Hands-On Photography 146 Transcript
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Ant Pruitt (00:00):
Today on Hands-on Photography. I got some feedback from you, the loyal Hands-on Photography listener. And it's actually a couple interesting emails that I think might be helpful for all of you checking out the show y'all stay tuned.
Speaker 2 (00:14):
This is TWiT
Ant Pruitt (00:17):
Episode of Hands-on Photography is brought to you by blue land. Blue land is on a mission to eliminate single use plastics by reinventing home essentials that are good for you and the planet. Right now, you get 15% off your first order, when you go to blue land.com/hop,
Ant Pruitt (00:43):
Hey, what's going on everybody. I am Ant Pruitt, and this is Hands-on Photography here on TWiThope y'all doing well. I'm unbelievable as always. And on today's episode, I'm going to dive into some feedback that I received from you. The loyal HandsOn photography listener. I got two messages as a matter of fact, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you, the listeners. And again, as I said before each and every week, you can send your feedback over to me via email. Just send an email to hop twit TV again, that's hop TWiT.tv. If you just wanna say hello, if you just wanna say how much you enjoy the show or how much you hate the show <laugh> yeah, you could send that to it's. Okay. I have thick skin or if you just want share some images or get image critiques, so on and so forth I'm more than happy to hear from you all and try to answer them all as fast as I can.
Ant Pruitt (01:36):
And again, as I've said before, if they're images that you are fine with being shown on the shore show is part of a learning opportunity for the rest of their listeners. Please say, so, just say that in your email saying something along the lines of, yeah, you can use this image on the show. I love doing that because it does help the community out because there just may someone that is trying to figure out something in photography that you've already figured out and your little image or little tip just may help them get over the edge and accomplish that goal. So let's just keep sharing the knowledge that we have and helping to continue to grow the Hands-on Photography community and the photography community in general. All right, I'm gonna shut up with that. Now. Let's go ahead and get started with this first email.
Ant Pruitt (02:25):
So let switch my screen here. So we'll need to hit this button here to switch the screen. This email comes from Donna. All right. It says, hi end. I just wanted to say, I really enjoy your show. Especially the episode that she did on product photography. I'm an aspiring photographer who would like to work as a product photographer. I was wondering if you would check out my portfolio at the website listed there, Donna chaw and offer any feedback. If you have any time, I would appreciate it. I just photographed products I use and had at home. I love that. And this comes from again, Donna Kran shell. So as we previously discussed here on the show, product photography is something that pretty much anybody can just start to try and get into it because in your home you have a bunch of products, a bunch of products that you use all the time or projects that you use sort of here and there.
Ant Pruitt (03:20):
And if you have a camera, just start taking pictures of them, just start setting up a scene and getting your lighting squared away and just practicing product photography. And you never know you might be pretty, Daum good at it and could potentially turn it into a bit of a photographic career. And that's what she did. She's got stuff using in her home and she says, you know what, let me snap some photos and get my practice on. All right. So let me go ahead and switch my screen. And we'll take a look at the website here. So I need to hit this button. All right. So we got right here in her product and still life gallery and at a glance, these all look pretty good. Just again, these are just at a glance, especially this one down here in the bottom left. And I did look at these earlier for a few minutes and I had a couple thoughts.
Ant Pruitt (04:08):
And this image here, the very first image was the thumbnail image of the webpage. Wanted to check that out. I like the fact that this is pretty straightforward and simple composition. This is a lens, a cannon lens. And I like that you put the lens cap off on the side. The lighting looks good. It is a clean image. I'm not seeing a bunch of noise or grain or anything like that. So from a photographic standpoint of a technical photographic standpoint, your exposure looks good, good stuff, but I want to address a couple detail things. Okay. Because if you let's, let's just say all. So this is a cannon lens. All right. So let's just say Canon hired you to photograph a lens for them to be put in their gallery to show off a new product, or what have you all, I'm looking at this lens, this lens clearly says it's a cannon lens, but you probably don't want this logo to be upside down.
