Shoot: Jewelry Experiments


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Jewelry Experiments

Okay let's see what happened full dark oh no there it is I guess that although those are probably small imperfections in the glass or it might actually be the speckle ng off the medal in the on the dial that's coming through that way which makes me think shooting it that close up may not be great because it might be difficult to manage that because if that's underneath the glass on the on the dial of the necklace there's nothing we can really do to fix that unless we do it all in post production which would be ah, a bit of a nightmare because it's a lot so you know again you don't know until you start to play with objects and see what they're about, what kind of things are gonna happen? You remember this little thing is all metal and all reflective in and out and has a glass over the top of it so it's just reflective upon reflective upon reflective so we're putting it in this environment where there's light bouncing all over the place it's very it's very likely that we're going to have...

problems with managing kind of maybe some highlights and shooting at that macro we're going to see every little detail so let's try something that you suggested so some of these objects over here speaking to you guys and we have this bracelet that we played with before by love and adore and I think it was called that correct loving adore covered in adorn. Sorry about that covered in adorned. Um, and I think that we need to warm this set up with some kind of wood or something in the background, because I don't think that well, maybe this will work for us. So let's, try a couple of little things, see if we can create a little bit of a scene here for our hair in a put that as a backdrop. No, I don't think so. There's. No hole. Wait, let's, give it a shot. That's. Very cool. Now, can you crop that for me once it comes up on the screen? Because I really want to see what this looks like without all of that. Because I think it's actually pretty cool shot is a little bit hot. We can probably take a little bit mohr and take one more. A little more aperture. Yeah. That's a nice crop. Look at that. So, andrew, when you're doing that kind of would you keep your appetite really small like that? So that the back so that that cork board was as crisp? Or would you ever soften it out, you know, I it would be very hard to do with this type of lighting. Right, because it's way too hot take it down so much and filter it through so much to get an aperture that's small I mean that big and get up to get an open up down teo ater. But I like the crispness of the background. They think it's ok here. I mean, I think it works. Um, so I think what we want to do at this point is switched the lighting out and show that we can use this with something with other lighting as well. So you wanna pull? Maybe we can bring up our little d I y lights back out and put him on the light stands, and we can try to shoot this a little bit differently with some of the other things you suggested. Um, and we could do that on the fly shouldn't take a minute or two and into what you're doing that we just we got this great question from mark from chicago. Okay, who asked exactly when would you prefer to use the d y set up earlier versus the light shed? How do you make those decisions? Well, I think that this this is a really controlled environment for small objects, and I think that when you're looking to shoot things in a very clean, even balanced kind of lighting and you could fit inside this thing this is a home run, I think when you're looking to do something moodier or you started doing something a little bit more environmental or you have a bigger object that won't fit inside a light ten that's when I think I would make the distinction great speculum highlights to jewelry to make it sparkle well, I think that, you know, using this might be more difficult to do because it's so contained I think when we're doing it, we'll probably do a little bit on day three with jewelry where we're using strobes or hot lights where we can position them in a way where we like the catches where we're picking up those highlights in the facets that we want them. This might be a little too balanced to get something really important, I add a light at the front or something. Yes, you khun ad a light let's say a cross lighting help with the spectrum highlights doing like a beauty dish that's big ah big wide beauty dish that creates a big white round shape and shapes are really important when you're talking about doing that because you want to do something interesting or creative around light versus a strip light versus a big soft box, all of those things will create different spectral highlights, so if you're able teo experiment with different shapes of light and even if you can't have um the ability to use different lighting you can always shape the light by creating masks for your lights, you know? So now this light is obviously a very different color temperature you could see right off the bat and it's going to create a warmer tone that might be nice for this particular little setup that we got going on and we'll be able to match them up side by side uh after this shot and we'll be able to see the difference and make a decision as to whether we like it warmer or cooler. No, this is going to be a very different setting. Yeah, we didn't I didn't do that now when we talked about earlier about the whole idea of letting the background fall away now we can do that because now we can get a lower aperture, so I'm going to just