Project 52

Assignment 14 - A Product Shot

After a few weeks hiatus for the holidays, my 52 week project was back in full swing with a product shot.  Doug had asked me to shoot some pictures for the bathroom in the bar he built in the basement, so I went to work on some liquor bottles.  I spent several hours shooting various bottles in closeup, but decided not to use those for week 14. 

Instead I wandered the house looking for inspiration.  I finally said to Doug, "do you have any new-looking tools?," to which he replied, "like the drill I got for Christmas?"  Bingo!  Search over.  We went down to the basement and after looking for an un-scuffed battery pack, I went up to the studio to get started. 

I decided the first shot would be similar to some of the 'floating food' shots I've done recently.  I mounted the drill on a lightstand and set up the lights. I decided to put strip boxes on either side of the drill to light the outline of the product.  It was missing a bit of a snap, so I added a gridded light behind the product to provide some rim lighting.  Finally I set up a light shining on a black backdrop to put a white spot behind the product.  After testing each light by themselves, I decided to set up black foam core boards on either side of the camera to kill some of the light on the front of the product.  I shot five images of the drill using a white card to put highlights on different parts of the drill as I went along.  I then shot a picture of just the backdrop, so it would be easy to take out the lightstand on which the drill was sitting.  I brought the six images into photoshop and combined them to get this:

Behind-the-Scenes image at the end

Behind-the-Scenes image at the end

I then wanted to try a shot where just the edges of the product were illuminated.  I took a picture of a spoon a few weeks back using a similar method and thought the drill might be an interesting addition to my portfolio using that style.  I used a similar set up to the shot above, except I dropped out the background light.  I also used the black cards to flag off much of the strip light.  I decided since it was a product shot, that I should illuminate the logo as well.  The final product, which isn't exactly meeting my expectations, is to the right:

I decided to flip to the opposite end of the spectrum and do a brightly colored shot, with a strong shadow. 

I set up yellow paper on the backdrop as well as on the base of the image.  I then put a gridded strobe in various places between 45 - 135° to camera left.  I put a white card to the right of the product to give a bit of a rim light on the product.  I also used white and black cards in various shots to lighten / darken certain aspects of the product.  The resulting image is below:

Out of all of these, I think the first is my favorite.  Your thoughts? 

Next week's topic is to take a photo of a hand or hands to illustrate an article on "The Handmade Economy."  I've done a lot of images of people who hand make things, so I guess I need to find a new subject...