PP180 Product and Still Life Studio Lighting

Course Description

Building on the basic studio and lighting skills learned during the previous Photography certification class: Introduction to Light, this course provides advanced training in product and still-life studio lighting with an emphasis on commercial practice and methodologies. Students will learn to critically control exposure, contrast, light quality and mood through the use of various light modifiers, reflectors and diffusers. Daily exercises and shooting assignments will demonstrate techniques for lighting textural, transparent/translucent and highly reflective objects. In the first week, emphasis in this course will be on developing a proficiency and comfort level working in the studio, using tethered digital capture processes, working with tabletop sets and still life product lighting techniques.

In the second part, this Photography class simulates a typical creative collaboration through a variety of design-oriented projects. The working relationship between a photographer and an art director is a crucial contributor to the successful outcome of any commercial or advertising assignment. Product and still life shooters must be sensitive to designers’ creative and production problems while also proactively participating in their solution. Camera and lighting skills introduced in previous courses will be tested and refined, as will students’ abilities to work with creative direction under production deadline pressures. Students will leave this exciting class with unique, professional quality portfolio pieces.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Studio safety best practices and protocols
  • Studio vs. Location conceptual mind-set and approaches
  • Advantages and setup of tethered capture workflow
  • Setup of Canon and Nikon tethered capture
  • Identify fundamental studio equipment and tools
  • Review Profoto packs and head
  • Review Grip equipment
  • Importance of tripod or camera stand
  • Manual focus
  • Review exposure for flash
  • Flash exposure controlled by aperture
  • Flash exposure controlled by power output
  • Shutter speed and flash synchronization
  • Shutter speed and mixed light exposure
  • Lighting quality
  • Hard vs Soft light
  • Light modifiers
  • Lighting ratios/contrast
  • Key Light/Fill light relationship
  • Working with mixed light (tungsten/strobe) and gelled light scenarios
  • Demonstrate the interaction of multiple lights on set
  • Shooting for texture (multiple lights)
  • Shooting highly reflective objects (multiple lights)
  • Shooting glassware (multiple lights)
  • Black line / white line
  • Adding complexity to shots by introducing backgrounds, props, pours, splashes, etc.
  • Choosing alternative background/surface material
  • Creating finished still life compositions
  • Basic and advanced product photography lighting and set building techniques
  • Shooting for silhouette and compositing: edge control and background considerations
  • The Creative Collaboration: 1 + 1 = 3
  • Understanding the photographer’s role in commercial and advertising projects
  • How to review design layouts
  • How to turn a designer’s concept into effective imagery
  • How to shoot to a layout
  • Questions to ask to clarify vague, uncertain, or contradictory creative direction
  • Relationship between Time, Budget, and Scope of Work- (how much can be accomplished with the time and resources allotted?)
  • Shooting Projects (collaborations with design students subject to availability)
  • Poster project (with Graphic Design students)
  • Cookbook project (with Graphic Design students)
  • Catalog project (directed by Photo instructor)