Modelling a Product

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    _D4A5813.

    Photographing a product in a lifestyle setting can bring it's own problems. We need to remember that the model is secondary to the product, and whilst they create the desirable lifestyle our client wishes to market to their potential clients, we need to bear in mind the key points of the product.

    The above image is from a portfolio shoot for a sportswear designer, and there were a number of key points regarding the garments which needed to be kept in mind. The fabric is very light, soft, cool and breathable.

    We already had several images in a gym environment, where the various garments were photographed, worn by the models as she exercised etc. The above image came from a second session at the studio, and were to be part of the images used on the e-commerce site.

    The material of the jacket had a perforated “airtex” look to it, and I needed to ensure this would be visible in the image. I was very much aware of the fact that as the material was a brilliant white in colour, it would be far too easy to over light it, and possibly reduce the contrast, therefore making the perforations appear soft.

    I placed an accent light frame left, and just beyond our model, at just above head height. This had two roles. First, it would highlight the perforations in the hood, where it could be seen just in front of her hair. Secondly, it would skim her forehead, the edge of her cheek, her nose and also her hair. Thus, providing shape and form to her face, and also creating the texture needed for her hair, which would otherwise appear flat. I used a 300Ws head firing through a 40cm Beauty Dish with a grid fitted, and firing at 1/8th power. The grid was required, so as to avoid flare.

    A second accent light was placed frame right, again beyond the model and above her head height. This was another 300Ws head, and again it was firing through a gridded 40cm Beauty Dish. The light from this head was intended to skim along the outside of the hood,creating the shadows within the perforations that would then allow the texture to be seen. The light also skimmed across her hair in front of her left shoulder, creating the texture there too. The output was again at 1/8th.

    Now, if you look carefully at her left cheek, you can just see some bleed through of the light from the hood, giving a soft white area. This was the most I could reduce the bleed though, without losing the texture of the hood.

    I wanted the main light to have a soft quality, to basically give an overall light to our subject allowing the the stronger accent lights to create the required shapes and textures. I used a 150cm Octa on another 300Ws head, with the stand as high as possible, and immediately above me. The highlight can be seen at the top of our model's eyes. The output was set to 1/16th.

    Lastly, to just lift the shadows under our model's eyebrows, I used a white reflector to bounce some light back up into her eyes, and also under her chin, although it barely registers there in this particular image.

    I didn't want a plain background. I wanted something to break up the light and add a little bit of interest, but not to the point it distracted from the main subject.

    I found a large, clear plastic bag, and taped inside a few torn strips of paper. It was almost a Zebra striped pattern (if you sorta squinted at it!). The bag was the suspended in front of another 600Ws head that was fitted with a standard reflector and a grid. We had the bag approximately two feet away from the head, which meant the paper cast a shadow without being too harsh, and the grid fitted to the standard reflector kept the light from washing everywhere else. The head for the background was set to ¼ power, and placed frame right, to light across the background.

    1/160th sec ISO200 f8


    Budget version

    This technique could be reproduced with speedlights, but the main challenges would be the modifiers. The two accent lights would need to be gridded due to being angled towards the camera. The main light could easily be fired through a shoot through umbrella, and the background speedlight could get away with a homemade snoot made from cardboard.

    To get around the lower power output of the speedlights, you would need to increase the ISO to 400, and possibly need to open your aperture a little too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Michael

    again I absolutely appreciate your effort with these posts... but again I am not sure that you are communicating well your obvious knowledge and experience.

    I am not even sure what your target audience is? or indeed your overall intention

    Wish I had a better set of suggestions how you could improve the communication... beyond the old adage of 'show, don't tell'

    regards

    K
     
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  3. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    277
    Oct 10, 2012
    Michael, very nice piece on your lighting set-up.

    Kevin - I don't understand your comment about "show, don't tell."
     
  4. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Basically, I'm explaining how I obtained an image, and the thought process that developed it.
    The purpose is to provide an example of lighting a particular subject to a particular goal, thereby allowing others to emulate it to recreate the image.
    I try to include information to help recreate the image using budget equipment.

