Shoot: Hot Lights - Glass Vase


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Hot Lights - Glass Vase

All right, well you can see behind me the lights that we have are illuminating half the room and we're going for are a demonstration of overkill first because we want to show how these lights basically our congee used very similarly to our first set up of the day where we were using our upgraded d y I set up with those compact spiral fluorescent lights which we're throwing you know, irrational amount of light at things this is a completely irrational amount of light for tabletop photography but there is an application here because by diffusing this light down and we basically put two of those grid diffusers in here and we would won't even dare try to touch them until like thirty minutes after they're done but we put them in to knock this light down to a reasonable amount of of lumen sicknesses the light terminology that would use but I'm goingto also further defuse them by putting our homemade diffusion panels in front of them we will hope that they don't catch fire and burn but we wil...

l we will way won't burn the wheat won't burn studio down, they'll be okay but well we're going to use those to kind of diffuse this light a little bit and then we're going tio we're going to try to tempt four shots with two different lighting setups first we're going to do our hmm daylight over kill shot which is you know, this is these are fantastic lights that could be used for so many different things that some of them are being used here they're burning at true these sort of a true daylight option if I were using this for something like food photography I would set this up with the big diffusion panel in front of it just like I'm going to and it would create something of went like a window light a directed window light at my table and then I would manage it just like I would manage sunlight very very similar it's ah it's amazing option these are bit on the high end these air a little bit expect these are kind of expensive lights but they are rentable if you really found an application for them and something you want to do but something you need to be aware of as a photographer because there may be times when you have to work with these lights and there are there are things you can do with them they're also precautions you need to take with them their little bit finicky like anything high tech gloves help. So this is uh this is kind of where we're at with this so let's try to get some diffusion panels in front of these and see what waken get way probably want to give god what do you want to give a little bit of distance here? Um well, probably lean him up against the table. I think that would probably yugo best we got. We can talk the foot in behind the c stand and I'm going to go with side lighting. We're gonna push that right through and you could see that with even with the barn doors, the light is kind of bleeding out this way, so I have something called sin a foil. I think we have it around here somewhere we roll a scent of foil they show you with senna foil is and does too, because when you're working with hot, steady lights, it's something that helps you managed this kind of bleed out that we're getting here and it's kind of pushing, and if we want to really manage this light better it's good to have on set and it's good to use all so you could see that the closer I get to this, the light changes in in on the table. I don't know that I want to get that close to it because it is very hot and could definitely start to affect this. We'll get a point of light here. This is sina foil, basically black aluminum foil and it's matt and what we would do is something like rap the light in it here like this put this up to kind of prevent that from coming out and affecting the flare on the camera so I think I'm going to try to do that tears really easy have those gloves john so again we're wearing heavy leather work loves when working with each of my lights and normally when you're putting those screen filters in and out you either try to use gloves like this or gloves like this and a pliers so they killed him drop him in and out with choirs so I'm just kind of wrapping this around the two barn doors to kind of and inch it out a little bit so what I've done is on protecting the lenses a bit because I find standing here and I'm shooting the lens shade will help but I also don't want to get too much too much flair yet another thing we use their clothes pins keep close pins on the end and for for those who are near side we have pier close friends okay? So the first thing we're going to try to set up here is a shot against black off some nice hand blown glass where these are these air from eliza elizabeth scallon and I'm gonna pick this one first he's really, really pretty and we're going to try to photograph these against black and try to get some what of a dramatic look on these we're going to pull down our black come you don't like sweet let's do black sweep good so back to our gaffer old handy gaffer's tape wanna take down this edge we have nice smooth surface and we're gonna have to meet her this carefully to make sure that we're in the right ball can't pound I got it we've really not this down successfully it's good way brought it to where we really want it okay this one's brighter than this one which one is it this oneness yeah that one has two screens in it this one I can't get the screens into okay pull it's going on it's just pull the screens out of them and what will balance them off? So we were we were experimenting with the screens to see how far down we can get the light john's gonna pull him out and you could see he's using pliers toe work on this light