Tabletop Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 24/33 - Shoot: Knife - Stills and Video


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Knife - Stills and Video

Finally they let me shoot some food all right so here we are and let's say we were using j maurie said don't cut yourself with my knife it's this's a really nice shun knife not donated to us but loaned to us by jim so if we're goingto show this the first thing I'm going to do in the videos show it in action right so I would start a video like this with maybe one thing on the table and the knife so kind of create a bit of a still life setting about what that might look like and uh and then why would do you step up I'll step up and I'll use the knife do everything I want to do with it and then lay everything back down cut video now this is very very similar to videos that I do myself I will do a two camera shoot like this where I have one camera mounted on the top and one camera mounted probably on the side here to catch the action on the table level and then I'll cut it together to make it look like a nice short instructional video but this is also a really nice way to demonstrate the w...

ay a product can be used so there are a lot of instances particularly with cooking implements or like that bag where the functionality of ah a particular item can be displayed or demonstrated very easily in a short video and if you have the capability to light it, shoot stills and then take a little video and in bed that into the into the article or until the the page the purchase page then you have ah really nice opportunity so well it really nicely I'm not throwing the whole I'm not casting a whole lot of shadow on this a little bit, but not too much I mean, I would normally wear a white shirt to do this I wouldn't be wearing something as dark as this, but I really like that so here we have I'm not going to actually watch the mountains are watch my hands when I'm working are you won't be running what are we ready? Yeah, we're ready so let me let's show that and we're live and I'm gonna step up and take this and I'm gonna basically just it's like it dices it slices it dices in julien's kenny corey apple to the core a apple chef of the future emeritus right nice short quick video of something now I liked the idea of setting that a sk you a little bit I think artistically that works, it could have been squared away or whatever, but I don't really know what that looked like when we do a playback on that through here or can they do that and in control but do we have here if we can should be able to do it here well and it'll show there. Yeah, okay, we need a little step stool on, see what it looks like waking critique. Um, okay, so we would go here and of course, I killed it. There you go right now. Go like that and play so okay, we could look at it now in review and say maybe we could do something a little differently. Notice my hands, use my knuckles a single barrel don't cut my fingertips off. I wouldn't necessarily cut celery that way. So I think this kind of demonstrates nicely what can be done with the s l r and a, you know, in the lighting situation that could be appropriate for still there, otis and even that you know, like, when you're trying to pick a pick a frame teo show is your video thumb now, you know, you picked the frame at the beginning or the end, and then you have that kind of in blazing there and it's a nice way to show what what an object can do. So I think from here now I might want to set up another still shot because now my lighting is the same and we'll move back to still we're gonna have some time to talk about some all the lighting and things that we did today after I'm done with this shot so we could do a little bit of q and a and we're good with that way no one talk about threw a question at you right now you know where they want to shoot from yeah let's do it your way okay, okay yeah sure sierra studios would like to know when you add it your videos what software are you using? What software by using what is it it's final cut pro so and then sometimes I have done things in my movie because I feel like I'm movie for leo for simple or videos and things that you don't have to adjust color or anything like that on it works really well cool it's not a bad program and it's fairly intuitive to make the jump up to final cut pro x which is the newest version which is a little bit simplified and then final cut pro with the full of the full program if you get if you start with, uh, my movie and move your way up through final cut pro, it all works pretty nicely you'll get the intuitive feel of the of the controls I don't know anybody using those editing programs you are a little bit well but how you feel about it kind of like photoshopped you just kind of work your way along yeah it's fun yeah, amusing I used photoshopped this photo shop yeah, not not not final cut pro nothing a premiere every once in a while but okay between photo shop if it's quick and easy or used for a shot okay, so so now this being being you gnome or into the realm of making food look decent under this kind of lighting we might I want to turn this up just a little bit and I think we got probably go back to those original settings were at two hundred and at sixteen I don't wanna be at six three to shoot this though now remember now what we're trying to do is highlight the knife, not the food the food is the prop in this situation the knife is actually the subject so we need to rearrange this in a way that makes sense and I wanna have the knife pick up the highlight of the of the lighting so I'm looking at my angle my angle of incidence is here, right? So well coming straight down and I'm gonna bounce it right off of that that blade face and make that blade face goal almost white like we did with the cheese grater and then let a little bit maybe right at the edge go black I don't know if we're getting that from that yeah what am I shooting with? Okay? Yeah that's good okay can you go over there jon and just wiggle wiggle the blade so I can see what kind of light were getting the bounce off that thing and what angle might work for us? Uh yeah exactly if it was like that yep exactly do you see what you can't really see what john is doing but what we found was with the angle of incidence we have here the angle reflection needed to be a little higher so what he did was he used a little wedge of the carrot too. Okay? All right, I don't like the spacing and this comes to you know, the idea of styling in any particular um any realm whatever is on your table, I think how you space things on the table uh, table top is very important, particularly with your angle you want things to look natural, but you don't want them to look messy and you don't want them to look crowded. And I think that that if you don't space things properly, people may not be able to articulate what's wrong with the image because if they're not familiar with photography or you know but they will feel it they'll see it and it won't make them feel comfortable and I think that's the idea of be sensitive to that idea yeah, I think so there are three things in that frame that are driving me insane yes, okay so again just eliminating a couple of those little distracting pieces will I kind of helped me now I have a nervous breakdown I like a little bit of a little bit of mess but not like too messy sorry okay okay let's see the difference and could we put the show those side by side so I can kind of point out a little bit of those styling differences but uh yeah okay um show you see this one here I find that really distracting just that one little piece that was sitting inside the channel yeah watching an obsessive