Ant Pruitt (05:08):
So you should probably rotate <laugh> this lens to where cannon is actually legible. Cuz right now this sort of just looks like, oh, this is a 52 millimeter lens because that's at the top. And I know this is not a 52 millimeter. It's actually a 24 mill. I know you know that, but just an average person looking at the image. They're probably just going to think that is the name of that lens. 52 millimeter. Probably won't even notice that it has cannon down here in the bottom right hand side. So that's one detail to take in effect, rotate the image around and make sure all of your lettering and wording is visible. Labels are visible for the product that you're trying to represent. My next detail. And again, I'm zoomed in just at the regular perspective, this isn't super zoomed in at 200% or anything, but I'm looking at the top here and there's a little speck of dust there and there's a little speck of dust right here.
Ant Pruitt (06:10):
Little specs of dust here, little specks of dust there, all these little specs of dust, okay, you're going to have to clean it up. And even right here in the very center of the lens element, the cool little green flare, but there is Afleck of dust just right there on that too. So just use your healing brush or whatever type of object removal tools you're using, whether it's light room or Photoshop or GMP GMP, or what have you. And just figure out a way to get rid of those dust specs on this image. And that'll really help just step the game up or level it up from a client's perspective, cuz they're gonna look at details like that. And as we said, previously, we had, Mr. Zach said won on the show and he advised that if you're gonna handle products for product photography, wear some rubber gloves because you don't wanna get your fingerprints on 'em and you don't want to just get little dirt and dust and things like that on the product, because the lens is going to pick it up.
Ant Pruitt (07:13):
Especially if you have really nice lighting, what you got going on right here. This one here, I love the lighting that you have on it. It's a little bit hot on the left hand side. And this is clearly where your light source is. Cuz I could see in the reflection, just like you have a soft box off to camera left and that's great because this is very nice soft light hitting the product. I would recommend cropping off this left hand side, just the touch because it's creating this hotspot over here. That's not really adding to the image. So just crop that out. And then next, if I look at this even closer, these products are tilted a little bit, so I'm not sure what happened there. This may be some lens distortion that you have going on there. Figure out a way to open up your rotation tool and just rotate this image to where the products are straight up and straight down.
Ant Pruitt (08:11):
Cuz this has a little bit of a lean to where they're just from my perspective, it looks like they're leaning camera left just to touch just by a few degrees, straighten that out. And this is pretty much ready to go. You have the labels lit. We can tell what these are and it's clean. There's no specs of dust or anything like that. This is a good job, but just again, it's those mining, those tiny little details, a little minor details that are actually major when it comes to working with brands and showing off their products, they're going to pick through this stuff and they're gonna notice things like that. So let's go ahead and hop out of that. And the last image I wanna look at here, which got my attention. What's this one, this one is so pretty. I love it. I've said before on the show that my style of photography tends to be more on the cooler moody side and you have this dark blue going on here with these just I guess pearls and muscles or something like that.
Ant Pruitt (09:14):
Some shell this is just beautiful color to me. The composition is great. The way you have everything tilted just right. And the light is kissing off. It just perfectly. Everything is soft lighting. There's not a lot of harsh highlights on it. These pearls have the light on them. I can zoom. See, can I zoom right here we go. These pers have the highlights on them, but they're not just harsh and glaring they're they that tells me that there is some sort of a soft box or soft light source hidden this. And it just looks so good. Even zoomed in that looked good. You could crop in a little more if you want to. I don't necessarily recommend it. I think your crop looks great. The sharpness on it is nice. It's not too sharp and it's not too soft. There's a little bit of softness going on the left side of this, but that's just your depth of feel.
