I’ve just done another product shoot for a friend – this time for Shannon of Forgotten Feline.
I must have a lot of creative and entrepreneurial friends
Shannon/Forgotten Feline is a taxidermist and creates fun and quirky taxidermy – usually mice with fun props in somewhat alternative poses – not your usual stuff. But she’s also doing a line of hats, fascinators, head-pieces and such. It was these that she asked me to photograph.
Setup is similar to my other product shoots:
- White background - over a table.
- Reflector/barn doors light, on a boom, pointing down and back at the background
- White Umbrella camera right pointing down at item
- Silver to subject left bouncing some light at subject and some at background
I could use a third light instead of the reflector but I prefer to keep it simple – also I’ve found that the white umbrella gives a very good spread of light – more than a softbox would.
Here’s a quick diagram:
Before shooting I take a whitebalance setting using a grey card. A colour checker would be better but I don’t have one yet – I’m keeping an eye on eBay etc for cheap ones.
Editing is fairly basic:
- Double checking the white balance
- General exposure adjusting for the whole picture (usually Exposure, Blacks and Shadow sliders)
- Additional exposure for the background in Camera Raw using Quick Mask
- General other tweaks – Clarity, Vibrance, Saturation.
I shoot RAW, edit in AdobeRGB then convert to sRGB for web.
Here are links to her shop and Facebook pages:
Etsy Shop : http://www.etsy.com/shop/forgottenfeline
Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/ForgottenFelineCouture
And a selection of the pictures:
I’ve just finished editing my first shoot in a while – for my friend Charlie Pyne. She’s a Bass player – both Double Bass and Bass Guitar and is working on her website and needed some photos. We were trying for a few looks – vintage-esque, smart and a bit rock-ish – so we had a few outfit and background changes. Below is a small selection of what we came up with. I’ve converted all the colour to black and white and done some toning but only two of those below.
Although it was in my home-studio it was quite light outside so on the first few on grey I tried natural light only as there was a window to one side – I quite liked how they came out – getting shallow depth of field – something I can’t do with studio lights as they’re too powerful.
Did some retouching on them but was made easy by Charlie being Charlie – pretty with lovely skin/hair/eyes etc etc She’s a lovely person too so managed to get some fun natural looks.
I’ll load some more onto my site in due course and update here when Charlie has her website up. In the mean time here’s a duo she’s part of : Strawberry & Cream.
It’s been a long while since I’ve put something up on my main site but I’ve finally done it!
I had a shoot with with friends from Lacing Lilith Latex Couture over a year ago now! At the time they said they’d do the editing for their own site and so the set went to the back of my editing queue. But of late I’ve been managing to get through things and so came around to this set. Lacing lilith crew specifically asked me to do a fairly basic setup – with a plain light background which would allow them greater flexibility for edits – and so this also gave me such an opportunity.
Up to now my editing has been if not basic, certainly standard – possibly retouching on some images but on the whole correcting blemishes and lighting – no special or additional styling styling other than possibly turning an image to Black and White. Having seen many a fashion shoot styled with toning I fancied giving it a try.
There seems to be numerous ways to tone an image – some are basic and will usually only offer a single colour in one layer, while others can add multiple colouring options. Some possible options I found :
- Fill Layer (Solid Colour): Basic, just adding a solid fill colour, however it’s possible to mask it or change the blend mode to affect one area.
- Curves : Add a curve and adjust it differently only the individual channels – this allows different colour adjustment throughout the lights to darks.
- Colour Balance : Add a colour balance layer – adjusting the colour by Highlights, Midtones or Shadows.
While Curves gave more control over which luminosity you’d change – a colour Balance layer seemed to give more control, or easier control over which colours you could choose – and so I mainly used this technique. Here’s an example of one of the adjustment layers I added:
As I’m new to this I won’t go into an in-depth tutorial and as everybody who tries a new technique I’m probably overdoing it, but c’est la vie.
These are the main steps I used to edit the photos:
- Duplicate layer and do a general fix such as hairs, major blemishes, etc
- Adjust eyes – brighten, whiten, enhance colour.
- Skin, hair and eyes: Smooth skin + background (slightly), sharpen eyes and hair.
- Lighten & darken some areas of the subject e.g. hair, clothes etc.
- Darken the background
And a selection:
The whole set is here : Lacing Lilith Latex Couture.
