ah good amount of thought and process to make things happen and we're condensing this down to a very short period of time for them to work. So it's it's important to note that it's taking all of them collaborating using their mind to make this happen as well as a good caterer good cater is always important I understand way really coming. Okay, all right, take a look at this one. I'm gonna give you a chance to take one more and I think we're gonna be done so let's take a look I like lighting, not unhappy I don't hate it that's better alright one more shot if you want to do anything differently in immoral and then we're off to the next group so you take that you always like, I don't need one more shot, I don't need it, I'm done done with you, all right, so you are going to take this shot, okay, I left the way. You look at this. Look at this teamwork. Good, I love it. Great job. I think you guys did a great job with this. I think I think you did. You did those products, justice, so let's, give him a hand job.

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