Ant Pruitt (10:06):
And it works for this one. I really, really, really like that. One keep doing stuff like this with this directional light, cuz it looks like just one light source coming in camera left. And it's giving you a bunch of shadows off to the right hand side of the frame. And all of the shadows are just nice gradual shadows. They're not harsh. And it looks really, really good. So accredit to you on that one. But yeah, this is some good stuff here. I totally respect the effort that you're putting in on these images just from using everyday items that you have in your home. Even these wine glasses here and the wine bottles you you're thinking about it. Little details like this, just put in a little bit of the wine in the bottom of this glass. This turned over. That's a cool little detail. This one, again, this one would be fine, but you need to rotate it a little bit more.
Ant Pruitt (11:01):
And at the top you'll see that the cap is cut off in the frame. You don't want that. If you're going to cut parts of your product off, you're gonna have to be really intentional. And that doesn't look intentional. That looks like an accident, unfortunately. And then this one here, this is just a classic one. Unfortunately the left side over here is a little too tight to the edge of the frame. So that needs to be brought out a little bit more to free up some space there. You don't necessarily have to center it, but you don't really want it really hugged up against the left hand side of the frame like that because it just sort of cuts it off. But this is very nice nicely done. And yeah, just keep shooting. This is some good stuff. So miss Donna, thank you. Thank you for sending that over.
Ant Pruitt (11:50):
And if you want to send some pictures to me in the future, feel free to send them over and I'll take a look cuz this is good stuff. You are definitely on your way and just keep fine tuning and checking out all of those little details to really step the game up. All right. Now, before we get into our next email, I wanna take a few minutes to think this week's fine. Sponsor the folks over at blue land. <laugh> look, did you know that an estimated 5 billion plastic hand soaps and cleaning bottles are thrown away each year? Yeah, that's quite a bit. And it's bad enough that most of the cleaning formulas are 90% water, which is heavy to ship and it's leading to excessive carbon emissions. Plus those products are often filled with nasty ingredients like chlorine and ammonia. Good grief folks. That's a lose lose situation for you for me and the whole dad gum planet.
Ant Pruitt (12:47):
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Ant Pruitt (14:29):
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Ant Pruitt (15:30):
So let's go ahead and switch my screen here. This email that comes from Herschel day, it says, I love the show only recently started watching it. My wife and I have a cake business and I've been trying to figure out a way to really make the pictures pop. We usually shoot with our phones when the kitchen counter, but I always feel like the lighting can be a challenge. And even the background may not be what I'm wanting. Do you have an episode that kind of covers things like this and I can refer to and even have suggestions, including recommendations on equipment if I don't need any extra great. But if there's some things that I could help me up my gain, then I'm all for it. Thank you for your time. Even for just reading this, thank you Herschel day. Now that email continues because again, we had a bit of a thread going back and forth.
Ant Pruitt (16:15):
So I wanna show some of the other messages here. You'll see some examples attached because I asked him, Hey, can you show some of your images? Let me see what we're working with. And he sent some images over and basically sent me the Instagram page. And as he continues, he says many of them he thinks, or at least it's just more of a lighting issue. Noticing that the shadows in the fronts especially are, if there's like a decoration in the wording or anything, that's getting a lot of shadows. That's not always the case, but even the blue cake example has a dark spot right in the middle, but it didn't have that in real life. That's lighting, <laugh> lighting. These are all shot in our kitchen counter. And currently we pushed them all the way back to the wall to try to get the best lighting from under the cabinet lighting.
Ant Pruitt (17:05):
Very fascinating, but our cakes are different sizes. So the larger cakes are really hard to get good shots on the ones with our hearts. And I may show that example. It won't fit under the counter basically because they're just too tall. So the message continues. Lastly, it says on one of your episodes, you had someone that was big on mobile photography. And I think she used light room on iOS to do some shots in editing and I'm not opposed to that. And yes, that was Ms. Lisa Carney loved that woman. And in fact, for us, the more fluid and frictionless we can end up making the process better. Otherwise I know we just won't do it and still will be frustrated. <laugh> I think all of these were shot using the standard camera app on the auto settings. I still haven't learned how to do full manual settings.
