CREATE ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHY USING ONLY ONE LIGHT
Advertising still life photography is one of the most technically challenging things any photographer can attempt. You may think me crazy for saying that I can create Advertising photography with a single light but it can be done. Today I’ll be explaining how.
DOES GEAR MATTER?
Before we get going let me explain two important things. Number 1, I’m a strong believer that gear does matter, I believe in using the right tool for the job. Number 2, while I am able to create Advertising quality imagery using only one light, it is far easier to do this with multiple lights.
If you want to produce billboard quality adverts with your photography equipment, what do you need? I’m not going to go into too much detail here, it’s not the main purpose of this article, but it’s far less than you think. Most cameras will have the necessary detail to produce an image for a billboard, check out this article for more info, click here. However, if your viewer is very close to your image, and it still needs to be 20 feet tall, then resolution becomes more important, but in general, you can print huge images from most cameras.
The same sort of scenario applies to most photographic equipment. What I mean by this is that, excluding the extreme scenarios like blowing up an image to the size of a billboard when the viewer will only be standing feet away, most gear will do the job. You don’t need the best cameras, lenses, lights and so on. Sure, there will be examples, high-speed liquid photography would be another, in which you will need some of the best gear available. Usually, you can get away with very little.
That was point one of my two-part video series in which I create Advertising photography using only one light. You don’t need all the gear in the world to create these kinds of images. In the video below, I take you through the shooting process, showing you how it’s possible to do this sort of photography with just one light
WHAT MAKES AN ADVERTISING IMAGE?
When does a photograph go from just a standard still life image, to Advertising photography? I suppose there would be the literal interpretation. If a photograph is used for the purposes of advertising on a large scale then, by definition, it is Advertising photography. My interpretation is a little different, it still needs to adhere to the literal definition but, for me, there is also the implication that the quality of that image needs to reach a different level. Be that conceptual, technical, or both, the image needs to attain a level of quality, skill and creativity well beyond that of the standard still life image.
I wanted to create something eye catching which would make this Max Factor mascara jump off the page. I think I got there, hopefully you'll agree 🙂 . Check my profile to see all the behind the scenes images from this shoot @maxfactor #maxfactor #mascara #photooftheday #picoftheday #londonphotographer #artphotography #stilllife #productphotography #stilllifephotography #amazing #cool
To produce my definition of Advertising photography, one must pay close attention to every element of the image, down to the most minute detail; that applies to every stage of production. It’s good for the images to be strong conceptually and, as a very technical photographer, I personally like the technical elements of an image to be perfect. I suppose it boils down to two things. First and foremost, we want the viewer to be struck by the photo, for it to make an impression visually while also communicating about the product and brand. Secondly, the technical elements of the image should hold up to thorough scrutiny. If a brand is paying you to produce an image which will be seen by millions around the world, it has to be “perfect”.
RETOUCHNG ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHY
If our aim is to produce an advertising campaign, there will be multiple people on set all working to craft the kind of imagery I’ve been discussing. The process can be lengthy when quality of photography is the biggest concern and the same can be said for post-production. Not only does the retoucher need to be highly skilled (retouchers of this level are comparable to artists) but they need to apply the same level of care and attention.
In the second video, I take you through my retouching process. When all you have is one light, it’s necessary to take many different photographs and composite them together inside Photoshop. That technique is very common in Advertising photography, however, when you’re only using one light to shoot, compositing is taken to the extreme. It is this technique which allowed me to produce this quality of image using only one light.
As I said at the beginning of this article, creating Advertising photography is one of the most challenging endeavours any photographer can undertake. What I want you to leave this article with, the whole point of the video series, is for you to understand what’s necessary to produce this type of imagery. It’s not gear.
I created this image using only one light so I could demonstrate how powerful compositing is as a technique. I created two tutorials to go along with this, part II was released yesterday; link in my bio. #stilllife #productphotography #commercialphotographer #advertisingphotography #watch #ferre #stilllifephotographer #newpost #rggspotlight #profoto #famousbtsmag #behindthescenes #bts #watchphotography #watchphotographer
Advertising photography is created using skill. I wish I could tell you that by spending £50,000 on gear you’d be able to replicate any image but that would be a lie. To produce photography of the highest quality, you need a deep understanding of light, photography, and all stages of production, especially post production (retouching).
If you want to gain some of these skills, check out my YouTube channel. I’m passionate about teaching photographers and produce video’s which explain my process and can hopefully help you along the way. Find it here.