Hands-On Photography 142 Transcript – TWiT.tv

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Ant Pruitt  (00:00):
Today on Hands-on Photography. We got a different show today because I’m not sitting at the desk. I’m not in the studio. I’m in my studio, I’m in my lab, my garage. And we’re gonna walk through a product shop because some of you are wanting to get into working with brands. Well, there’s a certain mindset you have to, to take on when it comes to working with brands. And I’m gonna walk you through that. Y’all stay tuned.

VO (00:25):
This is TWiT

Leo Laporte (00:26):
Listeners of this program, get an ad free version. If they’re members of club TWiT$7 a month gives you ad free versions of all of our shows plus membership in the club, TWiTdiscord, a great clubhouse for TWiTlisteners. And finally the TWiTplus feed with shows like Stacey’s book club, the untitled Lenox show, the gizz fizz, and more go to twit.tv/club TWI. And thanks for your support.

Ant Pruitt  (01:03):
Hey, what’s going on everybody. I am Matt Pruitt, and this is Hands-on Photography here on TWiT.tv. I hope y’all are doing well. I am unbelievable as always. This is the show where I like to sit down and share different tips and tricks that are gonna help make you a better photographer as well as a better post processor. Hey, sometimes I’m not even sitting to do it this week. I’m actually in my lab, which is also known as the garage here at the PR palace. So, uh, we’re gonna get into some tips and tricks to help make you a better photographer in a better post processor. And today’s episode is gonna focus on the world of product photography. But before we get into that, allow me to take a few seconds to say welcome to the folks that are joining me for the very first time.

Ant Pruitt  (01:49):
Thank you for popping out. Thank you for, uh, subscribing in whatever podcast application you’re using. We’re on apple podcast. We’re on Spotify. We’re on. Yeah, we even on YouTube. So subscribe on the YouTube channel two, if that’s easier for you and at any rate after you’re subscribed, share the show out with some other folks to help grow this show, as well as leave me a nice little comment and rating in whatever the service that that you’re using. Okay. Cuz that does help us out. And uh, if you can’t quite find the subscription options, just head on over to our website, twi.tv/hop that’s twi.tv/o P for Hands-on Photography. And you’ll see all the subscription options right there. Okay. Now let’s go ahead and get started with this week’s episode. So yeah, today I’m in the lab because I want to talk about product photography. My apologies for those of you that are used to hearing my wonderful dot tones on a how microphone.

Ant Pruitt  (02:50):
Um, so the audio’s gonna be a little bit different, but I think it’s still gonna be fine. Uh, just for the purpose of this particular episode. So product photography, I’ve gotten some questions, uh, privately about getting into private photo photography and getting into having brands seek you out for your work or ha or going about pitching brands. So you can work for those brands. And the thing that gets me is some people they just fail to do the research when it comes to this stuff. That’s, that’s the big key when it comes to working with brands and then today’s episode, I’m just gonna work with a particular product that you could do it with. Anything you could do it with whatever you have in your house. I don’t care if it’s a carton of dish soap. I don’t care if it’s a, uh, a watch.

Ant Pruitt  (03:39):
It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything elaborate or fancy just needs to be some type of product of a brand that you recognize and just go from there. So today I’m actually gonna work with a product from one of our sponsors on the, on the network here. This is a blue land product and that’s gonna be the, the hero for today’s, uh, shot. Okay. So my thought process behind setting up this shot, I looked into blue land. Of course they’re a sponsor. Yes, but I looked into them a little bit more to see all right, what it is they’re talking about. What’s their message and their messages, of course, dealing with the, the likes of, um, being clean and being, uh, uh, uh, green and so forth like that. So I just sort of did a deep dive into a theme that’s based on being clean.

Ant Pruitt  (04:31):
And when I wanted to think about the shot and just sort of get everything lined up, I thought about just bright, airy, clean white, high key look, if you will, because that tends to look like a clean image in general, regardless of whatever the product is, just something that’s got white and high key to, it tends to make things look sort of airy and bright and clean. So I figure, all right, that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re just gonna set up a high key shot. And I have some simple little tools that you can get your hands on to help create this same shot. So first we need to make sure we’re tethered to a laptop. If you can. I think that’s the best way to go about it is make sure you tether your camera to a computer so you can see what you’re working with and see what your, what your frame is turning out to be.

