ADVANCED TECHNIQUES AND PROCESSES 2B – WORKSHEET 4 – PACK SHOT SET UPS – WEDDING ACCESSORIES AND IN THE INTERESTS OF WOMEN

Aim:

The aim of this exercise was to create a range of packshot set ups using split table top and back lit floor set ups. Correct metering and exposure using the lighting scenarios that have been set up by the photographers concerned. My aim wass to address an aesthetic that uses natural light with a small LED creating a studio that utilised an added backdrop to give meaning or which refracted a degree of light rather than having a harsh clinical lighting system which provided no emotional context to the product on offer. The images (2) where appropriate have be imported to CaptureOne Software to highlight any correction, namely the glassware on two separate occasions with effective results. (see folder for comparisons).

Working on a theme of capturing the feminine within a product, I have used diffused natural light and a small LED to add a romantic look to my images that should appeal to a female demographic. Packshot set ups demonstrate how effective it is to obtain a series of succesful commercially viable photographs by just using split table top and back lit floor set ups and that equally, a photographic study does not have to be complicated to produce great shots. A high professional standard can be obtained using a good full frame DSLR. The medium frame camera is not necessarily applicable to this exercise as the camera I have chosen is an atypical landscape photographers camera which is in my genre of interest. However, I do take on the occasional wedding and pack shot photography can and does come into that when photographing items on the day and during the consultation process (see Bello Matrimoni References in Studio Practice Folder).  Essentially a packshot consists of a sweeped background on which the object sits and it is illuminated from above using a large, softened lightsource such as a softbox but this does not mean to say that this is the way a packshot always has to be as using natural light can achieve the same or even more interesting looks, taking into account of course that a room full of light can be like a giant softbox. Any object that has vertical or horizontal lines means that the camera will need to be as vertical as possible to avoid divergence or convergence of the vertical line. By using the longest lens possible, you will avoid this mistake. When light falls onto the subject, illuminating the object at the top or bottom can mean that additional light reflectors need to be used but by positioning the camera in the right direction and watching the fall of light carefully the best effect can be achieved. In order to take advantage of natural light to the greatest effect, on the majority of the compositions I made, I used a reflective surface (mirrored glass) to achieve a dual image and to reflect natural light back at the subject. The tone of the background can be dictated by the client but when dealing specifically with wedding packshots it can be difficult for the client to convey meaning. My aim when I am photographing in this instance on the part of the client, is to take one or two trial shots to see if the client likes the look and feel of the shot then I proceed to graduate the tone in the background. In packshots I would not consider placing text into the composition, the photograph itself ought to be sufficient to convey meaning. I would hand that over to an advertising agency if they wished to provide additional information per se that I was working for them on such a shoot. I have provided a range of shots using short, medium and long baffle in order to control the light on the background. By paying careful attention to creases, folds and squareness (of boxes say) then it is vital I believe to look through the camera with a critical viewpoint and see these errors prior to shooting. I do not like to waste my time and efforts post processing things out that really should not be there in the first palce.

Referring to the presentation of packshots the main differences are the same as quoted above. as each composition is different depending on what you are shooting then it is difficult to ascertain which lighting scenario composes the best shot but in the case of the packshots of boxes under discussion in the presentation, I would state that the last shot is the best and that means that the light is taken from above where the object rests in a pool of light and the object is slightly askew to the camera to allow for the best angle possible. Following this example and others I have produced the following images:

Backlighting:

According to Digital Camera World 20.05.2014, ‘backlighting is one of the most attractive forms of lighting for photography but it can present a big challenge, not least when it comes to exposure.” Exposure can be tricky but by backlighting is a more creative way (using sunlight and a small LED and reflected surfaces) it is possible to create a beautiful aura around the subject to give your images greater impact. Working in the studio (home designed) can achieve excellent results so the argument is why try to emulate sunlight in the studio when you have natural light all around you to take advantage of if you know how to control it?

So as a photographer you need to focus on creating drama in order to create the right mood

You need to create or have a spot metering sensor on your camera and know how to achieve rim lighting

and getting the exposure right (depends on the effect you want to achieve), so going for a romantic look does sell products (see any magazine with pearls or jewellery etc in it), the product needs to be photographed clearly but have an attached to nostalgia especially if you are appealing to a female age 18 upwards

According to Duke there are other factors that affect great product photography: location, paying attention to the time of day, focus and recompose, overexposure just a tad too much and keeping the sun out of view. (Kristen Duke Five steps for great backlit images: NYIP photo articles. for more information please refer to research folder.

Location wise I have chosen a home environment with reflective surfaces so that it duplicates the product almost making it appear more desirable. By keeping it simple product photography can be extremely effective and professional in a given environment and have great potential in the advertising industry for the magazines and newspapers who are looking for something just a little different.

Evaluation:

Backlighting your subject correctly is the most flattering to the subject/object. (See examples below). It can add a more creative flair to your photography and natural light can be the most illuminating and interesting of photos. Spot metering is preferred as this setting can be used when you want to ensure a very specific area has a proper exposure and you can blur out the rest with bokeh or depth of field. If there is too much light say, on your subjects face a reflector can be used to add a touch of light say to the eyes. Alternatively you can use flash fill. Checking what is behind you becomes as important as the subject ie. open and clear. Or alternatively, you can make your own backlit look (as in the studio).

Backlighting in the evening or the morning is entirely different to backlighting a subject or person during the day. By taking advantage of the golden hour your backlit subject will look soft and glowing but during the middle of the day the light will be bright so a reflector is more likely to be required.

If you follow these simple rules and photograph at the right time of day to achieve the look you require then you will be able to achieve successful photographs.

Pack Shot Test 1 – Wedding Accessories

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Pack Shot Test 2 – Crystal Wine Glasses

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Pack Shot Test 3 – Blue Glass

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Pack Shot Test 4 – Galway Crystal

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Pack Shot Test 5 – Galway Crystal 2

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Pack Shot Test 6 – Zoya Nail Varnish

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Pack Shot Test 7 – Pearls

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Pack Shot Test 8 – Perfume

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