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HOW I MADE THIS: BISCUIT GALAXY - PRODUCT/ADVERTISING PHOTO

Let’s have a look at how galaxies are formed in this blog post :-)
Don't worry, it won't have anything to do with astronomy, and we won't need a telescope.

 

I got the idea of ​​this product photo when I often had yogurt and biscuits for breakfast. We all know it, biscuits tend to be fragile and crumble. Those qualities inspired me to have one blow up, and at the right moment I would press the camera shutter.

Ok, so the rough idea in the head would be a nice starting point, now it’s time to make it real. Since most of my product or advertising photos are taken at my home, the use of any explosive was out of the question. I had to literally shred the whole vision into pieces and choose different approach. Some people like to draw their visions before realization, but I have a good imagination and I can visualize the result in my head.

PREPARATION

I broke the whole biscuit into smaller pieces with the fact that each piece will be photographed separately. So far, it's all easy. The first challenge awaited me right from at the start. How to get a biscuit in the air. I thought I'd stick it with a translucent adhesive tape on a thin wire. No, it did not work - since there are a lot of crumbs on the surface of the biscuit, the adhesive tape did not want to fulfill its purpose at all. That's why I made a thin wire like a nest at one end and stuck the other end into the piaflor. It is such a green block that you can get in every florist shop and is used to arrange flowers.

LIGHTING

I used 2 flash lights from Fomei brand - Digitalis PRO S400 DC. These are flashes with a built-in battery, so we don't have to worry about extension leads. I placed the main light behind the subject from the back, about 45 degrees from the camera on the right. I had a honeycomb grid on my headlight. This light made a nice outline on the products. I added another light ahead of the object, to the left of the camera - also about 45 degrees. This fill light suppose to open any dark areas of the subject.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

PHOTO SESSION

This way I started to take pictures of individual pieces. The camera was set to manual mode, ISO 100 to make each photo as sharp as possible, so I set the aperture f22 and set the time 1/125 seconds. Despite the high aperture, I did not avoid the photo being out of focus a little blurry. Therefore, I had to take pictures of individual pieces in several shots, where each photo I focused on a different place. In this way, I had a few shots of each piece of biscuit, which I then combined in a photoshop, and the result was one photo that was sharp from front  to back. This technique is called Focus Stacking.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

POSTPROCESSING

All the photos I take are in a raw format. I do not accept any other option and recommend it to all photographers who have not done so for an unknown reason. RAW is basically a format that is designed for further processing and provides many options to get the most out of a photo.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

On the left is raw directly from the camera without modification, on the right is raw after quick adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw.

When editing individual RAW images, I made all the necessary settings to be happy with to the first photo. Since the light and camera settings did not change during shooting, I automatically synchronized all the other images with the first photo. This way I was sure that the individual parts of the puzzle would be equally ready for further work.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

Exactly the same way I did when taking pictures of the fruits, the same light, the same RAW conversion.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

Once I had all the assets shot, I could do the most boring part of my work. All the photos I needed to get rid of the background. For this I use the pen tool in the photoshop. It can be done in many other ways, but the pen tool suits me best. It is a lengthy and monotonous process, but on the other hand, I have total control over what I am doing. In addition to getting rid of the background, I had to remove the wire and pin and retouch all the imperfections.

The fun part begins. Gradually I put the individual parts of the biscuit into a new document. I took everything with a black background and gave the same background to a new document.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

The biscuits are already floating in the air, it's time to add fruits. To make it look more realistic, I had to paint a shadow that casts fruit on the biscuits, or vice versa. Shadows that cast pieces of biscuit on the fruits.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

Basic composition is done, now I need to bring it to life. It wanted some effects. I took some extra shots of crumbs - bigger, smaller to choose from later. This photo shoot was very simple. I crumbled a biscuit on black paper and photographed it vertically from the top. Because there was a big contrast between the crumbs and the paper - the masking (removing the background) was very easy. Basicly - I used the channel with the highest contrast (I can explain this in some other blog).

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

I placed the first part of the crumbs in a layer behind the main composition.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

I put other smaller particles in the layer in front of the main composition. In this way, I will create a depth to a photo.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

I used smoke as another effect. Just like in the previous step. Part of the smoke went to the back behind the main composition.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

And another part infront of the main composition. Smoke can be used real, shot on a black background, or can be drawn using brushes in a Photoshop.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

Finally, I did a gentle grading, added contrast and sharpened the whole picture. The product photo prepared in this way could go straight to the portfolio and to be printed. I also submitted this photo to the World Photographic Cup 2018 – It gets me into top ten finalists in commercial category. As the best ranked advertising photo among of Slovak team words brought me a Nations Award and overall 6th place in commercial photography.

Dusan Holovej - product and advertising photography

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