Most of you know me as a professional headshot photographer in Nashville. And I admit, I love headshot photography. Coming from a business/corporate background, I enjoy the interactions with the clients and getting to know more about their professional and personal lives. These sessions often lead to future business, which may or may not be another headshot session.
An aspect of photography I find challenging and exciting at the same time is lighting. And sometimes, I like being by myself. Knowing these two factors, I realized I enjoy product photography. While I like shooting products in general, I really enjoy shooting those shiny little things - things like bottles, watches and beverage cans. Below are some products I shot recently at Westlight Studios in Nashville.
Red Bull Energy Drink
The ‘red can in snow’ was shot as part of a demo for high school students. Marcus, Jared and I sat down with a bunch of diapers. Why? Diapers contain a super absorbent powder sodium polyacrylate. This powder looks like ice and sticks to surfaces when it absorbs water. That’s how we got the ice/snow effect. Trivia - the powder is available at pharmacies. But, tearing apart diapers is just so much fun…
The lighting set up was pretty simple, but had to be tweaked to make the light symmetrical. Two lights reflected from v-flats to light up the can. A light with blue gel lit up the backdrop. We also created some fun effects for the students.
For the image with the cans on white, I used a mix of glycerine and water (1:2) to create the water droplets. The lighting setup was, again, pretty simple. Two v-flats lit up the cans from the sides. A light from behind and top created the shadows, and also hit a diffuser in front of the cans to even out the lighting across the cans.
Styling wise, my creative manager Amanda suggested some factors to watch out for future shoots. She suggested the sugar free cans should have been together and the top pops could have looked better if they were arranged symmetrically. While she and I have complimentary thoughts on creativity, Amanda does have a stronger style and compositional sense. More often than not her styling is the difference between a good image and a great image. Having her on any set means having a pair of keen eyes that are looking for details that most people would miss.
Jack Daniels Whiskey:
I have written about this shoot in the past. You can read more here.
The challenge with shooting the watch was lighting every element of the subject (watch + box + cover) so as to not compete with the rest of the elements. Honestly, I have no clue what that means. What I (probably) mean is that I had to flag the light source to light one element and not the rest. Then I took the different images into photoshop as layers and created a composite. The backdrop is a rusted and scratched metal plate.
We have several good product photographers in Nashville, and I have learned from many of them. At the same time, the city is growing at a fast pace, and more businesses are popping up every day. Product photography has a decent demand in Nashville and will continue to be a promising field. The technology does seem to change rapidly, especially with e-commerce product photography. Damn you, largest online retailer in the world!
Mayur is a product photographer in Nashville Tennessee. You can see more of his advertising and commercial photography work on his website.