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Studio Product Photography shout-out report: did we get a masterclass instead? :-)

Last Saturday we had a product Photography meetup at Photoplex Studios. We photographed seven different products from Ukrainian vodka to jewelry, all in five hours. Thank you to everyone who attended, I am sure it was pretty interesting experience.

Alex koloskov meetup secrets of studio photography
Alex koloskov meetup secrets of studio photography

We did a lot more then I expected to get done in just five hours. I must say that I was lucky to have found Photoplex Studios, they had everything we needed (including a large LCD screen). Mike Noa (studio co-owner) gave me great support and help during the shootout, he was a welcome part of the team. I want to extend a personal thank you to Mike!

Somehow the meetup transformed into a masterclass, but I’m not complaining:-) It was a great experience for me, as we were jumping between several very different subjects, changing the lighting on a fly, creating DIY light modifiers and improvising. This is pretty much what I like doing in my life:-)

I’ve videotaped the whole event and I’m going to create an e-book from it. It won’t be a one week deal, but I promise to have it done in about a month. It will be pieces of video combined with lighting diagrams and written explanation for each shot. Meaning, you won’t need to spend five hours to watch it. Only essential parts of the video from each shot will be included, the rest will be the images and text. I know that this mix will give the best experience for you, the reader.

Below are the results of the shootout. Some of the items almost untouched “as-is”, some of them, like the ring and sax required a little bit more time from the retoucher.

Studio Product Photography shout-out outcome:

Alex brought a Saxophone. Very cool subject to learn how to work with the reflections:-)

Sax by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Sax by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results

Brad brought this very sexy watch. I really enjoyed shooting such an elegant subject. We did not stop the hands, as the lighting is what we were concentrating on. In a “real shot” the arrows suppose to be set to 10:10, right?

Watch by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Watch by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results

Ron brought some jewelry for us to shoot. This ring was a hard subject because of it’s “hard-to-catch” facets on the stone, but we got it with a little help in post-production. No focus stacking here, but ideally that’s the technique to use for this subject.

Jewelry  shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Jewelry shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results

Anna had this bottle of perfume. A very nice bottle with the top part of it being a 100% reflective spherical chrome mirror. Similar to if you’ve ever tried to shot Christmas tree or holiday ornament bulb:-)
Five minutes of post production cleaned it.

Perfume shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Perfume shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results

I have another idea of how this particular perfume could be photographed: an outside shot with open blue sky with some nice white clouds, so the whole sky will be reflected on the top of the bottle. This would be a nice and it will shot a “glossy nature” of the bottle’s cup. Anna, you can try to shoot it this way:-)

Vitos brought a little bottle shop for us:-) Vodka and Rums. It was interesting to see how the lighting was transformed by the transparent bottle of vodka to the glossy and matte bottles of rum.

Vodka shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Vodka shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Liqueur  shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Liqueur shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Liqueur  shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results
Liqueur shot by Alex Koloskov: Studio Product Photography shout-out results

Again, thank you everyone who was with us! Feel free to post your comments here, I appreciate your feedback.


P.S Evan Tantum and Alex Below, many thanks to you guys for the help and assistance during the meetup!

24 responses on "Studio Product Photography shout-out report: did we get a masterclass instead? :-)"

  1. Hi Alex,

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience, I find it very inspiring and thought provoking.
    I would like to ask you a question on the DKNY perfume bottle, your shot is lovely and clean, but how would you have lit it, if the client wanted the high chrome lid to look drippy and glossy.

    Thanks again Alex.

    Sue Brown

  2. hi from manchester england just wanted to say thanks apart from having inspiring articles the fact that you are breaking down barriers and making photographers see each other as a community and not competition is great keep up the great work and i wish you even more commercial success

  3. Hi,
    Please excuse the newbi question. Just doing some homework before I dive into this. Can you please tell me what stands you are using to hold the white background on this setup and is the platform you are shooting the products on just a rolling table. My thanks.

