First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome
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Old 12-02-2013   #1
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Default First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

First attempt at a product shoot... Trying to add some dimension to what was an original shot for their website.

Thougts and CC would be much appreciated

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Old 12-02-2013   #2
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

So you put your foot on the first step to product photography, eh? Be prepared to put in a lot of work. Product photography has a vast set of rules that are not easy to find when you are trying to learn it on your own.

First a side note; you don't need to block out labels. Since these are not being sold you don't have to worry about that part of it. Personally I want to see the label as that should be the sharpest and best lighting (for the most part).

I am not going to critique as there is a lot wrong with this image. However, I will give some pointers that will help with a reshoot.

Watch your color balance. I am comparing your shot against the supplied sample and it looks way too yellow. Once you have your exposure set place a color checker somewhere in the frame so you have a reference point for your edits. If you don't have a color checker with calibrated color swatches try a gray card or, at the very least, a white card.

Watch your exposure. It seems you have your light(s) too close and it's causing a shadow down the middle of the label. There is also too much backlighting through the jar. With product lighting, specially glass, its not always what light is hitting the subject but what is not hitting the subject. Black cards are your friend. Embrace the dark side (sorry, bad Star Wars reference).

Watch your angle of view. Products are perceived to have a certain power of presence based on what angle it's shot from. Shooting down on a product gives it a weaker, deferential presence making them unappealing. Shooting upwards on a product gives it a stronger, heroic status. Somewhere between the two gives it a neutral but appealing presence. You want to just see some of the top of the lid.

Focus on the brand. This particular product shot is used in sell sheets, newspaper ads and store promos and require the best view of the product. This type of product photography is all about recognition and selling the brand. That's why labels face forward, are well lit and leave no question about who or what it is. The white isolation allows designers to add text around the product or clip and manipulate the image as needed. If you notice in the sample image the label on the side of the lid faces forward. Partial labels are not appealing.

Style your shots to the best of your ability. This is a tough one. Many pro product photographers will work with a stylist that sets up the product to make it looks its best. There are a lot of regulations regarding what you can and can't do to a product. The big push is due to product misrepresentation. If you look at the sample and your image you can see that the sample looks fuller. I'm not sure if you used an open jar that had already been eaten but you want to present the product in its best form. While it is illegal to add more product than what comes packaged, there are no current laws that prevent you from reorganizing the product for best presentation. In this case the peppers were likely brought to the front of the jar. Open your jar and arrange the peppers to really showcase them without looking too staged.

Hope this helps you get started and I look forward to your future posts.
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Old 12-02-2013   #3
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

First - thank you so much for taking the time to reply I appreciate the amount of detail you provided. This shot was after about 30 tries - product photography is definitely an art form. I know I have some work to do and your feedback is greatly appreciated. Ill post some other photos once I do a retake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat2Duck View Post
So you put your foot on the first step to product photography, eh? Be prepared to put in a lot of work. Product photography has a vast set of rules that are not easy to find when you are trying to learn it on your own.

First a side note; you don't need to block out labels. Since these are not being sold you don't have to worry about that part of it. Personally I want to see the label as that should be the sharpest and best lighting (for the most part).

I am not going to critique as there is a lot wrong with this image. However, I will give some pointers that will help with a reshoot.

Watch your color balance. I am comparing your shot against the supplied sample and it looks way too yellow. Once you have your exposure set place a color checker somewhere in the frame so you have a reference point for your edits. If you don't have a color checker with calibrated color swatches try a gray card or, at the very least, a white card.

The color of the actual product is really much closer to my photo then the original. If I look at all their different products from what they have pictured almost all look the same dingy green - even if the products are more yellow or red, etc.

Watch your exposure. It seems you have your light(s) too close and it's causing a shadow down the middle of the label. There is also too much backlighting through the jar. With product lighting, specially glass, its not always what light is hitting the subject but what is not hitting the subject. Black cards are your friend. Embrace the dark side (sorry, bad Star Wars reference).
LOL on the Star Wars ref...
Good eye on the shadow - I missed that with trying to defuse the hotter spots - Ill try another fill card up front to bounce some light back. Ill also tone down the back lighting - I thought it would give some dimensions but I see your point.


Watch your angle of view. Products are perceived to have a certain power of presence based on what angle it's shot from. Shooting down on a product gives it a weaker, deferential presence making them unappealing. Shooting upwards on a product gives it a stronger, heroic status. Somewhere between the two gives it a neutral but appealing presence. You want to just see some of the top of the lid.

