Getting Better By Reflection

Getting Better By Reflection

I got older early in life. One of the benefits of this was I discovered that I did not know it all. And that I could get into a rut.

And then I figured out that you could listen around the edges and read the next page and pick up ideas. They might not have been good ideas, but at least they put you in a new rut instead of the old one.

Thus my new studio routine was born. I instituted it after reading Steve Sint’s book on product photography. Sint is a commercial shooter in New York who does weddings and products. He publishes through the Pixiq company at present thought some of his work is by other publishers. He writes well, and amusingly, and had never put me wrong. I can’t do all the things he does, but whenever I do something he recommends, it works.

He does, as I say, tabletop shoots. That is what product illustration and some concept shooting amounts to. Also what catalogue shooting really is but no-one ever admits it. The difference between what Mr. Sint does and what the regular JB HiFi shooter does is that Mr. Sint does it extremely well.

Well, in his book on ” Digital Still Life” …which you can order at Boffins Bookstore in Williams Street after you negotiate the drunks around the hamburger store…he tells us that the key to product shooting is the direction of the light and the direction of the shadows. And that in many, many cases you need only one light and a number of reflectors.

One light.

This seems to be a little contrary to what we say when we sell Profoto or Elinchrom outfits with two heads, cords, stands, softboxes, and triggers. All the kits are double and all the bags you take them out to the job with are set up for two heads. You worry if one loses a modelling light…

That’s fine as an approach to event shooting – to headshooting – in places where you can find two AC outlets and subjects who are going to stand there while you experiment with the light… but it is not necessarily going to do the lighting job you want.

This last weekend I discovered that Steve was telling the truth. And it is the sort of truth that customers at Camera Electronic can benefit from. They will still have to spend money…that is what the shop is all about, thank you very much. But they can spend it in different ways and use the goods that this yields to better effect.

More details tomorrow, and later in the week, with examples. Content yourselves with thinking how much better life would be if you did not have to think in terms of lighting diagrams and watt/seconds.

Featured Picture: ’58 Plymouth Belvedere – a used car with flaws but then none of us are perfect…

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