Ant Pruitt  (05:20):
Uh, I’m gonna be doing some camera switching from time to time to show you what I’m working with. But, um, so let’s go ahead and switch out to what the lab looks like over here. This is the set here, uh, and this is simply a card table. All right, this is a card table with some of my stuff on it. This is just for white balance and I don’t really need that at the moment. This is the actual product here. And then down here below is my camera with a 50 millimeter lens on top of it, uh, because that’s a perfect focal lens for this particular shot. The next thing I have here are these little pieces of, of acrylic. These are just acrylic stands that you can get for next to nothing. I think I may have paid $10 for the three of them altogether.

Ant Pruitt  (06:08):
This, this is two of ’em, but they’re different sizes and you could stack them up. Uh, but this is just simple acrylic and it’s great for product photography for a lot of different reasons. Let’s start out with the smaller, well, let’s start with the medium size one first. So I’ll just go ahead and sit this down here in the frame. And then I’ll just go ahead and put the product right there and the good to go. Boom. Very simple. I got a piece of white foam core back here for my white background. You can get that for next to nothing. I think I paid $3 for that big old piece of foam core. Again, not super duper expensive. Okay. So now I’m gonna switch over to my screen and light room because we’re gonna do our first shot here. All right. So we got light room open. My camera is lined up and ready to go. I have my little live view ready on my camera so I can see what I’m working with without having to just, uh, put my eye down to the view finder. I’m noticing my little piece of acrylic is crooked. So let me switch that out with the smaller one. That one’s weird. So I’m gonna switch it out with the smaller one, line it up. Okay. So I’m in light room and I’m going to just hit the shutter. Let’s see what happens.

Ant Pruitt  (07:37):
All right. And it should come up with a dark frame, which is good. But the key when you’re dealing with this dark frame stuff, folks is you want to be able to tell your camera, all right, I’m working with to all of the light that I’m setting up in the scene right now. I have this one key light right here. This is, this is one of my professional grade lights here, but you can use any type of inexpensive studio light to do this. I recommend something like the gold docs, SL 60 w yeah. SL 60 w is plenty, bright enough, get a modifier on it. Point it at the background and you should be good to go. But I wanted to tell the camera, look, let’s go ahead and make sure we’re utilizing only the lights that I have control over. So you want to snap the shot and get a black frame. So that’s reducing all of the ambient light going on here in the garage. Okay. So that means changing my shutter speed to something a little bit faster. That also means closing down that aperture or that F stop. So it is not as much light coming into my camera. So I’m gonna switch back to the computer here. All right. Just right now, I’m currently set to F 10. I’m gonna switch that down to about, I don’t know, let’s try F 18. It can’t hurt

Ant Pruitt  (09:02):
And I’m gonna push the shutter speed up to one 80th of a second. And currently the ISO is set to one 60. All right. So I’m gonna hit shutter now and survey says black screen. Very good. Now I may have gone a little too far with that aperture, so I’m gonna push it back to about F 14. Let’s try it one more time. And yeah. Okay. So we still got a black screen. That is good to go on that aspect. Okay. So now the next thing I wanna do take a look at my scene here, get everything lined up.

Ant Pruitt  (09:52):
And what I’m looking at is I wanna make sure I have the optimal height in the frame. So that means tilting my camera to look up just a touch on the product. Okay. Cause what happens is when you have an angle of looking up towards a product, it makes that product look a little bigger and bolder in the scene. And again, making it be more of a hero in the scene. All right. So I’ve tilted my camera to point up just a touch. So let’s go back to my computer here. So I’m in light room and when I’m gonna snap a shot, it should be still a black screen. Okay. Got our black screen. Now let’s go ahead and bump up the ISO so we can see the product, bump it up to ISO 800 snap it

Speaker 4 (10:53):
Survey

Ant Pruitt  (10:54):
Says, okay, we’re getting there. Let’s open up the aperture a little bit more. Say F eight. That seems to be my go to snap it.

