A recent project I was involved in was photographing large products on location.  The comfort of shooting in a studio, of which I worked in for 10 years, is that EVERYTHING I needed was there, organized and in familiar surroundings.  The client comes to me, on my turf.

Since I began my own business after the many years working in that environment, large product photography is done exclusively on location. I bring the studio to the client. The full service studio I was at had the capability to bring a car in or industrial washing machines into the studio to be photographed.  When necessary large products, such as a piece of machinery in a manufacturing facility was shot on location.

shot in the studio under controlled conditions.
This boat engine was shot in the studio under highly controlled conditions for Custom Marine Inc.  The client transported the product to us for the day.
industrial heating cooling units anchored to the floor
These industrial thermal units are in place and must be photographed on location.  They were shot with location studio lighting.

Most recent product project

Big Daddy Games hired me to photograph various commercial gaming units and ATM machines they produce.  I elected to shoot on location, since my personal studio couldn’t handle that sized product. After a meeting and walk though of the shooting area and a look at the products, I had a good idea of my lighting set up, background and other tools to convert this dusty storage area into “my studio.”   In the end, my client wanted digitally “dropped out” files on a transparent background.  The units were matte black, some where grey and a few were white.

Help was at hand

Often times, I am in charge not only of the photography, but of placing and cleaning the product before shooting.  It was great that there were helping hands to do the heavy lifting while I concentrated on the technicalities of the photography.

it's good to have help moving large products in place.

A repeatable process

The marketing director wanted 9 views of each gaming unit: straight on – up high, down low.  45 degree left straight on, up high, down low and 45 degrees right straight on, up high and down low. I followed that order of shooting consistently.  If I did not, it would be very easy to forget an angle.

all 9 angles in order of shooting

Consistency of lighting

By having help on set, I was able to set up one lighting scheme and instead of moving the lights for every different angle shot,  I had the helpers “twist” the units to the angles needed.  I did not have to move my lights- only adjust them a bit when needed.

straight on 45 degrees left

Lighting

For this project I used two 1800 Watt second strobes with large soft boxes.  One was placed right of camera up high on a boom stand.  The other was camera left at eye level.  I also placed a large white reflector camera right – under the boom light.  For each unit photographed, I moved the reflector to gain optimum reflective detail.  

my lighting set up for this product shoot.

The next day

In post production, as requested, I made every screen bright green to facilitate the placement of the individual game displays by the marketing people at Big Daddy Games.

After 98 images were shot and finalized, I realized that sometimes, in this profession, the physical toll of a job like this is not felt till the next day :  32 bent low to shoot, 32 up on a ladder to shoot, etc, etc. I felt it all the next next day – top to bottom.

bending low, going high

Final Product

Most of the time, my photographic efforts are not made known to me.  In other words, I don’t see the final product.  For this latest project I was able to see the sell sheets that were printed off – pretty cool!

Final usage of photography
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