Constructing product photography in-camera instead of in-Photoshop
At some point, most of us will have to shoot a product. It may be for a paying client. Perhaps for a family member who wants to stick something on eBay. Or we might just want to show off our newest toy on Facebook. Whatever the reason, your life is generally going to be a lot easier if you can get things as close to the final image in-camera. It’s less time sitting at the computer, letting you get on with actually shoting.
This 20 minute video tutorial from Karl Taylor walks us through a cosmetics product photography shoot. The emphasis here is on lighting, and getting things as close to complete in camera as possible. There are, obviously, one or two tweaks that can still be made in Photoshop. But the differences between the image straight out of camera, and the final retouched shot are minimal.
Karl shows us exactly how the shot comes together. How each light builds upon the scene to enhance a very specific area. Karl’s using some pretty fancy gear for his 6 light setup. But he goes into detail in exactly how each contributes to the scene. While Broncolor may be out of reach to many of us, the principles can equally be applied to speedlights or other flash units.
As you can see in the straight out of camera result vs the final retouched image, there’s really not a lot of difference between them. Just some minor cleanup to remove a logo, a reflection, and round up the water drops.
Karl isn’t condemning the use of Photoshop, though. He’s simply attempting to demonstrate how much work you can save in post when you execute the shoot well. The fewer things you need to retouch in post, the easier your life becomes.
Do you photograph products often? What other tips can you offer? Do you prefer to get everything as perfect as possible in-camera? Or do you prefer “good enough” with more time in Photoshop? Let us know in the comments.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.