Tabletop Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 33 of 33

Shoot: Group Two

 

Tabletop Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 33 of 33

Shoot: Group Two

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: Group Two

Group two you got big shoes to fill I think you're up for the challenge though so I think that so far we've done some really nice really nice things here you can actually come on up and while the changeover is happening so that you don't lose any time did you choose your lighting lighting we've not set out we were a wine seamless you want a white seamless but you're not sure of your lighting you what do you know what kind of lighting you want to use I think way using the strobe yeah oh using the stroke okay hey mister you want making e I want a decision and I'm styling so we got mike and paolo and natalia and they're going to be our second group and I'm letting the changeover happen kind of overlapping simply because we don't want a short change our second group of any time here so they're gonna have you know they're going to have about forty five minutes to do their thing powell has been holding onto this for dear life she actually ran to the table and grab in the break to make sure n...

o one else could get their hands on that kind of thing is a price on it? Yeah all right. Nice job very well done nice job those mannequin shots with the with the magenta beautiful really, really beautiful quality totally could be used as a product shot for I am but he'd be happy to have a shot like that so you happy bob hey with three women I just stick out of the way good man learned his lessons well, way got white seamless what are we talk? Talk me through it so wait you wanted to get across this, okay? And then we've been blasting coveting these shoes, ok? Andi so you wanted to do something sort of so grab and preppy and poppy and graphic and dedicate lady and great is different from what we've been doing and issues of from baba and we're going to we're going to get those we're going to get those going I have a superstition about shoes on the table I don't know if any other italians have that the italians in the room did you grow up that way to you grew up with that? Yeah, the shoes on the table thing yeah, so already I think you know I'm already well you can but it is a tabletop photography we can't really stand it's a cake stand is not a table okay all right, I'm with you. They got john doing backflips over here with the lighting everything every two minutes to change and lights over so let's answer trouble of questions while we're waiting from set up yeah, so napa napa keith wants to know are you ever called into restaurants to shoot product photography kind of start it kind of started my career in that in that vein and I was doing both products and food in the same shots. So I, uh I think that if I were to do that today as opposed to what I used to do, I would take a portable light kit with me ok and not try to shoot everything in daylight, which is what I did in the beginning of my career. Great. So a decent portable lighting set up because I think I kind of anticipate that would be the next question that is that is part of the question, right? Give us some hints. How do we do it? What the best advice I would say something that's affordable and portable and light like a set of speed lights like we talked about or even something like a quantum q flash, which is light and portable and works off battery power. Those are the ones I own. Actually, I own both of those things in addition to other lighting, but speed lights and, um, those portable quantum q flashes excellent. You could put big light modifiers on right, really good. Thank you. You're okay, so talk to me, goose nobody's talking this's wanted over the top you'll talk to me, daniel, wait okay, do I look like an assistant? Teo will get you also one anyway, you got your best okay, my vest is from my vest is from robert james on orchard street or is on ludlow I don't remember it's over there for those of you know where that is. So daniel was gonna talk to me wondering like when we were try that last time when we were moving really quickly and we could have just kept fiddling to get the back ground really, really black. But would you like, would you vineyard that in post and dark in your black ivory dart him? I could I could I could go for darkening the blacks there, but I think that by the end you had it pretty spot on I mean, in any situation you're going to tweak, you know, paper actually reflected yeah, somebody some you might have done that again when we talked about shooting like on a velvet because it's just right just dead ends like that would be it would have been a perfect scenario for that, but I thought, you know, for the simplicity of that set up and, you know, the beauty really excellent prop really was perfect for the product. It was really good choice making and nice like mexico nice execution I know you knew what I was going to say, but and andrew were going to put up the slides I'm at the end of the segment so we'll be able to have you do a little bit of a review yes ok great if you're good with that yeah perfect so we're using both the big what is it about a three by three blocks and the octo boxes of phil so our key light when we go back to our terminology and be comfortable with it key light is going to be our it's a three by three or one hundred five hundred you know roughly three by three square but it's just try without I want one