A while back we were asked to do some 360 degree photography by one of our regular clients. However, the need was for large and heavy items to be photographed, 36 shots at regular 10 degree movements, on location. With products weighing in at up to 100kg and standing over 100cm high, it was clear that we needed a bespoke solution that could be packed away and transported to the clients location.
Off the shelf turntables fall into two categories – small tabletop turntables (not up to this job) or vast turntables not portable (ie for automotive). What we came up with was a simple solution that fits in a car & cost under £100…
This involved a fair bit of thought, to mark out the graduations but is elegantly simple – has now been painted white and seen quite a bit of use. 1 meter squared sections of 25mm thickness MDF, a bales catch and heavy duty nylon castors (thankyou Screwfix). The bales catch provides positive latching to the indents on the base and the top section with product centered on top is manually rotated 1 click per shot.
This has become another of those studio tools that is just so simple, yet a joy to use and provides perfect 360 degree images for use as GIF’s or manually rotated web images.
On a recent overseas trip, I was reminded of a fun job we did a while ago for Oxfordshire based Cobalt Light Systems. Cobalt are at the cutting edge of airport security scanning systems, with machines that can analyse the contents of bottles and other containers, without the need for them even being open – or in scientific terms “non-invasive through barrier chemical analysis”.
Whilst passing security, I spotted one of cobalt’s units in action – the photographic work we undertook for Cobalt was rather fun – in producing product images for use on the machine’s user display – all sorts of different types of containers for drinks, foodstuffs etc.
Cobalt wanted images that were instantly recognisable to the user, in any language but they were wary of copyright and trademark infringement – so we set about doctoring images of well know brand products in photoshop. Photoshopping images is a large part of the work we do, both in terms of optimising product photography and also longevity of product images – we recently photographed a large selection of Rothschild wines for Waddesdon’s online gift shop and provided product images of wine bottles both with and without (edited) vintage years on the wine labels.
This level of Photoshop proficiency can be very useful when product images are required but the product itself is at a prototype stage, with some details yet to be configured – but you need to have someone that is good at it, as there is nothing worse than an image that is obviously Photoshopped!
Usually, when working in the Oxfordshire studio, Spotify will be providing the audio backdrop, which helps greatly with concentration. A great deal of concentration is required when photographing commercial products, to ensure that products are captured in their best light, pin sharp and repeatably so – all product images and packshots conforming to the same chosen stylistic theme…
Spotify radio often gives a welcome change from much listened to playlists but does sometimes bring up music that wouldn’t normally be chosen. This week, one such track came up whilst working in the studio, the lyrics of which raised a smile & seemed quite relevant to the work at hand – Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back.
“Bringing Sexy Back” is what is quite frequently done at Phoduct in terms of product photography – giving the most normal and functional (never say boring) products an allure, as can be seen in the gallery example of a silicone rubber oven mitt.
Every so often, we like to offer our services free of charge to organisations whose ethos is aligned with ours. This time we would like to offer product photography free to the first business that contacts us with a NEW to market and genuinely Eco Friendly product.
Normally as product photographers we work with purely commercial enterprises, so it is always good to do some work with those whose direction is not purely commercial and in this case environmental.
We’ll provide up to 10 studio shots, post processed and ready to use – Gratis. You send us the product and we’ll get shooting.
What’s the catch? There is no catch, we’d simply like to work with a business that is truly concerned with protecting the environment, we’ve only got one planet & it could use all the help it can get…
Some time ago, we blogged about the pitfalls of businesses trying to do DIY product images and packshots – together with the benefits of getting it right first time by using a professional. That blog post prompted contact from Walcot House Ltd, who were in just that situation. With a rapidly expanding range of high quality products and moving towards retailing these products online, we were asked to fulfill their product imaging needs.
Walcot House’s products come in a vast array of surface finishes, some of which were very challenging to capture and would certainly have been beyond the reach of the DIY photographer. The resulting work, now in use on Walcot House’s excellent website is very pleasing and hopefully working well in driving sales.