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Lesson 2: Product Techniques 1´s archives ↓

Lesson 2: Page 01

PRODUCT TECHNIQUES; METAL, WOOD, PLASTIC, AND GLASS

Product photography can cover a wide range of subjects and can include anything from food, toys, shoes, a wrench, box of macaroni, a bottle of beer, and pretty much anything someone is selling. In many ways, the approach is the same as any photo subject, yet can require a very different depending on the product. No matter the subject, you must have an understanding of light approaches and the use of different light modifiers, flags and reflectors, diffusers and gels, and have the ability to effectively apply them to your product. Many of the same techniques used in other areas of photography can be used with product photos as well. Some products will be very basic while others are extremely complex. The goal is to find a solution that best illustrates the product.

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Lesson 2: Page 02

This  photo is an example of making a custom size reflector to create a custom highlight on a product. This small piece of foil board is attached to the clamp which is duct taped to a piece of armature wire that is attached to a weight from an old body building weight set.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 2: Page 03

Metal & Glass

Metal and glass are challenging to photograph because they are highly reflective. Chrome metals and brushed metals react completely differently to light just like shiny glass and glass with a matte surface. You light both of these materials with reflections and you can use light boxes, fill cards, diffusion panels, or strip lights. You want to use a light source that gives nice broad diffused highlight because, “What you see is what you get”.

Again: Shiny products ‘see’ what you place in front, above, or next to the product.

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Lesson 2: Page 04

This metal casting was shot in the studio on a blue seamless paper laid in a sweep. The blue happens to match the company’s logo color and is in every product photo shot for them.  This image is lit with the standard overhead large light box to create a highlight along the edges of the product and some small shadows for showing shape. This type of metal is not highly reflective so you cant see the light box in a reflection like you would if it was a chrome bumper. This type of metal is easier to light as well.

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Lesson 2: Page 05

Here is another example of getting even highlights across a product. Yes, this is very old technology but this photo solves a problem and i still show it. I had to solve the issue of making these plugs stand up. What I ended up doing was suspend a metal pole between two light stands and raised it fairly high so that my camera on the tripod was looking up at the plugs. I had a blue seamless paper suspended behind the products. I placed a small light box on a boom and raised it above it all to create the background light gradation.

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Lesson 2: Page 06

For these two scientific images using glass, the approach was different. Here, I chose back-lighting only because the idea was to see through the glass.   The first image had all the glassware on a tabletop surface which I don’t see, so it doesn’t matter.

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Lesson 2: Page 07

Real Assignments/Simple Shoots

The idea was to shoot a very simple photo of a bunch of credit cards illustrating the variety of credit cards you could get with scenic photos on the cover. Because the budget was small, I planned to allow up to two hours doing this shot, but I felt I could shoot it in an hour. The following images were one over head (or just to the right side) light or light box moved around to make sure reflections and shadows were good.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 2: Page 08

VIDEO CAMERAS

This assignment was for a company that published many magazines and I was one of their contributing photographers. The photo was for the monthly Product Review Column in one of the magazines. I used a painted canvas background and placed the units in symmetry to accommodate the camera format which was 2 ¼ film.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 2: Page 09

Wood

Wood is not generally difficult to shoot. It can also have a shiny surface or a more matte textured surface. Basically you use the same techniques discussed in this lesson and determine which approach to take by the surface texture of the wood product.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

Lesson 2: Page 10

Plastic

There are a million different plastics out there and they come in a variety of surfaces and should be treated as all other products we discussed. Your light source and angle will be determined but the products characteristics. Keep in mind when determining light quality and where to put your lights, that you need to show the shape of the plastics. Many plastics will absorb light, such a Tupperware type plastics, and careful consideration is needed to determine where to get the most out of the light so showcase the plastic product. For this clothing bag, one problem is the angle of incidence that happens. To large of a  lightbox and this product would have huge reflections on top. This would make it difficult to see the product and how it is used. I switched to a small lightbox on camera right and down low to minimize reflections. I also added a white fill card camera left to bounce into the product and lower the contrast. You can see its reflection faintly on the left.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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