Advanced Techniques: Metal
So, my next Advanced assignment was about lighting metal with studio lights. Although the image in my head was well thought out. I couldn’t imagine the stress of using the studio lights after David’s portrait. My partner Chelsea and I worked our butts off to get this shot…even then, we couldn’t do it alone. Help from John, Chelsea #2 and Sara (both from Kansas State visiting for POYi) meant a long night and many tired arms.
I had a fairy simple concept. I wanted to photograph an iPod. I saw a Mark II Canon ad with super low light around the camera against an all black background and decided that I would like to copy the style for this metal assignment. I decided I would use familiar elements to spice up the overall image in hopes the image would be of good enough quality to submit to the Olympus Photographers of Tomorrow Contest. (This is called the killing two birds with one stone…although I’ve always thought that was pretty cruel.)
My concept is made up of three parts: an iPod, earphones, and a background.
I love my iPod touch; it has saved me from many an overdraft fee, provided numbers lost in my dead phone, and always offers the music I need to make it through long night creative sessions. The challenge would be to photograph the iPod in a way that wouldn’t look tacky. I decided to build my own background after seeing an Adam and Eve type photograph in class. My Virginia Commonwealth University art skills went to work! I took some broken plexi from the studio, traced out some iPod dancing silhouettes on black paper, and designed my background to look like a iPod party (Fig.1.).
Next, I had to find some iPods, it didn’t hit me until Michelle P. asked if I needed any iPods to photograph that I should try to use more than one. I’m glad I did use more than one to balance the composition of the photograph. Being that the assignment was to photograph metal, it made sense to photograph the backside of the iPod at some point during the set up.
After gathering my materials, Chelsea and I came to the studio hoping to leave in less than two hours. I had drawn details diagrams (seen below) of how I wanted the set up to be, so I JUST KNEW I was going to be out of there before 11PM…..no buddy. After many hours of trial and error, despite my plan, we ended up trying at least four different lighting positions. i had this vision of the iPod being like I see it in the computer generated commercials (Now you know why cars look so flawless in those BMW commercials).
I finally got a highlight on the top of the iPod which made me happy (Fig.2.). After several shifts in the position of the lights, I was able to get the light I wanted….the problem was that now I had, the light, I couldn’t get my screen to show anything. In order to photograph the screen, I has to stop down my shutter speed. Finding the right combination took a while and when I did get it, I realized my background was no longer as crisp or intense in color as I wanted. My resulting image was almost exactly how I drew it out during my sketch sessions (Fig.3.). Thanks to my family of angles the actual set-up was a little more complicated than that. lol. I think there was a reflector, a light, or a softbox in all directions! (Fig.4-6.)
Overall, I was happy with the way the image turned out. I hope to place in the Olympus contest! The small light reflection off the corners of the left and right metal iPods are an exclamation point to my first attempt at metal! I was glad to get the clear and crisp photo. If i could do anything different, I would of had tried to cut some strips out to decorate the background a little more, shined the back of my iPod a little bit more to try to get rid of the imperfections on the metal and found a way to continue to shoot something like this with the background a little crisper. I am happy with the result. Hope you enjoy looking at it also!