This week I wanted to share a few of the tools we commercial photographers use to create our tabletop images. Particularly the items used in photographing beverages. There's a lot of trial and error when it comes to this sort of photography, often times we find ourselves using things in ways far from their originally intended purpose. Having said that, there's a lot of things that have become kind-of standard practice in food/beverage photography, some of those items I'll share with you today.
Last year Fstoppers threw its very first live photography workshop in the Bahamas and world class food and drink photographer Rob Grimm was one of the instructors. I was able to sit in on a bit of Rob's class and I learned a ton about photographing drinks. We just got our new order of FlashDiscs in and I decided to try a shot of my own using the new modifiers.
Growing up in the family's studios and labs, I learned a thing or two about mounting and framing prints, and I also ruined a lot of them in the process. In this video, I'll demonstrate a version of my process so you can skip the lab and mount your own prints, fresh from your home or studio printer.
As a commercial photographer, I specialize in product, food, and architecture. One of the products we've been shooting a lot of lately is jewelry, specifically jewelry for catalog use. In my opinion, jewelry is one of the hardest things to photograph, and many photographers don't know where to start. Whenever we're tasked with photographing shiny, reflective, spherical objects, our studio sounds like a group of sailors on leave with all the profanity flying around (often times strung together to make complete sentences).
If you listen to the podcast On Taking Pictures, you know that co-host of the program Bill Wadman is a New York-based portrait photographer who's worked with the likes of Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Philip Glass, Ze Frank, and many, many others. Though his traditional portrait and conceptual work are tremendous in their own right, Bill has gotten quite a bit of attention over the years for his projects such as his critically acclaimed Dancers in Motion, cinematic Drabbles, and the 365 Portrait project that helped him to start it all.
Mathieu Maury and Antoine Pai are two photography and filmmaking enthusiast who decided to launch a production and advertising company called Maison Carnot. They are passionate about finding new subjects and ways to explore what surrounds them. Based on this philosophy, they came up with the short film "Paris through Pentax".
Photographer and educator, Tony Northrup, was inspired by Fstoppers' own Dani Diamond's awesome larger-than-life ring light and put together his own tutorial video showing you how to build a light source in just about any shape you set your mind to with supplies picked up at a hardware store. This nifty little tutorial will get you up and running in an afternoon with catch lights that'll make your buddies green with envy and left scratching their heads.
When it comes to diffusion panels, several companies have prefab "blades" intended for holding diffusion materials that fit nicely into grip heads and knuckles, but at nearly $100 a pop, buying several of them may not fit into everyone's budget. Earlier this week, fellow Fstopper Clay Cook put together an awesome post about building your own V-Flats. His post got me thinking about some of my own DIY projects.
Ever since I started diving into studio photography the term “V-Flat” has been a big mystery to me. Google and YouTube have been the quintessential resource for photography knowledge and for whatever reason there isn't much detailed information on how to construct a V-Flat or what purpose they actually serve. It took time to sift through the noise of nonsensical DIY fabrication and even more time to unfold the enigma of this studio essential.
David F. Sandberg goes behind the scenes of his recent horror film Not So Fast and shows us how he lit and created the short. Sandberg reveals his innovative lighting set up that allows him to create a dark and haunting scene. This great behind the scenes video demonstrates that all you need to produce your next work of art is some creativity and innovative thinking.
I’ve always been enthralled with first person movie scenes, games and music videos. Clocking countless hours with Duke Nukem 3D in my parent’s basement on an old Packard Bell PC planted a seed that forever changed me. To this day I think The Prodigy's breakbeat electronic hit “Smack My Bitch Up” is one of the greatest first person videos of all time.
Drones are probably the hottest gadgets in the photography industry this year. We see them being used for commercial aerial shoots, for news coverage, for wedding photography and, well, just for fun. The guys at 'Earth Touch' recently decided to see if they can create a drone that instead of going up to the sky, will be able to go down under the water. After planning on paper, they executed their idea and built a fully functional underwater 'drone' submarine. Check out the BTS and the final result.
One of our loyal readers, Rogier van Bakel, recently contacted us with an article suggestion that we decided to share with you. Rogier is a wedding photographer based near Bar Harbor, Maine and he has a custom tip on how to gel Profoto B1 or Profoto D1 monolights without the use of any tape, rubber bands, or Velcro. His method allows the lights use of modifiers since they're free of obstruction and keeps them looking good too, as tape and Velcro have a tendency to scratch at surfaces and leave unnecessary residues behind.
If you are interested in creating the softest light with an amazing wrap around quality, look no further. The book light technique, coined by film maker Shane Hurlbut is so simple and basic, requires the most inexpensive light modifiers, yet gives you the maximum control over the quality of light.
Paul Buff’s Vagabond Mini is a great portable power source for flashes. I use these little gizmos all the time, and in many different situations. They charge quickly, and they allow for a fast recycle flash time. Here is a $3 improvement on the Vagabond Mini that has made a big difference for me.