Shoot: No Budget Set-up


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: No Budget Set-up

We've talked about pretty much all of the objects that we're going to use in r d I y set up and again, our table's really dirty, but that's okay, because when you use a different surface for this, the silly headphones that you saw us wearing well, they're not silly, we are are really they're going to photograph really interestingly, because we're going to use a reflective surface, which we've done our best to clean, and these are kind of high, techy looking, shiny, really cool looking headphones, and we're going to try the red ones first. Um, do we have the wires that go with these? Okay, I want to see that because there's something I might want to do with that. So the first thing I want to do is I want a photograph them kind of straight just the way they are on this. We'll light him in a certain way where I can see the reflection and I want to be at sort of like an angle like this, so I don't need a sweep. I only need this on ly need the reflective surface and you can I interrupt a se...

c? Yes, those air wireless headphones are they they are? Do you want a wire that still to bring you a wire as a prop? I don't no, no it's. Okay, if their wireless and that's even better if I didn't, I didn't realize they were wireless. I didn't know we were so fancy. Um, okay, so let's, try to get our lights up first. So we're going to use these little sticks and see how we can mount our lights on him this way with me. You know where we might need a little bit of having john here and an extra set of hands and the trigger release and all that stuff is going to come in handy. Uh, the nice thing about this clamp light is that if I don't like this angle it's very easy to just move it to a lower angle and play that way. Ok, this also may be better suited off the table because this might be a little strong, but we'll have to see how we can defuse the light and make sure it's like it's what we like. You also have to be careful of this reflective material in an environment like this because there's a lot of stuff here. So when we start to photograph here, we might have to box this out really carefully to avoid that surface being reflecting everything in the room. Thie angle in which you approach this will also determine how much you see like from here I can see lots of stuff but if I'm here I might not see as much the first thing that might be a problem is this because I'm already seeing that from pretty much every angle so if I pull it back and get it out of the way, that might help me a little bit. Okay that's fine. Just drop it straight down there, okay? That helps from there. Okay? All right. He's plugged in ready to go? Uh that one is the other one doesn't have a switch, so plug it in when we're okay. Well, let's try one light first so this is kind of like this is pretty dramatic this direct light and it's covering almost the whole the entirety of our subject, so we're gonna remain on a tripod because if you have a camera, you probably have a tripod so way might need to move this to the right because I'm picking up the stand in the light and you cannot run a question by you while you're working on that over there please absolutely awesome. So mary lou asked, can we use remote trigger release instead of the one that you plug into the camera and do you do mirror lock up as a follow up to that as well I don't, but I could use uh could definitely use ah remote trigger that's fine, I mean that's a nice piece of equipment if you have it. Yeah, cool. Okay, so with nothing that was with the bare light, right? So you could see in the image the parts that we like in the parts that we don't like, right? We can see that reflection really crisp and clear. We see the reflections off the light stand in the background which we don't like that light is a little too harsh and sharp on the sharp edge on the front side and the shadows it's casting on the inside of of the headphones aren't very pleasing. We can see some scratches on the surface itself but in this right now, at this point in time that's nothing we can do about that but the idea is that we'll be aware of it in post production if we have to and on we can remove those scratches pretty pretty easily. Um let's put this one over there, clamp it up over there. Okay, so the first thing is we got that going on and we might need to box this out just a little bit and give back a little light on this side and you could see that it's definitely helping immediately to push back a little bit of light on that side so it's getting a little bit more balanced we're getting a little light on the inside of the cup of the earphone and it'll probably now again outside of the frame we're still we're going to see the card but that's going to be cropped out when we come we come in, I'm still at eight no, I'm sorry I'm a thirteen I'm at thirteen and I'm at s o eight hundred a twentieth of a second so when you're using this type of lighting which isn't throwing a tremendous amount of light it our subject you do need to push your camera a little bit harder but the cameras are totally capable of handling it, so I think I might might want to drop down just a little bit further I'm going to try to hand hold this for second just until I'm happy with what I have yeah yep, thanks so I'm gonna test this by hand, which is something I'll do pretty often when I'm working like this and then once I find the angle that I'm really comfortable with, then I'll set the camera back up on the tripod. So if I'm like right about here that catch light is the only thing at this point that I really don't love I think the drama of the lighting is pretty cool considering we have just one little bulb but maybe adding a second light maybe coming from this direction here is going to balance that out a little bit and give us a little bit more of that kind of clean uh read but I mean I am not completely