Sunday, October 2, 2011

An apple: simple, right?

On Friday I shot a product line for a friend and was my first foray into shooting commercial products and, just like anything, it was fun AND had its challenges!

My friend's company, Virescence - Becoming Green (, sells handmade, organic products for babies.  Her mission is to provide earth-friendly products that: leave the least harmful environmental footprint, support the Canadian economy (she chooses Canadian products in her business wherever possible), and are safe for our babies.  I've had the pleasure of using a few of her offerings on newborn shoots and I LOVE THEM!

One of the images she wanted was of a green, ceramic apple.  The apple has served as one of the inspirations for her company branding, colours, and logo; it is also a perfect pairing for what her company is aiming to provide - natural products that are clean and safe for our little ones!

So, shooting a lone apple on a white backdrop should be relatively simple, right?  I WISH!  I actually knew that it would be a little challenging and it didn't let me down!  The biggest issue was with reflection...this is the first shot in the series; taken so that I might visualize what the camera would record:

I've added notes identifying where some of the reflections were coming from.  Clearly I was going to have to find a way of diminishing everything that was being reflected off the apple.  I was shooting on top of a piece of white Plexiglas with a white seamless paper backdrop.  The key light was a large softbox on camera right and there was another strobe lighting the backdrop with an umbrella as the diffuser.  It occurred to me that if I 'stole' the white Plexiglas from the tabletop I could use it as a second diffuser to the softbox light and it would double-duty as a clean reflection point for the apple.  Of course this was only going to diminish the one reflection, but what about everything else that was visible from the room?  Together with my friend/client/assistant!, we used 2x4 pieces of foam core to surround the remaining three sides of the apple; leaving only the top and a 'witch's hat' portion on the front open to the room.  Below you can see the improvement and also the need for further work:

The above image is the one I chose to work on in post-production (Photoshop CS4).  I brightened the image using the selective colour tool, I augmented the green using selective colour, I used the patch tool and the healing brushes to eliminate/lessen the final reflections/hot spots and did some other minor touch ups.  The final image is below (although I did crop it to square when I posted it to Facebook):

I am really happy with the final image and it was a good lessen in being prepared for these types of shoots...I could have purchased a light tent ahead of time, I might have used a polarizing filter to diminish the reflections (had I thought of it in the moment!), and I should probably add some clamps and white gaffer's tape to my bag!

The end result is that I feel like my client has images she can now use to market her products on her website and I have one more experience under my belt!  You may visit Bella Faccia's Facebook page to see a few more images from this shoot at

I was lucky that my 'first time' was with a friend and really warm-hearted person - this trait never goes unnoticed by me and makes life and business so much better!  Her easy-going demeanour allowed me the freedom and comfort to spend the extra time on the 'apple shot'!  So, go forward without fear and do your best...good advice in all aspects of photography and life!

Life is good!



  1. Hi Lori, stumbled upon your blog via mutual photog friend Kyla G. Nice work on the product photography! It can be challenging shooting something like a ceramic apple especially since it picks up all of the specular highlights and anything else because of its surface! Anyway, just saying hello and it's awesome that you have a keen interest in lighting. Way to go!

  2. Hi Joel! Thanks for 'saying hello' and for the kind words...perhaps we'll have an opportunity to meet one day!
    Happy Thanksgiving!