[video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://cameraplex.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CP001.mp4"][/video] Product photography is an art all of its own and the number one key to bold and stunning photos that properly showcase your product is lighting. This article presents the simplest way to achieve professional looking stylistic black background iPhone product photography, and can be done with one light in 5 minutes or less. This is for those who are looking to do-it-yourslef, or begin their introduction to product photography. For the most comprehensive and in-depth introduction to the subject I highly recommend the book Light Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting.
Stylistic iPhone Product Photography
For this you will need:
- A Dark Room
- Spotlight (directional lamp)
- A Way to Mount or Elevate your Product
2 Steps for Better iPhone Product Photography
If you cannot elevate your product you can photoshop out the the base/ground. If done right you won't need any photoshop to refine the final image.
- Adjust the light so that is has a slight angle but is not to far off from being straight over head. The goal is to find an angle that highlights the angles of your product without casting any light on the background.
- Get your iPhone and find a nice angle. Once you've focused, the trick here is to lower the exposure. You will see a yellow vertical line with a 'sun' icon in the center. Tap and drag that icon downwards to lower the exposure until the the background is black or nearly black.
- That's it!
Photography Principles at Play
Exposure, Dynamic Range, & Understanding Histograms..
Taking photos with your iPhone in this method is not the same and using full auto and darkening the image on your iPhone or in an editing software after. Without lowering your exposure the iPhone will expose the image by evaluating exposure by the average amount of light within the yellow focus box. This is known as spot-metering.
Since the majority of the scene is dark including inside the focus box, the camera will expose so that the blacks are at an appropriate level, raising the overall brightness of the scene. In terms of dynamic range, the whites (or highlights - lit part) are on the opposite end of the luminance spectrum. When the camera lowers the exposure time to raise your black levels it will in turn overexpose your highlights, unable to keep them within the dynamic range capabilities of the phone. Over exposing the whites will record as 'on' pixels, rather than a measurable amount, meaning this pixel will always be pure white and cannot be edit by normal value adjustments.
The goal here is to shift the luminance spectrum to the left so that our whites/brights (what matters in this image) are on the spectrum, and the blacks are clipping below zero recording as 'off' pixels, so that we don't have to edit the image to achieve the desired result.
Every properly exposed image should have no clipping either with a loss of blacks or loss of whites, in this particular we go against that taking advantage of the iPhones inability to capture the entire range of light in the scene.
Future article coming soon, covering this further using better cameras and additional lights..