Monday, February 14, 2011

How I Got The Shot #9 - Product Shot - Armando Javier Clutch

Had a past client need some product shots for their online store.  They had some specific requirements on how they wanted the pictures to look.  This blog will take you through the steps on getting the product shot you see below.

Check out the details after the break...
Creative Process:
Armando Javier is an up and coming fashion design house in the Columbus, Ohio region.  They requested product shots with a black to white gradient background.  I broke the shoot up into two parts.  Lighting the product and creating the background.

Location:
Studio

Gear:
Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
Tripod
DIY Light Tent - Got the plans from HERE
One adjustable lamp(cheap one from home improvement stores) - I believe it was a 40 watt light.
One daylight rated compact fluorescent bulb

EXIF Info:
Shot in Aperture Priority at 1.3sec  - f/7.1 - ISO 200 @ 35mm - Spot metering
Shot in RAW - converted to JPG in Camera RAW

Lighting Setup:
For this shot, I wanted a nice, even catalog type shot, so I placed the continuous light source above the light tent, shooting down through the diffusing material.  This illuminated the white background as well as the clutch.

Why spot metering?  Well, I metered off the clutch which is a nice middle gray tone.  This allowed for me to blow out the majority of the background and still keep the product in the right exposure range.   You could have easily metered this and thrown the camera into manual.  Your choice.

Straight from camera:


Post Processing:
Basic Camera RAW adjustments and then straight into CS4 for a bit of post processing.  The client wanted a gradient background going from black through white, as you can see from the finished product below.  How did I accomplish this?  I used a technique explained best by master Photoshopper, Bert Monroy.  The video can be seen here.  The whole video/series is worth watching, but for this blog, the technique were are interested in starts at 9:30 into the video.

The technique involves using channels.  This is one reason that I still need to use Photoshop and cannot be content with using just Lightroom or a combo of Lightroom and Elements.

First, go into channels and find which individual channel has the most contrast between the background and the main subject you want to keep.  In our example, the clutch is the subject and the white fabric, the background.
Once you've determined the channel with the most contrast, duplicate it.
Select the newly duplicated layer and then open a levels adjustment on it.  Adjust the white, black and midpoints so that the subject is completely black and the background completely white.  You might need to clean it up manually by painting in this channel.  You paint with either white or black to make a complete selection.
Once the channel has been created, it is now an option to be picked as a selection.  You load that selection and you now have you subject masked out and protected.
Now it is just a simple task of selecting a gradient fill and dragging it through the image.

Again, for a very detailed description of how to do this technique, watch the video linked above.

Here is the completed image:

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