Quick demonstration of how to photograph textured subjects in product photography.
I have seen cases where photographers use soft light on textured subjects and end up getting a plain and flat look on the final image.
Here are some suggestions you need to follow to avoid that plain look:
If the subject does not have a considerable amount of glossy surfaces, start with 1-3 spot lights illuminating it from different directions. Do not start with softboxes!
Aim lights on a sharp angle to the subject: 20-30 degrees would be a good point to start.
Add reflectors, diffusers or use softboxes only if the photo result is too contrasted and has too many unwanted dark areas. To soften the look, I would suggest starting by placing white reflectors around your subject while still using spot lights.
Below are results I’ve got on this demo (no post-production of any sort)
This is how it looks like when lit by Broncolor optical spot attachment with “spotty” screen on it. Note the “alive” and dramatic look of the shoe created by micro-gradients of spots projected on it:
Note: these are just demo shots, not intended to show the whole workflow of a good shoe product shot. Instead, it is aimed to demonstrate the approach
In the Gearbox
Camera: Hasselblad H1 + Leaf Aptus 75 Digital Back