Still Life Photography

Christmas Still Life – Whitehouse Flatlay

It’s always great when I receive a call from a client telling me that they need something a bit different and would like my creative input. For this image Marc at Whitehouse already had a few excellent ideas but left the rest of the detail up to me and trusted me to deliver his vision. We wanted to create a vibrant Christmas themed image using their range of cutlery products. The image was to be used for their Christmas promotion and thank you message and would be shared on a range of social media.

As I look after the product photography for Whitehouse I knew which cutlery ranges were likely to work the best. Whitehouse have a decorative gold range called Grace, and an elegant copper range called Rosana and I requested 25 of each item. The relevent products were subsequently hand selected by Whitehouse and sent over to me in readiness for the shoot. In the meantime, I needed a few more props and accessories to build the set I had in mind, including the vibrant red background and the all important golden star for the top of the tree. To make the image really stand out, I wanted to include some small Christmas lights. Battery operated lights are readily available but for this image I wanted something subtle, after a small amount of searching, I came across these lights which were meant to be for a decorative Christmas wreath.

For the shoot itself the lighting was relatively straight forward and required only one studio light which was a carefully positioned backlight placed behind a screen. By far the hardest part of creating this image was the layout of the cutlery. Before deciding on this layout option and general style of the image, I experimented with different options. I very much like the strong graphical shape create by the composition and whilst the image isn’t quite directly overhead, I still consider it to be a flatlay. Once I had decided on the layout for the cutlery, there was then about 50 to 60 small adjustments required in order to refine the shape, balance and position of the lights.

Finally it was time to deliver the end result to the client. Their response was swift and simply said ‘I love it!!’. I guess that’s the kind of positive response I’m looking for with all of my photography. I hope you like the image as much as both my client and I do.

PRODUCT_PHOTOGRAPHY_MANCHESTER_CHRISTMAS2018 Christmas Product Still Life – Whitehouse Flatlay

Oreo Still Life Food Photography (Flatlay)

In this post I’m going to share an insight into the creation of my Oreo Still Life food photography image. This is a personal shot that I captured in some rare down time. My objective for the Oreo image was simply to produce a creative flatlay containing multiple Oreo biscuits. Just incase you don’t know, a flatlay is simply a birdseye view of a single or collection of items set out creatively on a background. Flatlays are very popular especially for food images but I often prefer to shoot food at a much lower 45 or 30 degree angle. There is no right or wrong angle here and it often depends on the client brief and your shooting style.

The composition of this image is quite straight-forward with the Oreo’s placed diagonally within the frame. A key part of the image composition is the Oreo which appears to have had a bite taken out of it. This has been added to include a main focal point for the viewer and this is sometimes missing from flatlay images. The placement of the other Oreo cookies is critical as they effect the balance of the image and affect the negative space.

As well as exploring flatlays, I wanted to make the shadows in this image a key element. As you can see in the image below the shadows help to really define the shape of the Oreo biscuit. To create the shadow I needed a hard light and for this I used a studio light with a 10 degree grip. The 10 degree grid create a very directional light which is great to creating crisp shadows. Another added bonus to the hard light is that it really helps to define the texture on the top of each Oreo. Although the gridded head is the key light, another light was added as a fill light. The fill light in this image was another studio light bounced off a white board which was suspended above the tabletop.

For me the image works well and it certainly meets the objectives I set myself, I hope you like the image too.

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Photography of Printed Design Work

Whilst print isn’t as popular as it once was, you can’t beat the medium for its ability to deliver a message with maximum impact. I often work with Manchester based design and advertising agencies that have created stunning logos, branding and design layouts and when you combine this with quality papers and textures, the final result is often nothing short of stunning. I guess that’s where I come in… its my job to represent the impact of quality printed work back through my photography. Whilst a core objective of the brief is to deliver photography that clearly displays the branding work, I also need to draw the viewers eye into the magnificent textures and creative foiling work that make this type of work a cut above the digital versions.

Over this years this has seen me to photograph a variety of printed branding work but I was recently approached by Matt Beadle of Landmark Branding, Manchester to create a number of images that would make the quality of his print work stand out from the rest. When I received the products I needed to photograph I was amazed by the sheer quality of the branding and papers. I was therefore enthusastic about setting up my lighting a creating some hopefully well received images.

Although the subject isn’t the most technically challenging to photograph it does require an attention to detail to bring out the key details and to ensure consitency from one image. Composition is also as important as lighting, in order to draw the viewers attention onto key details.  This commission was completed in the studio using 3 to 4 lights, some lighting was diffused in order to provide consistent illiumination whilst other were gridded to provide impact.

When I delivered the final images to the client they were very impressed and this is the feedback which I recieved:
“We needed some high quality images of some of our best print work to promote our property branding agency. Matt helped me through the whole process and we were delighted with the detail, service and overall results. I wouldn’t hisitate to recommend Matt to other businesses.”

A selection of these images are now being used on the Landmark Branding agencies website https://wearelandmark.co.uk/ and below are some of my favourites from the shoot. If you are an agency with some print work you need photographing to a high standard then please do not hisitate to get in touch, I am always happy to discuss your brief and provide a written quotation.

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