Project 52

Assignment 40: A Killer Shot of a Mundane Product

This week's assignment was to create a killer shot of a power strip to be used on an end cap display.  It needed to be so exciting that it draws consumer attention and leads to a purchase.  Power strip and exciting don't really go in the same sentence, but here goes...

I did some research on power strips and found one that looked like a UFO.  It had a little blue light on the top when it was powered up, and that gave me some ideas for my photo.  I spent a week trying to figure out how to set up the scene and thinking through how to light it.  I wanted a blue light shining up (or down) from the product.  I also wanted some power cords and USB cords looking like they were floating up to the UFO.

On day 1, I spent a few hours setting up the scene - hanging the power cords and USB cord with fishing line - and working on the lighting.  I had a light with a blue gel on a gray background, and a light from the side with a number of white cards bouncing light where I wanted it.  Way back in assignment 16, I bought a smoke machine for a Halloween shot in a cemetery.  I decided that I'd put it to use again to try make it look like rays of light coming out of the UFO.  I fired up the smoke machine and began to shoot, but the smoke never looked like I wanted it - it was more swirly than "rays."  After several attempts with the smoke machine, our smoke alarm started to go off.  Which led to a call from our alarm company, asking if we needed the fire department.  Oops!  At that point, I decided to take the dog for a walk and clear my head...and my studio.

The following day we had tickets for a Yankees game (they won!), so during the game I continued to think about what I needed to adjust to get things the way I mentally pictured them.  I decided to make a few changes: 1) get a springy tube (like a vacuum hose) to attach to the smoke machine to direct the smoke, 2) put a light directly under the cords and power strip with a blue gel on it, 3) change the background to black, and 4) shut the studio door so the smoke didn't escape.  After dinner, I set to work and time was of the essence, since I had to work the next day. 

After several frustrating moments with the vacuum hose and the smoke machine, I got to a point where I had enough images to work with.  I brought them into photoshop and blended five images together to get the lighting I wanted (a blend of white and blue light) on the cords, and enough light bouncing on the power strip to give it shape against the black background.  I also took a couple different smoke shots - one when all the lights went off and one when just the blue light fired - and blended those together.  My last action was to clone out the fishing wire and other distracting elements, and voilà - a UFO! 

The behind the scenes image is a bit difficult to follow, but I've included it, as it is quite a menagerie!

Next week we are to create an image of an audio product that fits the tag line "An Experience Like No Other."  I've spent so much time planning my UFO shot, that I'm at a bit of a loss.  Fortunately we don't have many plans for next weekend, so I'll have some time.