Product Shot Setup

The "Gaff on the Go" post from yesterday took a small amount of time to write, and an even smaller amount of time to photograph. I wanted to show how easy it can be to make simple, great looking photos (like the entry photo from the post).

First of all, the setup that I did here could be a little over the top for most of the readers. Instead of going through all the photo-nerd details of my setup, I'd like to just cover a few easy tips to making better looking photographs.

Gaff Taped MiniDV Case1. Photography is the capture of light. The more light your camera has available to it, the better it can do it's job. This is why most cameras have a built-in flash, to add as much light as possible at the instant the photo is needed. To crank out all that light continuously would take a power plant worth of juice, but as long as it's just for an instant, a TON of light can be created, and then abandoned instantly after the photo is snapped. However, this on-board flash can be kind of gross looking if it is the ONLY light source. Apple 12" Powerbook G4 02So, turn on some lamps, open the blinds, do whatever you can to give your camera light. The best possible solution I can think of is to go outside, and stay in the shade.

2. Find a neutral surface or background to take your photo with. I like the wood of my dorm room coffee table. It's simple, un-distracting, colorful, but not boring. Solid white is not always the answer.

3. Mind the angle of the photo. The Gaff taped plastic case would not look half as good if taken from above, looking down. Move around a little, and find an angle that keeps yourCanon SD750 - Top background nice and constant, while showing the subject from an appropriate and interesting angle.

Oh, and for the photo nerds. I wanted to get my ISO out of the dirt, so I cranked out my Alien Bee and fired it up to 1/4 power, washing one wall as soft fill. For my key, I placed a Canon 580EX-II speedlight on 1/2 power, 18in away. The speedlight is not nearly as powerful, and at "double" the power setting of the alien bee, it was barely the primary source. Shot low for depth, but at a decent f/stop for not too much depth. PP done in iPhoto.