of them without putting the but with the shoes here we go again so are you looking to manage that reflection or when you think what I want to get the reflection of the kate stand this I'm not a reflection of the way just estimating or we actually meet a ring what are we doing? Haven't meter haven't okay, I don't see anybody with a hand with the meter and I don't know last time you went I don't know yeah way talk about me like that okay what's your best advice for me entering like how often should use it mother I phone at meters that you like to use or I mean there are a few on the iphone that are that are fine to use I don't particularly have any favorites I think the old work very similarly the ones that are available in the app store or the android store or whatever I have them on my phone and I started to use them initially and of course I just went back to my old light meter because it's just it's just a comfort zone but you should like you should definitely get a amita ring at the beginning of your team you're tinkering digital makes it easier but you can't always rely on what you see at the back of the screen and a couple of stories about the idea that one time somebody had lowered the brightness on the back of my camera without me knowing it and I took some shots and I didn't use a meter and all of sudden I got in and I looked five or ten shots in after I done all my setups and everything and everything was grossly under exposed so don't trust the back of the camera is the is the you should always trust your meter first once you're comfortable then you can kind of look at the camera and make adjustments yeah cool so right because they didn't have this it's not just that I know it's it's a little warm but it's it's a nice um what was your gut when you went back to yeah my my life my photographs beautifully it's really handsome old you know sunday because it's old doesn't mean it can't be handsome by jim front uh wait so we're starting off here at is that what you want to be is a four and a half of four hundred ways just the camera yet we haven't even done that yet. Okay, we haven't done anything working on shoe laces so what was your what is your um your styling here what what is this the vision you had in your head do what I want teo okay, so this is really about the cake stand here, isn't it? S just as long as we get what was that question earlier about the proper overwhelming the the product so coming into kind of a reflection light meters in the shot yeah, yeah everybody that light meters like photo bama like every shot john we want to get the cake stand on reflection how do we get that? Yeah, so go ahead and take the shop that I want you to tell me something however you're gonna have to light up the bottom of the cake stand for because you're your own way plexi on black plexi be much easier because I want the way plexi might just one without your start to get some of it there yeah what what's the goal they want always to try and get the reflection kay get election and then just have well then you're going to need toe kind of intentionally under expos that whole frame in order to pull that blew up and then be able to bring it back and you only have about six minutes to go so I would start uh experimental faster and then you got saved by by your kickstand I'm gonna ask john this question because I know he's the guy who said it himself why is the soft box so far to the right get with it get help I was trying to get it over we just ran out of time so you did okay so like I meant for it to be further out so okay so it's not unintentional it's not intentional that's an important thing to know they can pull the table yeah I think I would send it at all because you're not going to get an accurate reading until you senator so yeah when I wonderful about something right between way still other reflections on the booth come look can you look at that with me and I just want what do you tell tell me tell me what I want this I see I know I know there is and it's like you blew it I didn't have to get rid of that ok well you get you know what that other pieces right you know what you're seeing there that police that's coming across is the cross on yeah yeah so it's the edge we can make the paper it's the edge of the soft bucks it's the edge of the soft box that black line it's running through the bottom of your reflection is but quite honestly, if you want to try this really quick before, I think that you're probably going to be better swapping out to black just to see if you can get a blue reflection the way you wanted it. So I like what you have here. I think this is nice as a product shot without the reflection just on white. Yeah, and then if you want to try the reflection, quickly throw those black plexi in there before you're done with this set up and see if you can get it. So let me get the white blood, but I just wanted to sweep for greed ahead as well. Well, then you just drop a black card behind it just so that you consider me when the shoes then we won't see the shoes that tour. Why won't you see the shoes? Because she's a black so against the black car way well, yeah, ok, I see it is there's enough variation there that might work, we try it, you can try it already. If you want to just try to keep under exposing until you get more of a blue reflection, right, so any questions, while they're working out their last minute or two of this way, do we d'oh cat czar asks I noticed you have many helpers to give you hands with flagging and adding