Links to some involved:
Lacing Lilith : https://www.facebook.com/lacinglilithlatexcouture
Roseanna Velin : https://www.facebook.com/roseannamakeupartist?ref=ts
Eh what ?
Ha – ok some will know what this is about and so you can skip this but thought I’d post for those that don’t.
What I’m talking about is traditionally known as a Grey (or is it Gray…?) card, althought they now come in several different formats. Yes – this is a piece of grey card – but it’s a very specific luminescence/lightness of grey – 18% grey. (PS I’m using “Luminescence” or “lightness” rather than “shade” as that suggests colour and grey has none – it’s just part way between white or black – which are not colours…. penadtry over for now) Allegedly this is what all cameras from early-ish light meters were built to consider a middle and average tone. [I say allegedly as Thom Hogan a well know photographer/blogger says otherwise]
The story goes that someone (possibly Kodak ?) went through thousands of correctly exposed pictures and took an average, overal light value and found this to be 18% grey – and so built cameras/meters to try to achieve this. This is why sometimes taking picture of light things in snow will under expose (pushing it darker towards grey) and dark things on a dark background will over expose…… although modern cameras have got a lot better … anyway I digress..
So the main/original purpose of grey cards was to assist in obtaining the correct meter/exposure value in tricky scenarios. You can hold the card infront/next to your subject and take a meter reading from it which should be correct.
BUT another use for them (and the point which I have been getting to in a very round-about way) is that they can be helpful when trying to get the correct White Balance. (If you don’t know what White Balance is – err – it’s the measure of how warm or cool the light is – our eyes automatically adjust for it but cameras sometimes need to be told - especially with different kind of light bulbs)
Usually modern cameras can do a fairly good job of getting the right white balance – but sometimes they need some help. This weekend I was helping a friend out by taking pictures of her bags which she’s producing and will be selling. As part of this shoot I was taking product shots – the bags on a plain white background – over exposed so that it would be white, using studio lights at a friends studio. I realised that I’d forgotten my grey card – so although I have a rough idea what temperature/tone the studio lights are I didn’t have a proper value to go by. What I’ve done instead is to find a patch of shade that isn’t influenced by other areas and taken a value from that. (You can’t take values from pure white – most of my background – as it has no colour) But one of the bags is proving tricky – the purple one. It just won’t look as it should. Not sure if this is due to my White Balance measurement (in Camera Raw) not being correct or the camera having an issue with that colour. Either way – a grey card would have been handy – I think I’ll cut off part of the card I have and keep a bit in each of my camera bags.
As well as standard cards there are some newer formats as I mentioned.
small and portable:
BUT grey cards are not the final word on full/correct colour management. Although they are a quick and easy method – they only correct the picture based on one sample shading. Theoretically it’s possible that either the light source or your camera’s colour characteristics will vary according to shade i.e. the light might be a little orange in the darker shades, but it is less so when it gets lighter. Other colours might come out more there – in essence – the colour variation of the light or the sensitivity of your sensor may not be linear. So for a comprehensive calibration you’ll need something with more sample points. Something like the X-Rite ColorChecker passport:
As well as a grey card it has a section with many different colours to sample from. There are various others on the market but this seems to be the main market leader at the moment as it comes with software that you can install that will help you create a calibrated colour profile for your camera/lens/light setup and then you can apply it to all images in a batch.
Here’s a video from X-rite on its use:
I do not have one of these – I would like to have one of these
Task tonight (in addition to re-theming this blog) is to start editing the shoot I did with Sam (http://www.samanthastone.co.uk/) a week or so ago. Afraid this is overdue but I’ve been rather busy.
Primary purpose of the shoot was to have a go at doing some Black and White photos – not something I’ve done a huge amount of – and also do something a bit more gritty even though it was at home in my “studio”. We also got around to trying some Hi-Key shots – not something I’ve done a lot of since I naturally gravitate towards Hi-contrast / low-key lighting.
I had recce’ed out a grity location in central London thanks to Sean – but with no light or heating Sam and I thought best leave it for a lighter time and warmer time of year – hopefully use it soon though.
With Sam only living a short train journey away – hopefully have a few regular shoots. I have after all been promising to do a lot more shoots now I have my own place – but been procrastinating up to now.
A quickie edit before I cook dinner