Shoot: Styling a Cookbook Continued


Tabletop Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Styling a Cookbook Continued

So while they're solving that problem what you answer a question so one of the things that we got que ns photography asked jimmy d y's options were creating the ball of light on a background or surface if you do not own a snoot in particular options for a flash gun for a flat a flash gun options for a flash done ok, what? Ok. Oh, well I would just do what I did with cina foil okay, you know and try to create somewhat you can create your own snoot with senate foil roll cinephiles relatively inexpensive and you can most certainly direct a beam better that way and you know you can try to make it is as long as you want it and try to experiment with it but you know, as you closed down outside and create a tunnel for it to go down that could help. Great. Thank you. So what what's your head? I'm gonna bring this late around it's a little more. How are we doing way not what are you doing with that cord I'm trying to darken this corner. Well, you're using a white card now, she's well, it was bl...

ack ink it's life on that so expected you way go but I like the other side is a bit lighter now, okay? Just a little more wanted teo wait still covering the bottom yeah, we're covering the bottom. I I'm still not in love with the rest of the props. I think I might want this to be a little bit simpler, and I felt like that that bun pan is a little bit distracted, so let's, try that a little differently. And what are your thoughts on the dust jackets? Shoot him with? You know, the thing is it has absolutely nothing to do with my thoughts on them. It has to do with the fact that the publisher will refuse teo even use a picture that doesn't have a dust jacket, honore so you have to shoot them. I think personally bound books are more attractive, but the whole idea of the selling point, which is something we talked about in the first day, was the art on the on the cover, and the amount of research and testing that happens in publishing about book covers is unbelievable. It's so detailed and often time the even if the author has power over the pictures inside the book, he or she doesn't have power off who they hire to photograph the cover. Because there's been a number of books I photograph why didn't photograph the cover? Because it was a completely different concept it's a portrait or it's, even even times when I've actually shot the cover. They sometimes have gone and used a different picture because their tests say this works better. I was your read my mind. I was just gonna ask you that question. So you put it in and post or you re shoot it or you just can you add it in post the new a new picture? Like, did they ever send you new pictures? I don't. Well, I mean, it has nothing to do with me at that point. Because once I send in the pictures to the publisher, they may be farming out the cover to some other photographer. And then they collect all the pictures and send it to the book, you know, to the gotcha production. Yeah, so that after that it's out of my hands? Yeah, girl. Okay. Oh, where are we? Oh, we're getting better. I like the background now. I like the simplicity. The one bottle is nice. I think you think it's what random. Random. It doesn't. Okay, well, you know, there are other objects that could be used here. Doesn't necessarily have to be that bunk pan. So I mean, I know there's not a lot of kitchen objects here. Maybe you want to try it without the bottle, you know, that's, the other thing about directing, about art directing this type of project is that you start with lots of stuff and you just start to remove stuff until you get down to the bare bones and then you can always add back again the ideas you have two tries as many things as you feel comfortable doing round yeah yeah let's give it a round cheese grater create all kinds of problems do we? I didn't know there was another one here cool yeah because that was really bugging me there all three different but that's much at this way that knows too much more similar these two are much more similar yeah, that book that's tilted I know it started for a reason but I feel like it maybe should be told it a little more you mean the last one I mean I don't think you know, I I don't know I wouldn't even mind it if it was squared off really? Yeah, I think it might symmetrically might make me feel more comfortable looking at it if it was a little bit more if it was symmetrically squared off and if it doesn't have to be like perfect but I definitely think that's kind of maybe a little bit better so once I mean can I see something I wanted to use that this is a cover it all from the bottom that might work? I wasn't thinking of putting it there I know everyone just gasped in horror that I was thinking about putting it upside down on top of the books what I was doing was measuring whether or not that whole setup would fit on top of this really so maybe we can try that afterwards way still have a few minutes a few minutes to solve some problems internet wants to maybe see a horizontal yeah I think so I think you're right the internet wants a horizontal and so does the art director and that's elena can waken flip it over before you shadow to elena sis I think so yeah I've been looking at it too and I think it might a wider look at this might work you good you come down a little bit right there and then we'll talk okay any other questions? Comments always eso anouk anouk dubai says realizes that lighting from way above is great um but would love to know from the master that when we have tons of items in the scene how do we light without resulting in unacceptable shadows do we need to use shoots and multiple lights from or directional lady? Well I mean you can always achieve directional light with any light source and how harsh you want your shadows is going to do depends on how much you defuse that light like yesterday when we did the artwork right? We notice that when we use the bare bulbs even though they were frosted we still had that slight shadowing that was being created by the edge of the frame but once we turn them around and put the umbrellas on them and soften the light that much further those shadows disappeared. So it's just a matter of light modification and whether or not you really want to show like directionality and how harsh you want that directionality to be and that's about it, the power of the light source and how well you can defuse it, what would you say to the beginning of