light what are your suggestions on how to handle it if you don't have that kind of help by a lot of light stands clamps because you know there are photographers who will work alone or with one person and there's you know cards and things on wires and hanging things and propping them oh I like that in them things on wires do we have those lights could you grab one of those lights stands your do it yourself and bring that out and talk about that a bit camera stick and actually you know when I when I go home I'll put a string from here to here and then I'll play my favorite favorite instrument no so this is one of those things we talked about in day one in the d y I set up the the island why I get the same way our brothers from way back and these air really helpful for kind of clamping cards to them because these are heavier than the cards and you're not worried too much about these falling over with the weight of a foam core card or a show card on dh several of these will help and replace some of your help it's so cool sticking a can stick in the eye my my suggestion would be to use ah full gallon can and get these a little bit heavier I like what you shooting I mean, I'm I'm looking at what I see there and I don't dislike it at all and I think you're getting it when you look in here, you know? I mean that's what you're getting enough? Yes of blue you're not gonna get a true reflection and they are going on a shooting on a mirror maybe we should try. Well, you don't have time for that way have won that big right but you know that that's what? There is a suggestion where you could use a full um you're about the same size, right? And the mirror is going to reflect the white background if you have the white going all the way up. So if you shoot it and you didn't get that scene still going toe to get that yeah, that could work. Yes, sidelight. Would that enhance the reflection at all or phil cord? Maybe it'll be a little more dramatic. Intothe wait do actually want to show the shoes? Yeah, uh noble of you considering your client is the shoe very okay. So I mean, you know, the idea is if you are satisfied with this and you want to use your time that's left in this segment to do your job, and I just wonder if there's any way of enhancing the reflection yeah, way why don't you try to do a hard on that shot without a reflection and just see if you like that as a product shot as your final shot with this set up that camera this is a this is a good example and I'll say this because powell is my friend and I no her for several years but I'm this is an example of a photographer becoming obsessed with the concept that she's not executing it's not happening but she's not giving up on it she's trying and trying and trying but this is what makes us better because honestly this is stuck in her head now and she would if she had the time she would work on this until it happened and that's where that's where you know you've become you know the mirror might work yeah actually detracting from the product you're focused you focus on the pedestal wow that's kind of cool you know I don't know I mean, you know if you want to just do the shoes on white just so that you can show the product but I think showing them in in kind of an interesting context is a nice way to go about it but I understand your point I mean I get it I think that there are times when that the propping can distract detract from the product itself, but I don't feel that way in this in this particular sense I kind of like the like the styling here I like the simplicity of it wave focused a lot on the pedestal because television obsession so here call you wantto frame it that's exactly right okay, so I think we're going to wrap it, wrap it up here on this particular shot unless you want to take one last shot which it seems like you do on dh then we'll move on to the to the last segment of the last day off today or something of our really light work do I like it? I think that's really cool I think you did a nice job and I don't think you should be so obsessed with things and arrest that you dragged along the rest of your group into europe obsessiveness on dh but you still made a really nice picture so I would like to see someone other than paulus had the lead in section two because she is the chief she's a little bit you'd be a little bit um okay, so segment two is going to be on these you want to take those italian those from fly girl designs and there are little longhand persons that have a little strapped sign with clutch we call that a clutch right, ladies? Is that what we call we're comfortable with that? Yes okay, tell me what you want is oh look at this the wheels are turning remember styling first this is what you're doing then lighting than setting a camp so they're doing they're going through the three zones everything in threes holy trinity learned to holy trinity's around here wait talk about that a lot here creative live top three top three just the holy trinity and especially imposing people and anything in triangles really photograph photographically can look really nice you're talking like I'm talking like that that have two tongues in my life okay fly girl design okay, so what's happening anyone want to tell me natalia well you seem to be uptake have taken the lead on that so I'm trying I have to keep shutting so we just thought that the pink with these bags would work well okay, so you got to do like a suspended yes but I don't want to so maybe we'll just clothes pin that twine to the board