ASSIGNMENT: CREATIVE BOOK SHOT

Book Shot BTS-3

RULED OVER

This shot was taken for an assignment for a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot a creative book shot. I had some ideas in my head and immediately knew I wanted to shoot my leather bound edition of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

When trying to realize the shot in my head I first off knew which books I wanted to shoot. The leather bound edition has some great texture and the writing on the binding and details on the covers is some sort of metal foil which really adds to the shot.

I also wanted to somehow incorporate some rings into the shot since that is a major character in the books. To make things interesting I decided to make the rings appear as if they were floating above the books.

To capture this shot I used 3 studio strobes and my Nikon SB-800 flash. I have a little DIY shooting table that I had made out of a piece of plywood and screwed that to an old tripod I had. Then I laid a piece of glass that I had spray painted black on one side to place the books on.

For the rings, I used a boom above and out of frame and hung them from that using fishing line.

For the lights, I started with the SB-800 on the ground behind the little table and put a blue gel over it and aimed at a piece of white foam core that was about foot behind the subject. Next, I had 2 studio strobes that were place right and left in front and level with the subject with DIY strip boxes. The 3rd studio strobe was hung above the subject by about 2 feet from another boom with a soft box on it.

Initially when I took the shot the blue color was totally washed out with barely a hint of color. That was due to the strip boxes that had over spilled the subject and blasted the white background. To remedy that I flagged each side of the table with a piece of white foam core and also used a little strip of it across the top.

FINAL SHOT

To get the final shot I made one exposure. I did a little color correction in Lightroom for white balance and then brought the image into Photoshop and spend about 1.5 hours cleaning the image. I removed a few spots that I had on my sensor, some random dust I has missed while cleaning the area for the shot and also removed the fishing line. Oh, and of course I added a few sparkles to top it off with.

All comments are much appreciated. If you like what you see, please consider following my blog and passing it on to others who may be interested in learning how to do these types of shots. I do hope you found this post to be helpful for you in your own photographic endeavors.

Please also find below this final image a few bts(behind the scenes) shots I took.

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.


Here are some BTS (Behind the scenes) shots of my setup. This first shot below shows the strip boxes from front and either side of the subject and the softbox above. You can also see the white foam core flags I used. That little black area to the bottom back of the tripod is the SB-800 with blue gel aiming up.

Here is another angle showing more of the same, but gets you a better idea on the overall setup.

This shot shows a closer view of the little DIY table I made. It’s just a a small piece of plywood I cut and drilled a hole in middle where I put a 1/4″ blind nut to be able to screw to the table.

This final shot shows a closer side view to better see the position of the back ground.

ASSIGNMENT: AD STYLE COCKTAIL SHOT

SMOKY COCKTAIL

This shot was taken for an assignment for a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot a creative advertisement style cocktail shot that somehow captured emotion.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

After the assignment was given I quickly went to our liqueur cabinet where we also happen to store glasses and my eye was drawn right away to the margarita glasses we had. I think they’re hand made as they’re not all exact a not perfectly straight. I also wanted a little umbrella, this is a cocktail shot! The final touch was the smoke to add some sort of mood to the image. But wait, there’s more!

ASSIGNMENT: AD STYLE BEER SHOT

SATISFY THE GERMAN IN YOU

This shot was taken for an assignment for a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot an advertisement style beer shot. I happened to have several bottles of Paulaner beer and the proper glasses they’re served in so I figured this would be the best choice of subject for my shot.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

For the composition I wanted to some how show the bottles and glass in various states of falling down. You’ll notice the glass starting to tip over, and the bottles either on their way down or horizontal already. I also wanted to show the typical ‘sweating’ look that you see in a lot of beer advertisements in magazines and on television.

For this shot I used 3 strobes, some white foam core boards for bouncing, a piece of translum plastic sheet (I found that on B&H – great stuff) to make a shooting table, poster putty, glycerin and water.

