I’ve seen a lot of Alex’s videos where he describes using gradients on product images and as part of my ongoing quest to improve my lighting skills and develop a portfolio I decided to give it a go!
I decided to start with a simple subject and composition which allowed me to concentrate on getting the lighting right. The idea to use my salt & pepper grinders came to me while I was having dinner one day and I spotted the highlights on the grinders from the large glass doors in my kitchen.
Having chosen the subject I used a simple black perspex base (attached to the top of an old tripod). The background was a Translum sheet placed about 1.5m behind the subject so that there was no light spill from the main lights. The gradients were created by placing diffusers on either side of the subject and using 90x20cm speedlight softboxes in the vertical orientation angled at about 45deg to the diffusers.
The right light/diffuser was placed just out of shot camera right of slightly behind the subjects creating a gradient that starts from the very edge of the grinders. The left light was placed at the edge of the perspex and, because of the offset composition, was further away from the subjects. The right light was also moved a little further forward to produce a gradient a little further around the subject.
A single speedlight with Rogue grid (25deg) was placed on the floor under the perspex and pointed low on the background to produce the slight gradient on the background. I opted for this approach rather than a plain black background to give the subject some separation from the background.
Post production was minimal and mainly involved cleaning salt & pepper off the grinders. I could have saved myself this trouble if I’d cleaned them properly before shooting – I won’t make this mistake again! The only other addition in post was the gradient on the glossy surface on the right of the pepper grinder.
I wanted to create this using another snooted speedlight but I didn’t have enough light stands so added it in Photoshop.
I’m currently building a portfolio for my product website and am hoping to move into gaining paid work from this in the (near) future.