experiment my light meter in my brain see if that works. I got close pretty close for a shot let me take one more and then we'll put him up. So now I've changed my settings two, two hundred hundred shutter speed at aptitude for so now that now we're going to get a little bit of that that I feel this is going to become a more ah touchy feely shot now we're going to get a little bit more artistic with it because now things will fall out of focus and we have a shallower depth of field and it's a little bit moodier and I'm gonna try one more shot that one okay, so if we see that last one I shot versus the last one I shot with the strobes we can see side by side ofthe how dramatically different the light temperature is and what the aperture change does for the images and how using the same exact setup because you're very very different type of an image so that's the one we just shot and you can tell specifically because this is all out of focus in the background and look at that that's very different it's much whiter and brighter this's warmer and so here's here's a situation where the let releasing the least the less expensive lighting set up for this particular set up gives us a result that's remarkably, I think better warmer, more inviting and more a suitable to this particular because the browns and the golds and you have the opportunity to teo work on the light temperature a little bit in post production if you wanted to, but quite honestly we're at a good starting point because we have a lot of gold and browns and blues which worked better in in that in that warmer temperature so all right, well let's try what was some of the other things we're talking about here we had the driftwood this one or the long, long piece? This one? Yeah, yeah, way fit that in there. So, what else do we have that we can play around with in here? What is that? I don't think we can. You know what, that way. Have a general question from jinx photography. Okay, do you find that simple? Is better when photographing large, detailed jewelry? Or do you prefer to use props, tag creativity apart from the piece itself? I like propping things out. I really do. I think that it gives a better feel for what we're trying to accomplish in the idea of selling. And when you go into a jewelry store, right, the difference between the place that has the big, uh, kay, jewel or whatever kind of places in the mall where it's all kind of laid out in display cases and all that. And then you go to a boutique jewelry store. That's all dropped out, and it gives you a whole different feeling of the customer that's coming in here to buy the idea anaesthetic of the person who's making the jewelry. So I think that ultimately this's a personalization of your product photography when you're propping things out. And I think that if you, if that's not part of your mission, as as ah you know a person who's selling or whatever that's fine, I don't have a problem that me personally I would prefer teo to show my personality and not just the objects but how we display them as well. So where are we? So we got this thing we need to put some wood on the bottom now I think we fit something in there it's gonna highlight this something that can we get something in there like this? Well, maybe we can go with the white let's try it I wanna put some put those things down to let's see maybe a ring and we'll go go go close this is kind of cool kind of naughty and different what is this thing? Does anybody know what this looks like brussels breath that might not work so we'll try something else um that's too big. I like this I just don't know what is this? What if one of these air hearings oh, I there we go. Oh, they're already there already kind of propped let's see this's uh shelly marquis I see okay, I understand now please have provided with props so maybe I got an idea where was that let's bring this out again okay, so we got a little bit of an environment going on here already let's try drop that down, okay, I have an idea let's build out some light here with some cards because now we're using steady light again we can kind of bounce stuff around a little better jump right over the top of it that's good let's try that first yeah just let people see what we're doing oh you mean it's not just you and I like experimenting today okay, we need to just brighten it up a bit so I'm gonna go to four hundred s o leave my settings the same which is uh around eighty and three and a half see if we can pull something else out of this some bad it's a little soft because we're at a very shallow that the field which I don't know is I mean it's okay, but it's not really helping the product so we're gonna move this little closer and then we may be able to get them both in the I'll go to eight hundred and then be able to go to about five so that should give us enough depth of field here to kind of put both of those in focus my card is continually falling over on me so bear with me for a moment okay? Getting closer will be closer I like these hanging askew not directly next to one another I think that hanging them at a different each at a different level gives it a little bit of a different feel um I'm not sure my white card is doing exactly what I wanted to say I'm gonna pull it out of there because I want to get a lower angle kind of like that I mean, that kind of like where we're going with it it gives it a kind of a riel rial feel what we think how we feeling about that? You actually andrew I was gonna ask you what's your checklist when you're reviewing your shots yeah can you give me a little checklist of what you look for? Well, I