    When mentoring, I often find students are at a loss as to what to shoot to create a particular look, and this series is nothing more than to create something to stimulate enthusiasm.
     
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  5. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Kevin has a point, insofar as he means pull back shots, or behind the scene shots, as seen on Lighting the Bat and Feeding the Eyes.

    Unfortunately, I'm often so engrossed in my work, I just forget about the pull back shots.
    However, Kevin's nudges will eventually impact on me enough to remember whilst on the shoot, rather than when I get back to the studio.
     
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  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Basically its if you are trying to communicate something to someone, that simply demonstrating or showing someone what happens is better than describing what happens...

    No one told you how to tie your shoelaces... they showed you...We learn through mimicry or understanding through context

    Michael has obvious skills... but he has a habit of describing his process as opposed to demonstrating them... he tells but doesn't show

    K
     
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK... my issue is with the explanation... I am not sure that the explanation is communicating anything useful

    I respect the fact you teach/mentor and I have no doubt that in a one on one situation you can be a valuable teacher... I am just not sure that what you are doing here is actually working.

    Explaining stuff clearly is difficult... got a lot of history on that.. seen a lot of insanely bad product demos, training sessions, you tube videos... probably have done a few myself :)

    Michael.. .you seem to have a good product... you are just not selling it :)

    K
     
  8. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    277
    Oct 10, 2012
    Tough audience...
     
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  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Yeah.. I am not a 'nice capture' guy :)

    really do appreciate what michael is contributing to the forum... just trying to help him make it more embraced by the community

    K
     
  10. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    And your thoughts on the two I mentioned earlier?
     
  11. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK... basic communication... I had to work out that you were referring to Lighting the Bat and Feeding the Eyes.

    My thoughts... again you over explain and under show...30% less words and 300% more images... you must have test shots as you build the image up?... show them.. don't tell me about them. I understand that as a pro, giving away your secret sauce is an anethema... truth is there is no secret sauce just experience, and you cant buy that

    K
     
  12. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    277
    Oct 10, 2012
    Kevin, I hate to beat a dead horse but you are preaching "basic communication" and yet your responses are totally lacking in courtesy. Unless you are Michael's mentor, I think your criticism of Michael is pretty tone deaf. Also, if you don't have suggestions for improvement then what is the point?
     
  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I have been robust but never discourteous. I have offered areas for improvement. I am just offering my experience in the same way that Michael is.. His experience is in the art of photography.. mine is in the art of communication

    K
     
  14. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    I've found Michael's tutorials very informative. I find the thought behind the placement of each light more important than it's exact position. I'd rather know why it's there rather than just that it is there.

    If some one doesn't know what a beauty dish or a grid is they might have trouble following the description. But at some point the student has to be expected to have enough basic information to understand the lesson.

    I see these tutorials as an intermediate level. With enough background knowledge it's not difficult to see the set up in my head. Maybe some one can take on the task of writing a few basic tutorials describing the different types of modifiers and simple lighting terminology.

    Fred
     
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  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Agree that there is a lot useful stuff in Michaels posts.. My criticism,if it is conceived as that, is that it is not communicated and its target audience on this forum is a little confused.

    K
     
  16. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    I don't think my powers of comprehension are in any way extraordinary, but my only confusion is in where the confusion lies.

    Fred
     
  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    The confusion is around where the audience is ... you may understand all Michael is talking about... you can visualise the situation.. I can sort of get what he is doing.. but not see the why he is doing stuff.

    Audience to me is a big thing.. not that I have got one or worked out how to get one.. But you do have to engage with an audience. Be that your mum going 'thats nice dear' or David Bowie leaving on his own terms

    audience is everything

    K
     
  18. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell

    LOL

    I'm pretty sure you realise I don't consider my lighting to have a secret sauce :)
    I've never hidden anything with regards to my work.

    There is far more fun in the teaching and mentoring, than there is in the knowing.
     
  19. Cornelius

    Cornelius Mu-43 Regular

    51
    Sep 9, 2013
    I appreciate your efforts Michael. I want to learn all this and will devour your posts. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.
     
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  20. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    You're welcome Cornelius