Focus on the brand. This particular product shot is used in sell sheets, newspaper ads and store promos and require the best view of the product. This type of product photography is all about recognition and selling the brand. That's why labels face forward, are well lit and leave no question about who or what it is. The white isolation allows designers to add text around the product or clip and manipulate the image as needed. If you notice in the sample image the label on the side of the lid faces forward. Partial labels are not appealing.

Style your shots to the best of your ability. This is a tough one. Many pro product photographers will work with a stylist that sets up the product to make it looks its best. There are a lot of regulations regarding what you can and can't do to a product. The big push is due to product misrepresentation. If you look at the sample and your image you can see that the sample looks fuller. I'm not sure if you used an open jar that had already been eaten but you want to present the product in its best form. While it is illegal to add more product than what comes packaged, there are no current laws that prevent you from reorganizing the product for best presentation. In this case the peppers were likely brought to the front of the jar. Open your jar and arrange the peppers to really showcase them without looking too staged.

Yes - this was an opened bottle that was pulled from the clients fridge for me to use as a sample. I filled it with water to get the peppers to at least float up. I will also shoot a few other angles to see what works best

Hope this helps you get started and I look forward to your future posts.
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Old 12-02-2013   #4
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

Hmm... I noticed Photo Camel posted my reply twice. Must be a glitch in the system.

Your back light is definitely too bright. It's blowing out your edges as it wraps around the glass. Instead of aiming the light onto the back of the jar angle it back onto the white background. If you want a clue as to how the original was lit all you have to do is look at the reflections in the glass. It looks like it was lit with a single fluorescent lamp on camera right with a fill card on the left and top. Definitely not what I would do.

Rather than add another fill card just pull your lights back. It'll create a smoother transition across the face of the label. Try placing your lights slightly forward of the side. You want an even transition of light to shade without a drastic step down from one to the other. Just enough to give it dimension.

Hint: if you are getting too much light coming through the glass from the back just mask the back of the jar to block the light. Just make sure it's not visible from the camera side.

I already mentioned dropping your angle of view so I won't bother with that. The product is another story. I would dump out the product into a bowl (don't get the label wet) and hand place the peppers back into the bottle. When you replace the peppers you want to avoid any ugly spots from showing. You'll need to play around with this as it will turn into a form of tetris. Just don't make it too uniform. You want some stems as well as some tips. Probably more stems than tips. I would use tooth picks to keep them in place. Again, making sure they are not visible to the camera.

With a coffee filter, reintroduce the liquid back into the jar with a funnel. Recap the jar so it looks nice and clean off the glass to get rid of fingerprints, wet spots, dust and so forth.

Hope this helps. I want to see your progress on this one.
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Old 12-05-2013   #5
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

For your first attempt at product work- you really picked a hard one- FOOD! Food and beverage photography is one of the more difficult aspects of commercial photography if not the most difficult and somewhat tedious hind of assignments.

Before getting into the aesthetics that are involved, we should address the general quality of your images. Most commercial images, unless a special ethereal effect is required such as certain cosmetic products, mot be tack sharp to reveal all the detail in the product and stand up to further lithographic processes when the images are reproduced in a newspaper, flyer or other type of publication. Reproduction on newsprint paper involves a low resolution process and a sharp file is necessary for the image to “survive”. Even in high quality printing, the original must be sharp. The images you have made are out of focus, perhaps due to a lack of depth of field. The problem is very noticeable because the label includes typography.

The images seem a bit tight in the format- a little more space would be an improvement, especially if copy needs to be added during reproduction. This is a “package shot” meaning that the food is not shown in an “illustrative” shot where it is presented in a plate, a table setting, a serving dish etc. Even in a package shot, if the food product actually shows, it must look appetizing and fresh especially where pickled or preserved foods are involved. This product looks a bit “soggy”. The issue here is “styling” as Duck has alluded to in his post. Food styling is a profession in itself, however, some food photographers, can do their own styling through training and experienced in working with stylists. There are hundreds of “tricks of the trade” to show food and beverage products at their best.

In some jurisdictions there are laws and regulations set out by governmental consumer protection agencies as to the “misrepresentation” of food products on the packaging of the product. Example: A frozen dinner can not be represented by a photograph of the items cooked form unfrozen ingredients even if the ingredients are the basically the same as the frozen. Oftentimes, after being frozen, certain ingredients such as red meat, although perfectly fit to eat after cooking, may take on a grayish color. The product can be photographed at its very best possible appearance but not “cosmetically” treated to look beyond its best possible appearance.