Speaker 4 (11:08):
There

Ant Pruitt  (11:08):
We go. We’re getting there slowly but surely. And now let’s take our shutter speed. Slow it down a little more. Say one 40th of a second. F eight. All right. See again, we’re getting there. And if you look at the histogram here in the upper right of the screen, we’re getting data in the shadows and in the black sections of the histogram. So we’re getting there. So a couple things that we can do. All right. So we can, uh, I don’t know. We can take the actual light here and crank the power up on the light. That’s a possibility. Or again, we can take the shutter speed and slow it down or just a little bit more. I’m gonna take the light and crank it up just a little bit more, cuz it’s not even at full power. It’s just good enough to light me up for this particular scene. So I’m gonna walk around to the back of my, my light here and just bump it up a couple notches here. So let’s see. All right. So now a lot brighter on my face. Woo. That’s bright must taking my eyes a couple seconds to adjust so down. Let’s go ahead and switch back to light room here and we should be able to see a little bit brighter. So I’m gonna snap the shutter.

Ant Pruitt  (12:37):
All right. We’re getting there. We’re getting there. And that’s the beauty of this stuff with product photography is it’s trial and error. I’m gonna take the aperture down to F four. There we go. Look at that. So now we’re getting that white background to show up. Now there are some couple things that I’m not too particularly fond of in this scene. If you look, you could see the, uh, the seam right here of the backdrop backdrop. So I need to fix that. How about just move it over? So it looks a little bit better. Like, so get rid of the scene. Now let’s take the shot better. So now that scene on the right hand side of the frame is gone well, not, it’s not really gone, but it’s not as, uh, intrusive if you will. So this right here, this shot is it’s fairly clean and fairly good to go as is. Uh, if anything, you know, we could, we could just, uh, I don’t know, bump up the exposure and post or I don’t know. This is not much else I really need to do to that. It’s it’s, it’s super clean. Um, I don’t know. Maybe if I lower, let me lower the tripod just a little bit more to lift the product up in the frame, just to touch more. So let’s do that. I’m going to take this here while biscuit just sort of walks around up under the camera. So I’ll see if you can see me. Can you see that there I am right there. Let’s see if I can lower it. Just a touch more.

Ant Pruitt  (14:32):
Cause again, the, the angle of your shot makes a big difference in how it’s perceived. Okie dokey. So now I’m gonna look through my viewfinder here, line it up. I think that’s getting there.

Speaker 4 (14:51):
Yeah.

Ant Pruitt  (14:54):
Maybe I can go a little bit lower at the tripod. Let’s go a little bit lower. A little more.

Speaker 4 (15:04):
Okay.

Ant Pruitt  (15:05):
So now yeah, I’m definitely looking up way more now so we can do that.

Speaker 4 (15:12):
All

Ant Pruitt  (15:12):
Right. So I got it lined up, so let’s switch back to light room.

Speaker 4 (15:20):
Okay.

Ant Pruitt  (15:23):
And then we will lock the focus, get out of the light snap it, yeah, that’s better. So now that’s giving me room to crop in and really, really have some fun with the framing of this shot. And it’s already pretty much white. If anything, inside of light room or if you’re using capture one, I can dial back the exposure just to touch. Maybe dial back the highlights just to touch, but that’s good. That’s, that’s nice and clean. Okay. But we could still do a little bit more to this, you know, let’s um, I’ve spoken about these little lights here before on the network. This is, this is a Yulon Z. I’m not sure how you pronounce it, but it’s a little RGB, uh, L E D light. And this thing is super duper handy. I’m just gonna turn it on and give it a little color. So let’s just turn this on, like, so, and you get, you can change it to various colors. I’m going to switch it to not this orange color though. Let’s try something else.

Speaker 4 (16:36):
Let’s see. Let’s go with

Ant Pruitt  (16:43):
Maybe something like this blue or green or what have you put it like that.

Speaker 4 (16:49):
All right.

Ant Pruitt  (16:50):
So now

Speaker 4 (16:53):
I

Ant Pruitt  (16:53):
Can just sit it back here behind the product like that and just totally create a whole different type of shot. So let’s, uh, flip back over to the light room survey says when I snap the camera. Oh yeah. That’s great. Now granted that hot spot on the bottom doesn’t look really good, but that’s not gonna be there. I’m gonna crop that out. Um, yeah, I like that. Let’s let me dial the shutter speed up just a little bit. So let’s get a faster shutter. I’m gonna take the shutter to one 60th of a second. Okay. And we’ll give it a quick snap now. Nope. I like the better at one 40th of a second. Yeah, I like that. That’s that’s doable there. That’s doable. So let’s take a look at it here. Inside a light room. Let’s pull back on these highlights. Let’s crop this image I’m gonna do like that. There we’ll unlock it. The aspect ratio I can do this here can rotate it slightly. Just ever so slightly. There we go.