photographer? What would be a great first modifier a great first modifiers sort of like what we built here, those kind of screens or that even just that material in your window like taping it into the window, that kind of material to soften the light or maybe even a light silk window panel you know, like you buy it, you can buy them at the hardware store or at macy's or whatever, you know, one single sheet. Okay, so that would be my suggestion even for us seattle photographers? Yes, sure. Well, I mean, you have your there's an actual curtain here. You don't really need it, but you know, for the three for the three days it's sunny in seattle you might want I have a something oh, I like that better with the little birdie looking burger I was just going to ask that question about the styling is a piece of metal it yeah, I think I see your issue here and you know what I was thinking before when that was the case what about doing this kind of putting it on an angle and it do you well you don't see the front of the booth hold on okay, you see how these air a little bit lower and higher because now we're kind of got him in there yeah, there might be a way to properties up from the inside using something to put under their tow level them off like sometimes I use little pieces of paper or little I have these little rubber things exactly so well that where there's like floating in midair no, not necessarily because I don't think that worked the lighting on that gorgeous sometimes I try to teach sometimes trying to shove a round peg into a square hole and you know if you're forcing a prop sometimes it's the wrong it's the wrong thing to use but sometimes you want to kind of build something that will work in spite of it and when you have a little bit of time you could mess around and try to make it work using whatever is available to you to kind of fix that wasn't always a little bit, huh all slide this under the backs level them off a little okay so that one's a little too high it's probably the medal it's this? No, it went up a little higher. Okay, what would you know? Let's say not gonna know to you take a shot. So what we see? I don't know so that I get I like the idea of the negative space on the left. I like the idea of kind of putting the books like that. I have a suggestion. Okay? Because I think that let's just assume we already finished with this book because I think this setup is kind of losing it identity because we're not using the right kind of books so let's just say for argument's sake, our client is happy we found what we wanted and we decided we love our set up, but we don't want to do that same kind of an artistic shot to show how well we can style something like this. Now you have books of a different height, which means that you're not gonna have a problem with the books being like this. They're all different colors or everything here are aesthetically matches. So before we break we still have about fifteen minutes before we can have to break this down let's make something with those yes, where the color of the bird there is too distracting that your eye goes to the bird rather than to the books it's possible especially that's hanging out there in negative space so I think that with shot that we would probably use from this was the most stripped down version of it where we had the books stacked together with the two bookends crop it tight and that would be our shot now um where do those bookends come from because I know those those are those are source from somewhere and they're really nice the bathtub one yeah I'll check with my photographer with my producer yeah but I like him it's there on the top shelf top show way put something in it okay those came from building salvage store they're pretty cool yeah see I mean hit now I'm just looking at this in just a difference in the books and the heights of the books they match really nicely with salvage repurposed bathtub feet it's from a styling perspective now we're not trying to force the issue anymore so we're we're making something here that would be you know, possibly for a client maybe even it's the the the the bathtub feet as the book ends are the client now so we have we're shifting years now we're using books and book ends but now we're trying to highlight the idea that those feet can be used as book it's rather than using them in the context of a cookbook see, I think if what powers instincts were on the cookbook initially were oh, I would love to put food and food objects in this picture, and I think that would be more of a natural way of styling it, but threw a curve ball and try to make it work with what you have because sometimes that's the way it works, sometimes you don't have your druthers to have all the things that your disposal, but with this, I have a tendency to think this is going to make this is going to change that styling very dramatically and you what's your personal work flow when you're doing a still life, do you throw everything in the kitchen sink and then pulled back? Or do you add individual items and building and building until thinking I think it matters as to whether or not I first envisioned it to be, um a certain way, if I thought of it thought of it as busy, I thought of it as busy initially I might start busy and start removing things, and then a I thought of it, I simple, I would probably start there and then start adding things, so it kind of both ways yeah, thank you way we're getting that clear that's nice, so it's that actually there's no, that park on their way constitute any if I pull this back a little bit further, can you still eyes is it still evident that it's covering bottom and has to go down about inch and a half okay so interesting I would never have thought of me in the background way back drop it that's good okay I feel like I can probably and a little bit more mood it's a little bit in front by a dark background right right I think you'll make the colors in the book of pop a little bit more but places way get a shot with the with the the hay or whatever it is the week in the background we didn't like that so close to the other no one is paying attention no we did not I'm glad because what this means is they're in the zone and we have found we found a comfort zone okay we all uh now I like the background and I feel like you have the book so well I don't know I don't know I you have I think you have plenty of detail there I like the off center nous of it I think that that's kind of interesting when I just think that need to be but they're not happy it and