Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot
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Old 09-19-2015   #1
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Default Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

This is the time of year when we're busy doing photography for several Christmas Catalogs for our Gift Fruit clients.

Yesterday we shot a cover image of a Christmas stocking full of citrus on a fireplace mantle, which was requested by the client. We made a fake fireplace set in the studio, hand-made a stocking and got to play with FIRE! Fire fun!

We used a mix of hard light from a fresnel spot and soft light from 2 soft boxes, one from the same side as the spot to maintain a single direction of light, and the other from overhead for just a bit of downward fill.

We wanted some atmosphere to the light so we used two flags to cut the light and create a more interesting look to the lighting. A mix of light and dark areas in the scene seems to add a dimension to the lighting which helps create interest.

We also used two gridded lights with orange gels to warmly under-light the stocking and to light the interior of the fireplace. The orange gelled lights helped warm the scene and simulate light from fire.

Here's the setup, viewed from the side....

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Old 09-19-2015   #2
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

We had to use an articulated arm and clamp to hold the stocking in the right position....
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Old 09-19-2015   #3
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

We also found that the oranges were so heavy that they would sag into the stocking and droop to one side so we hollowed out the oranges to make them lighter.....
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Old 09-19-2015   #4
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We also wanted to add real fire and flames in the fireplace so we used a rolled tube of newspaper, lit it with a candle, then held it with metal tongs behind the opening of the fireplace. We used 1/3 sec to record the fire in the same capture as the rest of the scene. We then extinguished the newspaper in a bucket of water. It took many tries to get flames that we liked and we might later end up combining several images of the flames.
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Old 09-19-2015   #5
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

These shoots always present lots of challenges and problems to be solve, many of which are not photography related. I thought you'd all like to see the steps involved in this type of photographic illustration shoot. Final exposure of 1/3 sec., f/16 at 100 ISO.

There's a lot of retouching needed on this image, and that will be done later, but for now this is the final image without any retouching.....
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Old 09-19-2015   #6
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

Holy Crap. An excellent post with a lot of behind the scenes info, which is awesome. Appreciate that info and hope others do too. Takes a lot to get a lot better images, but it isn't that difficult. The final image is great as it is there and after processing I'm sure it will be a better. Well done and appreciated.
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Old 09-19-2015   #7
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

Attaboy........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
These shoots always present lots of challenges and problems to be solve, many of which are not photography related. I thought you'd all like to see the steps involved in this type of photographic illustration shoot. Final exposure of 1/3 sec., f/16 at 100 ISO.

There's a lot of retouching needed on this image, and that will be done later, but for now this is the final image without any retouching.....
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Old 09-19-2015   #8
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

Two thumbs up.
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Old 09-19-2015   #9
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

Amazing amount of prep work to make the shot.
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Old 09-19-2015   #10
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Default Re: Christmas Catalog Cover Shoot

Yikes. How times have changed. Back "in the day", when I was in the product photography racket, we didn't have a flash unit capable of producing as little as 100 WS. We used 2400 and 4800 WS Speedos mostly (and they didn't give those away), but of course we were shooting 4x5 chromes and sometimes 8x10.

This type of photography, for you younger folks, involved inserting actual physical sheets of a coated plasticky material, called "film", into the back of the camera which were subsequently sent to a "lab" where they were "processed" with chemicals to reveal the latent images recorded thereon. Hard to believe, I know, but true.


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