In the previous post I detailed a challenge on how I had to take white background shots using only stuff I had lying around the house. Go read it if you haven’t, I’ll wait.
So you see I have a lot of random stuff lying around. So, what did we do with it?
The first thing is, I needed to “build a base” to shoot the products on. In a professional world, I’d use black Perspex – that stuff is aces for product shots, but not everyone has Perspex just lying around. I needed something to put my products on, something that had a reflective surface that would allow me my white background. I found a DVD with a clear white cover. INXS’ concert at Wembley. (How can you NOT get goosies at the 1:02 mark of this video? Na-na-na tad-dalalala! ) After watching the DVD and got nostalgic for powerful arena-rock when music was still amazing, I got back to work. The first thing I did was to remove the paper cover, and slice off the clear plastic slider of the case. I slipped in a piece of white paper into the DVD case to give me a reflective white “floor”. For the Millennials: a DVD is an antiquated media storage device us old folks used to watch movies on before the internet existed. Ask your granddad.
The second thing I needed to build, was my backdrop. For this, I used a beer carton. And a brick. The brick was used to keep the carton up.
I measured out a piece of A4 paper on the inside of the beer box, and cut a hole in it. The box, not the paper.
I taped the paper to the back of the box, and made sure the tape on the back did not “overlap” into the hole I cut in. I also made sure the paper were slightly below the height of the brick, so when I put the DVD box on top of my brick, it would form a seamless “horizon” with the background.
Took another brick, folded a piece of paper over it, and well, there you have it, a background and a floor to shoot on!
Next up: Lights!
I positioned one of my lights to the back of this box, effectively backlighting my products.
I used my “something black”, as “flags”. This prevents light from “wrapping” around the object, giving me fuzzy edges. In the studio, I’d use the black sides of 5-in-one reflectors, polyboards – and even V-flats if I can find some – but as said, no obscure or pro equipment, the “something black” I used were two old CD folders. I wanted to use black cardboard, and I did not have any – how about that!? And as an added, unforeseen, bonus, the CD folders, on top of the bricks, fit in nice and snugly underneath the lip of the beer box – as if it was made for it. It’s my lucky day, I need to play the lotto tonight!
At first, my light was just upright, as lights tend to be, but then I saw it was “too high” in relation to my product, so I put it down low. This was a better solution, but not the optimal solution. The optimal solution came a bit later – I knew I could sort out my background light, but now I needed to sort my “key” light. My main light. I knew from experience, simply “a light” would not work – it needed some diffusion. And for that, I used a double-layer of wax paper. (Sorry Sweetie, I know it’s for your cooking, I’ll buy you some more). My proudest MacGyver moment of the entire morning was when I used the inner-tube cardboard core from the now-depleted roll of foil as an armature to support the wax paper on. Why wasn’t I this ingenious during my schooldays – I may actually have passed something! This diffused the light beautifully onto my bottle.
Now, we need to get back to that background! The problem is I was not getting enough light on my background. Light bounces, and I think less than half the actual light, made it onto the paper – the rest just got bounced out of existence. So I grabbed some bread boards, taped white paper to them, and made a “tunnel” for the light to go through – any light that was bounced away from my backdrop, would bounce back from the boards, and as such, I immediately got a lot “more” light on my background! And here I thought using a cardboard core to support wax paper was ingenious!
And that, Gentleladies and men – was it!
Next up: the principle and theory of light, and how I exposed for these photos. but now, I think it’s time for that nap I was talking about!