- The Studio Space
- Shooting Surfaces
- Point-and-Shoot Results
- Building the Set
- A Note on Power Settings
- The Predominant Light
- The Working Distance with Hard Light
- Accentuating with Fill
- Readjustments to Styling
- Reducing Overall Contrast
- Enhancements in Photoshop
- Have Gear, Will Travel
- LiteDome®: medium (24x32 inch)
- LiteStand Accessory: Boom
- LiteStand Accessory: BoomStand
- StarFlash® 300watt strobe
- StarFlash® 650watt LiteDome® Kit
- StarFlash®: 7 inch reflector
- StarFlash®: connector
- Transpac Multi Kit Case
- Camera bag
- Foam core
The Studio Space
We arrived at the studio at around 9 a.m. and brought in all of the camera, lighting and styling gear we would be using. All of the strobes, SoftBoxes, LiteStands, connectors and cables were packed in a Photoflex® Transpac® MultiKit Case, the camera gear in a camera bag, and all of the styling gear in an oversized toolbox. [figure 2]
As you can see, the result was disastrous. The only redeeming quality of this snapshot is simply that it conveys to the viewer that it is indeed a sweater. But due to the poor styling and flat lighting, the result is unappealing and commercially useless.
To make your setup more convenient and versatile, we have now included The Photoflex® FlashFire™: wireless kit. Using this equipment allows you to move more freely with your camera instead of limiting yourself to within a few feet of your lights. Even adding just one trigger and one receiver you can set your secondary lights to slave so that they fire through the infrared sensor. Either way you choose to use the FlashFire™, you cannot ignore its ability to provide your "tool bag" with a great amount flexibility. [figures 7 & 8]
Building The Set
First, he attached a StarFlash 300watt strobe to a medium LiteDome® and mounted it to a Boom and BoomStand. Once it was positioned where he wanted it, Ben discovered he'd forgotten to pack any Photoflex® RockSteady® Bags needed to counter-balance the weight of the box. Fortunately, there were extra weight bags in the studio and Ben held the Boom steady until an assistant brought one over to him. [figures 9 & 10]
After mounting the camera to the monopod, Ben grabbed a stepladder and positioned it right next to the monopod. He then raised the camera up on the monopod rail, rotated the camera so that its image plane was nearly parallel to the shooting table, and loosely framed the shot. [figures 12 & 13]
Once Tamara finished steaming the sweater, she brought it over to the set and began styling it. [figure 15]
The Predominant Light
To lessen the light falloff here, we simply turned up the power on the main light and positioned it further back at the same relative angle. Once this was dialed in, we took another shot. [figures 20 & 21]
While not perfect, the main light now illuminates the sweater with much less falloff. But keep in mind that as we add lights to this shot, the falloff will become increasingly unnoticeable. That said, remember that additional soft lights can only enhance, but not substitute for, the effects of the main light.
For an added touch, Ben held up a piece of white foam core to bounce some of the main light into the bottom areas of the sweater and took another shot. [figure 23 & 24]
Readjustments To Styling
The result was much improved. Now the folds in the arm were more interesting and blended nicely with the rest of the styling.
The shot was really coming together. The styling looked great, as did the lighting. Ideally, the photographer and the stylist work together to balance and accentuate the lighting and the styling. And keep in mind that each article of clothing is different and will require different treatments each time.
Upon reviewing the final result, Tamara and Ben were both happy with the shot. It was just 11 a.m. Including the time it took to unpack the gear, set up the lighting, steam, style and light the sweater, it was just under two hours. Had they needed to shoot another sweater or article of clothing, it would have taken significantly less time to create to produce another final image. Ben and Tamara both agreed it would take about a half an hour to complete the next shot.
To learn how to use the Pen tool and other functions in Adobe® Photoshop®, sign up for access to the Digital Editing section of WebPhotoSchool®.
As is obvious here, the styling of a clothing shot is paramount to its level of success. Without it, the shot can only go so far, even if you've created the most dynamic, visually stunning lighting possible.
It's important to add that the success of a commercial clothing shot is not only contingent on the work of the photographer and the stylist, but from the client and/or art director as well. This particular sweater was styled and lit in a very classic, contemporary way, which worked well for this lesson.