This is what we shot for the catalog cover (the full catalog photo session are here and here), a close-up shot of one of the catalog boots. Customer wanted to show the boot on a cove and wanted to have the most rich, tasty and sexy (here I’ve run out of my English vocabulary :) look possible. They selected that high black rigid boot with their logo on the front to be shown, all on the black background.
Below is one of the images from this photo session:
How to make something regular to look outstanding? Deep shadows, more blacks (if we shoot dark object), as much texture as possible and insane sharpness is the key to success:-) Converting to our boot, the idea was to show the maximum of a texture on the boot, adding some deep shadows where it is possible.
This is why intense directional light sources were used from both sides: sharp landing angles of the light beam produces shadows on every surface unevenness, showing off the texture. The main light was from gridded softbox, low power, just enough to soften a deep shadows. Fixed-zoom macro lens was used to preserve the sharpness of the texture.
Look at the photo below, 100% crop: Canon 180mm F3.5 macro lens at F10 is the best for such job!
Setting aperture to F10 on 180mm lens produces relatively (to the object) shallow Dept Of Field (DOF), exactly what was needed: Shallow DOF gives more volume to the object.
The lighitng setup:
3 and 2 are AlienBees B400 through 20° grids, main light (more like a fill light due to significantly lower power then hair lights) is WL 1600 through a gridded softbox. The shoot was done on a Manfrotto (Bogen) shooting table, black screen behind the boot.
For the reference, below the catalog image of the same boot, done few month earlier. The lighting was relatively similar, but softer (see the lighting setup). Plus, white background did not create that dramatic look as a black one can give:
- Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III DSLR
- Bogen 055 XPROB Tripod with 405 geared head
- Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch
- Canon Right Angle Finder
- Canon 180mm f3.5 macro L
Lighting, light modifiers and accessories:
- Paul C. Buff Lighting: 1×1600WS, 2×400WS
- AlienBees/White Lighting reflectos with various honeycomb grind
- Paul C. Buff Cyber Commander 16 channels remote control with CSR+ receivers
- Adobe Lightroom 3 as a remote capture solution for tethered shooting
- Manfrotto (Bogen) shooting table
All shots were done with: shutter speed 1/250 sec, F10, ISO 100, Custom X-rite Color profile created for this studio setup.