Footwear product photography is a great subject for creative shoots. Shoes, boots, heels, flip flops etc. all need different approaches and often dictate the vibe of the finished image.
Here we specifically have a football boot, a lot of sporty footwear photography has quite a dramatic look and we haven’t strayed from this. Our brief was for the boot to be floating on a primarily dark back background which we would then add some graphics or flair to. On this occasion we decided to keep that part open until we had the shot and could try things. It’s important to remain open to seeing different things once you’re at a ‘finishing off’ stage which has to be balanced with opinions form us, the clients, the agency etc. With footwear product photography, our primarily our focus first and foremost was on the boot. How can we make it look special, which details are the most important to bring out, how much emphasis should we put on the logo and colour? etc. etc.
Once we looked at the boot and made a plan of attack task 1. was to suspend the boot. This is tricky, we don’t want the boot to move at all so it needs to be secure, but we don’t want too much stuff to take out later (clips, clamps, etc.). On top of that we’ll probably want to be able to make precise micro adjustments when we’re framing up. We have all sorts of clamps, arms, knuckles, booms and other studio tricky to do this, but however you do it doing it properly is worth the time.
Lighting. A lot of our original discussion and dare I say excitement was to use a lot of back light to pick up the outline of the boot. This also adds a lot of contrast… which we like! After that we used lots of small, fairly focused pockets of light to bring out the details. This is we a lot of the enjoyment of this process comes, we like to try things out – hard light, soft light, direction, power settings etc. This is where you work out what looks good and how it all ties together. We always have a good idea of how something will look but sometimes materials will surprise you (good and bad) or sometimes you point a light at one part of a product, in this case the laces for example, but the logo has a great looking reflection so you can use it or work on it and push it further. When we work in our tethering software – Capture One – we tag the bits we like to put together later. It’s a great creative process to be part of.
Once that’s all put together, cutout, and dropped onto a black background we can then start playing with exactly how the background looks. There are unlimited possibilities so it’s difficult. Brightness, contrast, colour, shape, scale. As I said earlier sometimes you have to see a lot of things to decide what you don’t like so it’s clearer what you do like. Once we’re happy as a team the client or agency will also have an opinion if they weren’t part of that process. Sometimes they are very hands on with a definite brief which is great!
When it’s all said and done we hope our main focus – The boot – still shines. The resolution looks great and all of the details pop. That is how we get our kicks!