Smoke and mirrors

All is not as it seems in the world of product photography.

We all know the phrase, ‘the camera never lies’, and this is basically true. However, the poor old camera can’t see around corners (yet) and this gives us the opportunity to get creative when setting up products to shoot.

Take the images of the nautical charms, for example. This was a situation where the client needed images back as quickly as possible to send to a potential customer. So once the products had been couriered to me at home, I decided that I had everything I needed to shoot them to hand, and by not heading over to the studio I could deliver images even quicker. Which would make for a happy client!

So, I setup as you can see, using our little conservatory table and a spare (clean!) sheet for some fill light. Fortunately we have a nautical themed cloakroom which I raided for the pebbles, starfish etc., and within an hour or so I had emailed over the finished images.

It took a little longer to put the house straight…

Another example…

As you can see, these three ceramic pots with lids were propped up with a combination of large unsightly blobs of blutack and pieces of cardboard. I’m often shooting large product ranges over the course of several days and there won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution to positioning and styling them, so I often prepare some bits & pieces in advance, such as different sized pieces of blutack, a range of folded cardboard stands, a length of fishing wire strung between two heavy lightstands, and even just a selection of sturdy objects – like church candles – to quickly lean products against.

All these things are selected or made in such a way that they will be invisible in the finished image. You’ll also notice that the finished shot above has a pure white background, even though the products are white with a high sheen. It’s all about getting everything right ‘in-camera’. This not only minimises the post production time, but it’s simply the way it should be done. The professional way.

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