Still life photography presents its subject in peaceful repose, whatever it might be. The object is to make that image come alive while remaining perfectly still. Wonderful Machine, who helps connect potential clients to quality photographers in their region, featured one of Tony's images in their February 17th blog post, the image in the second row down, on the right. Shooting the chrome fuel parts presented many lighting challenges, and the folks at Wonderful Machine appreciated it's presentation! Still Life with Gas Caps?
This week I wanted to share a few of the tools we commercial photographers use to create our tabletop images. Particularly the items used in photographing beverages. There's a lot of trial and error when it comes to this sort of photography, often times we find ourselves using things in ways far from their originally intended purpose. Having said that, there's a lot of things that have become kind-of standard practice in food/beverage photography, some of those items I'll share with you today.
I certainly don't claim to know everything, as most of these techniques come from years of experience working with [food] stylists and even other photographers, a learning curve that never ends. I attribute much of what I've learned about food/beverage photography to my mentor Rob Grimm, one of the masters of this genre. Another source for knowledge on prepping food for the camera is a great book called "Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera" by food stylist Delores Custer, that has many more tips and tricks beyond what I've discussed here. If you want to know more, I'd recommend picking up a copy.
Below I've outlined the items mentioned in this video, most of which is available at drug stores and/or grocery stores.
I look forward to seeing what the viewers do with these tips, and hope you'll share your images on our Fstoppers community. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to hit me up on social media.
We wrapped our first catalog shoot for Jewelry Design Center, a new client for our studio and one of the largest jewelers in Spokane. Shooting diamonds and precious stones is always an exercise in patience as even the slightest movement in lighting, camera, or subject position can dramatically change the sparkle or "fire" in the stones.
The settings and bands can also be a challenge because of their highly reflective properties which mirror essentially every angle in the room. Trying to balance the two (stone/settings) and make them both captivating at the same time takes a bit of magic.
Typically, for an advertising shoot, we would shoot for each of those elements separately and composite them in post. On a catalog shoot however, efficiency is key. The budgets are smaller with time frames to match, which means we have to capture the entire piece in a single setup.
With our PhaseOne camera, depth-of-field (depth-of-focus) is very shallow (only a couple millimeters) so we have to shoot 15 images per piece, adjusting the focus slightly with each press of the shutter. We then merge all those captures together in a process called "focus stacking" using special software. This allows us to show the entire piece in focus, a task that would be almost impossible with digital cameras.
Once we've merged the photos, we send them off to a retoucher specializing in jewelry, who cleans up any imperfections.
We look forward to doing more elaborate advertising imagery with JDC in the future, but this project was a great way to get familiar with the client and their preferences. Here's a few of the catalog images we created: