.357, camo wood grips nikon, Colt, Colt Python, commercial photography, gun, gun photography, nick giron photo, pistol, product photography, project 52, Python, reflective, shiny, tabletop photography
So I’m involved with a group at Lighting Essentials. We’re doing a yearlong project with weekly assignments called Project 52 (www.project52.org). It’s incredibly fun and helps keep my chops up.
This weeks assignment was “Something Shiny” which was to be placed on something not shiny. I chose a nickle plated Colt Python as my subject matter because there is so much of a challenge in getting all the details collected in the final image.
First off I had to use a “non-shiny” background as part of the assignment requirements. My choice was an older issue Army jacket, face down, to use the camo pattern without adding the extra details of zippers, pockets etc. When I shoot I try to minimize any extra clutter the brain might try to process.
The second part, I had to work through what would provide the best lighting. I knew I wanted a soft, large source to reflect off the nickle plating. My first choice was a white frosted shower curtain ($4, Target). But I forgot where I had put it so I had to fall back on my 64″ white PLM. (Trip planned to Target for a “redundancy” purchase of a white frosted shower curtain).
When I first metered I was getting f16 which isn’t what I was looking for. I was shooting with an older Vivitar Series 1 lens that seems to have it’s best foot forward between f11-f5.6. So I added some extra diffusion on top of my Lumedyne head to back off the light. I was already at 50ws so there was no room left in adjusting the power. I ended up getting to f5.6 which looked good, but I wanted a little more DOF. I ended up shooting at f8 and adjusted exposure in post.
On my first few exposures I was looking for an angle of reflection for the PLM to get picked up in the contours of the gun. I had a black card in the back for adding a dark highlight and a white card in front for nice white reflected detail and some fill for the bottom edge of the pistol. My problem was the PLM. It was reflecting too much light, so I ended up tilting it and feathering the light. Everything looked good.
The last bit of detail I noticed was the butt of the revolver. There was virtually no light hitting it, even though I had a white fill card. So I took a tab off an envelope and laid it next to the butt creating a “macro” reflector. Problem solved.
So in a nutshell, I spent about twenty minutes setting up. A half an hour shooting. And about forty five minutes in post. The final result is what you see above.