Photographing Materials and Craftsmanship
How do you get a great photo of something in an area where there are a thousand things going on at the same time? When a company’s work or materials is a part of a larger project, it can be a challenge to emphasize only the portion of the project that belongs to that company. Understanding photographic principles like composition, color, depth-of-field, and lens compression can allow one to create an image which isolates something very specific in an architectural or interior space–and make a photograph tell a story about just your work, about only your product.
A recent case in point is in photography which we recently performed for CR Laurence at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s Las Vegas. Amidst a sea of colorful canopies, vegas landmarks, storefronts, palm trees, tourists, glaring sun, how do we create photos about just the aluminum door and window frames?
Well, you say, zoom in, which is a good start. Let’s see where that gets us:
Well, we’ve rid ourselves of much of the distraction, but we’re not exactly where we want to be. Let’s try going to ground level and zooming in some more:
Now we have a pretty clean shot of the product we’re featuring. This photo is pretty obviously a photo of the doors and windows, so at least we’re telling the right story. However, in the process of tightening up the shot, we’ve taken the location right out of the photo. They hired us to shoot their work at the new Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s in Las Vegas–this photo could have been taken anywhere with a palm tree.
So the challenge becomes pretty clear: how do we show aluminum doors and at the same time show that they are aluminum doors in a hip new outdoor shopping center in Vegas? Here are some of the solutions we came up with.
First, a tight, vibrant, highly detailed product shot with of a door with the Bazaar Shop’s color motif in the window. A nice, sharp product shot which shows some clean, high-quality doors.
Next, we tried to use glass to our advantage and found a window where the reflection showed us where we are. We brightened the aluminum a tad in post-production and flipped the image such that the reflection was legible. The aluminum is front and center, we see vegas in the reflection, and we’re pretty close to good. This may not be a magazine cover, as there is still an awful lot going on in that reflection, but it is probably a nice portfolio piece.
Lastly, we found a large section of aluminum window frames surrounded by the colorful hexagonal motif of the Bazaar Shops. This allowed us to capture a single, colorful shot of these quality windows in their actual setting, with the architecture, design, and overall feel of the space coming through.
You can see the variety of angles, compositions, and photographic strategies which can be employed to give a client the images they need to show off their stunning products and craftsmanship. We delivered about 70 photos from this shoot, so the client had a wide variety of images and perspectives to choose from. Whether they are looking to show off the location of the project, the detail in their work, or a dramatic combination of both, they have the images they need.