mean compositionally I need to be happy first think once I feel compositionally ready to shoot and then I can I think composition has to come first and lighting comes second that's my to the two main things that I have to be happy with before I start to experiment on anything else. So you know compositionally it's important for me to feel I have a feeling that everything is proportional and fits in my my space appropriately for what I feel aesthetically is right I know that's a lot of artistic jibber jabber but it's, you have to go with your gut when you're looking at your compositions you know you have to look at it and say, does it feel right on dh that's how I am that's a main part of my process but and then lighting has to come second because once you find your composition then you have to figure out if your life is in the right spot or your body is in the right spot and you might have to rotate and twist or changer changer lighting dramatically to make that look appropriate so I mean I like what we have here I think this is yeah okay that's a that's a that's a good suggestion let's try it might need to slide that under a little bit for t get it yeah um no because it needs to come and meet the needs to come and meet the wood if you you know because I don't want to see the white in between if we're gonna go darker I want to really go darker and we just want to clarify that these earrings are from pretty fun pretty fun yeah not shelly marquis I just want to get a little mixed up I'm really botching that whole part of it are no that's ok? We got your back. You know, one of the things that I really like about this shot I have to say is that I design websites and work on a little bit of e commerce like this and it's really nice tohave that this more editorial type of photography for like that home page or you know your sliders or cara cells and I'm glad they're showing us both individual pieces and then a little bit more of an editor editorial it's hard for me to break out of that mindset because I think that of the three venues that we work in publishing, advertising and editorial editorial is by far the most creative and I think that because the majority of my work happens in that venue that's the way my brain goes first so it's hard to break away from that mold but I think that from enough from an advertising standpoint to I think if you look at it particularly jewelry designers the league the more well known they are, the more static it gets. I think sometimes the stuff that you find at the boutique shops are you shopping in brooklyn where you're hanging out here and seattle or in portland and you find some really cool shops and they have advertisement they have website you'll see that that the creative aspect of that is definitely more pronounced okay that's cool john because that really helps me because I got a little bit more room to play with that back were that background now watch this. This is this is really where we wanted to be before so by pulling a little bit more depth and giving a little bit more context that's a cool like layout and it's I mean literally I mean it's a foot by foot and it gives us gives us so much in that one little small space and again we're using the the light tent and the d I y lighting these bulbs aren't even frosted their royal bulbs so actually you know what john why don't we try this let's turn these off for a second and pull out um those blue lights I'm just curious as to what way put I put him back over there the blue lights we use before for the fill if we put those in here of course john and I are probably burn our fingers off trying to take those bulbs out but if we did that let me take this shot which is one light for a second and see if that works that works too can I see the last two side by side that was one light and in two lights because that would really be cool to look at because I kind of create a little bit more side lighting and shadows which is how I like to shoot and you could see it you could see it clearly so this shot on the left of the screen here you could see that this side is a little hot andi over here you see how it fades away into shadow a little bit and what that does is it draws the viewer's eye back to the product it's not a broader view now but a narrower view and it gives the directional lighting will give your viewer the queue is to which direction they should be looking at because as it starts to get dark you're I will come back this you know, this is a really nice clean shot but this over here is it could be a little bit distracting this would be one of those situations where you might use a composite where you might put them together now that's a kind of an advanced photoshopped technique that a lot of product photographers do they'll do things in pieces um a lot of those from a food photography perspective a lot of those big hamburger shots that you see for like, you know, fast food, restaurants and whatever those composites they'll take pictures of peace is peace, peace and then we'll put them all together in one shot what you doing that with your finger you you still have ah skin on your fingers and and andrew, how about for you? Because I actually had that question to ask you about compositing do you do any compositing? Put it on the tripod and then you might shoot your highlights and she your shadows separately and composite them in photo shop. I haven't that's not part of what I do but again ninety percent of what I'm doing is not this type of high end product work right when I do shoot product it's usually in the realm of the food context and I try to