and that way we won't include alone but I'm not sure how they're going hang on the time about bunching up okay that makes something from from that sort of thing yeah and then hanged then what are those made out of those they shiny or they cloth or and that sort of leathery yeah so you know that you know leather is goingto reflect light and kind of a nice soft way so maybe think about the way light will play off that leather when you're setting up your you're lighting, I'd like to see you trying to do you're lighting a little differently in the second one. Like what? What were you thinking about when you watch it? When you watch the new the pedestal shot? What was your impression of the pedestal shop? Yeah, I really like I think black we're discussing the black would have been a better reflection, but the white, I think, fit with feel of the pedestal in the shoes of maura ferial sure, I agree with you, I think the black would have fed into what bob was saying earlier about it being a little bit more distracting because now instead of one pedestal, we have two pedestals and they're really defined and the shoes being upside down in the reflection don't really help the product at all. So I think what what they ended up with with ultimately, probably what would they would have chosen anyway? So but artistically, I can understand her instincts, but I think from a product perspective and mike, I have been better off the way they ended up, yeah, here, which is lower than the camera. It was a perfect mirrored reflection. Well, I was there, but the fact is that because it was on white and the flash was mounted, like you said, that angle of incidence is directly above it it's just pushing it right back up so it's blowing out any of that color that you might see I thought the hint of it was interesting rather than a true reflection I thought it was I thought it was a really nice image especially when they stuck a little bird in there too that was that was kind of nice and were questioned following up on that from josie wales when you submit an artistic version of josie wells yeah what did you say josie where does he weigh yeah I'll be careful with the answer look out more than you know wait you submitted artistic still doing air quotes for that percent of the product how often does the client like that better than the original? You'd be surprised that sometimes you know you know you get a vision in your head and you're like I want it this way I want it this way and then you get it you get what you want and then all of a sudden you see someone else's vision of the same thing and it opens your eyes to something and I've had that experience a lot and we're working with clients where you get the shot you need and then this shot that you really believe in and you worked on that ends up being the one and everybody loves so you know maura's more is better than less for sure so the more the mohr quality shots you end up with more choices that are available to the client insane true to your vision like sure thing to put your workout definitely so I think that made him happy oh, we're almost ready so can somebody explain to me what's going on here explain yours? This is not my vision. Well, I saw you kind of setting this up and I know that you were concerned that you weren't going to get them toe hang kind of without sliding toward each other so I solved that way made the twine a little more torque but the bags of throwing shadows on the background so I'm interested to see if what we can do and the shadows air coming from the studio lights okay, so maybe if we're here with show card and we're blocking out these lights maybe that will help. Okay? You want white or black wait yeah that's that helps that's how so I'm we're losing we're losing daylight. Yeah, well, after two o'clock it's three twenty seattle ready it's winter so you remember you were set up for the strobe exposure to reset it. Yeah, uh should be in a ballpark. My first impression is that die green does nothing for this and if you're gonna hang them that way you better make sure that the spacing is even or else it's gonna look weird so I would say it's ok if they're not hanging in the same plane but I would say the spacing in between them really good so I think this could be so you're saying you think definitely a different background I think that you even might want to go with the natural background there's some lighter kind of luan or or paneling kind of looking thing might look a little bit like like a seventies uh and maybe the background could be further always gonna say something but I won't so you know okay, we'll put it back in here so you're not yeah I mean you know, shadows, natural fabrics, natural fibers woods they work nice with leather because of the fact that you know it is a natural fabric um okay, you guys got about seven minutes to work this out, john yeah it's easier when we raised the yeah, well, you know what, mike? Why don't you get you get help? I'll help you get over there and I'll help you raise it up out there use a top thank ready top one yeah, you don't need to lift until you turn nerio never left from there yet. Okay, tell me when john we're good there I can tell from myself from the camera that you want an apple box of some you could see over getting ok how about here can tal you tell me what you're do you have enough to get the top and the bottom with that they always could move the suspended back too get up against the wood a little better I feel like this needs to come