Friday, August 24, 2012

Night Catalog

Last November I helped a friend make a catalog for a line of LED products for pubs and clubs.

I took this as an opportunity to learn more about product photography, although this project was very different than most product catalogs.

Since the whole point was to show the self-lit products, I wanted to make everything in a nocturnal environment. This made some things very easy (the backgrounds were easy to black out) but it also presented some problems. The main difficulty was that the LED lights are much weaker than my flash, and I had to go to very small apertures and very long exposures to get them at the same power.

So I had to resort to other lighting sources. Making sure the colors match and that the background stayed as dark as possible were also concerns that kept this shoot interesting.

The second part of the shoot was a month later at a pub, showing off the products at their intended surroundings.

A few product shots:

For this shot I used a video light (a 30 LED floodlight) I purchased before I had the money for a real flash.  I played with the distance of the light source to get just enough on the bagels and not blow out the LED lighting.

The snoot was just a folded piece of paper. The lighting was fairly improvised on this shoot!

This is what we started with. It actually worked well for some of the shots, where an color gel on the flash allowed me to match the color of the products in some of the shots.

Here I found the flood light too strong, and just downloaded the "flashlight" app for my phone. It lets you choose the color and brightness of the screen, which is perfect for matching to the intensity of light of the product. Needless to say it was all done on a tripod with the lights out.

and finally a shot of the other  setup:

Some of these we used for the products. Most we just drank.

The next shots were taken a month later at a pub, with two models we hired for top dollar to pose for us. No, actually this is Keren (which you have already seen as a light stand).

Here I had to combine ambient and the aforementioned floodlight to get the products to really shine. The floodlight is putting just a little extra light from camera top right.

It was just after christmas. After we were done at the pub we moved to my friend's back yard for some party products.

I made these with pretty long exposures (around one second) on a tripod, with a flash strapped to a tree using a gorrillapod. That stopped motion for Keren and lit her well, while the background was just underexposed enough, and the LED products could leave light trails.

I almost gave up on trying to make these LED gloves look good, when Keren started to move. Then I got these interesting results:

The gloves change color all the time, and suddenly we discovered they can make for awesome light paintings.

A cool experience for me, both improvising with different light sources, playing all kinds of ambient lights and camera settings for the different situations, and a lot of fun shooting these gadgets.

For the full album (with around 60 selected photos from both shoots) go here.

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