Beautiful butterfly lighting

While working on a full product catalog photography shoot, one of the fun things I’ve

Beautiful light for beautiful products

Beautiful light for beautiful products

been able to do is use some classic portraiture lighting techniques, like the butterfly lighting in the photo on the right.

Many times, photographers will use light tents for their shoots, giving their products a certain look.  And that look is just like everyone else’s look.  Although light tents are very handy, there is only so much you can do with them.

You can place lights all around them, chose to use just one light, and add variations on variations.  That seems great, but the surrounding darkness looks the same.  And with very reflective objects, you can see the box frame.  It requires lots of post-production work in photo editing software to fix that.  I very much prefer to get the image right in camera, as I don’t like wasting mine or my clients’ time correcting errors out later.

I don’t want my client’s products to look like everyone elses.  They hire me because I

Crystals at By Nature Gallery

Crystals at By Nature Gallery

give them a unique look with very high quality.

When photographing crystals with light tents, the highlights become very mushy in the translucent stone.  Soft light removes the texture of the crystal surface.

Instead, I use hard lights to make the image pop.  It takes more work but the results are better.  The are reflections and hot spots to deal with – that’s the challenge and where practiced skill comes in.  Strip boxes, light tents and umbrellas take away those hot spots but they also soften the texture.  Texture is very important in these images, as it really gives feeling to the crystals.  Without those hard edges, the above piece would look like plastic.  People don’t go into By Nature Gallery to purchase fake plastic rocks – they want the real thing.

I do my best to deliver the real thing.

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