better see pull him out get rid of him and the bigger the bigger the light the bigger the screens the screen is basically the same size is the is the opening and see how they read already started to burn because there's a brand new screens dark spot in the middle that's that's how hot they are okay and they are absolutely perfect on both sides now that you know we have the distance pretty good and we're going to go with okay so I'm not one hundred I s o and I want to be all the way at eight so because we're defusing this light, we're gonna have to shoot it a little bit of a slower shutter speed. So I'm gonna be out of a thirtieth of a second at one hundred s. O so that's some okay, so a nice light even balanced and you could see the shadowing is completely symmetrical in this because we have a truly symmetrical lighting coming out and the and the shadowing comes in both directions. It's on the hinge now we're trying to adjust the barn door is here and it's not going it's not going anywhere, it will be okay. Well, that did it. So I'm just trying to line this up so we can get kind of a reference point and start a starting point for our shooting and to see what we're going to get. So I think we'll meet her properly and we're lined up so let's, take a quick first shot like anything else, this is unique to its shape and the way it's going to reflect light. I'm not completely unhappy with that, other than the fact that I have kind of that that white swee'pea kind of highlight catch and that's upper left quadrant of it that I might want to manage a little bit differently, um and it might be a little bit more difficult. Because we don't have that much flexibility with these panels the way we're working with them and we don't want to move the lights any closer but then we're gonna heat it up so I think we're okay with that side. The other thing we might be able to do with this is ah put some black around the front so let's let's box off this way with some black small cards try that first were really only worried about that side of the moment the other thing you might want to shoot this on this type of glass where things they're sort of looking museum hee is uh black velvet would look nice you still have that flare there on that catches is, uh I see words it's coming from actually inside it's actually coming from the opposite side that's what that's what we couldn't see in the photograph is that it's actually coming from here so it's hitting the inside of the glass and then we're reverberating back against the front it's in there yeah, so possibly a card back here might try to switch to the other side. Wei don't pick anything easy to shoot your creative life because otherwise what would be learning it's still there let's rotate it let's rotate the let's see what happens if it were just kind of rotate a little bit so that helped moved to a different you know, this thing has also got wave patterns in it and a lot of different things going on. So it's kind of it's a little bit complicated we do would do pick up the catch on the right now and it's a little bit of an odd shape, you want to try it without the chord? Yeah, that's what I was just about to say and see if the changes that shape of that catch a little bit, we're not going to probably be able to eliminate every single flare or highlight in this, we just have to find one that we're comfortable with. I think that's essential in understanding the nature of shooting things like this, which we talked about before and the other thing is, if it becomes really distracting for you, those are the things that can be removed if in in postproduction setting or when you're doing what we called earlier, when we were talking about layering images together, you photograph one of the highlights on one side you photograph another were the highlights on the other side. Can you marry them together? Yeah, it's lighter swath on the background is distracting or it's just something I'm not seeing you mean that's what oh, that yeah, I would probably start to manage that as well I was trying to, like first conquer the first problem I can go back to the second part of that. So these are these lights are special like that I moved this earlier, removed this so let's move it back to where its original position and see if we can manage that a little bit better. It is definitely creeping out. Maybe a piece of center foil here. So let's, uh, have sent a boy over here waken box that light a little bit more carefully. Could china sea as there's a possibility that maybe if I dropped down a little bit lower, like below table level, that that might help a little bit more as well. So I'll try that try a different angle while john is figuring out the I like there sometimes changing your angle is helpful and trying to manage the highlights and something like this, you'll tighten it up for you when you okay position lucyna lamarque. Yeah, okay, come down a little bit more good. So now I'm like justice table level and the center dot of my focal array is right there. I can see highlights in in the camera. I mean, with my eyes, this is not going to change very much so maybe if I rotate a little more and find highlights that im happy with then on, say let's look at that ok you see that highlight right in the middle I think if I could bend the light I mean then moved in a way where it's symmetrical at the top of that that one in would waive that I might be able to live with that kind of a highlight because then at least it's balance and symmetrical so I'm going to try to teach you you helped and I see this highlight is right here maybe I can move it to the middle no, I don't like it do you want to look through the camera while I rotated? Yes sure. Check this