In cook books, recipe articles, non packaging advertisements; you can more or less do what you want as long as it isn’t totally outrageous. You can undercook a turkey and treat it with a browning agent so it does not appear wrinkled as if it were overcooked- just don’t eat it until it is fully cooked or you will likely get food positioning. Also- don’t eat the apples we have coated with floor wax, the soup we have loaded with glass marbles at the bottom of the bowl so as to show more ingredients at the top or drink the warm beer we have injected with a hypodermic syringe loaded with air to form a nice head.

Pickled products are sometimes removed from the jar and soaked in sodium sulfide to retain the appearance of freshness and/or crispness. They are then returned to the jar with the original brine. If the pickled product is in natural brine, the brine may become cloudy during its shelf life of the product- this is natural and safe but rather unsightly so that is why the aforementioned procedure is carried out. During theses procedures, the label is protected with a plastic bag and the fluids are handled carefully.

Food illustrations are much more complex and there are many concepts depending on the usage of the final photographs. The requirements may be for trans-illuminated menu boards, menu cards, point of purchase displays, advertisements in publications, catering brochures, supermarket flyers and/or just about any advertising or product promotion in the food service industry.

It is also necessary to have a really good grasp of commercial lighting techniques. You will be dealing with all kinds of reflective surfaces, textures, translucent liquids, heat and steam, carbonated beverages, ice and every day there is a new lighting challenge in food photography such as a melting product!

Good luck and please do post again as you progress.

Ed

PS- Check out the work of Brooks- he is a great food specialist and an experienced commercial guy- right here on the forum!
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Old 12-07-2013   #6
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

I guess to clarify, it is Food related but at this time its more the vessel its being packaged in then the actual product. Meaning I will shoot the product inside the glass jar - for now
I am taking all of your suggestions (thank you) and spending a lot of time on YouTube watching videos on how to shoot products

I did get the gig to shoot 11 new products for them - so I am stoked and nervous too.

Figured out how to upload

I'm starting from this image - a little hot behind and ill look to remove the highlight from the black lid - so still WIP
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Old 12-07-2013   #7
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

Well- Even in the jar- it's gotta look good and fresh! Good luck with the other shots. Keep it sharp! The last one is better! Calm down the background a bit more- the reflection is burning out the edges of the jar. Yum- I can taste the heat now- I love hot peppers!

To post them; edit and save then. After writing in the text box and before posting go to MANAGING ATTACHMENTS . When the browsing boxes appear enter the image you have saved and then complete the posting process. You seem to have done it properly!

Looking forward to seeing the new images!

Ed
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Last edited by Ed Shapiro; 12-07-2013 at 04:25 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 12-07-2013   #8
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

Andrew, use black reflector/flags on each side of the jar to eliminate that reflection and flare of the white background. You might even want to reduce the exposure as the white bkgd seems to be too hot.

Often I'll shoot this sort of glass subject on a light grey, which doesn't flare like an over-lit white background, since the subject will be stripped out of the background anyway.

Above all else you must rotate the jar to center the label. Ideally the client will provide you with clean jars and labels that you can attach yourself to eliminate having to deal with crooked or damaged labels from the production run. Other wise you should personally inspect and choose jars with perfect labels for photography. Don't let the client provide you with just a single jar of each product unless the labels and jars are perfect.
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Old 12-07-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
Andrew, use black reflector/flags on each side of the jar to eliminate that reflection and flare of the white background. You might even want to reduce the exposure as the white bkgd seems to be too hot.

Often I'll shoot this sort of glass subject on a light grey, which doesn't flare like an over-lit white background, since the subject will be stripped out of the background anyway.

Above all else you must rotate the jar to center the label. Ideally the client will provide you with clean jars and labels that you can attach yourself to eliminate having to deal with crooked or damaged labels from the production run. Other wise you should personally inspect and choose jars with perfect labels for photography. Don't let the client provide you with just a single jar of each product unless the labels and jars are perfect.



Equally important
I was just thinking black would do it - I'm going to go get some black foam board and try that.

I agree - I turned down the back light a stop to see if that will eliminate the spilling I am seeing too.

Appreciate the input and I will post another pic soon.
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Old 12-07-2013   #10
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Default Re: First attempt at a product shoot - CC welcome

Ok, added black flags to the side. I like the edges a lot better.

Now to work on the bottom, since the light is reflecting up off the bottom the lighting from bottom is brighter then the top and there is the white reflection coming up.

I think maybe a little strip of gray paper on the bottom - change the perspective a bit so it crops easier. They want a white background so Id like to shoot it with the blown out white.

So getting there...


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