After setting up my shooting table, I posed all the bottles and the glass. I used a little poster putty (the stuff you can use to hang posters on the wall with) to prop the glass to show it leaning over. I wanted to get all the lighting set before filling the glass with beer and also giving the bottles and glass the ‘sweaty’ look.

I place a strobe fitted with my DIY strip box off to the right and shot through a diffusion panel. I had a second strobe on a boom up above the subject aiming back to to light the background. Just above the subject I had a small piece of foam core to remove the light spill from the second strobe from blowing out the whites on the bottle caps. I then had a third strobe just left of the camera fitted with a DIY snoot (I used a paper towel roll center and gaffer tape to attach to strobe) aimed at the labels to get those to expose correctly.

Once I had the shot the way I was hoping for, lighting wise, I spritzed the bottles and glass with a mixture of glycerin and water. I just made a 1:1 ratio mixture. This gets the water a bit thicker to help having staying power on the surfaces so they don’t just drip away. Last but not least, I filled the glass with beer. I wanted to have a proper head on top and though this is a hefeweizen beer, I didn’t want the yeast to cloud the glass so I had to pour carefully.

FINAL SHOT

To get the final shot I made one exposure. I didn’t a little color correction in Lightroom and then brought the image into Photoshop and spend a few hours cleaning the image. I made sure the background was white. I also had a few shadows I wasn’t happy with so I removed those as well.

All comments are much appreciated. If you like what you see, please consider following my blog and passing it on to others who may be interested in learning how to do these types of shots. I do hope you found this post to be helpful for you in your own photographic endeavors.

Please also find below this final image a few outtake shots and bts(behind the scenes) shots I took with my phone.

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.

Here are some BTS (Behind the scenes) shots of my setup. This first shot below shows the strip box above on the boom and the strip box to the right through the diffusion panel. You can also see the foam core I used to reduce light spill. I also had a diffusion panel to soften the light on the back side of the subject.

Here is another angle showing more of the same, but gets you a better idea on the setup.

This final shot shows the strobe with the DIY snoot to focus light onto the labels of the bottles. It also shows my camera position.

EMOTIONALLY CHARGED SPLASH

FRESH KILL

This shot was taken for an assignment from a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot an ‘emotionally charged splash.” I tried my luck at splashes which are quite difficult. I figured I’d go with liquid dripping which is a bit more controlled.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

While coming up with the idea I happened to be in the kitchen cooking and had the idea to use the butcher knife I was using. I also thought that if I used a red liquid to simulate blood that it would create a strong emotion.

For this shot I used 3 strobes, some white foam core boards for bouncing the light around, liquid dish soap with red food coloring and to hang the knife I used a wire coat hanger using a hot glue gun to attach it to the handle.

The shot was quite fun to make. I first hung the knife and set up a strobe with a red gel behind and below the knife aiming at the backdrop. Then after I had that effect, I then started to place the other 2 strobes into the shot. I have one strobe with a DIY grid behind and camera left which is what gives the rim lighting on the top edge of the handle.

I placed another strobe, with DIY grid, in front of and to camera left as well, shooting through a diffuser, to create the lighting on the tip of the blade, just where the blade and handle meet and the lighting on the bottom and back end of the handle. The handle lighting I was able to achieve by using white foam core to bounce and soften the light on the handle.

I made the blood with liquid dish soap and several drops of red food coloring. After I had the shot all set up and lighting the way I liked it, I used a spoon to pour the ‘blood’ down the edge of the knife. I built up the flow so that it would start dripping. I fired off shots while looking through the view finder and timing when the drips would occur.

FINAL SHOT

To get the final shot you see below here, I used 2 images I had shot and brought them into Photoshop. I really like the overall shot of one image, and I liked a particular drip in the other so I masked the 2 together. After that I spent time to remove all the dust and specs from the image which took quite some time. I also adjusted the background slightly to get the mood I was after.

All comments are much appreciated. If you like what you see, please consider following my blog. I do hope you found this post to be helpful for you in your own photographic endeavors.

