Behind the Scenes with our New Colors
As we're launching our new website, we're also launching new colors. This is the first time in our entire one month history (I know -- looooong time), that we've had more than one product.
If you've ever bought something online you know that it's hard to buy a product you can't see a picture of. What you likely didn't know is that it takes a lot of effort to make those high quality pictures that you see online for products. Fortunately for us my longest tenured job was as a photographer so I have the equipment, unfortunately I have no experience shooting products.
In order to take these pictures we made two key decisions. First: We wanted to show lots of different angles and make sure we do our best to render colors. Secondly: We wanted 100% pure white backgrounds. I also needed a place to shoot these photos and quickly realized only my living room would be big enough. I moved the table and sofa, closed the blinds and told my girlfriend I was commandeering the living room. It's been four days and I still have yet to get around to packing everything back up -- but it's okay, our cats are using my photo gear as a playground.
The second is the part that caused a few sleepless nights in my house as I couidn't get my hands on the equipment normally used to stage these kind of shots due to California's safer at home order. My solution: Use an octabox (a giant light modifier) as the base and then add additional light from above. This is somewhat similar to what most product shots use in that there is a light for the background and a light behind the product -- only in this case there was no clear table or backdrop -- just a giant softbox. Fortunately for us our soft, American made face masks are quite light so they didn't cave in the softbox's velcroed in fabric front layer.
For various shots I added a Lastolite Trigrip Reflector attached to a magic arm and clamped to a C-Stand, and a Westcott Apollo Softbox (my only "good" softbox was the Octobox on the bottom) on an elevated lightstand. All the lights are Alien Bee B800s from Paul C Buff which are easy to use and were easily powered by a Vagabond Mini Lithium since I lacked long power cables. I used old school Pocket Wizard II trigger and receivers to fire the flashes and I was amazed that even after being in storage for 7 years they still had a battery charge and were ready to go! Finally for my camera I grabbed my trusty D3s from my camera bag and threw on my Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8 AF-D with some additional shots with my AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8 D.
If none of that last paragraph makes sense -- I used various lights powered by batteries, light modifiers, and a three generation old camera with some old lenses to get the shots right. Wordy...I know.
Once I got the shots I imported in to Capture One and edited with Photoshop Camera Raw -- the photojournalist in me pained not using Photo Mechanic but this clearly wasn't a task meant for PM.
As I edited the shots I made sure to edit out the non-uniform background, and the bubble I used to hold up the masks for the photos, and after dozens of hours editing we have what you see on the site today. Nobody said it was easy starting an online store and let me tell you -- it takes more time than you could ever imagine.
...but the final result is worth it.