How to create clean simple product shots with just one light and a bit of AI

Sep 17, 2021

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

How to create clean simple product shots with just one light and a bit of AI

Sep 17, 2021

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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Have you ever wondered how you can create high-quality product shots using just one speed light? Dustin Dolby from Workphlo show us how to do just that in his latest video, and it is really very simple. I’m a huge fan of using minimal gear if you can, and I love to use just one light source when possible. As you can see from Dustin’s final images you can create a very solid looking e-commerce type image with this method.

YouTube video

First, let’s look at Dustin’s set-up. Now he’s photographing each of the items separately to get them as clean as possible. They will be composited together later on in post, as will be the reflection so no need to worry about that. He has a Speedlight mounted inside a strip box. This is then placed behind a scrim or piece of translum to further diffuse the light. To create that beautiful gradient simply place the strip box at an angle to the scrim. This is lighting up the camera left side of the object.

The highlights need to be equal on the lipstick tube so Dustin takes a small white card to use as a reflector to create the highlights on the camera right side of the object. Notice how close the card is to the subject. Another thing I noticed that is a great idea is that Dustin is wearing gloves to handle the lipstick. This is to avoid getting fingerprints on the surface which I can tell you would be a right nuisance to have to remove in Photoshop!

So now we have the shots, Dustin takes the photos into an image processing software called Auto-Retouch which is very clever and uses AI. The concept of this software is to simplify and speed up making clipping paths and selections and removing backgrounds, aimed particularly for e-commerce type photography. It seems like an interesting piece of software and uses a pay-as-you-go model. It seems to do a pretty impressive job, although the AI in Photoshop is also good at auto select these days so I’m curious to see if Auto-retouch does it faster or can manage batches better.

After the images have been masked Dustin brings them into Photoshop for some basic clean up. The reflections are created by copying the subject layer, flipping it vertically and then lowering the opacity and applying a gradient. You can then composite all the subjects together into one very clean image with reflections and a perfectly white background. All done with just one Speedlight (and some clever software).

 

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Join the Discussion

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