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Shooting Tips

Use What You Have: Commercial Photography on a Budget

By Robert Meeks on March 26th 2014

Surely it is no surprise to any of you that photography has become a world driven lifestyle. But, what many might miss in their never-ending quest of imagery is that quality does not always mean a hefty price tag. In many cases, it is just the opposite. It is not what was used to create the image, but how one used what was available to constitute the best results. I know, I know… It sounds stereotypical. But it is the truth.

To create stunning images requires nothing more than the creativity of utilizing what one has. I encourage all of you to try something new and out of the box to stand out in this era of imagery while saving a buck or two in the process.

This doesn’t apply only to commercial photography, but in this case, my goal was to replicate that of a magazine fragrance ad, something like a Versace campaign, if you will.

Below, I have included a few images which will walk you through the process and lead you to an image I created in my garage using nothing more than a few items from the local craft store, a $20 fog machine and two $75 speed lights. Now I am aware, some of you may not have any speed lights. Luckily, any form of light works, you can even use an old desk lamp! It is never about what you use, but about how you use it.

The Process

The first thing I did was find a bottle that looked the part from the local craft shop along with some random items like glitter and food coloring. The set up was simple, lay down some black construction paper and put glass on top of it for the product to lay on then light it with one speedlight.

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Unfortunately, that was quickly proving to be boring so I added some spunk with another light and some fog.

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It still was not what I had pictured in my head. I added a blue gel and some broken ice to create more depth in the image.

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I took two final shots, one under exposed and one properly exposed.

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After shooting the last two frames, I pulled both into Adobe Camera Raw where I used split toning to make both images more blue and gold. Then opened them into Photoshop and merged the two images over each other in separate layers. The darker image on top of the lighter image and the darker images blending option was set to overlay with the opacity turned down. After adding in the bubbles, a series of curves and selective color layers the final image was ready for the mock logo.

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Equipment Used:

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm f/1.4
(2) Yongnuo YN560II
(2) Yongnuo RF603
Blue Color Gel
(2) Chairs
Glass Panel
Fog Machine
Bottle
Color Dye

The point of the matter is to use your head, improvise and create something spectacular with what you have! Now go scavenge through your garage, basement, attic or your closet. Build something, rip something apart and paint it red, grab your old storm troopers set and bring them to life in real world situations, blow something up, set fire to your neighbors car, do it all in the name of art!

DISCLAIMER : Okay, do not actually blow something up and/or set fire to your neighbors car for the sake of art. But you get the point… right!?!

About

Robert Meeks is a Southern Californian born into a life of light and art. Honing his craft in fashion and lifestyle photography he also strives to live for Christ. When he is not planning a shoot or retouching images he is a certified Apple technician, practicing videographer and loves to teach others. To view his latest shindigs check out the links below!

SITE : www.rmeeks.com
IG : @robertmeeks_
FB : www.facebook.com/rmeeksphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jenise Brennan

    Nicely done Robert. BTW, I enjoy working with the Nifty Fifty too. So much can be done with that lens!

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  2. Graham Curran

    Some great inspiration here.

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  4. Rick

    Nice work Robert! And thank you for the inspiration.

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