Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lighting for Detail

This one is different. We begin with the goal which I saw as bringing out super detail in the cookies which were the products. Still, we need an over-all warm, inviting mood.
For this shot we needed an art director who had the original design, prop stylist to bring choices of plates and tablecloths, a food stylist, photo assistant and a photographer.
I do a lot of work with Alyssa (when I can book her, she's very busy). For this shot, Alyssa spent time selecting and cleaning the cookies with a dental pick. She used the pick to bring out the detail in each cookie. She also brought the raspberries, made the lemon curls and the coffee. Even the coffee is different. We start with very watered down, light brown coffee, and add dark coffee until the color looks right in the camera. Everything is done for the camera.
Most of my work is lit with strobes. I plug in different lights: banks, reflectors or optical spots but this shot is different. I have a disassembled Lowel Omni tungsten light. All that is left is the 500 watt bulb, the socket, AC line and plug. I clamp the bulb into a C-stand arm and bring it down close to the set. The bare bulb, being a point light source, brings out the details in the cookies while spreading light all around the set. A huge 4x8' foamcore is brought over the set to reflect the bare bulb's light into the set, filling the shadows. A shiny gold card reflected warmth back into the shot. This light gives you hard shadows with great detail but fills the shadows at the same time. It's different, but it's awesome.

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