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01-04-2008
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delerith's Avatar
 
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How to Style Still Life/Beauty Products and Off Figure Clothing for Photoshoots?
I'm in charge of making "fashion" pages of a local magazine, I need to choose clothes and shoot them with a photographer, also I must suggest how to arrange them on a page because our designers seem to be unaware of that. The photographer I'm constantly working with is a nice girl but she have no idea of how to make photos of still life and what is more important - beauty products! She is not interested in fashion (at least she wasn't before she know me) so she never read glossy magazines and each time I need to explain her what I want! Some times I have no time sometimes I can not explain it because I'm not a photographer myself and have no right words for clear explanation. Also I should style those things we shoot and that is also a thing to learn. Can you give any tips of how to shoot clothes and for example lipstick or eye shadows? Anything will be highly appreciated!

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01-04-2008
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A friend of mine made a very cool pic sticking the colour parts of lipsticks on a fork... that would look awesome with different colours of lipstick and a plain white background!

if you're making some kind of beauty editorial, you can use the cutlery theme for the other products too... like knives cutting through eyeshadows or so

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Last edited by kate_is_goddess; 01-04-2008 at 11:45 AM.
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01-04-2008
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the best thing to do at first is to pull out pictures from magazines or online and show them to the photographer so she can see exactly what it is you want to try to acheive..
that is also the best way for YOU to get ideas about this..

allure magazine specializes in beauty...so that probably is a good resource for you...
also...irving penn does amazing still life photography so you might want to research his work...

good luck....

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01-04-2008
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There is one problem... Beauty sections of such magazines like Allure have all these cosmetics given to them free so they could do all what they want. Here I can only take them for little time, shoot and return and surely we can not cut them. We can take only testers for some drawing but not cutting, because magazine needs them too for their customers. I also can not understand how much nail polish do they actually spill in order to shoot those pretty puddles.

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02-04-2008
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you'd want to have a neutral setting (neutral background with a neutral whatever the object will sit on)

we use neutral grey or beige blankets
and i've used matt board to place behind the object
you can also use the boards to deflect light/shadow away from the objects... (you'll understand once you try shooting them)


in terms of lighting,
an overall lit object would be nice and clear...
if you don't have the equipment (big spotlights, etc.)
you can use the sun
go outside to shoot your objects on an overcast day..such as a cloudy day when the sun is gone and the light is dispersed all over the sky evenly
it works quite well

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02-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gius View Post
you'd want to have a neutral setting (neutral background with a neutral whatever the object will sit on)

we use neutral grey or beige blankets
and i've used matt board to place behind the object
you can also use the boards to deflect light/shadow away from the objects... (you'll understand once you try shooting them)


in terms of lighting,
an overall lit object would be nice and clear...
if you don't have the equipment (big spotlights, etc.)
you can use the sun
go outside to shoot your objects on an overcast day..such as a cloudy day when the sun is gone and the light is dispersed all over the sky evenly
it works quite well
Thank you gius! Thank God, we have all the necessary spotlights (at least I think we have) but i need to think abour blankets... And the deflector! I know we doesn't have it flat but there are umbrellas with such qualities, may they can help...
By the way, in case we shoot things on a neutral blanket, it will be cut out and only the object itself will remain, am I right? Why then not to use white background? I need to know so many things that designers and photographer should know but they are so ... they don't want to move a finger to know a bit more from what they know already

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02-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gius View Post
you can use the sun
go outside to shoot your objects on an overcast day..such as a cloudy day when the sun is gone and the light is dispersed all over the sky evenly
it works quite well
Or just shoot in the shade. Set white balance on the camera to the cloudy/shade setting and you're set.

As far as your first sentence way up there, try sketching out ideas. Sounds like you need room for copy? Ask to shoot with a lot of negative space so you can place text in.

For white backgrounds, buy a few white foam boards. Use one for a background and the others to reflect the light.