Please also find below this final image a few outtake shots and bts(behind the scenes) shots I took with my phone.

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.

Here are some BTS (Behind the scenes) shots of my setup. As you can see from the 2 photos below, I have the 2 strobes on the left. The one on the ground is what lit the face of the blade and also bounced the light from it to the handle with the foam core boards on right.

In this shot you can see the setup after the ‘blood’ was poured on the blade.

Here are a couple outtakes from the shoot. As you can see from these photos the wire coat hanger that is holding the knife. Of course I removed that in post production.

BUILDING A BEAUTY DISH

Well, I thought I’d change my normal format as several weeks ago I mentioned to some people on the internet that I was planning on making a DIY beauty dish for my flash gun. Well I finally got around to doing it. I spent about $25 to do this, though I already had a spindle of cd’s to use so if you had to pick up another spindle of 50, you should be able to get it for about $10 if on sale. 

These beauty dishes are great for spreading the light and reducing the harsh light cast by off shoe flash guns. The light will shoot from the rear of the bowl, hit a mirror on the inside of the cd spindle and reflect back out onto the bowl which then spreads the light reflecting out onto your subject. 

So here is the list of items I used: pvc coupler was used for a strobe DIY beauty dish. It’s not part of this project.

  • 1 empty cd spindle case (50 pack size)
  • 1 Gutter attachment
  • 1 14″ Terra cotta colored plastic planter
  • Roll of Velcro. – I paid extra for this but you can buy smaller quantities.
  • 1 3.5″ convex mirror
All of the items I purchased at Home Depot with the exception of the mirror which I picked up at the local auto parts store. I also picked up a couple cans of Rustoleom (not sure on spelling) spray paint for plastic outside furnature (white and black).

Start by tracing around the gutter attachment for where you want your hole to be. Then cut it out. I used a drill to pierce through and then I scrolled it out with the drill as well. Be a bit careful as the plastic seems to be a bit brittle. I fine tuned the hole with an exacto blade.

This next pic show the hole cut out and the gutter attachment inserted. As you can see I also used the bottom of the spindle case and cut the same hole through it as well. I also drilled 4 holes which I then used 4-40 sized screws and nuts to secure to the bowl.

Here are a couple of photos showing top and bottom views after the spindle case bottom and gutter attachment are mounted. I used washers on the top side as my screws were a bit small. Just use whatever works for you. These I had in a jar in the garage so I didn’t spend any extra for these.

The next 3 shots show the painting process at various stages. I painted the bottom black and put a few coats on until it was solid black.  I did use masking tap around the top edge to prevent too much over spray.

This next shot show the inside painted white. With the top part of the spindle case shown with mounted mirror. 

This shot shows a close up of the mirror mounted inside the spindle case. I had actually fully masked it with tape and painted the inside bottom white as my mirror didn’t fit fully as you can see.  If you can find a better mirror then that would be better for reflection of the light. The mirror had double sided foam tape mounted already so I just had to peel and stick it on. Just screw the spindle case top onto the bottom part which is screwed inside the bowl.

Here you see the final product with my flash gun mounted inside the gutter attachment. I used velcro as the attachment to this. I’m using a Nikon SB-800 so your flash may be bigger or smaller depending on the brand and make. The gutter attachment I used fit my flash gun perfectly so if yours is different you may have to find a different type of holder. This should at least give you a good start on the process and bits I used.

If you want to take it a another notch up as I did, you can make a DIY sock to help diffuse the light more. I used some white fabric I bought for about $3 at a fabric store and pinned it as you can see here. I then sewed around the edge with sewing machine leaving about 1/2″ of a hem for feeding a 1/8″ elastic through.

Here you see it being lined up getting ready to sew it up and finish it off.

Here is the final product stretched over the top. It makes a great light source for much less than what you can buy in the store.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them here. I also made a DIY strobe beauty dish which I will post the instructions on in the coming weeks.