  4. Awesome work Alex! I wish I could have made it! Are you going to have another one?

  5. Hey Alex, can you come to Toronto to do a class!!!!!! please!

  6. Hey Alex, wanted to say thank you again for the great class. There was a lot of time and attention spent and given to each of us as we all had different knowledge, skill levels, and questions. I think the part I loved most was watching how you dissected the technical aspects of each product into a piece by piece section experimenting with various modifiers. For those who are out of state, I highly recommend one of Alex’s classes, I flew in from Texas just for this class to watch, learn, and hopefully walk away with some better understanding of what product/ still photography was all about. Not only did I get that understanding but a deeper appreciation for those who do it full time. Brad

  7. I attended Alex’s shoot out and enjoyed it. I took what I applied and took my own photo of the perfume bottle.
    Thanks Alex for a great shoot out, if anyone ever gets a chance to be part of one of Alex’s shoot outs, I highly recommend it.

    [img]https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_dz2PMV-szc/TksEJpfYDvI/AAAAAAAAAiI/8vLV1CDhUXk/s912/Jpg%2B%25281%2Bof%2B1%2529-2.jpg[/img]

  8. Hi Alex, Wonderful work. What lens did you use for the watch?

  9. Wonderful images! You certainly know what you are doing. Wish I had seen this a few days ago. On another of these LinkedIn photography forums, there is a lady trying to get advice shooting a highly reflective polished bronze hubcap. I am certain that she could have learned alot by seeing your setup. Thanks for sharing your images AND setup!
    Troup

  10. Hello Alex. I have to say that I am so thankful that I have found you and your blog!!! You are an endless source of knowledge. Your sharing of your techniques have been a great inspiration to me. I started my studio with home made lights because of the shoe string budget I have. Recently I have added to my studio by buying 3 200w flash heads and soft boxes. I have a looong way to go but because of your blog I realised that DIY is an ok approach and that professional equipment is not always necessary, even though it may make life easier. Slowly but surely I will buy more equipment to make creating my images that much easier to achieve. I have found that when asking local photographers for help, most of the time the answer is no I won’t help you. I guess it is fear of competition. So this is another reason why your willingness to teach and share with others is absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much. Regards Lisa, Cape Town, South Africa.

  11. I wish I could come to your workshop, but I am in AZ. Looked like great fun though!

  12. Wow, these shots are incredible! Can you talk about how you clean an item (what product you use and what kind of towel?) My macros are never this clean without photoshop!

    • Debbi,
      In studio i use a lens cleaning liquid, some hi-tech one, used by NASA to clean their optics. It is antistatic, which helps a lot. Bought it in B&H, will try to find a link.
      However, for this workshop we used regular napkins:-) It was not much dust for some reason, plus, we did clean images in PS.

      Thank you!

  13. Good job Alex. Glad to see you offering this lovely stuff out there! Love the saxophone and the watch most. The piece of jewelry isn’t my “cup of tea”, but it definitely is a funky item. The perfume bottle looks quite crazy – but it’s tough to show “high polish” without any black – the top of the perfume bottle looks like it’s got a matte/dull finish. Some clients like that look, and some prefer some black reflections, though neither is “the best” I think. I’ve had clients bitch at me because I kept black, and because I removed the black – go figure :) This is the fun of photography, everybody has the right to their opinion. There’s no “right solution”, just like there isn’t 1 woman, or 1 man for everybody ;) haha.

    Keep up the great work! Your northern neighbour!

    Vadim

    • Thank you, Vadim.
      yeah, such glossy beasts makes me always doubtful on how to shoot them: with or without dark reflection. The problem with the black lines that they might be misleading: you never know is it the product is black or its just a reflection.
      For that particular perfume, i think it would be rally cool to shoot it outside, with the blue sky reflected on a cap.

      Getting ready for the winter over there? When you usually have a first snow ? :-))

      • @Alex Koloskov, totally agree with you – a nice sky would have rendered a lovely image. This reminds me of when I do some CGI/3D renders. We use HDRI sky images to give metals a much nicer, and realistic look. Black lines can lead to clients thinking they are actually there…. sucks for that.

        As for snow…. well, not for a few months…. can see real snow in November :)

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