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21/12/2013

Product Photography - a New Discipline


Product photography is a new endeavor that I have chosen to explore. A Danish manufacturer of kitchen and food equipment asked me to photograph their full product line for a new e-store soon to be launched. The task also included some stop-motion video's.

The lighting set-up was two Nikon SB-910 Speedlights mounted on Manfrotto Nano 5001B light stands. The light modifiers was a standard white umbrella and a Lastolite soft box.  A couple of PocketWizards FlexTT5 was attached to the Speedlights and a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and AC3 was attacked to a Nikon D800. 

The items was placed on a white dining table with a non reflective surface. From here on the task was to avoid deep and dark shadows, but still keep a hint of a shadow to preserve a dimensional aspect.

The item surface was rubber and metal. You can't imagine how hard it is to keep such surfaces free of dust particles. This becomes very clear when you look at the photos in Lightroom while doing the post processing. No matter how hard we tried to blow of dust and wipe the metal surface, hundreds of dust particle stubbornly resisted all attempts to get rid of them. 



This is the photo straight from the camera. In post I first made a selection of the five components (combined they will form a pepper dispenser) and then applied a level adjustment to both the items and  the invert selection (on two layers). Then the hard work removing all the dust particles started with the help of the clone stamp tool. Then some dodge, burn and blur was selectively added. The big light source reflection was removed with the patch tool, and the smudge tool was used to smooth the metal surface. Finally a surface blur was added. The whole post processing took 30 minutes. 

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