More product photography research

I unfortunately don't have the means to set up a mini studio here at home, so I'm at the mercy of the tools in my office. Luckily, I have a small pane of glass, a step ladder, and a sunny day. 

I put a few sheets of paper under the pane of glass to hide the step ladder, placed my subject (a KidRobot Dunny figurine) on the glass, and then positioned everything so the light from my windows was coming in to the side of the subject. 

Right away I was getting some solid exposures. The sunlight was working perfectly and I was getting some decent background compression using my kit lens. The reflection off the glass wasn't as strong as I was hoping for, but it was working pretty well. I think if I had placed it over a darker surface I would have had more luck there. 

My only other problem was getting a really sharp horizon line. I still need to research the best way to do that. I don't want my subject all the way back on the pane of glass necessarily. I might need to have a much larger set up to achieve what I'm thinking of. Something like a 70-200mm so I can shoot at a smaller aperture but still blow out the background. A longer surface would be helpful too. I've found that the "angle of attack" on this is really critical. Right now I'm struggling with keeping the entire pane of glass in frame without showing the edges. It's sacrificing my composition a little bit, but there's time to tweak that still. 

Lastly I put my 430EXII speed light on slave mode and popped it in back of my subject to act as a "hair light". The result wasn't perfect... I should have bothered to lower the power even more, but the result I have here is usable. It definite helps the figurine pop off the background a little bit. I just don't like the lighting as much. Too hazy in the foreground... 

Check out my examples and if you have any tips on product photography please drop me a line! I'm really enjoying exploring this so far. 

Lauren & Ryan on 3/29

Next weekend I'm doing a sort of "light" engagement session for some friends! Lauren & Ryan are getting married over the summer and we're heading to "Cat Alley" in Manchester, NH to have a fun afternoon of shooting! Hope it warms up a little bit... 

It'll feel good to get out there and shoot again. They're both into a bit of vintage styling, so I'm going to definitely take advantage of shooting INTO THE SUN! *gasp* That's right kids. Lens flare all. day. long. I'll also get a few shots with my Holga lens and see what happens there, but I'm guessing that ship has sailed. Part of what made that camera so fantastic was the fact that you can leak and burn film. Can't really do much in that department on an image sensor. 

SO. I'll post some of my editing process here. I might do a bit of a before/after dealy for the blog, so stay tuned for that! 

Thoughts on the Creative Career - Ze Frank

Some advice from Ze Frank on being a creative professional.

"If you want to be a writer, you should be writing."

This has been my approach for a few things in life, most recently photography. Another huge part of my life is playing music and, I've said this before, but once I "decided" that I was a guitar player rather than a guy who plays THIS guitar or THAT guitar, I became a better musician. 

Of course there are some barriers to entry; especially in creative fields. Equipment is expensive, education is expensive, but you'll never get anywhere with what you want to do unless you do it. This reminds me of a quote from Merlin Mann (imagine if these guys were in the same room together?) I don't remember it directly so I'll paraphrase, but it was something along the lines of, if you really love writing you won't be able to stop yourself from doing it. You'll find yourself writing on the back of a bar napkin and asking the waitress for more. And if you're NOT doing that, maybe you don't really love writing. 

Anyway, I hope you like this as much as I do. There's no substitute for doing.  


APS-C Friendly 18-35mm f/1.8 Sigma lens

 Back in April Sigma made a lot of noise with this new constant aperture, APS-C zoom lens. Engadget speculated this would unfortunately be in the $2000 range, but come to think of it, the people who are shooting crop sensor cameras (ie, me) are probably shooting on them because full-frame is too cost prohibitive. 

Sigma has made a great move and is announcing the 18-35mm f/1.8 APS-C at a street price of $800.

Engadget again has the full story  

The great news is that it'll be available pretty soon! "Early July" according to Sigma. 

Any of my readers thinking of picking one up? I'm definitely interested in learning more about this once it hits the streets. 

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 APS-C zoom lens 

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 APS-C zoom lens 

Flickr's Comeback

I always thought Flickr was a powerful tool, IF you were willing to put a lot of work into organizing it, or even paying for it. I had a handful of photos up on it for a while but didn't manage them well and never really saw the benefits. 

Well earlier today I received an email from everyone's favorite Fro with news about the latest Flickr update everyone's been buzzing about.

1TB of FREE Photo Storage.

Do not adjust your monitors. You read that right. 

Full resolution greatness stored for FREE. Scratch the 2GB limit of yesterday, 1TB. Incredible. 

On top of this, they've COMPLETELY redesigned the website for the better. I absolutely love it. You can view photos in native resolution much easier than before, and it's finally all about the content. 

So I'll probably be spending some more time over there pretty soon. If you're a Flickr'r, find me there at (you guessed it)