How to Use Backlight to Photograph Glassware

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Product Photography

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How to use backlight to photograph glassware Taka Kawachi 1 600x382 How to Use Backlight to Photograph Glassware

©Taka Kawachi

The awesome photography site Popular Photography has an ongoing article series called How To, in which photographers are interviewed about the different lighting techniques they use to achieve different effects.

The latest article highlights an ambitious shoot done by New York-based product photographer Taka Kawachi and how he used backlight to photograph glassware for a department store chain.

“For two solid weeks in 2012, Taka Kawachi, a product specialist who works out of a studio in Nyack, NY, shot nothing but glassware for a major department store chain,” writes Peter Kolonia. “Juice, highball, and shot glasses, tumblers, stemware of every size and shape, and, yes, pilsner glasses and beer mugs. If he wasn’t a master of lighting glass at the project’s outset, he certainly was by its end.”

Head over to the Popular Photography site for the full story.

Shooting a 52 Kilo Koran and 3000 Year Old Sumarian Tablets with the Profoto D1

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Product Photography

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John Rylands Library in Manchester is not your everyday library. For one thing, it’s old. Opened to the public on January 1, 1900, the library celebrated it hundredth birthday more than fourteen years ago. But when it comes to age, the building can hardly compete with the stuff that’s in it.

Housing a priceless 52 kilo koran, ancient Egyptian papyrus fragments and 3000 year old Sumarian clay tablets to name just a few examples, John Rylands is not so much a library as a giant treasure chest of historic documents and artifacts.

Moving into the 21st century,  the library has undergone the ambitious task of digitizing all these priceless objects. Photographing objects such as these obviously requires the highest possible resolution and the most consistent color temperature available. To achieve this, the photographers at John Rylands rely on the Phase One 645 DF body, the Phase One iXR body, the IQ180 digital back and the Profoto D1 monolight. The flashes are synced with an Air Sync unit.

The video was shot by our good friends at Phase One, so there is obviously a lot camera tech in it. But keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll get a few pointers on the lighting as well. Read More

Evelyn Hruby: Beauty in Motion

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Product Photography

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 Evelyn Hruby: Beauty in Motion

©Evelyn Hruby

Evelyn Hruby is a product photographer, based in Vienna, Austria. When asked what characterizes her work, she replies: “the pursuit of capturing beauty – beauty in all its facets.” In this particular shoot she was trying to capture the beauty of water in motion.

“I guess it was a combination of luck and destiny,” replies Evelyn when asked how she got into product photography. “About 20 years ago I packed my bags and flew to Los Angeles. The plan was to travel from there through Mexico and South America for about six months, but when I arrived in Venice Beach, I fell in love with the city. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was studying photography. This was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I’ve always been interested in product photography. I love getting into the details and studying how different textures and colors reflect light in their very own, unique way.

You’ve been working as a product photographer for quite some time now. What would you say are the most important things you’ve learned?

“That it requires good organization, patience and a precise idea of the final photo. Knowing what Light Shaping Tool to use and how to use them in a way that makes the details in the product come alive is also important. But the most important thing of all is, of course, to have fun and love what you do. Then everything else will come naturally.”

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Peter Belanger: Complicated Shoots for Hi-Tech Products

Written by M. Gertz on . Posted in Product Photography

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It’s no secret that product photography is a highly specialized field that requires a lot of technical knowledge, both for the shoot itself and for the post production. Hi-tech products, with their highly reflective surfaces and subtle textures, provide additional challenges. Watch, in the timelapse video above, as Peter Belanger tackles a shoot for the cover of Macworld.

profoto peter belanger 600x371 Peter Belanger: Complicated Shoots for Hi Tech Products

© Peter Belanger

Although his subject, the iPhone 3GS is small, Peter uses up to 9 Acute/D4 Heads at once with both grids and reflectors, more than plenty of photographers would use to light a whole person! A 3 D4 packs provide power to the sea of c-stands and strobes.

This shoot is from 2009, but Peter is still going strong and perfecting his craft. To learn more about his process and the the thinking behind his work, check out an interview he did over on The Verge. See more of his work at peterbelanger.com.

 

All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Peter Belanger, all rights reserved; story is ©Profoto. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

Light Shaping Tool of the Month: ProBox

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Product Photography

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CJ ProBox 600x900 Light Shaping Tool of the Month: ProBox

©Frasershot

Each month we highlight a certain item in Profoto’s rich assortment of Light Shaping Tools (if you want to browse through previous articles, click here). This month we talk to Craig Fraser at Frasershot Studios about his favorite bit of kit: the ProBox.

Northampton-based Frasershot Studios is a small team of photographers and videographers; each specialized in a certain niche of photography. Together they are capable of handling almost any assignment – editorial spreads, corporate portraits, architectural studies, etc.

Craig Fraser, the man who founded and gave name to the studio, manages food and product photography. But Craig does not shoot just any food. He has found himself a niche within a niche, shooting spectacular dishes prepared by celebrity chefs at Michelin starred restaurants.

“It’s lovely to work with such talented people,” says Craig. “The only downside is that you can hardly ever move anything on the plate. That would be like telling the chef to change his presentation. It’s a respect thing, really. They rightly consider their dishes to be pieces of art, so you just have to use lighting to the best of your knowledge and work around that.”

How do you do that?

“I think that regardless of what product you’re shooting, you have to take a closer look at what’s unique about it. What are its unique selling points, so to speak? Whatever that is, that’s what you should focus on. For instance, I recently used the ProBox to shoot a pair of shoes for a company called Crockett & Jones. These shoes cost approximately £500.00, and there are more than 200 different process involved in making just one of them. So the quality of the leather is key, and that’s what you want to show.”

How does the ProBox help you do that?

“You can’t just throw light all over the place. You have to be subtle and in absolute control of the highlights, and the ProBox is great for that. Unlike a softbox, where you have a large light source with a gradual fall-off and soft edges, the ProBox gives you a smaller, perfectly even edge-to-edge light with really sharp edges. I also like the fact that it’s so easy to work with. With the modeling light turned on, you can physically see the highlights change shape and intensity as you reposition and set your lights. It makes my job so much easier.” Read More