keep that same feel of what I normally do with my work I would absolutely do it if I was shooting a campaign or something like that because the majority of the highest end of product and, uh, kind of still life photography, that's being shown in magazines and on television is composited or cd I or rendered or a combination of all three. So it's getting this kind of, like, right in the camera, the way we're trying to do over the first few days, this is sort of and when it comes to the highest end of product photography, kind of the lost art because everything now has become so that's, pretty cool, everything has become a little bit more tech driven, so kind of cool to be able to try to get it right in the camera. Yeah, thank you. Okay, so we switched our light temperature up, you know, let's go one and then we'll we'll see what to does. So this is one and I don't know if that's going to change my camera settings that much, but it probably will, but let's uh, let's, take a test shot and see what we got. You could see that's considerably cooler on this. You see the difference in the light temp really important to understand the differences, and that is more of that kind of cool blue white light, you know, going toward white you could push that a daylight setting and it would probably be cleaner but again with this kind of wood and gold and I like the warmer light uh, yeah, okay, yeah, so there it is. I mean, we have the shadowed wei have the one that's brighter on here side, we have the one that caused drifts off to a little bit of shadow with one light, and then we have the one with the with these bluer daylight more closer to daylight than tungsten like, quite honestly, I'm still like in the one in the middle because I'm also looking at that as a raw image not ah completed image, and I still think that one has the most potential to be, I think, right on screen, the one on the far left, the gold looks the best, but the entire composition is a little too bright for me, but I mean, it's still again, it's about your personal tastes and how you're gonna use post production techniques to kind of find what you want and how you crop the image and whether or not you're going to be using ah, you know and, you know, making it on call I remember, you know what times it's three thirty I'm losing my moves in my focus, I want to try one more thing, but I don't know if I could do it on this thing about doing something crazy like trying to photograph piece of juliana mirror. Um, it's worth a try. It's fun, let's. Give it a shot, I think it's interesting. And we got a couple of more things over there that I could watch the names on. Um, this was a really cool thing. It was. This meant to be displayed this way. Or was this something? Did they send this to us this way? You did it, danielle, that it looks great. And these little buttons on there by ursula let's. See what? Herning arcila markgraf. Sure, we put your that as well. I feel your pain. I've been getting my name butchered for most of my life, so so we're gonna try this and see if we can get an interesting picture of these buttons on the mirror. Okay? I'm gonna give it a little more shut because I feel like it's a little bit hot. So that's kind of interesting to display, um, to display things on mirrors and getting a true reflection coming off, it kind of gives a little bit of a design element light and absolutely balanced all around it, especially with something like this, where you really want to see the detail, because it's really tiny these are contextually very tiny as buttons like buttons like the same size of the buttons on my thing. So let's, take one more from kind of a little bit more of an upper angle and kind of neat let's. See if we put something else on here, what else? What other kind of things we could do. Because now that we figured out that we can shoot on this mural let's experiment a little bit. Um oh, boy. Well, no, you can try it's got some cool details in it and this one was by dixie darling, this one it's very like it's reminiscent of ah, something oceanic. Okay, I'm going to actually let the mirror come into the frame because I think it's kind of interesting to use it as a design element. I think this might be a little too black. We can have the second, okay? Want to try that and see what it looks like? What happens when you trust the guy to do this stuff? I'm not even sure it's okay, you're gonna help me danielle to the rescue? Yeah, a ce faras the macro wouldyou do you ever use what would you recommend our ring adapter? You know, somebody to get even closer, like one to one kind of raise you, I have one, and I found that you know in my work it's not necessarily something I'm going to do because I don't really need to be that close but if you're going super macro and you already have a macro lens and you put a one to one adaptor on it you're going to be able to get super really close detail and that kind of stuff that uh what you call it like insect photographers and people do flowers and things like that in nature that's kind of that application but I could see you working here absolutely that's quite different I'm sorry. Okay, well that's nice now it looks good because I mean that's interesting I like it right? I like the idea of shooting on mirrors it's kind of cool I think with the black in particular if I got really close here with all these little things going on it could be kind of cool let's say that next one now I'm shooting it like food you go back to your room so let's try a couple of things we got a minute or two. What else did we want to say? Let me see that pine cone