From Soup to Nuts- product images

Something slightly different today. Rather than give you a super complicated composite image to talk about, I thought I’d go to the opposite end of the spectrum and talk about a pretty straight forward product shot. The client ( came to me with a request for 4 images of their new product.  In a nutshell, the product is a cooler shaped device that takes a room temperature keg of beer, filters it through a cooling system, and spits out a perfectly chilled glass of beer, all in 2 to 3 seconds.  Not too shabby huh!  They really wanted images that would show not only the overall product itself, but also some of the inner workings and components so people could see the quality of the build.  The images needed to be clean and vibrant so that potential customers could get a good sense that they were offering a quality product.

So, given that information, some decisions needed to be made.  First of all, given the budget of the project we were limited to 4 photographs.  It was decided on to do a “hero” shot of the unit itself, an overall shot of the unit and all it’s ancillary pieces, a shot of the interior cooling unit itself, and an overhead birds eye view shot of the cooling unit in the system itself.  This way the client had all of their bases covered with 4 photographs.  To portray the clean and vibrant look they were going for, we decided to photograph on a white background with a lighting scheme that would accentuate highlights.  We set up the product on a table and ran a white seamless over it to make it, well, seamless. The pieces were arranged so that they all made sense to the construction of the unit. We blocked out the small pieces with a seamless covered brick but decided later that it would make much more sense to just balance the pieces along the edge of the seamless.

compositional layout for turbochill

No lights added yet, just set up for composition

Once we were happy with the composition, I started blocking out the lighting. We needed something that was going to provide nice even coverage and allow for some highlights to shine through.  I kept it pretty simple and had a 3’x4′ sofbox to the left of camera at 400 watt seconds, a medium strip box to the right right of camera at 800 watt seconds,  a kicker light with a 30 degree grid to the right back highlighting the red kegstand at 800 watt seconds, and 2 background lights, one left and one right to illuminate the background at 800 watt seconds apiece.  The camera was set at 70mm, iso 100, F13 at 1/125th of a second.

lighting diagram for product shot

Lighting diagram for turbochill shot

Now that I had the lighting down it was just a matter of tweaking the setup to get it exactly how we wanted it.  We moved some things around slightly and brought the camera up just a touch.  Other than that we were good to go.

final image from within camera for turbochill product

final in camera shot

We did the same type of thing with roughly the same setups for the other 3 images with the exception of the overhead shot.  For that particular image I used the kicker light from before as an overhead spot light to illuminate the interior of the cooler.

turbochill cooler final image

final of the cooler

cooling unit for turbochill

final in camera cooling unit image

interior shot of cooler

interior shot of cooler

With the actual shooting out of the way, it was time to pretty them up in post.  I began by whiting out the backgrounds completely as the strobes had some fall off.  Usually what I do is create pen paths around the subjects and then make selections based on that.  Once that is taken care of I go about cleaning up any blemishes on the product either using the clone stamp tool or the new content aware feature within photoshop cs5.  One of the concerns of the client was that we couldn’t have the label showing on the beer tap handle.  I simply removed it with the before mentioned procedures.  After that was completed, it was just a matter of boosting the color and the contrasts and all was good!

final overall image

final overall image

final cooling unit image

final cooling unit image

final hero shot image

final hero shot image

Final inside image

final inside image

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