Something about a trip into the city for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, followed by hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 34 people, capped off with a Black Friday trip to Macy's in Herald Square made me lazy, so I've combined weeks two and three of my B&H portfolio development program into one blog post. I'm actually writing this from St. Louis, where I headed after the holiday weekend for work...and to rest!
Week 2 focused on a pair of sunglasses I purchased during my trip to Chinatown. They weren't attempting to be knockoffs, at least not of any discernible brand, but I've been wanting to try my hand at shooting sunglasses, so I purchased them regardless. It took some serious negotiations with the clerk to get what I considered an acceptable price, but both the clerk and I walked away satisfied, so I probably didn't get the best deal!
Sunglasses are tricky, because they reflect everything in front of them, including whatever light source was used. It took a few attempts to get my light (a softbox) outside the angle which would reflect to the camera. Once this was achieved, however, the lenses looked dull and boring. So I spent some time using increasingly larger white boards to get ones that would reflect across the entire lens. I then edited out the board in Photoshop. I also had a white card behind the sunglasses, putting an edge on the stems. I tried the sunglasses on their own, first in an all black image on a reflective glass surface, and then on a blue piece of cardstock. The images seemed a bit boring, so I added a floppy hat and a scarf to give it a bit more context. Here are a couple of the resulting images:
For the third week's assignment, I bought a men's white belt. I thought this was hysterical because the last person I remember wearing a white belt was my grandfather, who was heading to the golf course in the 1980's. Apparently, white belts are somewhat trendy, as I googled it and found pictures of (current) movie stars wearing white belts. Who knew? This particular belt had a buckle with large initials "DG" which I assume is a knockoff of Dolce & Gabbana. If the price didn't give it away, I certainly knew it wasn't a real D&G belt when the shop owner pulled off the buckle and cut some length off the belt strap with a large pair of scissors when I asked if he had a smaller size!
I started out with some flat lay images with a pair of jeans, sneakers and a white t-shirt. I played with that arrangement for a few different shots. The behind the scenes shot for this is below - I used a single softbox approximately 150° to camera right and used white cards to brighten certain aspects of the scene and a black card to flag off some of the light from the white t-shirt.
I then went for some "belt only" close-ups. One I shot a bit loose, so you could see the entire belt and the buckle. The second I went with a closeup of the buckle with enough of the belt showing that you can tell what it is. For these shots, I had a softbox directly behind the subject with a white card 90° to camera left and another one directly below the camera to kick light back onto the belt. My favorite from the entire shoot is the close up one, but I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
I'll be doing this project for the next several months, so Subscribe in the box on the right to follow along and see what other treasures I picked up on Canal Street. Alternatively, you can follow me on Instagram, where I'll be posting at @sarahflanneryphotography with the #BHPortDev and #CanalStreetKnockoffs hashtags.