Behind the Scenes with Masahiro Knives

Anyone who has ever tried it can tell you...photographing highly reflective surfaces can be very challenging. This behind the scenes video shows photographer Michal Tomaszewicz tackling this issue as he photographs a series of knives for Masahiro's product catalog and website. Specific things to note for those new to product shooting. Pay attention to how close his reflectors and cards are to the product, as well as how he's opted to keep his own reflection out of the steel.

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17 Comments

hmmmmm it looks to complicated and i do not like the results.......

The music is kinda racist. =P

I didn't really get any "racist" vibe and I'm Japanese...  The music was Japanese traditional music and these are Japanese knives so there is a reasonable connection there.  

Light Seeker Studio's picture

it sound to me like Gamelan Music from Indonesia.. :) 

The music uses a wide mixture of Asian instruments. Would have liked it better if it used the Japanese Koto instead of the Vietnamese cousin.

rac·ism (rszm) n. 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.next tme make sure you know what a word means before you use it

Nice BTS.....I know photographers have to make a living, but i would rather get someone to do a 3d render in this instance and get better results. 

Quick tip: if you are photographing metal just cool it down in the fidge. You won't get any irritating reflections. Of course it is not an option for product shoots.

Aperiso Media's picture

Are you serious? Im interested, but dont understand how that would work! Gonna have to go try it out i suppose! I wish i'd have known about this a few months back, as i've had 3 or 4 product shoots that all featured highly reflective surfaces!!

some here are just jealous.  Nice work! 

I am amazed at the commentary. Not in a positive way. Reflective materials are the most difficult to shoot as photo or video. I had to make some finger rings (jewelry) "float" in mid air so to speak. It took me almost 6 months of experimentation to finally get it so that I could take any metal (gold, silver, platinum) to "fly" in 3 dimensions and be able to "key out" the jewelry cleanly. Doing a 3d render will never ever be as good as the real thing as it would be too perfect. That is the essence of product shooting. Shooting the real thing will always be far superior in look and feel than a 3d render.  

That is incredibly inaccurate  3D renders, even now are at a point where most viewers can't even come close to telling the difference. Give it a few more years and renders will be able to perfectly replicate the flaws that makes something look real. For this sort of product shot on a white background I really don't see the demand lasting much longer. I think the future of product photography lies in environmental shooting that would simply be too expensive to make using 3D in most cases.

Alain's picture

I've read somewhere that the IKEA catalogs are about 50% real, the rest is just rendering. They hope to raise it to 80% rendering. 
Remember the story, from a few months ago, about IKEA having to publicly apologize because they had removed women from their catalogs in some muslim country? That was just "rendering editing".

In this case, I'm fairly sure that photos were the best choice, both economically and aesthetically. I'm not sure this company has 3d models of their products as they seem to be hand made. While a knife is fairly simple, it would take quite a bit of time to get each one properly modeled. Also, some of the knives are made of patterned steel which would be a total pain to get right in CG.

However, I have to agree that it makes less and less sense to hire a photographer for these kinds of jobs.

I know it's sacrilege to say on a site light this... but yeah.  CGI  Having done it for the last 16 years I can tell you this kinda project wouldn't even be that difficult.  It would certainly cost less...

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