Speaker 4 (18:30):
Something

Ant Pruitt  (18:31):
Like this, it’s looking better. Cut the top off.

Speaker 4 (18:42):
All

Ant Pruitt  (18:43):
Right. So let’s start with that. Yeah, that’s looking better. And now

Ant Pruitt  (18:49):
We want, can really bring the highlights back and dial it, exposure down just a touch. So we still see some detail and we got some glow going on in there and yeah, we could still do a little bit more in post. You know, I could probably get rid of this little spot. That’s showing the light, clone that out. I could even tone down the hotspot if I want to, but in the end, this is still looking like something that could represent this particular brand. This is the blue land dish soap bottle. It’s clear. Um, perfect white background, high key light spotlighting. It only, only added to color just to give it a little bit more pop, to separate it from the background that wasn’t necessary, but that’s just something that I thought, Hm. It might work, you know, so sometimes you gotta play around with things.

Ant Pruitt  (19:43):
And this is just one of those instances. Uh, again, just make sure you do your research to know if it actually fits the narrative of said brand. All right. Okay. So dad is gonna do it for this week’s episode. I hope this has been helpful for you all. Um, again, when it comes to doing the product photography stuff, a lot can be done with just a very, very simple setup. This, this white background, again, that’s foam core. Um, these little, uh, acrylic sets, you can get them on Amazon for next to nothing. Heck there’s some other things that I have back here that works really, really well for product photography. This back here off behind my camera. This is another piece of board that I got from home Depot. And you know, and you know what? This is, this is, this is a dry erase board.

Ant Pruitt  (20:37):
<laugh> this is a dry erase board, but it’s awesome. I can use this in product photography. I can use this in heck I can use this in models because it’s giving me a little bit of bounce, just holding it under my face like that. But I’ve used this before because it’s reflective. And if I want to turn it around, the backside of it is black. So you can use this for a black background. You can use this as a black surface. Uh, it’s, there’s a lot of things out there in the world of product photography that don’t necessarily have to be super duper expensive to create beautiful shots. You just have to really take a look at what’s out there and available to you. So head on over to your local Walmarts, go check out the art section, go check out, um, the art section or look for foam core and host the board and things like that.

Ant Pruitt  (21:28):
Head on over to your local hardware store and look at dry, dry erase boards that they’re, they’re not heavy. Um, but they’re sturdy enough. So they’re not gonna just break down quite easily. Um, you can go to, I like to check out like a carpet store or a flooring store. Okay. Because they will have remnants and you can sometimes use remnants of carpet for different types of surfaces. And you can also use different, um, scrap pieces of towel flooring to be used as backgrounds and different types of surfaces too. And you know what? A lot of times they will give you that stuff for free. So just try it all out. All of that stuff is available to you. Just go out and ask and get creative when it comes to setting up your scene. All right. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a shout, send an email to the show hop twi.tv.

Ant Pruitt  (22:25):
That’s H O P twi.tv. Or you can, uh, give me a tag and a mention over on social media on Twitter. I am ant underscore Pruitt on Instagram. I am ant underscore Pruitt. All right. Thank you again for all the tremendous support. Thanks for, for all of the feedback that y’all give me. I’ve gotten some emails from a bunch of you and I’m still answering them. Um, so just keep sending them on. And I answer them as soon as I can shout out to my man, Mr. Victor, for everything he does for me on this show, making me look and sound good each and every week, especially on days like this. Ooh boy, it’s gonna be a lot of fun editing this one. <laugh> all right, folks, thanks again for the support. Hey, safely, create and dominate and I’ll catch you next time.

Rod Pyle (23:12):
Hey, I’m rod Pyle, editor of ad Astra magazine, and each week I’m joined by Tarek. Mallek the editor in chief [email protected] in our new this weekend space podcast, every Friday Tark. And I take a deep dive into the stories that define the new space age what’s NASA up to when will Americans, once again set foot on the moon. And how about those samples from the perseverance Rover? When do those coming home? What the heck has Elon must done now, in addition to all the latest and greatest and space exploration will take an occasional look at bits of space flight history that you probably never heard of and all with an eye towards having a good, good time along the way. Check us out on your favorite podcast. Catcher.


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