up let me get let me get you an apple box and I think it's too it's too before it is too small thank you for the camera please not casting a shadow anymore because you're you're giving some distance between the backdrop and subject so it's still I'm still getting the very bottom like I think we just need to move what probably having tell me I just the board wants to come in just maybe in two or three and I'm telling you when to stop that should be pretty good there I mean there's gonna be bottom in the frame but we can crop that out later before you go any further I'm going to tell you my last criticism because I'm not unhappy with the way you got your backdrop in your spacing looks pretty good I hate that strength yeah it's totally out of context with the rest of what going for here you still have that twine laying around twenty rig that up quickly you probably will make that a better shot right then you may also want to consider the black and white one swapping being what you have the white one closest to your light source that's a good really good suggestion way helpful type you want to do it that way have a sister uh we did you see it from here here that should be long enough thank you so you know the importance of kind of making all of your propping kind of matching the product in its field and it's you know you know something synthetic and pink was just sort of really out of out of place in back side graphic and the colors you know this you mean of the pink line yeah something like that because the bags don't have it's of natural weather fields you know they're graphic and shapes and stuff right but I found it in extraordinarily distracting the pink like we're still talking about the pink wiring yeah yeah I'm just thinking I don't think that works either you get me the pink one well let's take a shot I mean you know because once we wait maybe crop into that it might work a little bit better so what are we about three minutes out I would say I took two and a half minutes out so if you want if you want the background to go up bring the cake well we've got the top of the light so I think just the twine needs to come down a bit you need some help on this side of you have did you manage it from there? Okay, you might wanna watch your spacing and slides some wd forty order with that with that camera do we have another color background? Uh let me look and see if there's something else you could stick in there in the last minute I don't know that background yeah it's just because they're such graphic bag was playing white yeah, even that would do what you can sit on their pretty easily and just get a test so why don't you try that there you gotta go lower down there, okay? I'm gonna I'm gonna call are calling do this because I want to tell me a little bit about if you had another minute or two or you had all day what what would be what would you like to do with this crime not hang him probably not hanging. Okay, fair enough. I mean, I think you went with a concept you tried to roll with it and just you know, it wasn't what you wanted, so but I think it was you know, you have fifteen minutes and you did you made something cool. It just wasn't everything didn't come together the way you wanted yeah, I don't think the background no, the backgrounds worked well, the black and the white kind of complicate things because you can't use a black background here a great background might have helped if it was because he wanted to use green to put out greening taliban, that sure is some sort of color different column out of wood, right? Well, I think you did a good job either way. And I think your first one with the cake stand look really great. So give me a hand and, uh, and from germany wanted to know how often do you take in your mind? And how important is the color wheel in product photography? And what is important to remember about combination, do's and don'ts? You mean with color? You mean? Yeah, with color your complimentary and contracting color? I think it's always important to be thinking in terms of what colors work together and how not just color, texture and tone, how they all fit together because, like we saw with that pink acrylic wire wasn't gonna work with natural tones and wood and those kinds of things so it's important to match your set, set your plate, your your palate like you would if you are dressing yourself said this before and other in other workshops in that if you we're addressing your set and it didn't feel like things matched or they didn't fit together or they weren't the right the right feel for what you're trying to achieve it's a similar when you're getting dressed. And you put on a shirt that doesn't match the pan so the socks that don't match the shoes it's the same concept you want everything to feel like it matches and and understanding your colors art school one on one kind of stuff is really helpful what's complimentary toe what so back to the color wheel kind of concept yeah awesome. Thank you. And we have a couple of questions in the chat room asking about how much prep that you do with your with your props do you buy them and paint them and distress wth um or tell us a little bit about that workflow please yeah, I have one of my assistants eyes his main focus is he's an artist he's, a painter and he's sort of like like my set master prop master kind of guy. So when I have a particular idea in my head about what I want to surface toe look like or I want him to distress a particular piece that I have will discuss it