This assignment has a bit of a humorous backstory to it. The assignment was to shoot individual sports gear, for a full page ad that might be used in several trade magazines. We were required to leave room for a paragraph or two of text. This was to be left in the bottom right corner of the image. We also had to recognize that different magazines might use different page sizes. We had to ensure that we left enough free area in the image, for the image to work in all page sizes.
Buying new gear was OK, but we had to keep receipts and confirm the store's return policy. Because Angela suggested that I could use a new pair of hiking shoes anyway, off I went to happily make my purchase. I found a nice pair - the newest version of what I already had.
So I decided to use my old shoes, to set composition and lighting. Well, guess what? My old, well worn shoes actually looked better in the shot than the new pair that I bought! I wasn't sure how my instructor would feel, but I decided to submit the shot and find out.
a single Godox SK-300 strobe with a soft-box.
a single large scrim.
a white reflector card.
a larger black reflector, to stop light from spilling onto the backdrop.
2 small black flags, to stop light from shining onto the shoe tops.
dirt from our backyard, spread over a ceramic tile.
There was extensive post-processing. In Photoshop, I used levels adjustment plus the High Pass filter; then used Nik's Viveza plug-in. I finally used Lightroom for cropping.
My instructor liked the image. He noted that a lot of agencies don't mind showing used gear because it shows durability. He also noted that the back of the shoes and the front tip were properly lit.
So, in addition to lighting techniques, what did I learn? Easy, there is still a place for old gear.
The assignment was to shoot eggs to layout, for a restaurant's new breakfast menu. The shot must have a clean background, using muted colours that don't detract from the eggs. We also had to use a clean, non-textured or wooden surface.
I used a Godox SK-300 strobe with a large soft box and scrim. I also used a large black card to direct light from the soft box away from the background. I finally used a small reflector card to provide additional light from camera right.
I used the following settings:
24-70/f2.8 @ 70 mm
Feedback was excellent. My instructor liked the reflection of the place mat on the bowl. He also liked the pattern in the place mat. Finally, he noted that the angle of the eggs in the bowl led the eye down to the egg by the bowl. I'm slowly learning.
The hypothetical assignment was to shoot Brandy & Cigars for an ad agency pitch to a prospective client. The shot was to include Brandy or Whiskey coloured liquid in snifters. Cigars were to include bands. We were to produce two shots of the same set, using different views.
I used slightly different lighting set ups for each shot. Both shots used a Godox SK-300 Strobe with a soft box, on camera left. Power was at 1.7. There was a larger scrim in front of the soft box. A white card was also placed on camera right, to reflect light on the glasses.
However, to produce the orange background (or spray) light in the first shot, I placed a speedlight on a tripod, right under the table that I was using for my shot. I taped an orange gel to the head of the speedlight. To really intensify the spray effect, I taped parchment paper to the edge of the table, right in front of the speedlight.
The data for this shot:
The second shot was slightly different. I kept the soft box, scrim and reflector card. However, I removed the spray light from under the table. I also replaced the bottle with an ash tray and changed the camera perspective.
The data for this shot:
I used PS for cloning & healing in both shots. I've also re-discovered just how useful the High Pass filter can be, for sharpening. I used LR's adjustment brush for minor exposure adjustments. I also played with the new Texture tool. It can be very useful.
The class liked both shots, but Don did suggest minor tweaks for the first shot. However, everyone loved the second shot, especially the colour in the glasses and the reflections on the wood. That one is a "portfolio" shot.