compulsive work so there we go we got a little bit of a difference I'm still I'm still working on it a little bit there's a couple of little distracting elements I'm not unhappy with the angle of the knife um it's again this is a little brighter than what I'm seeing in the camera so I think that on the right is nicer but you can see the difference right go looking to do a little test on yourself right even at home looking look at the cat tuesday two pictures and think about way your eyes go first right and if you do and if you notice that with the messier thing there's there's elements in it that kind of take my eye away from the center of the frame and I want I want my uh my knife to be at the center of the attention I also might want to fill back a little bit on the back side of that so this is a small card for the knife handle because this have a tendency to go dot really dark and you lose definition I was doing an overhead still life of a bunch of kitchen elements one time and it was beautiful on black really, really gorgeous colors and the the vibrant, vibrant shapes and all of a sudden everything looked great and when I put the picture in the computer the knife handle disappeared into the black was gone I couldn't even see it and I was absolutely ruin the picture okay, we got something coming up and there's that one and it'll brighten now okay? All right one last thing that I don't like about this is I don't like the way this knife handle is interrupting this kind of soup of the channel in the line I would rather not have that be something that's a define herbal element in the picture so I don't want to lose my angle of incidents here so I'm going to slide it up just subtly and keep my my angle there create a little bit more space here I think I might get rid of that little one okay? I like the idea that that knife looks used but it doesn't look completely sloppy the other thing is that it's going to make sense right a shot like this is going to make sense in relation to what video we just shot styling is the same the propping is the same and it's going to make a lot of sense and now you can see an image like that being used as a product image or maybe lead image for story about knives on dh it's gives you a pretty clear understanding of what the knife is but I also white want to take a picture of that knife closer so when we do my fifty macro I'm gonna clean the knife we're going to still use the propping but um the way it is but I don't want to use the knife with water in the sloppiness on it so if we can wipe that down a little maybe get a towel or paper towel even yeah, perfect some of the nicer details about a knife like this is the medal itself can I hit that with the spray? Yeah, so I'm getting the shine back on here getting a little cleaner make it look nice I'm gonna probably try to put it back in that exact position that I had it in before to try to get that angle yeah, thank you. I'm gonna handle this one so I might have just my shutter and my it's okay, yeah, sure um I don't want to unplug the tether holding okay, thank you all right, so I'm at an eightieth of the second, which I feel I could probably still comfortably handhold if I really feel I'm getting camera shake increased to four hundred esso and then jump up three spots on to one hundred and twenty five, so now I want to get closer to the knife in the same set up. I don't really like that it's all about the handle, maybe I'll I'll find that angle that I like, where the blade looks shiny and nice that's kind of cool, check it the next one. So that kind of really highlight some of those really fine details in the blade, the little death, that little dimples and the waves of the damascus steel that's kind of cool and then maybe even get closer still and do something kind of conceptual yeah makes it almost look ominous this one it's pretty cool, but I mean products style, you know, from from a product perspective, you know, when you have something that says beautiful as ah handcrafted steal something that has these kind of details in it it's important to kind of have the ability to show it and again, we're showing it in context we're using the techniques that we learned about reflectivity were kind of maybe giving a little bit of an artistic flair by using a shallow depth of field but it's still appropriate for product photography and it's still appropriate for trying to sell product. So even though this is ah, I'm shooting this in more of a vein in which I might shoot food it's appropriate because it's a food product, it's something that's going to be used with food. So I think as far as where we're all here, I'm kind of calm, satisfied that we've got we've accomplished what we set out to do. I think what we wanted to do here was show that we can set up some steady lighting that we could use and manipulate for still life photography and product photography, as well as adding video element to it without having to change the lighting to dramatically so ah how's the internet feeling about it? Yeah, I thought this was really good. This was from sierra studios and asked in the video demos the motion was in the subject themselves. How do you handle movement of the camera video? Do you do any of that? I do, but it's requires a little bit more equipment than we have here today. Unless we the the operator here wants to lend us boom waken set up a rail system on the ground. There are so, you know, that's one of the things that I've been kind of experimenting with on I would love to create a rail system for shooting the kind of things that I shoot and what a rail system is it looks like when you put your camera on a little train track and you will slide it and move it and follow movement with it and it's, you know, I think they call it the dolly, is that correct? But a slider or there's a lot of different techniques for camera movement, but tabletop slider would be the probably the most effective thing that you could use on a tabletop and you can find them, they're not that expensive. I mean, they're not crazy expensive if you really wanted to dedicate yourself to do a video. Cool, do you have anything in the audience? Do any are any of you guys shooting video? No, but you're probably thinking about what it could be definitely very, very much a challenge, right? Yeah, when you're walking into a studio and you're trying to do both right, how do you like what you're best? Like you said, three top things if you're going to try and do both, what advice would you have? Well, I think that the first thing you have to do is decide whether or not the lighting that's available to you will be appropriate for stills and video together. I mean, I think if we were sitting here and tungsten lighting trying to do the same thing, it might not look the same. So if you were in a warmer light environment, it might not work. And you need to identify your light and be comfortable with the other thing is how much control you have over where the lights are, where your camera is going to be. Because sometimes the the most inhibiting factor in coming into a video set to shoot stills is dying. You don't have any control at all. You just have to shoot what's there. Right? So I think that whether or not you get control at any at any juncture to move things to change, things too dictate light temperature and things like that that's important to understand. And I think the third thing might be just be confident that you can get what you need with what's there and understand that there are limitations. I think sometimes you come into a situation and you try to make oranges out of apple sauce and that's that's not gonna happen, right?

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