I met Kim of Lucy Jane Totes through my wife. The two of them had met at a women's function shortly after our arrival in Louisville. When the subject came up of how the Jester family ended up in Kentucky, Kim was very excited to learn that I moved here to shoot product for Amazon. Kim had been stuck in a rut with her product photography and was interested in learning some new techniques to help her achieve more flexibility and consistency. I absolutely adore teaching, and when I get a chance to help a small business out, even better.
We got together for a single hands on session and that was all she needed to springboard herself to the next level. During that session, I took note of Kim’s incredible workspace. It was clean, organized, and very well decorated. The wheels started turning on how we could do some really great environmental portraits of Kim in her space.
One of the benefits of working in a production studio is your coworkers. I work with some extraordinarily talented people on a daily basis, and since most of us are recent transplants to the area, most everyone is very motivated to collaborate on projects outside of work. Alicia Cannizzo is one such talented person. As a stylist for Amazon, she is regularly taking product straight from it’s packaging and making it look amazing. Alicia and I connect a couple of different levels, and one of those levels is our belief in the power of good visual merchandising. I knew that she would be a good fit for Kim’s incredible space.
The next time I saw the space, it was shoot day. For our first shot, we were going to frame Kim through the opening from her foyer into her workshop. The theme here would a peak into her workshop from a “normal” part of her house. The composition technique would be framing. Framing the space in the doorway frame, framing her inside the box created by her work table and the top shelf behind her, and finally framing her form out with decor and props on her shelving.
The key here would be impeccable set dressing, which is where Alicia comes in.
Every single prop, piece of decor, bolt of fabric and tool in this shot was placed with intent and after much discussion. There is not a single part of this image that is not 100% intentional. This is one of my key tenets of photography: Do everything with purpose. If someone asks you “why is it like this?” always have an answer. Always have a reason for this prop or that light. You control the perspective, so own it 100%.
For lighting design, this was all about mimicking how this room looks in person, which is awash with light. The lighting would be simple: blast the corners of the room with strobes and generally boost the amount of light in the room. We would use the window light as fill and the key light would come from a Broncolor monolight hitting the wall opposite the windows.
The room was lit in three zones, the foyer, the workroom, and the back corner.
The foyer light was simply to keep the dim foyer even with the workroom. As mentioned above, the key light was used to boost the way the natural light looks in person, but allow us to shoot at settings that will net us the sharpest, cleanest images. Finally the back corner light was used to address light fall off in that back corner, which was betraying the fact that the scene was lit with strobe.
Once the light was dialed in, we spent literally HOURS fine tuning the set dressing. I think the time and effort really pays off. The result is an image that I’m in love with, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Camera: Fujifilm X-T1
Lens: Fujinon 35mm F1.4
Camera Settings: 1/15 @ F4, ISO 200
Foyer Light: Broncolor Minipuls C80, with shoot thru umbrella aimed into the corner
Key Light: Broncolor Minipuls C80, reflector only, aimed towards wall, camera right
Corner Fill Light: LumoPro LP180, with shoot thru umbrella
Radio Trigger: Pocket Wizard Plus III
Other Details: Tethered shooting into Lightroom. Imported images into Capture One Pro 9.1 for editing and processing
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