this is a sign of good process it really is a good sign of a good process when you just not you're still not happy and you're still tweaking right through right through and I'm liking the collaboration as well with everybody out there it's great all right, paulo, tell me what you're thinking change the focus in ways sort of focusing on yeah, exactly well, I mean, I think are really good more sort of depth to the image which is bringing them okay, so you brought them forward, but if you brought them forward you're moving back where you're going to have exactly the same thing. No, no, because I thought their relationship to the bottle I wanted teo I understand I understand you want the bottles to be a little bit further back. You see that big catch light in the bottle? Yeah. Does that bother you? We got rid of that. Okay? Oh, yeah, you did get rid of it. Yeah. Now we need to like the books with teo. Talk me through what you're doing here because I think that what the way you're lighting this is interesting because they think you're using that kind of message that we talked about in the first couple of days is that process of elimination taking care of one problem at a time? Is that sort of what you're thinking? Well, what I'm trying to do is give sort of diagonal as you go through the picture to draw your eye first to the books and then draw it through the back okay? And then I try to make the bottle I love I love the way the light's on the bottles and okay, that was too which is why I moved them back and I think we need to like the fronts of the books bit more so this it comes out ok, I think that you can probably get away with not having to relight the books too much in the right because I think that there's a it's just a little bit of is enough information there where? Yeah, well, the smaller ones is going to be tough. Yeah, that it's a more of an overall feeling. Yeah. You know, I just wondering if we moved echoes in here what? Daniel what do you thinking? I mean, how do you feel like collaboratively? What? What do you think part of this? What is your thought on this year? All of this acing mind at this point or if you think so I mean I'd love to see it be slightly moodier I just think that corner is still really hot. So the left hand corner yeah, right where you are, john kind of hot. Why don't you pop one now and while he's blocking that off and see if that does anything to your image? This would definitely be an example of how we build light out because we're trying to conquer different parts of the image looking at them I like that well, your books of falling over now but I do like the lighting and quite honestly, I think from a direct art direction perspective if that was about like a bottle of ah of scotch or something back there with the drink sitting there that or you may be one of the books open out falling out of the frame that might be nice to you know, kind of giving setting a feel in the mood through art direction and you know through your styling and the use of the props you wanna angle this way or this way that way this way so would you put the book andrew like this on the side or would you cut it out? I might not interfere with your negative space but let's see how they have it styled and see if that works got the lighting game okay, we've got the light boxed out the way we like it and we'll see that looks distracting you think the book's distracted when we put it behind here? Yeah. Um it's just that there's a corner a little bit that way and you know just flat okay. Is there any black coffee anywhere? Give me a little black coffee have a trick that I want to show them andrew used to give you a bottle of water in a long from sarah j I love that the students are involved when andrew asked some questions I try and figure out the answer to a lot of interactivity um main oh seven funny funny funny andrew is giving commentary as the action is going it's really very educational great yeah. Look at this look at this it's getting there it's getting there better. I like it let's get in there. I want you to keep going. We're gonna have a little element that I might be able to add for you. I think maybe we can create maybe create a little bit more mood here with um with a little help, so we're going to get something work on it, but I think you're lighting is pretty much right where you want it. One of the things you can also do with this backdrop to get even darker is putting on an angle. Try that and see if that helps you always let you slightly and see if that darkens it even further. Yeah, general pop up in the second, most bottles really shine against it's. Great. Yeah, it looks like you've been yet. Yeah, yeah graded by, you know, great aiding the light way can waken do that. And now I'm going to try to do something with this bottle and see if I can create something now in this one with doing food a lot of times, things that we're using as props, I obviously don't use bottles and bottles and bottles and bottles of white wine I have a bottle of cheap rum and water and that looks like white wine when you mix it together what I would think is that a little bit of water and a few drops of coffee in this might you actually create something that looks a little bit like an amber scotch or or a bourbon or something I could try to do this without spilling a burning myself but it's not very likely also when I go screaming into the night you'll understand why so far so just add a little water to this and then maybe a couple of drops of coffee to brown it up a little food styling I'm spilling but I promise I'll clean up promise I'll clean up afterwards but now you have a little scott so I think that it just kind of we'll add a little something to this a little bit more life to the image and give yeah I don't know if you wanted to switch bottles I like your height weight that was going to say that someone like you I'm here because there's a glass would you want both bottles still or not that's all colors right I love you just messing okay so we're kind of a collaboration mode now and I've kind of put my two cents in and we'll see if if we get a result that we like didn't exactly match the color to what was in the bottle and what's in the glass. But I think maybe the lighting changes my balance it out with a little bit. Probably. I just wanted to really picking up much later. We need to do something right now. The glass is getting love weigh. You need a spotlight over top of it. Let's hear a little mirror with yeah, just helen trick. And you're bob. Thought we