one first you've got no just move it around a little so I can see eyes were going okay uh thank your hand away let's try that because the spectral highlights now seem to me almost like a crown it's like they seem a little bit more balanced at least to the naked eye. We have that one little issue that that one highlight is kind of weird chasing it around the top as we as we spin we're chasing it on the right now I like everything else but we have that one little highlight on the right that it's I find it a little bit problematic maybe if we angle this a little bit just push this over this way a little bit but we did solve our other problem that you noticed before about this the highlight in the backgrounds now we're at a true black in the background, which which was where we wanted to be, and I have an idea his shift, my angle a little bit to this side because quite honestly, in an affinity curve, it's not going to make a difference from shooting it square on if I may be come off a little bit, lean to one side, maybe I adjust my highlights in a way that I'm more comfortable with. So I think it's let's say it's a little darker, but I think it's better because that now that highlight almost looks like it's part of the off the pattern of the lights and darks. So let me, um, let me bracket this a little bit from this angle and give it a little bit more now I'm not so worried about this swath of light that's kind of creeping in over here, I can adjust that by shifting the light over this way a little bit thin it order, but I'm getting closer to something that I'm comfortable with. No see now we kind of I kind of ruined my background by moving things around that way, I kind of put this light a little too heavily on it, okay? I think this shot two shots before or the shock before this one was as close as I wanted I think I'm going to get in this particular circumstance so what I want to do now is try to angle the lights differently I'm gonna push the lights from the back to the front and she if that changes it's so john if we need the lights this way and angle them across okay, so god be careful with these violists as well because they're a little finicky so we kind of moved slowly and be a little bit more deliberate and where one well working with these types of lights plus being a little bit more careful with burning ourselves or you know, things like that okay, now we want to make sure we're closing up the gap between the light and the background and we'll see if we can get something maybe a little bit different in balance that's symmetrical shadow that we have on the bottom has just kind of you could see the difference that used to be facing straight out this way and now it's sort of fanned out a little bit differently like so let's try this I'm not square so here it is better we'll see if we have a difference here they're this okay well that's kind of nice I think I like that I mean I think that you know the nature of this shape of glass where it's going it's going to lend itself to some type of highlighting and catch lighting that you're not going to be able to manage all of it you have to find one that's pleasing enough to your eye but I definitely like the idea of coming from behind it a little bit more because they think the interior of it is illuminated and it shows that the variations in the blown glass so that to me is a much better result how do you feel about it? I'm like you know, I was just wondering where the camera came up a little bit to show that there is an opening in the top okay let's do it lesson to also about working with another person assistant collaborator friend is having people that you trust their opinion and you like their approach to the work that you're attempting is really important john and I don't know each other that long but we do work together well it's good to work with people that understand your aesthetic and you understand there there's a swell so I think high oh well I really like where the highlights are now but maybe higher still john, when you see what we're looking at you can hire still or what do you think I like it? I mean there is no separation between the front and front and back but yeah, another inch higher maybe yeah, I think so. Highlight a little bit. I think a little higher you might do something really nice. So, you know, if I want an inch, wei wei go an inch on the image which will transport you to a couple inches at the camera. Exactly. So we'll come up a little higher, and the concept was to just get a little bit more of a view of what's going on inside of that, and I kind of like that. I mean, I think I might like that best because it really limited the spectral highlights to something a little bit softer and more manageable shows that there's an interior and exterior to the to the glassware. It's certainly it's certainly something I I think I like the way that looks, um, I don't know if, uh, if we were using a different black surface if we were using velvet here, which is what I suggest that if we were shooting this type of glass where we wouldn't have that symmetrical shadowing, we would just kind of get absorbed. So I would say that that would be the best surface to shoot this kind of glassware on, so that would be my suggestion this is even though this is a math black paper, it's still does have a little bit of shimmer and shane and sheen on it very subtle but it's there and that's what's creating the shadow if we were using fell a velvet or a fabric that didn't have any reflectiveness to it then we wouldn't have that at all. It would have that really beautiful museum quality to the look of the of the image because I think that we have the glass lit well at this point and I think if we were working