dissatisfied with that I'm not crazy about the catch light on the left that's that hot spot that's being created by the light itself and I'm not crazy about the card reflection in the other side now there's a certain amount of that that any product photography is going to contain but you might want to move that catch somewhere and put it somewhere where you're comfortable with it I don't know that I necessarily loved that so I might move stuff around a little bit tio and use my eyes to accommodate it so ah or is it it's true you can do that I mean I think that I don't necessarily use of filters like that unless I'm outdoors for video and to you know with sunlight being as bright as it is and trying to polarize it that way but I don't know that it's necessarily something I'm going to do to knock down ah highlight I might prefer to find a better way to utilize the catch which this shot coming up how much that's much more comfortable for me it's not as prevalent my eyes don't go directly to the catch light so I also pre positioned the card too to push some light back into that upper area of the headphone I'm going to try with trying now tio before we put the camera back on to get this light engaged and see if that's going to make a difference in kind of giving us more balanced even I also might pull this back a little further I might need to deviate from my d I y a little bit and put this on a light stand just because that's what we have here but let's assume we had a lot more sticks in buckets so I made I made the c stand myself I melt I melted the metal and I poured it into a mold in my garage and you know it took me a couple of days it wasn't so bad so I don't want this to be as strong on the subject way have a plug for this this one doesn't have a a switch problem with stick in a bucket is it does not have feet okay so let's take a look that's the bare bulb coming at it from this angle and reef and filling some of that creating a little bit different catch light that light on the side is different now by the way yeah it's definitely back to where it was that's better I could see it with my eyes that's much better that's pretty cool get me another location cord okay so if we look at what we got there I'm not you know, I don't know that that's terrible, I think I'm okay with that. I think I might want to manage that catch a little bit more the lightest, pretty even and balanced might filter this a little bit let's try to throw filter in front of it and see what that looks like wrap this around just so that we don't okay, what you just saw me do is important to know what what is having sandbags in your studio, especially when you're working with lights and things like this. This goes a little bit beyond the d I y, but if you are using photographic equipment and on any level and you're using lights that are hot and everything else having sandbags the way things down is something you really should invest in did not that expensive and they will save you a lot of heartache when and if you're want to go. D I y with that, I find a lot of thrift stores have ankle weights and diving weights around that maybe two bucks for a twenty pound sash or of weights, so every time I see a three story was going in by weights, my wife thinks I'm crazy, but okay, uh, what was I going to do? I was gonna put a diffusion panel in okay might need john to hold this for me this is where having a friend to help and I could already see that that's kind of softening that catch light a little bit it's not as it's not as pungent, poignant, pointed okay, so what I want to do is I wanna eliminate that break I think I like the lighting right now for a home d I y set up I like I like the balance I like the fact that I have some catch lighting a little bit of shadow what I don't like is I can still see not the light stands ok, that doesn't bother me because that's going to get cropped out but you see that line that's running through the reflection of the bottom we have to go higher way have to go higher I don't know if we could do that right here if yes or we could move well every word in there to put a black cord yeah let's do that instead let's do that so we wantto we wantto have this reflection be red evenly so the black underneath the reflection it doesn't have that cookie break in it so we could probably hold something else in my teeth. Yeah, well I could see your hand pull it toward yourself yeah uh go back a little bit that's fine way have a really solid backdrop our reflection is complete, the lighting is even and balanced we have some catch lights the color temp is a little different than what I might want, but I can always adjust the color temperature and that's the that's. The hazard of using household lighting is that you're going to get that kind of lower kelvin reading. You know where? It's more of a tungsten. Look, um, but I'm not dissatisfied with this. I might kind of bracket this a little bit. And the terminology bracketing means I would take the same frame and either change my shutter speed or change my aperture to adjust for the highest. Um, I can get in the lowest I can get within that range and excuse me, more flexibility. So once now I know that I want to shoot here. I can kind of get a little closer. Maybe one of the other things I think would be really cool to do with this would be to suspend the crown piece off the subject and we could suspend, eh? Uh, stand or something above it and hang it from some string so that we can always take that out in post production. But that would give that look a little bit more of a dynamic look, when we're using something to get so there's our cropped image on dh that's not bad, I mean, that has that's right out of the camera raw we haven't done any post production to that yet. And that's a pretty good starting point. I think that would be a comfortable starting point to display an item like this.

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