should add my glasses you want? What do I want? Your glass she's o in the set set? Yeah, that's kind of put it on the boat, bob. Excellent. Coarse. I can't see now, but wait, can you read it? Yeah, but just lined them down on the booth and we have a couple of minutes. So this is gonna be our last shots. So let's, get this shot down and I'm gonna jump in there and try to shoot, shoot a couple of detail shots on this and see if we can make something interesting. Just want teo. So the card is too high on if any questions about what we're doing out there way. Sure. D'oh. D'oh. So we have a question. Can you talk a little bit about deciding where to focus for a subject that's angled to the camera, this was from the first cafe flora shoot from s baker. I would say that if we're using are really getting a lot of depth of field which we were in that I would I would aim at the first part of the frame that's goingto you want in focus and then let everything else come into focus I wouldn't try toe came in the middle necessarily because we might lose the front end of that so it started the front edge and let it run backward and an ad aperture you know closed down as if I'm not getting the depth of field that I want and from our clicks he wants to know being extremely new to shooting table top shots and having no strobes if I wanted to replicate this shot would it be possible to use led flashlights led flashlights little l e d flat take a lot of them yeah I think I mean it's not impossible but you would have to have an awful lot of because led flashlights aren't that bright yeah so I would say that it would be a tough one but I would experiment and see if it's possible what I would suggest is that you do it in a completely dark room and that those led flashlights would be the on ly light that you were using might be hard to style in the dark but it would think you could try yes kind of adding to that do you ever doing much with white painting I would like no, I don't know I didn't get in college when I was with my buddies and we were in this goofing around in the art studios at school but I haven't done it since. All right? Well let's let's talk about how we feel about this image I think that we have way have some nice stuff here so why don't we talk about a little bit so catherine, what do you feel about this? I mean, what is it that you like about it and what is it that you might still want to change if you had more time to work on? I think I would try to create a little more of a vignette in the background so dark in the right hand corner a little bit like the left side ofhis but maybe not quite so much I like that depth of field but for some reason I would like the glasses to be more in focus. Sharper. Okay, well e think t achieve what you talking about with the darker corner and the right you could probably try to do this so why don't you take one shot like this? Maybe we can solve the problem that you you perceive so I asked catherine what do you know she might change in this and we added that black card to try to create a little bit more in getting around the top eso if you could shoot this all day, what would you try to achieve going forward? What? I mean, I think you I like what you have. And I think you guys probably like what you have is well, if you were going to continue to work on this, what would be the next thing you would try to work on? I would search and bring something a bit more out of the front of the book. Not very much with the bottoms. Okay, so you had probably add a little bit more push light back on, maybe another white card you suggested with the stuff you got going on it's side now is I mean, my angle of incidence is coming this way. I would probably put that card right here if you want to take one. I don't know if it's gonna come up because I did the last one come up. Yeah, we lost that card there. Okay, well, just just try this and not we still had that on the card in there, and we'll see if that comes up. Okay? It's coming. All right, well, did you feel like we got a little bit more vignette ng out of that a little bit a little bit, right, we could probably still work on that, but the idea is that we're getting we're getting there did you get a little bit more likely out front side? Yeah, yes, picking out the golden book ok, so we solved the problem of a little bit more vignette ng we solved the problem of what we could do to get a little more detail out of the front. So, danielle, if you your last the last the last word on this image, what would you want to try to fix? Or are you completely satisfied? I'm pretty says I mean that I think that card is still showing through on the scotch in the back and it's distracting me. Okay, so just tweak the drinks. Where do you see why? I don't know is that I didn't like that white that weight room on this on the glass of scotch. So let's, take this. What is that? Therefore it was just to try it through the yeah, okay, we'll probably mirrors let's. See if that changed. I think let's change it let's see if that changed anything, so take one last shot. We'll talk a little bit about it and then I think it's really nice and camera to ok it's really moody it's cool, yeah that's the problem it's not there anymore, so you know, I think that you know starting from where we were and where we've come I think that you have all put together kind of you all put your own ideas into it I think you all work this lighting really well to get what you wanted out of it and hopefully you're satisfied with the results but I think I think that I'm the ark erector and I say comes up so nicely done really well done awesome thank you guys. So and you want to take just a couple questions before we go to break absolutely fantastic. All right, so we have a question from well es blanco could you explain the placing of the board behind the bottle the board behind the bottle through the um through the liquids you see the one way that has the card yeah there's some light in the liquid the card was just a little too tall we go smaller card and a mirrored card would probably weird silver car butt kicked a little more right? But I mean, we could you know what we were doing there in the last a couple of minutes once the styling was something that we really comfortable with was really working on perfecting the lighting and every little tweak and twists that we did change the image a little bit further so that's kind of that process and you know the add and subtract method of doing lighting 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