Look What I Did Using $3 Color Gels!
Colour photography is in. Taking a quick scroll through your Instagram, the ad-boards on the street, or the posters at your favourite shopping centre, you’ll easily find at least one of these colour photos, giving their products an extra splash of personality, life, attractiveness… basically everything a fun-loving, tech-savvy millennial would dig.
Striking colours and contrast, often combined in smooth-flowing gradients, have been loved by photography professionals for years as they do a great job in evoking the desired emotions related to the products – I, myself, have worked in several colour photography projects, most of the time, using colour gels of various pretty shades that usually fetch a high price.
However, this time, as a little personal experiment, I decided to try working with cheap colour gels of rather basic shades to see if I can produce a colour product photography as decent as the usual expensive colour gels do.
The $3 colour gels I got online (many thanks to our delivery drivers working during Singapore’s Circuit Breaker period!) did not stop me from producing the same trendy, high-quality colour photos. Stay through the article to learn exactly how I did it.
At only $3, it will not break your wallet.
I selected the Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker II for the colour gel shoot
I started off by picking a product that would best suit colour photography. For this purpose, I brought in my Bose SoundLink Colour Bluetooth Speaker II (not an ad!), for one simple reason – tech products are one of the most common products starring in colour photography.
Nevertheless, don’t let this stop you from using non-tech products for colour photography in your own projects, as the bottom line is really just about using colours to bring out the personalities of the products.
I then studied the product
With the product in mind, I then proceeded to study it to make sure I have a good understanding of which equipment to use to best portray the product. The Bose SoundLink Colour, entirely made of matte silicon rubber, would only look “flattened” by a softbox light (check out previous blog post on Product Photography in 4 Simple Steps for a more detailed explanation).
My selected modifiers and lighting
As such, I decided to use a light modifier, such as the reflector, to put the product under a contrast light, ensuring that the matte surfaces will look more obvious, giving the image an “overall punch”.
Next, actually setting up the lights – background light, and the backlight for the product. As for the background, a simple reflector was enough to give me a soft gradient, but more work was required to ensure that the backlight was helping the product look
(1) “contrasty” and “popping” and
To achieve this, I firstly used the inverse square law – the closer the light is to the product, the lesser the light spread, and therefore, the higher the contrast. Using this, I simply made sure that the backlight was close to the product to create a high colour contrast in the photo.
However, one flaw to this was that the backlight was creating a lot of shadows at the front of the product, which I wanted to avoid as it was interfering with the visibility of the product. In fact, I rather preferred the shadows to be at the side, to give the photo an extra dimension – this was easily solved by introducing a second light at the side of the product.
Final touches to the lighting
Lastly, to make the logo stand out a bit more, I used a snoot to produce a small spread of light at the logo (check out my Hand Sanitiser Product Photography blog post here to see other instances where a snoot was used).
Addition of color gels
After finalizing the position of the lighting equipment, it was time to add the colour gels. This also took a bit of experimenting, as different colour combinations produced a different “feel” – as the product itself was black, its neutrality blended well with any mood, ranging from pink and yellow (a lighter, bubblier vibe), to red and purple (a heavier, more “grand” and luxury vibe).
Red, blue and purple gels it is!
After playing around with various combinations and doing a bit of research into Bose’s brand image, I decided to go with red, blue, and purple, to create a fun, modern yet luxurious vibe carried by Bose’s premium products (again, not an ad).
Shoot and voila! Colour photography completed, with just using $3 colour gels. I believe that as long as you have the right processes and approaches, budget is the least of your problems in producing photos that bring out the best from the products.
Reach out to us for similar photos of your products
In case you’d like similar photos for your products, we are still offering our Circuit Breaker Product Photography bookings, starting at only $25 per photo.
If you are looking for ways to capture the beauty of your products to appeal to your customers, feel free to contact us for more information.