and we'll work on it and or I'll do it myself. We had this just recently we were working on a really nice which your block surface but I wanted to have like a chocolate brown kind of feel to it and we had one side that was natural look like a real butcher block on the other side kind of sustained it and sanded it out to make it look like kind of chocolatey and now I have two surfaces in one but modifying things and kind of having an idea looking at pictures and saying I want that in my studio is a pretty standard operating procedure perfect thank you well william are crack broadcast tech is ready with some contact she's bringing doing he's going to be putting up one contact sheet yep from each group so we can just take a look and do a little bit of review it is the stylist consistent I think that it's obvious that the the high contrast look off black and color is something that appeals to that appealed to that group and that was something that they were able to execute pretty effectively considering these pictures right out of camera unprocessed raw images these have I think have tremendous potential to be even better once they are even moderately process not even not even retouched just processing these photos into j pegs or tips would would lend a lot to them I like the style elling the symmetrical kind of styling the first one I love the mirroring in the black the the shot with the mannequin you know I really enjoyed the manic and as a prop I also think that as the simplicity of it wass you know something that really jumped out it really lent itself to this type of photography and the light shadowing and the matter the management that you all undertook with that was I thought one of the better things I saw like as a group today I mean I like all five people holding cards jumping around you know? I mean that was that was a really nice team effort on I think all of you kind of put your your heads into that space and all were in the same on the same wavelength for that for those shots I think pulling out the uh the uh antlers for the last shot also you know, you know how to play to your audience so it's an important skill tohave you have to know how to play to your audience so I enjoyed this I think you did very well with it it was it was rewarding to see you put some of the things that way talked about into practice so and again schematic I think the against white look let's not dwell on the fact that the second the second setup wasn't something that they wanted to work I mean, given twenty minutes it's a concept they figured out what they wanted to do with it they set it up, they lit it and they executed it just because it didn't work doesn't mean that it was a failure it just means that it's something that needed a little bit more tweaking and if you had the rest of the afternoon and unlimited props and a budget to work with, I guarantee that you would have made something really cool out of that. I know paolo was kind of obsessed about the cake stand, and I was saying while you were working over here on the second shot that I feel like your vision of that day was on artistic vision, it wasn't a product driven vision because the cake stand became your central focus, and if in these images I don't feel like it overpowers the image, I feel like it complements the image, but if it had been on a mirrored surface and you did have to cake stands to contend with and and an upside down pair of shoes a bit more, and it was the blue, that was, we're almost like that, but more color and still not sure how one would achieve that. Well, well, I agree with you about having to, right if it was to a full if it was a full reflection for too far away from the subject and also it's going to be a little bit distracting and your shoe's gonna be upside down in the bottom reflection. That's going to be weird that's a technical term, but I do like the overall simplicity of the styling, and I think all three of the images that you shot with shoes, including the one with the little birdie all work you got vertical and you got the horizontal. So from that perspective, you achieve the shot that I think is completely usable artistic yet still product driven so I like what we have there. I asked you as you were walking off, you know what we would have done differently? And you and you said to me that you wouldn't upon them up, but your first instinct was a good instinct because it's an interesting presentation and I don't think it's a flawed one I just think that you need to execute it in a different way. There was totally like even if we had this on a wood wall would hooks, you know, hooks screwed into the wall and we had hung them, you know? And we had the spacing perfect and they sat perfectly against the wall on a beautiful brass folk on a really nice naughty pine wall or something like that. I think that would have worked really nicely, but yeah, exactly. So your instincts were exactly the same and then also fanning them out on, you know, on a surface and using, you know, that present station could also be something that you see on the cake stand or maybe on cakes would have been with that on my my pretty

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.

Reviews

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.

Ernst
 

Thank you Andrew. Great class. Learned a lot. Great instructor. Only wish there were more segments using flash rather than the very expensive gear. But, the principles are the same.

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!