john, do you think there's more things in the case here too? They wanted me to remind you okay, well, we've got two more days way see that pine cone uh, some earth try this think now this was shelly marquis this one I hope you got that right that time so it's a pine cone wearing some jewelry you wanna give me that black background again in here yeah I would throw it over here so right up to the edge if you don't mind yeah pick it up a little so it's you know what you did before oh yeah exactly um I'm getting that little line in the bottom that white yeah see the other side it's cleaner thank you. Wait not the diffuser wasn't in place yet, frank this shit this pine cone um it's too bright so we're gonna go back four hundred and see what we get so andrew quick question between your food photography and your product photography yes your local antique store dealers must smile every time they see walking in the door easy mark no question about it this is kind of cool I think the tones and the colors are right but I don't know that I'm displaying it properly I'm not doing it justice maybe this is better suited for something else let's try something else and see if we can save this for another another thing um well okay I think he's also from that same line the shelley market because they look exactly the same like they match they have like these little things like that so let's see if we can do this no pine cone what I'm doing magic tricks here each time I open it there's something different in there I don't know if I can make this work alright I'm giving up on the bank all uh pine cone when I really wanted to use it smaller yes somebody just call my name know someone suggested the antler I want to use the antlers but I don't think they're gonna fit in there so um I don't want to hurt either that's brand new so we got this kind of it looks like a bone but I think it's a piece of something you know that was really helpful of you at home. Yeah it's a piece of something that kind of looks like a bone dis grasping at straws with this dropping right now because I really want to show some cool way to do this like this one we keep coming back to it because it's so flexible and easy to work with um from a from a propping perspective you know being ableto wrap this thing this is sort of like a wrist when we prop that upjohn uh probably too big let's weigh use a clamp I can crop it out so it might be a smaller class too let's let's throw it over to the audience and so were you guys thinking about your questions here's one from a melissa I mean you're already affecting folks out there um melissa just called her plastic store and they have a couple of different options for the plexi glass can you advise on what thickness and opaqueness that they should consider? Well, I think thie thickness should be like the ones that we have here probably around in eighth yeah, there about an eighth of an inch thick and those are nice because they're they're movable and light and you can flex them a little bit so you can kind of create a little bit of a sweep with um um so I would say that the eighth of an inch there and as faras opaqueness, the ones we're using today are completely solid we're using we have white, we have black, I have a few at home that are red and I have one that is kind of opaque and it's roughly ah, like our diffusion panel. So if you kind of see the way the light was penetrating through the diffusion panel because normally one that's opaque or somewhat translucent would be used as a light table where you would light it from underneath great and then a follow up from jinx photography would you use the black plexi with jewelry? Oh sure, we could totally use that and I think that maybe when we're we're wrapping up some of our more aggressive, aggressive product photography at the end of day three we'll try that out too great. We have a question from gym in virginia how would you support your camera for straight down vertical shots and he's asking if there's an inexpensive or d I y way to do this? I use a rather expensive camera stand but I have a cross arm. That thing the camera head can attach to that attach us to the top of the tripod. So essentially it makes the tripod like an el. So you put it up and then you go across this way and then you attach the camera head there and you could dangle the camera right over the tabletop. One word of advice when using this type of the system invest in not just sandbags but heavy sand bags because that is this's what this is what this man does for for me and for everyone you don't even have to like. Imagine it before it actually appears in front of you this's exactly what I was talking about. So this is a smaller tripod. You might need to get a taller tripod to do it, but you can always put your stuff on the ground when you surface is on the ground and this hang your camera from here and goes looking straight down so this is yep you wait this down, how are you? Can they use sometimes they have, like a hook here yeah, and you can hang things, turn that they could see that, yeah, it's a little ring here they can hook some weights on. Okay, basically, this is just the centre column of the try. Probably took it out of there and into their not everyone does that right. Most of the newer tripods. We're doing this now because my mind that I spent the money on the cross. So, yeah, I think that that's a good solution for that. I wouldn't call it a d I y solution, but I definitely would call it a more affordable solutions than buying a five thousand dollar camera stand.

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