I decided to make this image for my product portfolio. I think it is important to build images with total creative freedom, without having to follow a client’s needs. This way, we can experiment and look for new concepts.
I already had the Fructis shampoo containers in the studio for a long time to make an image. I’d had the mirrors even longer, So, I decided to make this image inspired by some other images I’d seen with a similar concept.
I tried to make the image in a simple way, I used only two flashes. Cheap ones. I didn’t use the latest-generation camera, although the lens used is, for me, one of Canon’s best EFs. I was careful to do everything the best I could right at the time of capture, to facilitate the editing work. To be able to make the image as I wanted.
The process of creating this image proves that we don’t need the latest equipment to make the images we want because more important than the equipment is knowing exactly what we want to do and how we want to do it.
Before I started shooting and setting the scene, I had to clean the mirrors very well. Even then I still had to clean some dust during editing. I also cleaned the shampoo containers as best I could.
For the final image, I wanted to photograph the three packages at the same time, but since they were all different, only one was in Portuguese, I ended up having to move the Portuguese packaging to the other positions.
As I said, I used only two strobes to light the shot, and they were cheap ones. The cheapest strobes are ok for making this kind of image, although they have some problems. Perhaps the most serious is the lack of consistency in the color temperature. It is normal with them to have some images with a color temperature completely different from the previous shot and although it can be corrected, it is more time we have to waste in editing.
Another problem is when we need to freeze motion, which is often not possible with cheaper flashes. They are not fast enough to reach maximum power in a short space of time. For those more demanding jobs, the ideal will be to work with top quality lights like Broncolor. Or at least with an intermediate solution with a good quality/price ratio like Godox.
In the case of this image, the light modifiers I used were a plastic plate in the backlight and a sheet of parchment paper in the main light.
I used my loved Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. It is not the latest technology and it is certainly not a Canon EOS R5, but it is a versatile camera that I can use both in the studio and at concerts. It is a camera capable of producing images with excellent quality. I could have just as easily done this image with the 5D Mark II, which is still a camera capable of making great quality images in the studio.
The lens I used was the Canon EF 100mm f / 2.8L Macro IS USM, a lens that I love and that I know that always makes sharp images.
You don’t see it in the making of video, but to build the light I used the Sekonic L-358 meter, I’m not strict about the values of the light, but I like to start making the light using the flash meter, to know exactly how the light is. Then, when I feel the need, I adjust it to taste until I reach a light that I like.
To control the colors, I used the X-Rite ColorChecker.
Photographing all parts
To make the final image I started by making an image with all the packaging in its place, but then, because only one of the packages was Portuguese, I photographed the shampoos in each of the mirrors.
I also photographed the mirrors without the shampoo´s, in case I need to edit, which turned out to be useful since I had to move the shampoo´s from one mirror to another and I chose to use the image of the mirrors without the shampoos as the background.
Whenever I do product photography I always try to make a background image without the products (back Plate) in case it is necessary to delete something or make any last-minute changes.
The editing of this image was a little messy. I usually see the images I have, I choose the ones I will use and I am already getting an idea of the editing process. This time, however, I was making the levels and color adjustments in CaptureOne and I exported to Photoshop as I was doing it, before seeing all the images. So, I wasted some time cleaning images that I ended up not using, especially the mirrors without the shampoo bottles – which I decided to use near the end of the edition.
The ideal is to make the selection of the images first, to understand which are the best images to use so that the editing process is faster and more fluid.
The video at the top of this post is a 10-minute timelapse, but the editing process took around 1 hour and 25 minutes.
About the Author
Rui Bandeira is a concert photographer based in Porto, Portugal. You can see more of his photos on his site, and say hi on Facebook and Instagram. This article was also published here and shared with permission.