Ant Pruitt (17:57):
I'm not even sure if that would help at all or how it would help. Thank you for your help on all of this. Thank you, Herschel day. Okay. Yeah, that was quite a bit to go through. I know, but man, it was fascinating because they make cakes for a living. All right. And so they're trying to photograph their products, keywords products. So again, we're talking product photography here and they didn't quite feel the cakes of photographs just hit the mark because they just sort of look flat to 'em. It was one of the messages that guys just sort of looked flat and I get that shooting cake photographs can be quite tricky because a lot of times when you have these professionally designed cakes, it's a lot of textures and things like that. And you want that texture to come through in the image. And so that means really making sure you nail your focus number one, and then you also have to make sure your lighting is just right, because if you have too many shadows in the wrong spots, you're gonna cover up a lot of the textures.
Ant Pruitt (19:01):
And then there's the aspect of the background. What's the back of the image look like what's the rest of the scene looked like, does it compliment the cakes there? And all of that can be quite challenging. So first let me just go ahead and flip the screen over here and we'll take a look at their Instagram page. So let me see you hit this button here. All right. So this is their Instagram page plum frosted and I'm scrolling through and these cakes are pretty, Daum cool. There's definitely some talent there. And as I'm scrolling through I'm I get what they're talking about far as just the photographs. They're just not really giving that ump to it. They're snapshots, essentially the lighting on it's not harsh lighting, but the positioning of the light just may be issue. And I wanted to, I know he's not necessarily wanting to be like another cake photographer or anything like that, but if it's gonna make your image look better, there's some things that you have to consider.
Ant Pruitt (20:05):
And so what I did is on Instagram, I just searched for it, cake photography. So I'm gonna click to this tab here and you can take a look at some of these other photographs and you're gonna notice something. The lighting is super key on all of these. And this example here in the middle, which has over 3000 likes, could grief. This looks like one large window light hitting it. Maybe it's not a window light, but it is one large light light source hitting it from the left side of the frame. And it's a soft light source because look at the shadows again, the shadows are not really stark and dark. They're just sort of gradual and you can still see details inside of the cake, the background. So it looks like this cake is in the corner of some type of tabletop or something like that.
Ant Pruitt (20:55):
But at the same time, the background doesn't necessarily compete with the cake. It provides extra contrast to really bring out the cake. The colors is another thing. The colors are a little bit muted, but it seems to work because everything in the background is dark and the cake itself is white and pink. So there's again immediate contrast happening right there. And as I continued to scroll through, I just kept noticing the same thing. There's one really big light source in all of these images that are really popular and really pretty like this one here, big old window over here on the right hand side of the camera, soft light coming through a window, cuz sunlight through a window is naturally diffused. That is the cheapest most beautiful light that you can get right there, window light. And it's hitting this in. It looked good. There's just enough shadow hitting it on the other side.
Ant Pruitt (21:50):
So you can see textures in there, but it's lit up quite nicely. Same for these other images. Notice again, just a general shadow and more window light coming in. So can you move your cake shots to a window area? Do you have a dinner table next to a window? Do you have a, I don't know, maybe even if it's just a card table, something next to a window, you can start with that from a lighting standpoint. And there's another thing that you can consider. If I just search for food photography on Instagram, you're gonna notice another thing regarding the lighting. Again, it's, it's gonna be one soft light source, but then notice the contrast in all of these. No, these are not cakes, but all of these have really, really strong contrast. And when you have that strong contrast, the colors just pop out. I mean, these are simple oranges, but because there's this darker background and there's a lot of dark contrast going on right here, the oranges are just standing out and there's still plenty of detail showing there.
Ant Pruitt (22:56):
That's something that you have to consider and it's also directional light. That's being used. Here's another example. This is a bit of a lowkey setting, but it's one big light coming from one source and it's all fallen off in a directional standpoint. You can try that for your cakes. Again, it depends on the theme that you're trying to go with. If you're trying to go with light and air to no, don't do a dark background, just do something with sort of a neutral background. Next we can consider the backgrounds himself. I've spoken about this stuff before and there's this company called fabulous or faithless. I've bought some backgrounds from them. I don't know how many times, cuz they're super inexpensive. They're really, really cheap and there's just paper backgrounds. And I hang them up behind me. As a matter of fact, when the pandemic started, I used a couple of the backdrops behind me to do the show each and every week.
