Welcome to 2020 – there’s an epidemic going around, people are told to stay at home, and hand sanitizers are trending. Totally the future I imagined as a child.
In all seriousness, however, as a tribute to our new best friend, boring, but life-saving bottles of hand sanitizers, I decided to take up the challenge of photographing one; at the comfort of my own home. I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome, so follow me through this article to learn how to replicate your own version.
- 4 Elinchrom lights
- 3 Standard Reflectors
- 1 Honeycomb Grid
- 1 Snoot with Honeycomb Grid
- 2 Lee Filters Diffusion Paper
As shared previously in my first article, Product Photography in 4 Simple Steps, I started off the process by studying the product, and gaining an understanding of it. Hand sanitizers are rather tricky, coming in two components – the bottle, and the pump, both made up of different materials – and therefore I knew I had to use two separate methods of lighting.
After understanding the nature of the product comes the step of choosing the right equipment to bring out the best of the materials used.
Firstly considering the bottle, which features a large, matte cylindrical surface, I made a point to emphasize the curvature of the bottle from the side; otherwise, the bottle will end up looking two-dimensional, and unattractively lacking of character.
For this purpose, I figured that using a Lee filter with Elinchrom standard reflector will satisfy the requirements, with the Lee filter effectively serving as a giant soft box, covering the entire surface, while giving me the control over the harshness of the light without having to change the position of the filter – moving the light closer to the filter will produce a harsher light, while moving it away, vice versa.
With this in mind, as you can observe the striking impression of the light in the picture, you can deduce that the light was close to the filter.
However, I ran into a problem when I tried replicating the same method for the front of the bottle, as I realize that it was spreading too much light, making it less “contrasty” as I would have wanted. To fix this, I decided to use a snoot, giving me extra control and producing a small spread of light on the front of the bottle, as shown.
Now, time for the pump – a complex piece of material, being small, but rather reflective. As you would have seen from my previous article, small surfaces require smaller light, bringing me to use a narrow honeycomb grid, positioning it close to the side of the pump to avoid light spilling onto other areas of the product itself.
Due to space constraints, unfortunately, it was impossible to add another light to illuminate the front of the pump, and instead I had to experiment with using the snoot’s modelling light (used for the front of the bottle, as mentioned above) for both the bottle and the pump – which I was able to achieve after a few minutes of playing around.
Shoot, and voila! The beauty of the product’s different textures, which can be easily missed, captured in one simple photo.
The biggest charm of product photography, I believe, is the effort you put into making possibly “boring” products look attractive – hard work that requires a mix of your technical skills and creativity, but extremely rewarding. Product photography, as seen from this experience, can even be done outside the constraints of a studio, given you have the right equipment!
As part of Mount Studio’s circuit breaker promotion, we are still offering product photography bookings, starting at only $25 per photo. If you were looking for ways to capture the beauty of your products to appeal to your customers surfing the web at home during this lockdown period, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.