It’s all business in the front and party in the back with Dustin Dolby from Workphlo‘s latest product photography tutorial video. This time he’s showing us how you can get some very professional looking images of silverware, using very basic gear: just one Speedlight.
Shiny objects are notoriously difficult to photograph well. The key thing to remember when shooting anything shiny is to light the reflections, not the object itself. Additionally larger light sources (relative to the size of the subject) are going to be your best bet for shooting anything highly reflective.
First, Dustin clamps the inside diffuser from a 5-in-1 reflector to an arm just above the camera. This is going to diffuse the light and essentially make it into a larger light source.
He puts the Speedlight inside a strip box placed behind the silverware and the diffuser. He experiments with the height of the strip box a little to move the hot spot around off the blade of the knife so that it looks a little smoother. This is why shooting products tethered to a camera in live view is often useful.
Dustin goes on to show how you can use this exact same lighting setup to create a variety of shots and moods, simply by changing the background surface and props.
In ACR post processing, Dustin adjusts the white balance to taste and then sets the vibrance and saturation to 99 to keep an RGB colour space but completely desaturated of colour. He then boosts the whites until clipping appears, then backs off a little.
Once in Photoshop he duplicates his background layer and does a basic clean up of any imperfections using the patch tool. You can find additional imperfections by playing with the curves layer and making it into a bit of a radical curve it will show up many more things to retouch than you would notice otherwise.
Dustin says that photographing flatware can be challenging but ultimately rewarding once you understand how to make those reflections look really good.