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02-04-2008
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delerith you can use white if you like
it depends on taste i guess

i prefer grey or beige because the object will look stronger in the photo

i have only seen some subtle soft-coloured objects where the white background became so dominant it made the objects look less important

fourboltmain thanks for the tip !
now i don't have to wait for a cloudy day :p ... i was just thinking the shade may give quite a lot of unwanted shadow

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02-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gius View Post
i was just thinking the shade may give quite a lot of unwanted shadow
You'd be surprised. I mean in the shade as in under a car port or something. Sometimes a backyard patio will do. Even indoor shots, when the sun isn't glaring directly at you would be considered shade.

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03-04-2008
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Most outdoor fashion photography is done in the shade ... if they don't have shade they face the model away from the sun to get it into shadow, and then reflect sunlight or use a flash on her face ... or they use a scrim (sort of like a white sheet streched on a frame) to put the subject in shadow. So the same would apply with product shooting too. Sunlight is only used when a strong, harsh shadow is needed (rarely a good idea on a model's face) ... otherwise it's in the shade. Take a close look at editorials that have been shot outdoors ... you'll see what I mean.

Product shooting is difficult because the lighting needs to be even more precise ... and if the product is shiny, the photographer needs to deal with the relfection of himself and the crew ... which needs to be obscured so you can't see them.

There are stylists and photographers who specialize in product shoots ... and they have a whole bag of tricks to make thing appear better than they really are. I don't know the tricks yet ... I'm just learning myself ... so everything I do is by trial and error. I'm just starting to build a portfolio of product work because I would like to do more of it, and I find it's very hard to get things to look as good as we see in magazines.

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Last edited by BetteT; 03-04-2008 at 10:04 PM.
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04-04-2008
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Thank you everybody for replying! It's so important for me - to feel that I'm not alone
I found nice patent leather clutch (Sisley) to shoot for a fashion layout and I promiced to shoot it right in a shop. Photographer said she could do it but I worry.. May be I need to take some cloth or paper to make background.. because the bag itself is very shiny. I don't know if I must urge the photographer to take lightning or we can do only with flash?

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04-04-2008
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Uh ... the photographer should know what needs to be done ... if he/she doesn't already know how to do this, nothing you can do or say will make it look right. I certainly would not expect good results.

It's up to her to know how to light it, the exposure, the apeture ... alll of that. She needs to learn how to do this by studying the lighting of other product photographers and by practicing ... a lot!

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14-04-2008
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Today we were shooting strappy sandals, and I was lucky that they were stiff because those straps can be very soft and fall down! How do they do it in magazines so that sandals stand as if they are put on a leg? You can see all their back.. I don't understand Do you have any ideas? Thanks
I mean smth like this

photo: net-a-porter.com

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14-04-2008
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I tried that once for a test and thought that threading wires inside the strap would work ... but it would mean cutting a tiny hole in the staps. But the wire I got was too thick ... it needed to be very thin and very strong ... steel, probably.

So then, since that did not work, I tried tying fishing line or clear, nylon threads to the straps and tying them up onto a C stand (a photographer's stand that holds a pipe horizontally) placed above the shoes. They had to be touched up by Photoshop, but ... it worked OK, but not perfectly. Very, very hard to get the angles of the staps right ... I worked on it for hours and hours! And if anything moved a tiny bit, the thread would slip and the strap would drop. I only had to tie up the top strap on these shoes that I worked with ... but I think that either of my ideas might work on ankle ties too ... but I'm sure the wire would be best.

I was talking to a stylist that did this sort of thing for a living ... an "off model" stylist ... and it's amazing the tricks they use ... and a lot of it is Photoshop, too. For clothes, her company always shot them hanging, but not on a hanger ... they use carved styrofoam to make the shape of the body underneath the garment, making sure that the foam did not come up into the neck area and then they attached a hook through the back of the garment to hang it up on a white board where they shot it. She worked for Patagonia, so she could not help me with this one ... dress shoes ... but it got me thinking outside the box and to try all sorts of things. You can see some of that work here.

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Last edited by BetteT; 14-04-2008 at 04:13 PM.
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14-04-2008
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Bette, thanks for sharing your experience and tips, now I'm only in the beginning and we are not given even a studio... We shoot all the things right in shops! That's awful I know but I hope that it will be more professional in time

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