A recent last minute cancellation gave me the rare gift of free studio time to utilise. Not one for thumb-twiddling I managed to beg, borrow (but not steal) products to expand my growing product & advertising photography portfolio. Also as I’m going for my BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photography) licentiateship qualification (LBIPP) in March I wanted to make sure I had current work to use in my submission. A bottle, a watch and a shoe make great studies as they each have their individual challenges, and as its personal I get to take the artistic direction wherever I like.
I love photographing luxury items like the Armand de Brigand Champagne (thanks Corina :)). With such strong visual identity already there, it makes it relatively simple to continue and expand on that, using the flecks of gold sparks and the liquid splashes (my favourite thing to do at the moment (see last blog post). Photographing such a reflective item can be very tricky as you can generally see the entire studio and photographer in the reflection. I wanted to remove all this and just highlight the bottle’s shape and embossed label. Using more precise lighting and black poly-boards (to remove unwanted elements in the reflection). The bottle and case shot was a great deal simpler, with water droplets diffusing the reflections and bringing out the stunning gold of the bottle. The case is a thing of beauty; but with black lacquer, on a black background a rim light was needed to highlight the crisp edge and lift it out of the composition.
Everyone needs a watch shot in their portfolio right? #photographercliche This shot is all about the post production, when every imperfection or mote of dust on the case or glass needs to go so you can see the texture of the face (I just love the detail in this shot). Its a masculine style so I thought a little brushed metal backdrop with a highlight just to lift the watch off the page/screen and to give it that slight industrial feel. I’m so pleased with how this shot turned out, one of those perfect times when you can translate a vague visual idea in your head and make it totally tangible.
The Lotto football boot was great to shoot. The punchy black, whites and greens need something modern and futuristic, I tried to shoot it like a car, a piece of precision engineering (which it practically is). The real challenge here is showing off enough of the product in one shot, the underside and profile of the boot as well as the brand, product name etc. A complex three light setup made sure it was lit from all sides, the postproduction allowed me to get little creative, I was just thinking about TRON the whole time and struggling not to go over the top. Hopefully I didn’t. Critique welcome!
With it being winter, there is nothing better than working with controlled lighting (and heating) in the studio. I tend to shoot a lot of studio product photography over autumn/winter as there tends to be product releases in the run up to Christmas or after in New year. Moreover working outside isn’t too reliable at this time of the year.
A great commission came up for new product shots for the Nailtiques brand in a print advertising feature. The brief demanded stylish, clean and fresh cosmetic images showcasing the product range, but also the incorporation of water and orchids; a visual signature of the brand. Importantly colours need to be rendered accurately; especially for the polishes.
I love working with water and liquids, as its a very unpredictable and difficult medium, with patience and persistence however the results can be spectacular…and more than worth the effort. As well as the standard range shots I wanted to create something a bit different and based on some previous product work the client was happy to let me experiment.
Here are some of the results; I had great fun during the shoot, it involved that meticulous attention to detail that I can be a bit of a geek about. But the retouch was when things really came together, incorporating multiple elements from separate images, experimenting with opacities & reflections and creating that weightless feeling with the liquids pulling together the composition. Do I love my job? Yes, yes I do.
A few months ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to Rob Hallmark and his luxury Men’s fragrance brand Gruhme. I was immediately struck by the sophisticated packaging and branding, not to mention that its a home-grown local Birmingham brand with a rapidly growing client base. I wasted no time at all in getting some product into the studio to shoot!I wanted to create some shots with a classic elegance, lots of darkness with simple highlights to distill the brand down to its essence. The bottle and razor as part of the gift set are an exercise in great design and were a joy to photograph. Rob and I were delighted with the results, I can’t wait to see how the images will be integrated with his new marketing collateral this year.
My product photography is something I’ve been steadily building up over the past year. What I really love most about this aspect of commercial photography is it gives me the opportunity to get creative and take time to refine fine detail in lighting and styling. The post-production can be meticulous, with the simpler shots often needing the most consideration taken.
Massive thanks to both Rob and Dale Sampey at The Barber House, Birmingham for the introductions.More of my latest product photography and still life work can be seen here- Rich