Friday, September 2, 2011
Product Photography: iPhones
After reading a thread in the Flickr Strobist group about a shot of two iPhones done by photographer Peter Belanger, I decided to see if I could recreate his photo, but instead of using studio equipment, I wanted to see if I could get similar results using just a single speedlight and reflectors.
I decided to light the phones from the back (as I often do with food photography) and use reflectors to the sides and to the front to throw subtle fill/highlights back on the phones. So for my keylight, I used an SB-800 in a 24" Lastolite Ezybox almost directly behind the phones and at about a 45 degree angle. This might seem like nowhere near the size of the light source that the photographer used in the video, but a 24" softbox used in close to the phones appears to the phones as a HUGE light source which created a nice soft light. I triggered that flash with my D300's on camera pop-up flash.
Next I added my fill lights (or fill sources). Since my softbox was so close to the phones and I was shooting on a piece of white foam core, which is relatively reflective, all I needed to do was add a few more pieces of white foam core around the phone which would reflect the light from the softbox back on to the phone. I simply added these to both sides and held one in front below the camera lens.
To get the right amount of light I wanted from the reflectors, I simply took a shot, chimped a little, then moved the reflectors either closer or further away.
If you look closely at this photo, also you will notice that we use protective screens on our iPhones which leave bubbles and scratches but actually does a pretty good job of protecting the face. We also use Otterbox Defender cases for more protection, but I took those off to take the photo. I also had plenty of nicks and scratches to remove in post as well.
After adding the home pages to the phone, I boosted the overall contrast and brightness a bit with a curves adjustment layer, then added the blue, vignetted background in post. I had a pure white version but I think the blue background just works better and adds a little color to the shot.
So as you can see, this is actually a pretty easy setup to do, but did require a little more post work than I usually prefer to do. However the post work really made a difference with this particular image imho. Another reason I shot this the way I did was to illustrate the fact that you can create pretty nice product photography without having a studio full of expensive lights and modifiers.
Hope this was helpful and if anyone has any questions, please sound off in the comments!