on the surface a little differently could it could be that much better I'm just trying to get this from hitting kathy in the eye you're gonna be blowing after this glowing okay so we have actually a couple other pieces and maybe we'll see that this might work a little of the same because we wanted to shoot let's throw one more piece of this glassware in here while this well this could be that could be interesting let's pick the hardest thing in the whole place would you shoot something like that completely backlit you say you were going to get there what I should something like that completely backward like begins white? You mean yeah, well what is it with the what? I don't know that I would do that, but it might be interesting just because it might create the colors and yeah, so why don't we do it with this one? Okay? So instead of shooting at the black I might shoot directly into the light so I'm going to take the camera off the stand for a second see if we can accommodate this shot look, john, I did it for all learning so just to see what paulus question is if we can answer paulus question completely backlit which means they might have to rotate this away from what we're doing get this out of the way okay see what that looks like obviously you're going to get a really different grade a shin on the surface when you're shooting backlit it's going to go light it's going to come light to dark from the back to the front and that's a kind of an interesting way of doing this because it's clear and global you know, somebody's taking our money um let's try it again I'll pull it out to me a little bit more and see and I haven't changed any of the camera settings these the same settings we worked with before now couldn't control can we crop that where we don't see the back except for the grady to take away the horizon line if we can crop that so we don't see the horizon line that might be interesting because that's kind of how we want to see it and now we're going back to a somewhat of a day like kind of off approach where I might like this he now now we're lighting this the way I lied in my studio backlit redirecting like to the front um clamps clamps to hear I got so way got the crops oh yeah is that kind of what you were thinking about so I think that any of this glass where that was shooting this way khun work but let's add some more light to the front and see if we can kind of balance it out a little bit and see what that looks like again what I'm trying to try to do is create sort of a tunnel to shoot through hopefully I'm not picking up too much of this red it's that you know oh stuff falling over I'm kind of kind of coming over the top of these cards and I'm not picking up too much of the red but I do see it a little bit how about can you hold that card with your hand from the top and take that red clamp off this one that doesn't seem to be no I see that one too but hope that it might be this is the part that's on it is there might be a silver clamp down below so taking these taking these off might help because this is that's the reflection I'm getting and this might just reflect light back like the wail of a white card will you might not see it as much so let's see if this helps and same thing with this shot let's see if we can cross this in a way where we're just seeing what we see without the background and then you're quick question while we're waiting for that pop up s o j d williamson says our highlights sometimes a good thing to see or potentially reflections or how do you judge what's going to be right as faras the amount of highlights and reflections in a photograph I think as long as it's not distracting and it's bringing something to the photograph I think that's where you have to manage it to the point where it's your comfort zone and it's the comfort zone of whoever you're taking the pictures for if it's yourself you have to be comfortable that this is an accurate representation of the object that you're trying to show on if you're doing it for a client sometimes you have to give them options and say here's something that's really highlight and got a lot of cats lights in it and got a lot of spectral highlights and this is something that's a little bit more matt and flat and this is you know so it's all a matter of preference I think I don't know that there's a right and a wrong to that thank you okay so there is the difference between without a front phil and where the front phil I think we managed the spectral catches really well in the second one even though we had a lot of stuff going on in that but I prefer that I think I prefer the first one that goes from a little darker to a little lighter in the background. That's a little bit more traditional, kind of, um, of a great nation, but it works either way. I mean, this is a cool way to shoot it. This is like, but this is coming from one food photographer to another food photographer who was interesting to me that you're saying that context, yesterday's, that the first ones you took of the blue bars seemed very museum hee or art gallery, where these ones look much more natural, another with the same it's absolutely the same kind of approach that we would take and why we don't shoot food directly on all right, we shoot it side little backlit because we want to give it more of a natural feel, something that has a little bit of depth on dit it kind of gives the illusion of off being in a room rather than something that is being dissed played like artwork, which is different it's flat, two dimensional. So this is more of a kind of try to take a three dimensional approach where this other approach is really more of a two dimensional approach.

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