Ant Pruitt (23:51):
And it was literally a $10 roll of paper because they looked good but this one is 14 bucks and they got a bunch of other ones. So I'll put some links here in the show description. This one here is nice. The little wooden background all of that stuff looks really, really, really good. And you can get it from next to nothing and just hang it in the backdrop behind your cake. And that's gonna give you a better option versus what you had going on back there that sort of look like tile not a big fan of that. And then also you don't want to put it directly on the background, give it a little bit of distance that way you're gonna have some nice step to feel for your shots. And you said that you're using an iPhone camera. That's totally fine. You can use an iPhone to do these photographs cuz the smartphone cameras are totally capable today.
Ant Pruitt (24:43):
Just like Ms. Lisa Carney, who you referenced earlier, that's all she shoots with and she is crushing it and just absolutely beautiful work each and every day. So keep using your iPhone cuz it's gonna work, but just consider your lighting. And if you want to do some of your retouching, do your retouching in whatever app you choose, you don't necessarily have to use Lightroom mobile. Yes I am an authorized Adobe affiliate and yes, I love Adobe for the most part but I'm not gonna sit here and say, you have to use Adobe Lightroom. You can just use the standard app on your iPhone to adjust, contrast, to adjust the highlights and adjust the exposure. And it's gonna look really, really, really good, but first things first let's fix the lighting. Get away from that overhead light that you're using in your kitchen. I'll put a couple links to some decent lights that you can use and set up some light stands and things like that that are inexpensive and they they're just nice high quality clean lights.
Ant Pruitt (25:41):
And if you don't wanna do that again, grab a card table or something like that, put it next to a big window. If you can, cuz that big window is gonna give you some beautiful light and play around with the different angles. Play around with the angles, with how you frame it up in your camera, up high, straight on a little bit lower. All of that stuff makes a difference. And since you're gonna be on a table next to a window, or just away from that counter, you're gonna have a little bit more freedom to move around and frame up your shot. So get experimenting. And like I said, I will have some links here in the show description to show you a couple different things that you can use to help step that game up. All right. Okay. Thank you again for that email, Mr.
Ant Pruitt (26:26):
HERL, and thank you Ms. Don, for your email, this was a lot of fun going through these and having conversations with you. Two. I hope the rest of the hands of photography, viewers and listeners, and got something out of this and maybe they're trying these same Tactus out and maybe we can all connect on Instagram or something and then check out each other's photos. So do me a favor. Go ahead and give me a follow on Instagram. I am T underscore Pruitt on Instagram and I'll link their Instagrams too. Go follow them as well. And then if you wanna follow me on Twitter, you can follow me as T underscore Pruitt on Twitter as well. Hey, if this is your first time catching this show, go ahead and subscribe. I hope you enjoyed this time here on Hands-on Photography for subscribe right now at the website, TWiT.tv/hop that's TWiT.tv/oop.
Ant Pruitt (27:15):
We're available on apple podcasts. We're available on Spotify or pretty much wherever you listen to podcast. So if you are listening to podcast player Z, I don't care. You can find us. <laugh> just search for Hands-on Photography and subscribe right there. I wanna give a shout out to my man, Mr. Victor for making me look and sound good each and every week. And shout out to you the loyal Hands-on Photography listener that comes and check us out each week and also continuing to share the show with all of your friends and family in at least one enemy, Hey, you're helping us grow the Hands-on Photography community. And I truly appreciate the support. All right, everybody, Hey, safely, create and dominate and I will catch you next time.
Speaker 3 (27:59):
Hey, I'm Rod Pyle editor of Ad Astra magazine and each week I'm joined by Tarik Mallek the editor-in-chief email@example.com in our new this week in 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 time along the way. Check us out on your favorite podcast. Catcher.