Sometimes when you head into a shoot you know exactly what to expect. A room, a table, a buildling, an apartment, a person. There are lots of resources out there to help you do your job as a photographer to its fullest. Those things include Google Maps, Google Earth, Searching the web for images of your locations, or of your subjects, little bits of back history; anything of the sorts. Sometimes though, you have absolutely no idea what’ll hit you, or what what will define your shoot the moment you walk onto your location. In this case, my entire afternoon was defined by: a Yellow Table.
(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon EF 100mmF2.8Macro, 1/125th@F8. Single Canon 580EX SPeedlight set on the table to above image right set to 1/64th power zoomed into 105mm to accent the A in the glass plate triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus II reciever. Single Canon 580EX SPeedlight set to 1/2 power to directly above the image on the table pointed at the ceiling for overall fill and to create a white-ish reflection on the engraved A, on thh butter spreader.)
The place was called, “Bella’s Blooms”, and like a lot of the things that I shoot, the photos were for Ads at the Paper. Funny part about assignments like this is that we want to do as many things as possible, as quickly as possible to give the client a lot of options in the least amount of trips out there. Not that I won’t go back out there, because I already know I will; It’s just a variety for the now kind of thing. The question really comes up later in this particular shoot though: How do you shoot 25 different items in the same yellow space? You see, I was told to set up in a back room, that really had nothing in it, but some product and this crazy yellow Table… Immediately after shooting the first few items, I start to look for other ways to use the table. They aren’t always there, but sometimes you can get away with shooting loose, and providing something a little different, in the exact same space as before.
(Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 24-70mmF2.8L@64mm, 160th@F7.1. Single Canon 580EX Speedlight to above table right shot through a 32″ Wescott Umbrella at 1/4th Power fired by Pocket Wizard Plus II Reciever. Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/16th power fired by Pocket Wizard Plus II Reciever zoomed to 105mm shot into the fireplace to camera right for just a little bit of warm fill on the bag.)
This is a common problem for me when I go and shoot things for the paper. I get to a location, with significantly more gear than I actually expect to use, not knowing what I’m getting into until I get there. In this case, it was a very confined room for a bunch of product that was of all different styles, types, shapes, colors and purposes. I have heard some people say periodically that they wish they had a job like photography where they didn’t have to think. A lot of us photographers may not be able to do their jobs, but I’d love to see them take a stab at this “non thinking” profession; especially in a situation like this. At the end of the day the client was pleased that they had a bunch of stuff that was all just not, “on yellow”, and I felt as though I could exercise a bit of creativity while trying to entice people to visit their store. These are usually fun days, not like shooting the exteriors of car dealerships or apartment complexes (which definitely need photos too, it’s just a different kind of creativity).
(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon EF100mmF2.8Macro, 1/160th@F7.1. Single 580EX set to 1/4th Power through a 32″ Translucent Umbrella above camera left almost over the wine bottle and stopper. Single Canon 580EX SPeedlight set to 1/16th power zoomed to 105mm shot into a piece of white cardboard to camera right to give the bottle some definition. Both Speedlights fired by Pocket Wizard Plus II Recievers)
At the end of the day I removed the table from the image. The wine bottle was on the table, but this item, and one or two others offered the opportunity to leave that obnoxious yellow table. (It really was a nice table, but looking at it through a viewfinder for so long will get to anybody…) The client was happy, the sales rep took me to lunch afterward and I was happy. It just goes to show that there’s a lot of possibilities within a 10 foot space. Who is to say everything has to be the same, and who is to say you even have to move your lights? More Soon.