Tabletop Product Photography

An introduction to the fundamentals of studio lighting and propping for small to medium size product with an emphasis on DIY lighting gear.
Upcoming Workshops
Sat
Mar 2
$240
EARLY BIRD PRICE (expires 02/22)
9am-5pm at DCP - Early Registration: $240 - Late Registration: $260

This course is for the budget minded individual that wants to photograph small to medium size product. If you need product images for Amazon, Etsy or your own website, this course will walk you through all the basics. We will review camera equipment and how to get by with what you have. We will go over settings that will maximize image quality. Most importantly, you will learn the fundamentals of studio lighting and how to get the highest quality image from the least amount of equipment employing DIY lighting gear and modifiers. We’ll also look at higher end, professional gear for comparison and for those of you who may move into this professionally.

The instructor will walk you through a series of exercises where you’ll be shooting specific objects to learn about shadowing and reflection. The lighting, propping and setup techniques will emphasize the popular and challenging style of showing the product on white. We’ll have several stations for small teams to work through real life problems with provided props as well as products that you bring with you.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Camera equipment – the advantages of different lenses, tripods and software
  • Lighting equipment – where to buy and how to make simple and effective lighting accessories
  • How to shoot on white backgrounds
  • Camera settings
  • Lighting fundamentals
  • Positioning, styling and support of product for the best view
  • Basics of post-production and enhancing the shot
  • Individual teams will work together to problem solve and shoot actual product

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • A DSLR with a full battery and empty memory card.
  • A tripod. If you don’t have one, we’ll have some on hand for class use.
  • You should have a working knowledge of your camera settings including exposure modes, shutter speed, f-stop, white balance and ISO control. This is not the workshop to learn basic use of your camera!
  • To participate in shooting photos with your own camera it must have manual exposure control. For any strobe shooting you will need a hot shoe or PC sync connection. If you have a Sony camera, you may need the hot shoe adapter accessory.
  • An example of the small to medium size product that you would like to learn to shoot. We will only be able to select the products that provide the most teaching opportunities.

  • Cost per person is $240 early registration, $260 late registration.
  • Workshop price includes lunch.
  • Doors open at 8:45am.
  • Class starts promptly at 9:00am and ends at 5:00pm.
  • Classes may be held in the upstairs classroom, up one flight of stairs, no elevator access.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 14, minimum number to make a class is 8.
  • Parking is available on the street or in the adjacent lot at Electric Light & Power.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

9:00am-11:30am:

  • Class introductions.
  • Camera equipment and settings – We’ll discuss various cameras and lenses, the need for a tripod and best practices for settings and adjustments.
  • Diffuse vs. specular – We will demonstrate the differences between the two light qualities and compare the effects they have on various surfaces.
  • Buying and fabricating lighting, backgrounds and modifiers – We will discuss specific lighting components and where to buy them. We will show what materials are needed to construct a small set, complete with background, diffusion panel and light modifiers.
  • The set – We will discuss and demonstrate how to set up a complete table top set that would be suitable to photograph almost any small to medium size product on. This will include a discussion on backgrounds, lighting and camera position.

11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch together at the studio (cost included in workshop registration).

12:30pm-2:30pm:

  • We’ll break into teams with one team on each set. Each team is provided with the same single, specular item and the same single diffuse item. Teams will use specular light for both objects and then diffuse light for both objects for a total of 4 images.
  • Review and discuss images.

2:30pm-5:00pm:

  • Same groups will choose a single product that a team member brought and will setup and photograph that product. If time permits, they may shoot additional product.
  • Review images and open discussion.

  • A DSLR with a full battery and empty memory card.
  • A tripod. If you don’t have one, we’ll have some on hand for class use.
  • You should have a working knowledge of your camera settings including exposure modes, shutter speed, f-stop, white balance and ISO control. This is not the workshop to learn basic use of your camera!
  • To participate in shooting photos with your own camera it must have manual exposure control and a hot shoe or PC sync connection. If you have a Sony camera, you may need the hot shoe adapter accessory.

Q: Is lunch included in the workshop?
A: Yes, we will be bringing in lunch.

Q: Are there previous requirements for this workshop?
A: Yes. Please see the Requirements tab.

Q: How will I know if the workshop makes or not?
A: If the workshop doesn’t make and has to be canceled, you will receive an email no later than two days before the scheduled class date.

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: Details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Steve McWilliams

Steve has over 30 years in film production and media creation and is known for his depth of knowledge and willingness to share his experience with others. Steve ran his own commercial production company whose client list included American Airlines, Garmin, Paramount Amusement Parks and numerous food and big box stores as well as banks, non-profits and hospitals.

He was a top selling contributor to Getty Images in both still and motion collections and ran a successful still portrait business with an emphasis on high quality images and deft retouching. He has extensive experience photographing flat and 3D art for Heritage Auctions and other clients. He is the inventor of the patented EyeDirect Focusing System product, used by hundreds of producers and camera people around the world.

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